unlike racialism, ethical religion has within it an element of utopianism, of striving for improvement. The same can be said of political religions, such as Marxism. The ultimate aim of these movements is to expand the circle of dignity outward, to encompass the whole of humanity. Failure is inevitable, and sometimes the consequences are horrific, but the egalitarian impulse also has salubrious consequences. . .
Racial and ethnic identity do not hold the possibility for such capaciousness of spirit. Taken to its logical conclusion this style of thinking leans upon biology, and therefore takes us down the path of eliminationism.
Religions allow you to convert. Nations allow you to join. But you cannot change your race or–surgery notwithstanding–your gender. The Nazis would not allow a Jew to declare a different religion. When you face existential prejudice, based totally on the condition of your birth and not on anything you can choose to do, this is particularly inhumane.
I would describe Khan’s essay as difficult to excerpt. That description might describe all of Quillette, in which it appears. Quillette is the best magazine you can find anywhere today.