Naomi Zack critiques identity politics and argues that both political and social identities should not enter democratic government. She proposes evidence-based government by anonymous stakeholders, without preference for group affiliation or political charisma. Central to this book is the theme that government should have an enduring goal of minimizing misery. Toward that goal, the imperfections of evidence, matched by the imperfections of democracy, need to be accepted in commitments to piecemeal public policies that benefit and include oppressors as well as the oppressed. This strategy preserves the social compact idea that government exists for the benefit of all those governed. Zack’s original work will be useful to both scholars and students interested in studies of race, political philosophy, social philosophy, and cultural criticism.
Naomi Zack is professor of philosophy at Lehman College, CUNY, and was awarded the 2021 John Dewey lectureship by the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association. She is author of ten books, including Applicative Justice: A Pragmatic Empirical Approach to Racial Injustice (2016); White Privilege and Black Rights: The Injustice of U.S. Police Racial Profiling and Homicide (2015); The Ethics and Mores of Race: Equality after the History of Philosophy (2011); and Ethics for Disaster (2009). She has also written ten textbooks and edited anthologies and lectured widely in the United States and abroad. Zack is coeditor for the Rowman & Littlefield book series Explorations in Contemporary Social-Political Philosophy.
Introduction and Chapter Overview
1. Political Diagnoses Post World War II and the Need for Identity Politics
2. From Society to Government: Problems with Identity Politics
3. Universalism or Force: Inclusion or Domination
4. White Supremacy, white supremacy, and Status: The Racism of Race
5. Evidence-based Government
6. Problems with Evidence
Zack offers persuasive arguments and powerful critiques against our delusions of progress and argues that government policy founded on progressive anonymity is the best way to ensure equality and fairness across all strata of society. Whether the reader agrees or disagrees with Zack’s diagnoses, it is difficult to not find delight in Zack’s provocation that the task before the progressive philosopher resides in more than simply rationalizing the political posture offered by our current time.