The original reason I picked up David Cooper’s Existentialism: A Reconstruction, was my recognized that the aggressive spread and intensification of Progressivist identitarianism is a bad faith pandemic.
The passage below, from distills the problem precisely:
The thesis of Being and Nothingness is that conflict is the way of Being-for-others of people who are in bad faith. The implication is that people who ‘convert’ from bad faith will, and must, relate to one another in a different way, that of ‘intersubjective solidarity’. This implied thesis is, I suggest, equivalent to that of reciprocal freedom. That is, the claim that my freedom depends on my ‘collaborating’ in the freedom of others is a restatement of the claim that I exist in good faith only through adopting the perspective of ‘intersubjective solidarity’, and abandoning the ‘oppressive’ attitudes which obtain in the regime of conflict.
The reasoning is as follows. Bad faith, we know, is first and foremost the view of oneself as object-like, as something In-itself or present-to-hand. This view is a false one: in particular it is a failure to recognize one’s capacities of existential freedom. Now we also know that the primary mode of bad faith is ‘the predominance of the Other’: the tendency to view oneself through the eyes of others, as just one more series of events in the universe. However, and crucially, it is only because I regard others in this objectifying manner that, looking at myself through their eyes, I regard myself in this manner too. If others are objects for me, I am an object for them — and hence, via the prism they provide for self-understanding, an object for myself as well. Having broken with ‘intersubjective solidarity’, I receive back from others the objectifying conception I form of them, an ‘image of myself as the Other’. Through treating others as alien, I become alienated from myself, and my freedom becomes an ‘oppressed freedom’ through my effective denial of others’ freedom. This is what Sartre meant by saying that ‘in oppression, the oppressor oppresses himself.’
A person indoctrinated in Progressivism will seek self through identity.
As the Progressivist poses it, implicit in the question “Who am I?” or “Who are you?” is an answer of the form “What am I?” or “What are you?”
The progressivist preface “Speaking as [an identity]” implies a “speaking to [an identity]”. Even when this preface is not explicitly voiced, it is implied, and it is felt.
And this identitarianism is not only for public political action. Insistence that the personal is political” ensures that the Progressivist is permanently insulated from others, interpersonal relationship and, most of all, any sense of self.
But according to Progressivism the emptiness, hopelessness, numbness, nihilism, anxiety and anomie experienced by so many Progressivists (and their children) is inflicted by those non-believing nonconformists who refuse to adopt the identity theories Progressivism to accept the identities they confuse for themselves and to behave in the ways Progressivists demand.
Of course, it is obvious all the suffering is caused by the bad faith of Progressivism itself — just as the torments of Christian fundamentalists are caused not by the devil nor by the wicked, but by their own hellish dogma — but there is no arguing with fundamentalists.