I’ve struggled to understand how the nice, well-meaning people in the Unitarian-Universalist Association could be so dangerously misguided. John McWhorter’s new book, Woke Racism, explains it.
McWhorter’s thesis is that the adherents of “woke” anti-racism are practicing a new religion. It’s not just similar to a religion; it is a religion. There’s no higher power, but all of the other components are there. There are celebrity preachers, deadly sins, heretics (who are, inevitably, in need of persecution), a complete rejection of logic, and much more. The woke anti-racist crowd are as fully committed to their faith as Pentecostals or Scientologists.
The book is slim and the leading is wide. You can read it in an evening. I hope you will. I can’t do justice to it in a short review. The center chapters have more to do with what’s happening among black anti-racists. (McWhorter happens to be black.) The outer chapters may be of more interest to us white folks, but the whole thing is fascinating. Every page is packed with insights.
He mentions the persecution of UU minister Todd Eklof as an example of how the woke anti-racists pile on in an entirely irrational way when they detect what they consider heresy. Other people’s careers are being destroyed too; Eklof’s experience is far from being an isolated incident. There’s a lot more about this phenomenon in Lukianoff and Haidt’s The Coddling of the American Mind, which I also recommend, but McWhorter takes the added step of analyzing the phenomenon as a religion.
This way of looking at it goes a long way to explaining why the UUA has been taken over by the toxic anti-racist cult. As I see it (this is me talking now, not McWhorter), woke anti-racism found a ready home in Unitarian-Universalism because UUism isn’t a religion at all. We have the trappings of religion — ministers, hymn-singing, passing the basket, all that good stuff. But there are no core beliefs in UUism. Prior to the merger, Unitarianism had not had any core beliefs for a hundred years. It had drifted into rational humanism, so it was fertile soil in which the bad seed could take root. The nice people running the UUA wanted to be a religion; they thought they were a religion already; but something was missing from their experience of religious feeling.
They’ve found a religion now. It’s as intolerant as anything in Pentecostalism or Scientology. And it’s not going to go away. As McWhorter states in his preamble, you can’t change these people’s minds using logical argument. Like true believers everywhere, they’re immune to logic. Logic and religion don’t mix.
And they are nice people. I wasn’t being sarcastic about that. They’re every bit as nice as the Mormon missionaries who come to your door peddling their nonsense. McWhorter carefully avoids calling the woke anti-racists crazy. His point is, what they’re doing is normal. Being swept up in an irrational and damaging religion is normal human behavior. But I’m not writing a book, so I can just go ahead and say it. These people are nuts. They mean well, and they’re hurting people, and they have not the least awareness that they’re doing anything wrong.
As Kurt Vonnegut said, “Welcome to the monkey house.” I seem to be falling back on that phrase a lot lately.
McWhorter is very worth reading. The UUA has a “Common Read”. Each year, for the last five, it’s on the same issues as McWhorter, always anti-McWhorter. How about something new? Could be perhaps educating all of us about law and the Constitution. Who better to do it by the life writings and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg? How about an Uncommon Read”. Email me, and let’s get moving, together. John Keohane email@example.com
RBG and the Constitution don’t interest me much.
I am one of “these people,” and I was not aware that I’m nuts.
When you’re nuts, you don’t know you’re nuts. That’s the way insanity works. The fact that you’re not aware of it is indicative of precisely nothing.
If you have to attack me personally, I assume you haven’t a single legitimate argument left. Have a blessed night.
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