On my current reading list is a series of essays by libertarian writer George H. Smith on freethought and liberty. The ninth such essay discusses Deism, a form of religious belief that rests on a view of God as a non-interventionist “clockmaker.” One of the tenets of Deism is a rejection of special revelation, described as “knowledge supposedly communicated by god to a particular person or group of persons,” in favor of belief that God reveals himself to man – to anyone and everyone willing to look and think – through the natural workings of the world and universe (which they dub natural revelation).

Yesterday, an article titled “White Saviors Need to Leave the Room” crossed my feed. Written by Rukhsana Sukhan, a Desi Canadian woman, it deconstructs the phenomenon of woke white people informing non-white friends, acquaintances, and random strangers of the ins and outs of racism, of proper language and nomenclature, and of all things social justice.

One passage resonated with my Smith readings:

[S]ince structural racism is invisible to lay people, the masses require the priestly guidance of anti-racist experts so they know what to denounce. This week, it’s one thing. Next week, it’ll be another. Check Twitter daily for instructions.

The parallel was as obvious as being smacked across the face with a five pound flounder.

Right there, in plain English, we have an explanation for why none of us can ever be woke enough, why we have to sit in trembling peril of saying or writing something that may violate the rules written by the woke-priest class, rules born of special revelation, rules that you and I and all the other lay people are incapable of figuring out on our own.

I wrote, early in 2019, of a thought experiment called Roko’s Basilisk, wherein I asked the question:

How far are we from [the day that] people feel that keeping quiet isn’t enough, that they are instead obligated to actually do stuff that goes against their beliefs in order to keep the social justice hounds at bay?

The answer turned out to be 16 months.

As I recently related, we are now told that “silence is violence.” I recently learned of a black conservative woman being told by two white ‘lefty’ friends, “we can’t just allow silence from you.”

Two white knights, or “white saviours” as Ms. Sukhan dubbed this particular sub-species, woke-splaining to a woman whose cause they were supposedly championing that she was to be subject to expulsion from their tribe if she didn’t comply with the ever-evolving mandates of their religion.

If we need starker evidence that progressivism is dogmatic and arbitrary rather than rational, here it is.

Orthodox/Catholic Christianity informs us that divine teaching and spiritual authority transmit uninterrupted through a succession of clergy (i.e. Apostolic Succession), and therefore that the path to salvation goes through the Church. While Protestants reject this, they still believe in special revelation and in the infallibility of the Bible.

Our social justice clerics, on the other hand, have neither Apostolic succession nor the Bible to anchor them in a reasonably constant set of beliefs, so they are free to make new shit up as whims strike them. And unlike Christianity’s well-defined “bad guy,” Satan, the woke-priests are free to find their equivalent of the Antichrist (see: racism) wherever they feel like it. Even the Inquisitors had less leeway.

It’s no wonder we can’t keep up with what we’re allowed to say, supposed to say, supposed to think, and are forbidden from uttering. It’s no wonder we don’t know how many genders there (supposedly) are. It’s no wonder the definition fo racism keeps changing. It’s no wonder that even ‘people of color’ are not immune from their baleful stare and their vocal scorn, when those ‘people of color’ fail to conform to the (ever mutating) tenets set forth by the woke-priestly class. A class, by the way, that isn’t even easily identified or listed. As someone cleverer than me recently noted, Social Justice may be the world’s first crowdsourced religion.

Some other elements:

  • As I also recently discussed, the demands being made by the woke-priests include Other People’s Money (OPM). Doesn’t that sound remarkably like a tithe? Excepting, of course, the fact that a tithe is merely 10%. As The Beatles’ Taxman threatened, “be thankful I don’t take it all.”

  • We have, in the presumption of inherent racism, the concept of Original Sin, itself another Special Revelation. Thus, it is demanded we atone for our inherited racism, even if we’ve never personally spoken or acted in a racist fashion. We can make whatever arguments we want against the assertion, but since we are not privy to Special Revelation, those arguments carry no weight with the woke-priests.

