Identity politics are now pervasive. Universal principles are turned to dust by the phrases ‘As a black woman’, ‘As a gay man’ or ‘As a Muslim’. People increasingly categorise themselves by race, gender, sexuality, religion, and culture. Yet historically, progressive political movements fought for people not to be defined by their race, religion, gender or sexuality. Modernity has been the story of forging one’s identity in defiance of birth or biology, through what you achieved, by engaging with the world beyond yourself. But increasingly, radicals seem to be rediscovering the lure of essentialism. Filmed at the Battle of Ideas quite a panel of luminaries and an outspoken audience do more than make polite conversation. Share the video and your thoughts.
The speakers are Dr Julian Baggini, founding editor, the Philosophers’ Magazine; Ivan Hewett, chief music critic, Daily Telegraph, professor, Royal College of Music, author, Music: healing the rift; Sunder Katwala, director, British Future, former general secretary, Fabian Society; Professor Michele Moody-Adams, Joseph Strauss professor of political philosophy and legal theory, Columbia University; Brendan O’Neill, editor, spiked, columnist, Big Issue, contributor, Spectator, author, A Duty to Offend: Selected Essays. The chair is Claire Fox, director, Institute of Ideas, panellist, BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze and author of I Find That Offensive.