Robert Greene is the author of The 48 Laws of Power and most recently, The Laws of Human Nature. His books, which are popular with many world leaders, celebrities, professional athletes and hip hop stars like Drake, have sold more than 5 million copies and have been translated into over 30 languages.
In an interview with Ryan Holiday ,this is what Robert Green had to say in regard to Identity Politics.The script is edited for clear messaging
Robert Green: Well, I think it’s very self-defeating. Traditionally, the favorite tactic of people in power, who want to maintain power, is Divide and Conquer—to find some way to keep the public divided so that there’s never a large enough group of people to challenge them. And so, when you go into identity politics and you identify what’s right or wrong to the narrow group that you belong to—assuming that it is narrow—you’re kind of playing into the hands of those who are in power because the only way to overcome an entrenched power system is through numbers, through unity, through finding some cause or way of uniting people.
It’s been the story throughout history of any kind of successful insurgency movement. Trying to overcome an entrenched power structure—you need numbers. You need something that will rally the vast majority of people. We sort of see that a little bit now with the kind of riots that are going on in France now—what they call the yellow vest movement—where it’s got a really broad base of support. It’s kind of a very weird mix of the Right and the Left. I’m not saying that it’s a justified cause or that it’s great, just that, if you really are after power, that’s what you need to do.
But a lot of identity politics isn’t really about power, it isn’t about wanting to change the system. It’s about airing grievances, feeling wronged and wanting sympathy and to sort of play the role of the victim.
So, simply on the level of strategy and practicality, identity politics is extremely impractical. It’s narrowing your base of support to something too small to ever topple the power structure. So then to me it’s not really about practical matters. It’s about airing your grievances.