A couple of years after everyone else, I have just finished reading 'The Madness of crowds: Gender, Race and Identity' by Douglas Murray.
It is very good, indeed the only one of his books which has missed the mark is probably the one no one talks about now - the 2006 text 'Neoconservatism: Why we need it'. The truth of course is that we didn't!
In the conclusion to the Madness of Crowds, Murray writes beautifully of the effort people put into politics, and how identity politics in particular becomes all-consuming. It is worth quoting in full:
But of all the ways in which people can find meaning in their lives, politics - let alone politics on such a scale - is one of the unhappiest. Politics may be an important aspect of our lives, but as a source of personal meaning it is disastrous. Not just because the ambitions it strives after nearly always go unachieved, but because finding purpose in politics laces politics with a passion - including rage - that perverts the whole enterprise.
For anyone who has ever been involved in, or observed a political split within an organisation, these words hit home:
If two people are in disagreement about something important, they may disagree as amicably as they like if it is just a matter of getting to the truth or the most amenable option. But if one party finds their whole purpose in life to reside in some aspect of that disagreement, then the chances of amicability fade fast and the likelihood of reaching any truth recedes.
The quotes are on p.255-56 of the 2020 paperback edition.