ag_NO_stic

Radical SJW Ideology the beginnings of Cult-like Behavior?

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Y'all. I have said this a million times outside of this forum. To most of my conservative friends, I sound like a crazy liberal and to many of my liberal friends, I'm often called conservative. I'm trying desperately to stay away from labels in general, but.....I brought it up because I don't see how can anyone view the content of this video as a "side." It is my opinion that we should all be coming together to denounce this behavior. We have seen this shit before in history and it always ends with violence and even genocide. This is truly unbelievable to me. 

 

Depending on how you define a cult, I think it is arguable that radical SJW ideology (which I believe is demonstrated in this video) is the beginning of one. The canoe meeting in this video was textbook cult programming, as I understand it, they even had a mind-altering group "denunciation" thing. I got chills when, later in the video, whites were not allowed chairs until all the POCs got to sit and were still put in the back. We are seeing history begin to repeat itself in the name of "justice." We are seeing extreme behavior and thought control, emotional manipulation, threat of force. Even the Guardian, which is pretty liberal, states the following things to be careful of with a cult. Please note similarities in the religion we have already left:

 

• Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

• No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

• No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.

• Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions. (for example, systemic racism or sexism, "homophobia" or "transphobia")

• There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

• Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances. (not in this video, but "members" who are turned on later report feeling like this.)

• There are records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports that document the abuses of the group/leader. (this is highly arguable, but I know many conservatives who argue that the democratic party is has done this to POCs)

• Followers feel they can never be "good enough" (ie, allies w/ white guilt or "all white people can never not be racist", "heteronormativity," or even people walking on eggshells to avoid being turned on. Another good example of this are feminist athletes in the news being torn to shreds for disagreeing with their views on trans athletes.)

• The group/leader is always right. 

• The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible (this is directly in the video, as I perceive it)

 

Google defines a "cult" as "a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object." Based on this definition, the "group think" identity politics, the "us vs. them" mentality, and perceived oppression in the absence of facts are all historically significant factors in considering this behavior. We can also look at Cult Checklist 101 and see some disturbing trends. 

 

Per Christopher Hitchens, "What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." 

 

Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

• Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

• No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

• No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget or expenses, such as an independently audited financial statement.

• Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions. (for example, systemic racism or sexism, "homophobia" or "transphobia")

• There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

• Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances. (not in this video, but "members" who are turned on later report feeling like this.)

• There are records, books, news articles, or broadcast reports that document the abuses of the group/leader. (this is highly arguable, but I know many conservatives who argue that the democratic party is has done this to POCs)

• Followers feel they can never be "good enough" (ie, allies w/ white guilt or "all white people can never not be racist", "heteronormativity," or even people walking on eggshells to avoid being turned on. Another good example of this are feminist athletes in the news being torn to shreds for disagreeing with their views on trans athletes.)

• The group/leader is always right. 

• The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible 

Virtually all of those points define Cult 45 to a tee. Of course those "others" are the bad guys for using the same tactics as the madly chanting "Lock Her Up" crowd. Neither extreme believes people can think on their own , and for the most part they are correct. It seems that both extremes actually are cults at their core.

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Too many people believe they possess the ultimate metaphysical truth or the ultimate socially responsible philosophy or the ultimately beneficial politics. 

 

Nature and human history demonstrate there is no such thing as ultimate truth in any categorization. All we really  have are true believers. And true believers scare me, regardless of their positional beliefs. 

 

 

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Seems to me that "cult" isn't really the best conceptual framework for extreme ideology qua ideology -- though cults can and often do have extreme ideologies. But, cults also involve more closely connected social groups. It's sort of like not everyone who holds some particular view about UFOs and aliens is a member of a UFO cult, but if people with those views form a community it may become a cult, particularly under the influence of specific leaders. So, it might be more or less reasonable to describe a particular community of people (e.g some at Evergreen) as demonstrating somewhat cult-like behavior. Clearly the ideological commitments of the group are relevant to that judgement either way. But there is also more to it than just ideology and it's not straightforward to extrapolate from particular instances like Evergreen to the conclusion that "SJW ideology" is "cult-like" in any particularly meaningful sense. There is no overarching group or leader in the "SJW ideology" who could always be right, and of course people on this side of political debates actually have plenty of internal disagreements.

 

Part of the importance of specific groups is that the specific beliefs you mention (white guilt, heteronormativity, trans rights) are subject to all sorts of variations. I have fairly strong beliefs about the relevance and on-going importance of racism in American society and those beliefs shape my views on many issues. I have fairly well-established "SJW" ideas about the social construction of norms and hegemonic culture and how those phenomena manifest as something like "heteronormativity". I support trans rights and think that cultural changes to legitimize trans identities are desirable. But I don't feel any particular sense of "white guilt", I don't think I'm particularly inclined to be authoritarian, and I would not describe myself as afraid of anything in particular. My ideological commitments are not attached to the social behavior you're finding problematic, and in some large part that's because my social context is different. I don't participate in a group of people pushing towards more radical versions of those ideas. 

 

Anyway, that's probably a bit academic, and I think more generally you're just asking whether some activists under the influence of "SJW ideology" are too radical, or lose perspective, or generally act badly. I think clearly the answer is yes and for those of us who are on the left and for whom social justice issues are important there are certainly occasions for reflection or debate about the limits of various ideas or movements. I'm pretty fine with that. I don't think Evergreen is particularly representative and I wouldn't want them to be. I also think part of keeping perspective also necessarily means recognizing that people on the right also use Evergreen or other examples rhetorically without being particularly concerned about how representative they are.

