The analogising of the social justice movement to religion has taken place amongst many intellectuals. I first encountered it from John McWhorter who, in 2015, wrote about anti-racism as a flawed new religion. More recently I think it was best exemplified in a video from Mike Nayna, the documentarian for those behind the brilliant Grievance Studies scandal (Helen Pluckrose, Peter Boghossian, and James Lindsay). It’s there to be seen in many other places such as from the young Quillette contributor Coleman Hughes, the evolutionary psychologist Gad Saad in what he terms “Progressivism”, and from Jonathan Haidt in his most recent book with Greg Lukianoff “The Coddling of the American Mind”. In fact, it is in The Coddling that I heard this perfect quote:
Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.
Here we understand the devil to be those who reside within the “privilege” spectrum of Kathryn Pauly Morgan’s intersectional chart. With the devil clearly established (white, straight men) the other religious parallels fall into place; blasphemy, heretics, and sin.
To blaspheme against the cause is to refute any of its’ core tenants, such as equality of outcome. The tenants grow over time with a recent problematic addition being the commandment of “believe all women”. If you dare break one of the ethereally accepted rules, perhaps you are black but don’t see yourself as a victim, you are a blasphemer and must be punished accordingly.
To be a heretic is to place yourself in opposition to the dogma. The best example of this is likely found in the very liberal, left-leaning Eric Weinstein. His vocal opposition to the demand that white people abstain from the Evergreen campus for a day marked him an enemy of “the cause”. This resulted in much upset and the eventual departure of himself and his wife from the university at which they had been professors for the majority of their academic careers.
In Christianity one is “born is sin” and this is true of anybody who falls too high up on the axes of intersectionality. Perhaps the scariest diversion from traditional religion is that in the Holy Church of Social Justice there is no repentance. As a white, heterosexual, able-bodied, English male I am expected to wake up each day acknowledging my privilege and thus my inherent sin. I should then traverse my day always somewhat aware that I am a bad person.
It is not all that surprising that there would be so many similarities between what we see in this growing movement and the religions of the past. One constant between the formation of the centuries old religions and now are the humans behind their creation. We have come a long way, but fighting our evolved tribal instincts is no easier, and human nature is such that we will repeatedly fall into the same traps. What is different now is that the scientific method has rapidly advanced our understanding of the universe, from the macro to the micro. The anti-science aspect of SJWs is therefore the hill on which we should fight most ardently. If we refuse to relinquish the sanctity of facts and truth we can repel much of the excesses of what we see today.