Hitchens on “The Personal Is Political”
Christopher Hitchens on the most awful catchphrase ever:
As 1968 began to ebb into 1969, however, and as “anticlimax” began to become a real word in my lexicon, another term began to obtrude itself. People began to intone the words “The Personal Is Political.” At the instant I first heard this deadly expression, I knew as one does from the utterance of any sinister bullshit that it was—cliché is arguably forgivable here—very bad news. From now on, it would be enough to be a member of a sex or gender, or epidermal subdivision, or even erotic “preference,” to qualify as a revolutionary. In order to begin a speech or to ask a question from the floor, all that would be necessary by way of preface would be the words: “Speaking as a…” Then could follow any self-loving description. I will have to say this for the old “hard” Left: we earned our claim to speak and work. It would never have done for any of us to stand up and say that our sex or sexuality or pigmentation or disability were qualifications in themselves. There are many ways of dating the moment when the Left lost or—I would prefer to say—discarded its moral advantage, but this was the first time that I was to see the sellout conducted so cheaply.