Monday, February 19, 2018

Social Justice: The New Religion Of The Left?

Traditional religious belief is dying, especially among younger generations like millennials (AKA Gen Y) and the new generation below them, Gen Z, as I just blogged about. And the Left in particular is jettisoning traditional religion at a phenomenal pace. Between 2007 and 2014, disbelief in god grew among liberals from 10% to 19%, according to PEW. While this is all music to my ears, a growing concern I share with traditionalists is what is going to replace traditional religious beliefs?

In recent years, it seems that an answer is starting to emerge. Traditional religious belief is being replaced by social justice philosophies as religions. Social justice is in a way becoming the new religion of the Left.

Social justice is a broad term generally referring to "a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society." Legitimate social justice is perfectly fine and reasonable, but in recent years "social justice" has morphed into a new ideology based on an obsession with exaggerated perceived "victimhood" and "oppression," where getting the right gender pronouns are as important as actual racism. Today the pejorative "social justice warrior" (or SJW for short) refers to the kind of person for whom social justice is important, but who is gravely mistaken as to what real justice and fairness is, and how it pertains to individuals and society.

For example, an SJW will argue for "equality" but then insist that all differences in equality of outcome are due to racism and/or sexism and not other factors. So the fact that there are more men in physics and engineering, or more male CEOs, they will argue is due to cultural or institutional sexism, and not because more men simply like those professions and strive for those positions. They will insist that we have a 50/50 representation of men to women in all fields that women don't already dominate and that "fairness" means equality of outcome. And any challenge of this as an idea, or as a practicality, will get you tarnished as a sexist who's enabling the patriarchy.

And this is when social justice starts to become a new religion: there's an idea of the way the world works and the way it ought to be regardless of the facts, these ideas are held with dogmatic fervor, and anyone challenging them will be ostracized and effectively accused of heresy, which encourages extreme tribalism, group-think, and ideological purity.

Here are some of the dogmas of modern day social justice philosophy:

  • Gender is a social construct. Biological sex differences aren't real objective things. Sex and gender are all based on ideas from patriarchal societies.
  • There are no inherent differences in men and women. Since gender is a social construct the only reason why men and women behave differently is because they're raised differently, and not because of any innate biological differences. If we raised boys like girls they'd like all the things girls typically like and vice versa. Humans are blank slates.
  • Criticizing Islam is racist. Muslims are oppressed by Western cultures both historically and today, and that makes them a protected class. Islam is a religion of peace and Mohammad was a feminist. As such, neither Islam nor Muslims can be criticized and any such criticism is racist, bigoted, and Islamophobic. Any claim that there's legitimate criticism of Islam is just disguised white supremacy. 
  • Black/brown people and women are always more oppressed. There is a scale of oppression such that all black people are more oppressed than all white people, and all women are more oppressed than all men, regardless of other factors. 
  • You're not allowed to talk about women's issues if you're a man, or talk about racism if you're white. Men are not allowed to have public opinions on women's issues like feminism, sexism, or the #MeToo movement, and they are especially not allowed to offer any criticism. In fact, any time a man corrects a woman in any way it's "mansplaining," and sexist by definition. White people are not allowed to have public opinions in debates or discussions on racism. Only black and brown people are because they have lived experiences with racism, and white people don't.
  • If you don't want to have sex with or date a trans person, you're transphobic. It is no longer acceptable to have gender preferences with whom you have sex with unless you're gay. Refusal to date or have sex with a trans person must be due to sexist, homophobic, patriarchal heteronormative attitudes.

In addition to these stated dogmas, many SJWs will act as if all white people are collectively responsible for racism, slavery, and colonialism, and all men are collectively responsible for all the sexism and the mistreatment of women that has ever happened, effectively making it seem as if these are their lived-by dogmas.

I'm one of a growing number of people noticing how social justice has blossomed into a "religion" over the past few years and has adopted many of the most pernicious aspect of it: unchallengeable dogma, disregard for facts, conformity, heresy hunts to weed out critics, extreme commitment to ideological purity. I hate to say it, but it seems that some of the criticism from the religious may have been right. When you remove traditional religion from society, it will naturally be replaced with something just as dogmatic. Perhaps that's human nature. Perhaps most humans will gravitate towards tribalistic group-think with increasingly dogmatic tendencies no matter what and traditional religion was just the thing we had occupying that innate desire for so long. All this is clearly problematic and something should be done about it.

But what should replace traditional religion given these tendencies? That will be a job for my next blog post.

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