Published on February 17, 2022 by Benjamin J. Montoya

Encounter Books, 2020 | 296 pages

A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance

by Benjamin J. Montoya


About the Author

Joshua Mitchell is a professor of political theory at Georgetown University. The author of numerous journal articles and four books, most recently, Tocqueville in Arabia, Professor Mitchell’s research focuses on Western political philosophy and theology. In 2005, he was part of the team responsible for founding Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Doha, Qatar. From 2008–10, while on leave from Georgetown, Professor Mitchell served as acting chancellor of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. He lives on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.



To awaken America once again to be what it used to be and what it could become once again, we must consider three topics that may at first seem quite unrelated: identity politics, bipolarity, and addiction. Although these topics may seem like a three-stooges or an introduction to a “three guys walked into a bar” kind of joke, these three related issues are keeping America asleep and, thus, away from what it could be if it were fully awake. Consider our summary to learn more!


Table of Contents

Part One: Identity Politics: Transgression and Innocence
Part Two: Bipolarity and Addiction: Further Obstacles to the Retrieval of Liberal Competence
Conclusion: Patient and Unending Labor
Epilogue: American Awakening: Wuhan Flu Edition


Part One: Identity Politics: Transgression and Innocence

The term “identity politics” has become a popular one in our culture. What does it mean? How has it influenced our culture? And what are the consequences? First, to speak of identity politics at a macro-level, identity politics is a term that has come to create an understanding of our culture in that it consists of people who have been oppressed and those who have transgressed others. It creates a kind of bifurcation in society between these groups.

These very ideas are rooted in the Old Testament idea of a scapegoat. In essence, people who argue for identity politics are actually arguing for this mentality. The transgressors are typically heterosexual white males and the oppressed are the minority and alternative lifestyle groups. But with the logic, or lack thereof, there is no reason why these two groups could not be reversed given time. It all goes back to who is transgressing and who is oppressing. So, then, the identity of these two groups is not static but fluid.

One of the difficulties is that these two groups are not so easily distinguished because those who write about identity politics have a variety of perspectives and these groups can be divided and subdivided. For example, the groups of people that fall into these groups of oppressed peoples consist primarily of minorities and those who choose alternative lifestyles. The focus then becomes on how many of these oppressed categories people fit in the intersections between these categories. That is actually how the term “intersectionality” came about because people can fit several of these categories all at once. . . .

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Encounter Books, 2020 | 296 pages

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