In a January 31 interview with Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics fame PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi mentioned that men and women eat Doritos differently and that PepsiCo was designing products that would appeal to women. This off-hand comment has generated a hubbub of worldwide protest apparently against gender discrimination, demanding that women get the exact same Doritos as men. The Austin chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) is planning a protest on the steps of the State Capital to show solidarity with other protests around the world.
Needless to say, all these protests are fodder for late night comedians and almost everyone who has a twitter account. It would be easy for me to write a blurb on how ridiculous these vacuous feminist protestors are. But the organizers of this protest are not vacuous (although some of the participants may be). There is a serious purpose to what they are doing.
A key part of the divisiveness of identity politics is that everything, and I mean everything, must be viewed solely on the basis of identity. This identity may be feminist so that everything must be viewed on the basis of gender. Blacks want everyone to view things on the basis of race and every bad thing is due to racism. The truthfulness of a fact is irrelevant. The only relevant truth is based on identity. So the Enlightenment philosophers are not philosophers but white philosophers and the Enlightenment is only relevant to whites and is meaningless to blacks.
So it is absolutely true as Ms. Nooyi noted that men like to crunch their Doritos and lick the orange residue off their fingers and that women don’t like to do that. So even though this “fact” is viewed by Ms. Nooyi as an opportunity to create different products that are more appealing to women, the truth of this “fact” is irrelevant to the Austin Chapter of NOW and others who view things only from the perspective of their feminist identity.
So it is the goal of progressives to view facts, not based on their truthfulness, but on their political implications (to be fair conservatives apply their own unique distortions to “facts” as well but we can go into that later). So it is the mantra of feminists that the salary differential between men and women is due to gender discrimination. No other facts or evidence to the contrary can be accepted. The political goal is salary parity so a paper by Henrik Kleven, Camille Landais and Jakob Egholt Søgaard, Children and Gender Inequality: Evidence from Denmark that shows evidence to the contrary is irrelevant (and likely discriminatory). Likewise, a book by Charles Murray and Richard J. Herrnstein, The Bell Curve, that provides some evidence that there might be a genetic factor related to intelligence is not only false but also racist, which lead to student protests and violence when Dr. Murray tried to speak at Middlebury College in 2017.
How are we to solve problems if we refuse to look at all the relevant facts that have a causal relationship to the problem? And is it not likely that political solutions that do not address the true causes of a problem are going to create new unintended consequences that might even be worse than the original problem. Politicians of all stripes have applied political solutions to a myriad of social problems that have lead us to the unintended consequences that we now face.
Poverty isn’t caused by laziness (at least in most cases) but that does not mean that poverty is always caused by external factors and that the poor person bears no responsibility for his or her condition. There are many anecdotal stories of people who have risen from poverty to great wealth but if we actually knew the causes of poverty we might actually be able to do something about it. Are there cultural and ethnic characteristics that need to be addressed? Are Asian kids smart because they were born that way – or do Tiger Moms have an impact? The answer could be politically incorrect.
This will not be easy. We don’t like to investigate things too deeply because we fear what we might uncover. It takes courage to discover the truth about ourselves and some people may not like what they find out; things such as men like to crunch their Doritos and then lick their fingers.