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Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X … This is not an anodyne phrase. It tells the listener that I am speaking from a privileged position on this matter. (One never says, Speaking as a gay Asian, I feel incompetent to judge this matter.) It sets up a wall against questions, which by definition come from a non-X perspective. And it turns the encounter into a power relation: the winner of the argument will be whoever invoked the morally superior identity and expressed the most outrage at being questioned.  […]

What replaces argument, then, is taboo. At times our more privileged campuses can seem stuck in the world of archaic religion. Only those with an aproved identity status are, like shamans, allowed to speak on certain matters.

[…]

Left identitarians who think of themselves as radical creatures, contesting this and transgressing that, have become like buttoned-up Protestant schoolmarms when it comes to the English language, parsing every conversation for immodest locutions and rapping the knuckles of those who inadvertently use them.

– The Once and Future Liberal – Mark Lilla

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