  • Religious labels transfer quite well. Pagans (those who aren’t progressive), heretics (those who are progressive but don’t conform to the orthodoxy rules – this would include TERFs and those in the gay community who aren’t aligned with the trans-activist ideology), and apostates (any member of an ‘oppressed’ class – including women, blacks and other minorities, LGBTQ’s, etc – who dare voice conservative or non-woke opinions) all exist, and are all viewed (and often treated) as they are by organized religions.

  • The ritualistic washing of feet. Q.E.D.

  • The toppling of statues. While some commemorations should indeed be moved from public places of exaltation to museums, that’s not what’s happening. It’s wanton, it’s opportunistic, it brooks no debate or dissent, and even “good” statues are being defaced or destroyed. False or competing idols cannot be tolerated, and history must be obliterated. ISIS would be proud.

I’m not breaking any new ground by noting that progressivism has, today, all the trappings of a religion or cult. Ditto for the Green movement. They have the same elements of religiosity in their beliefs, behaviors, and resistance to logical criticisms.

The new takeaway is the element of special revelation. It means we can’t ever know, truly, what is expected of us, unless and until they tell us. Because of the lack of foundational anchor other than Original Sin, they can change the rules on us whenever they want, and if we try to apply some sort of critical logic or skepticism, we are branded racists or deniers.

America was founded on the premise that there would be no State religion, no persecution for beliefs that stray from any preferred dogma, and no religious test for any public office. This was radically progressive, two and a half centuries ago. Who knew we’d come full-circle, where a new religion, cut from whole cloth, would take root like kudzu, seeking to displace or strangle anything and everything else it encounters? And that this new religion would become not an official State religion, but a cultural one, where failure to recite scripture, to publicly pray with sufficient fervor and piety, would result in punishment?

To (re) quote a 39 year old movie, the only way to win is not to play the game. You don’t have to belong, you don’t have to pray, no matter that you’re told “silence is violence.” Their words are not special revelation, no matter how hard they try to portray them as such. They don’t have knowledge that’s inaccessible to you. You can take a lesson from the Deists, just as they should: reason, evidence, and rational persuasion should be the way of things. Their only strength lies in their numbers and our compliance.

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods presents deities as “thought-forms who have been created by the collective beliefs and imagination of humanity.” In other words, the strength of the religion stems from the believers, in number and in fervor. The social justice movement is attempting to create its own religion. Not just create it, but make it the State religion, in direct contravention of this nation’s founding bases and in violation of the principles of liberty itself. Absent sufficient worship, this religion will go the way of thousands of others from human history. Whereas Henry II lamented “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?,” it’s up to us, as individuals of free mind and good conscience, to reject the radical demands of what’s, in truth, a small minority (a recent survey by The Atlantic found that only about 8% of Americans identified as progressive activists).

Take a good look at those self-styled radicals, those woke-priests, those voices demanding Change with a capital “C,” the ones demanding you “check your privilege,” by the way. Would it surprise you to find out that the aforementioned 8% are overwhelmingly rich, college-educated, and white? White saviours, indeed, themselves people of privilege who salve whatever emptiness they feel in their own lives by mounting steeds of righteousness and setting out to visit the benighted in order to tell them all the things they’re doing wrong. Temporarily, of course. They expect to retreat back to their ivory castles, where the havoc they’ve wreaked won’t make a hill-of-beans difference to their lives or livelihoods.

A footnote. It behooves us to remember that the assertions of these woke-priests should not be taken as proof of the converse. Just because they claim to see racism under every rock and behind every tree doesn’t mean that racism has ceased to exist. As in all things, trust your judgment, and consider (consider, not blindly accept) others’ ideas, thoughts, and viewpoints. With an open mind, you’ll be a better arbiter of what’s real and what’s made up than those who assert special revelation and demand blind faith can ever be. And you’ll be better off. As George H. Smith tells us:

[R]eason is a fallible instrument, so we are bound to make mistakes; nevertheless, it is morally better to make an honest error of judgment than to submit passively to the dictates of a religious creed because we fear the consequences of error.

Their Achilles Heel is in our own solidarity. Stand with those being unjustly canceled. Speak for them, patronize their businesses, signal your support. We heard about #Resist against Trump’s supposed scourges – it’s time we #ResistCancelCulture.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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