“If you knew that your great grandfather built an empire, or that your great grandmother bought one,” starts the voiceover on the popular Ancestry.com commercial, against dramatic scenes of a headdress-bedecked native African queen clutching a dagger, and stoic American Indian captives being forced to walk barefoot in the snow. “If you knew they stayed strong in a time of pain, or wild in the face of the law; if you knew how they fled the old world to build a new one, and never let anyone tell them no; if you knew what they did – what would YOU do?”
The mesmerizing ad ends with these words on screen: “Unlock your past. Inspire your future. Ancestry.”
There are currently over 10 million people in Ancestry’s DNA database, each of whom sent the company $99 plus tiny bit of saliva, hoping to discover more about where they came from, who they’re related to, what they’re made of, what hidden gifts might lie dormant within them – in short, who they really are.
While a few fortunate customers are reunited with long-lost relatives, most people, in return for paying for the privilege of giving their most private, personal data – their DNA – to a giant online company, are content with gaining some exciting trivia about their ethnic ancestry to share with friends.
But are we really somehow heir to the noble virtues of our ancestors? Most of our forebears were not fearless African queens; in fact, quite a few were dysfunctional, mentally ill, even criminals – or just broken people struggling with the trials and traumas of life. Moreover, even if our ancestors were great and impressive people, virtue isn’t passed down through the generations to us by blood.
Nevertheless, today it seems that everyone is hungry to discover their identity.
Many people search for it in their race, or in their gender, religion, ideology or “sexual orientation,” defining their special status as a “marginalized minority group.” Yet one of the most vexing trends in today’s America is this ongoing tribalization and loss of the treasured unity we once enjoyed (e pluribus unum, “out of many, one”).
Encouraging today’s endless tribalization, of course, is the entire Democratic Party, whose adherents tend to be obsessed with “identity politics,” the notion that what matters most isn’t what you believe, but who you are. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s preposterous claim to be an American Indian (she was famously touted as Harvard’s first “woman of color” law professor) is but one example. For the left, one’s group identity – whether predicated on one’s race, ethnicity or sex, or even one of the scores of exotic new “gender identities” – has become paramount, largely dictating one’s loyalties, political alignment and social interactions.
Author and radio talker Dennis Prager succinctly explains the craven underlying politics here: “The left fears that unless blacks continue to believe Republicans are racists, they will not overwhelmingly vote Democrat. And if they don’t, Democrats will not regain the White House for the foreseeable future. The same holds true for depicting Republicans and conservatives as women haters. There is no better way to persuade college-indoctrinated women to vote Democrat. And the same holds true for Latinos – Republicans must be continuously labeled ‘white supremacists’ and ‘xenophobes’ or they, too, may not reliably vote Democrat.”
But “identity politics” has grown far beyond campus craziness and progressive power politics. Major American institutions today are exhibiting a “diversity mania” that threatens to inflict catastrophic damage on the country as a whole.
Hard sciences now ‘consumed by diversity ideology’
Journalist Heather Mac Donald, author most recently of “The Diversity Delusion,” reveals that even America’s scientific and engineering infrastructure is being threatened by a disastrous preoccupation with diversity.
“Identity politics has engulfed the humanities and social sciences on American campuses,” begins Mac Donald in her City Journal report, “How Identity Politics Is Harming the Sciences,” but “now it is taking over the hard sciences”:
The STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and math – are under attack for being insufficiently “diverse.” The pressure to increase the representation of females, blacks, and Hispanics comes from the federal government, university administrators, and scientific societies themselves. That pressure is changing how science is taught and how scientific qualifications are evaluated. The results will be disastrous for scientific innovation and for American competitiveness.
A scientist at UCLA reports: “All across the country the big question now in STEM is: how can we promote more women and minorities by ‘changing’ (i.e., lowering) the requirements we had previously set for graduate level study?” Mathematical problem-solving is being deemphasized in favor of more qualitative group projects; the pace of undergraduate physics education is being slowed down so that no one gets left behind.
“The National Science Foundation, a federal agency that funds university research,” Mac Donald reveals, “is consumed by diversity ideology”:
Progress in science, it argues, requires a “diverse STEM workforce.” Programs to boost diversity in STEM pour forth from its coffers in wild abundance. The NSF jump-started the implicit-bias industry in the 1990s by underwriting the development of the implicit association test (IAT). (The IAT purports to reveal a subject’s unconscious biases by measuring the speed with which he associates minority faces with positive or negative words.) Since then, the NSF has continued to dump millions of dollars into implicit-bias activism. In July 2017, it awarded $1 million to the University of New Hampshire and two other institutions to develop a “bias-awareness intervention tool.” Another $2 million that same month went to the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University to “remediate microaggressions and implicit biases” in engineering classrooms.
