THE racist mass murder in El Paso has been seen, by right-thinking people, as a clear product of Donald Trump’s outbursts. But it’s worth looking a little more closely at what this murderer said and how he said it.

Clearly, responsibility for the killing lies with this man but it is possible to look into the rantings of men like Patrick Crusius to see if there is something being said that gives some sense of what is producing people like him.

Crusius, for example, talks less of his superiority and of the lesser status of blacks and Hispanics, as some racists might have done. Rather he adopts the language of victimhood associated with modern identity politics with talk of his identity and even of his identity problem.

There is something uncomfortably familiar about his discussion about his culture and his sense that his culture is under siege and his anxiety about his culture being appropriated by others. This is not the elitist language of Hitleresque youth but of the separatist aspect of multi-culturalism.

Different peoples and cultures mixing has a positive and creative dimension to it. The problem emerges when these cultures are politicised and when "my culture" becomes concretised, set in stone and increasingly separated off from other people. Over the last few decades this is what has happened in many Western societies, often assisted by governments and institutions that unthinkingly celebrate and promote this thing called identity.

With little or nothing being developed in politics that can unify us, increasingly identity and the concept of diversity has become a replacement for universal ideas.

One of the outcomes is that a sense of distance is developing between certain sections of society and with this an apparent sense of needing to protect your separate culture or your cultural heritage. Crusius even talks about establishing a confederacy of territories where different groups can live. If the activists shouting about cultural appropriation and the institutions that are kowtowing to this separatist belief that we have set, separate cultures, then it is perhaps no surprise that racists like Crusius emerge with their own sense of whiteness that needs to be celebrated and protected.

Crusius is not alone, indeed he echoes the anti-Muslim murderer at Christchurch who was similarly obsessed with his culture and who argued that "diverse people must remain diverse". Here again we saw separatism, grievance and the rage that often comes with a personalised sense of cultural-victimhood, a modern form of alienation that pushes people apart rather than developing common human ideas and outlooks that can rise above our petty identities.