The Cult of Inclusivity

A concern with pluralism, difference, diversity and marginality has yielded some precious gains.  But it has also served to displace attention from various more material issues.  In fact, in some quarters culture has become a way of not talking about capitalism.  Capitalist society relegates whole swathes of its citizenry to the scrap heap, but is exquisitely sensitive about not offending their beliefs.  Culturally speaking, we are all to be granted equal respect, while economically speaking the gap between the clients of food banks and the clients of merchant banks looms ever larger.  The cult of inclusivity helps to mask these material differences.  The right to dress, worship or make love as one wishes is revered, while the right to a decent wage is denied.  Culture acknowledges no hierarchies, but the educational system is ridden with them.  Speaking with a Yorkshire accent is no obstacle to becoming a television newscaster, but being a Trotskyist is.  It is against the law to insult ethnic minorities in public, but not to insult the poor.  Any adult is free to sleep with any other who is not related by blood, but they are not also free to undermine the state.  Sexual experimenters are treated with indulgence by metropolitan liberals, while strikers are met with suspicion.  Difference is to be welcomed, but full-blooded conflict is not.  Nobody should arrogate the right the tell others what to do, an attitude tax evaders find mightily convenient. (35-36)

Terry Eagleton | Culture


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