Such obsessions can lead only to drastic decline in America’s vital world leadership role in science and technology. Indeed, Mac Donald concludes, “lowering standards and diverting scientists’ energy into combating phantom sexism and racism is reckless in a highly competitive, ruthless, and unforgiving global marketplace.”
‘I offer you an identity of innocence’
Lying at the root of today’s diversity insanity are two surprisingly obvious, interrelated phenomena: 1) the belief, promoted continually by the left, that America is to this day a profoundly racist and sexist nation; and thus, 2) the paralyzing fear most Americans have of being labeled a bigot.
The distinguished black author and essayist Shelby Steele, interviewed recently by Mark Levin on his Fox News show, “Life, Liberty & Levin,” cut right to the core dynamic of whites living in fear of being branded racists due to America’s past history of slavery and racial segregation.
“Because whites are still so vulnerable to that charge of being a racist, that is the power,” he said. All of the power of the American left is based on that guilt, that susceptibility, that terror of being seen as racist.”
As an illustration, Steele said: “Hillary Clinton, in her ‘deplorables’ statement, is a perfect example of saying, ‘These people are bigots and racists. I am innocent. [If] you vote for me, you prove your innocence. I offer you an identity of innocence.'”
Steele, author of “White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era,” explained the powerful psychological appeal of leftism: “Being liberal, being left, is more an identity than anything else – the way I think of myself, as a decent, civilized human being, [while] those other people are contemptible.”
“White guilt is black power,” Steele summarized. “They’re virtually one and the same.”
As always, today’s leftists see themselves as society’s saviors. “What the left says today is, ‘We are good people and we are redeeming America.’ The great moral principle that they subscribe to,” said Steele, “is redemption.”
Citing immigration as an obvious example of the left’s messianic focus on rescuing the downtrodden from racist conservatives, Steele explained: “People on the left immediately characterize [immigration] as a moral problem of a people of color being oppressed once again. And therefore … ‘it falls on us, as liberals, to somehow redeem America from its abuse of people like this.’
“There’s a lot of power – I mean, there is so much power, and the rewards are so high – because you get an identity.” In its simplest terms, said Steele, that identity amounts to: “I’m going to vote for somebody on the left … I’m in with the good people.”
Unfortunately, he concludes, “we’ve given America this avenue of redemption, and the left has turned it into a vein of power and is now, I think, destroying us.”
The gift of real innocence
Guilt. Fear. Lust for power. Lies. Blame. Rage. Dependency. Social contagion. Insanity. That’s what the left’s societal redemption campaign called “identity politics” really boils down to.
Meanwhile, in this increasingly troubled and divided nation, millions of Americans vainly strive, one way or another, to cobble together a sense of identity and belonging – hoping that security, happiness and some larger meaning for their lives will follow.
But seriously, how can our true identity possibly be based on such superficial things as which plot of ground on this huge planet we were born on, or how much brown pigment is in our skin, or the particular sexual cravings we happen to indulge?
To explore the deepest reality of who and what we really are, we have to venture beyond normal journalism and up onto higher ground. From that vantage point, permit me to describe how the view looks to me.
Our ultimate human identity – our true meaning, purpose, significance, destiny – has nothing to do with skin color or gender or an old story we dug up about our great-great-grandparents courtesy of Ancestry.com. It has a great deal to do with a much older story – “the greatest story ever told” – about God and His people, about incredible love and laws and miracles and sacrifice and forgiveness and ultimate redemption.
Instead of the pathetic “redemption” inflicted upon us by our dear deluded liberal countrymen who imagine themselves to be society’s saviors, there is a real Redeemer – a real Messiah – who promises real freedom, real security, real family – all in accord with our genuine identity as a child of God.
But why is this monumentally important, inexpressibly wonderful truth – the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the spiritual heart of Western Judeo-Christian Civilization – so weirdly absent from our society’s current chaotic, and often pathologically bizarre, search for identity? On one level, you might well cite the ongoing de-Christianization of Western culture, including the radical secularization of its core thought-leader institutions like the academy and the news and entertainment media. True enough.
However, on an even deeper and more personal level, remember that we human beings exist in a moral-spiritual dimension, wherein both good and evil vie for our belief and loyalty all the time. So the “dark side” tries its damnedest to pull us away from the truth of who and what we really are – away from our true identity as children of God, brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.
Thus it is that the demon of doubt likes to swoop in and hover nearby, urgently intent on shooting down people’s budding faith, and to whisper, perhaps without words, suggestions in their mind something like this: “None of this Gospel stuff is true; it’s a religious fantasy for ignorant, anti-science, weak-minded people. There is no God.” Or, it might try a different tack: “God is cold and distant and doesn’t care about you. It’s absurd to think He would do what Christians claim – send His own Son to earth to befriend and teach and love and guide the contemptible, ungrateful human race, and then finally sacrifice His own life in an agonizing execution – all to save a wretch like you!”
As I said, ignore that guy. He’s a liar.
But demons, doubts and dark thoughts aside, some might still sincerely question how to be certain such a wonderful thing really is true.
Mankind’s redemption through Christ is, of course, the primary message and purpose of the Bible. But if, like me, you believe that the most important biblical truths of God’s plan are also compellingly logical – understandable even by feeble beings like us – then let’s just think about the whole thing logically for a few moments:
First, there must be a Creator of the universe and of nature and of you and me. The only alternative explanation is that nothing created everything – an obvious absurdity. The theory of evolution explains nothing: For even if you can bring yourself to believe the mathematically impossible – that water, dirt and slime, given enough time, somehow turned into Beethoven without an Intelligent Designer involved – that still doesn’t explain where the water, dirt and slime came from in the first place.
Second, since we know there is a Creator of all, is it not likewise logical that God must be good? (The Old English word for “good” was “god.”) Can you imagine an evil Creator? Neither can I. Another obvious absurdity.
Third, since God exists and is good, would He abandon us here in our broken, sinful condition in this terribly fallen world, with no possible way out? No way whatsoever to come back to Him, to undo the terrible sins we committed in our past, to “wipe our slate clean,” to be forgiven and redeemed and even transformed into a new being, into what we know He intended all along – that we would be His children? Logic says a good and all-powerful Creator God would provide some path to redemption.
Fourth, how could a just God accomplish such a seemingly impossible task – to change the past, to blot out the record of our offenses against Him as though they never happened? To deal with our sin-filled lives, is there any other way that God’s justice and mercy – two opposing and seemingly irreconcilable qualities – could possibly be reconciled, other than by paying our debt Himself in such a sacrificial act of ultimate love?
After all, we have all heard that “God is love” and that “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) What more tangible and deeply affecting expression of Love could He give us than sending His own perfect and sinless Son into our world to live among us, teach, heal, cleanse and encourage us, and ultimately pay the highest price imaginable to obtain our freedom? In the highest courtroom in the universe, to pay our ransom? Can you conceive of any greater act of love? I cannot.
We started our little journey together by looking at Ancestry.com and the current genealogy craze. But here’s the overarching truth about our ancestry: Because of the failings of my ancestors and yours, going back all the way to the beginning of human life on earth, we all come into this world saddled with tainted “spiritual DNA,” so to speak, that predisposes us to disobey God. The fruits of this inherited susceptibility toward evil can easily be seen in our own lives and everywhere around us.
But the Apostle Paul nailed the implications of our ancestors’ failings, as well as God’s remedy for us: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19 KJV) It doesn’t get much more logical than that.
Our true identity – rooted in the One who taught us to love God and our neighbor – and even to love our enemies, and to do good to those who hate us, and to pray for those who persecute us – that’s an identity that can last forever.
It imperceptibly comes alive in us when we’re continually repenting of our sins, seeking God’s will, resisting evil, and forgiving others and being patient and longsuffering with them, just as God is with us.
Thus are we slowly but surely being transformed in His image and character, reborn into our true selves.
‘Keep back nothing’
I’ll give C.S. Lewis the last word. In the final paragraphs of “Mere Christianity,” one of the most loved Christian books of the last century, the author of “The Narnia Chronicles” describes in a warm and winsome manner what it’s like to give your life to Christ, to find your real identity in Him:
“At the beginning I said there were Personalities in God. I will go further now. There are no real personalities anywhere else. Until you have given up yourself to Him you will not have a real self. Sameness is to be found most among the most ‘natural’ men, not among those who surrender to Christ. How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different are the saints.
“But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away ‘blindly’ so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange?
“The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom.
“Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
The preceding is an abridged version of the introductory article in the October 2018 issue of WND’s monthly Whistleblower magazine, “IDENTITY POLITICS IS DESTROYING US: How diversity mania is poisoning politics, culture, education and science.” Subscribing to Whistleblower – which many readers have called “the world’s best news magazine” – is one of the best ways to provide much-needed support to WND, while in return receiving some of our most powerful information and insights every month. Whistleblower is available in both print and digital versions, and makes a wonderful and much appreciated gift.