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All "isms" are prone to breeding radical or militant fanaticism. 

 

Realizing I was once decieved by the Christian cult gives me pause about giving my mind over to any form of dogmatism, no matter how nicely wrapped the ism. 

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My favorite is radical centrism :P

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:funny:

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13 hours ago, wellnamed said:

Anyway, that's probably a bit academic, and I think more generally you're just asking whether some activists under the influence of "SJW ideology" are too radical, or lose perspective, or generally act badly. I think clearly the answer is yes and for those of us who are on the left and for whom social justice issues are important there are certainly occasions for reflection or debate about the limits of various ideas or movements. I'm pretty fine with that. I don't think Evergreen is particularly representative and I wouldn't want them to be. I also think part of keeping perspective also necessarily means recognizing that people on the right also use Evergreen or other examples rhetorically without being particularly concerned about how representative they are.

 

Hopefully, in time, the more radical elements you describe here basically flop. Given the opportunity to try and fail. These more radical elements are not very well thought out, as is described and outlined in the OP video.

 

And I agree that the left in general, along with proponents of social justice, don't deserve to be broad brushed with these poor examples of addressing issues like social justice, equity, etc. Evergreen does seem very cultish (I could post contemporary videos from the SDA church that are identical to the mentality of the meetings in the video) and shouldn't be considered representative in my opinion, either. I think it's important that those on the left and proponents of social justice make that clear and basically denounce those who are not representative of the majority. 

 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, florduh said:

Virtually all of those points define Cult 45 to a tee. Of course those "others" are the bad guys for using the same tactics as the madly chanting "Lock Her Up" crowd. Neither extreme believes people can think on their own , and for the most part they are correct. It seems that both extremes actually are cults at their core.

 

Since I was referring to radical SJW behavior, I accept this point. I do believe the radical stuff we see on Youtube is not representative of most liberals or conservatives. I always considered the "alt-right" to be a response to SJW tactics but I had not considered which one started first and cannot deny that these points apply to both. Lucky for us, most are moderate and those goes for both sides.

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14 hours ago, wellnamed said:

Seems to me that "cult" isn't really the best conceptual framework for extreme ideology qua ideology -- though cults can and often do have extreme ideologies. But, cults also involve more closely connected social groups. It's sort of like not everyone who holds some particular view about UFOs and aliens is a member of a UFO cult, but if people with those views form a community it may become a cult, particularly under the influence of specific leaders. So, it might be more or less reasonable to describe a particular community of people (e.g some at Evergreen) as demonstrating somewhat cult-like behavior. Clearly the ideological commitments of the group are relevant to that judgement either way. But there is also more to it than just ideology and it's not straightforward to extrapolate from particular instances like Evergreen to the conclusion that "SJW ideology" is "cult-like" in any particularly meaningful sense. There is no overarching group or leader in the "SJW ideology" who could always be right, and of course people on this side of political debates actually have plenty of internal disagreements.

 

Part of the importance of specific groups is that the specific beliefs you mention (white guilt, heteronormativity, trans rights) are subject to all sorts of variations. I have fairly strong beliefs about the relevance and on-going importance of racism in American society and those beliefs shape my views on many issues. I have fairly well-established "SJW" ideas about the social construction of norms and hegemonic culture and how those phenomena manifest as something like "heteronormativity". I support trans rights and think that cultural changes to legitimize trans identities are desirable. But I don't feel any particular sense of "white guilt", I don't think I'm particularly inclined to be authoritarian, and I would not describe myself as afraid of anything in particular. My ideological commitments are not attached to the social behavior you're finding problematic, and in some large part that's because my social context is different. I don't participate in a group of people pushing towards more radical versions of those ideas. 

 

Anyway, that's probably a bit academic, and I think more generally you're just asking whether some activists under the influence of "SJW ideology" are too radical, or lose perspective, or generally act badly. I think clearly the answer is yes and for those of us who are on the left and for whom social justice issues are important there are certainly occasions for reflection or debate about the limits of various ideas or movements. I'm pretty fine with that. I don't think Evergreen is particularly representative and I wouldn't want them to be. I also think part of keeping perspective also necessarily means recognizing that people on the right also use Evergreen or other examples rhetorically without being particularly concerned about how representative they are.

 

I see your point, though I was not referring to all social justice. Your last paragraph summed up my point well, not all social justice endeavors are radical as we see in the video. I would like to reiterate that I was referring to radical SJW behavior as cultish though, so your feedback is not wrong. 

 

There may not be a ""leader" for but there isn't always one. Definitions include a "leader or object" and if the "object" is literally constant perceived racism or the pursuit of intersectional social justice without evidence than a lot of the checkpoints still apply. I think Florduh made a good point though, that the extremes on BOTH SIDES can be cultish. In the video, the canoe meeting was really disturbing to me. Made me wonder how pervasive the ideology behind that canoe meeting is, I suspect there is a correlation between that perceived oppression and radical behavior.

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1 hour ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Hopefully, in time, the more radical elements you describe here basically flop. Given the opportunity to try and fail. These more radical elements are not very well thought out, as is described and outlined in the OP video.

 

And I agree that the left in general, along with proponents of social justice, don't deserve to be broad brushed with these poor examples of addressing issues like social justice, equity, etc. Evergreen does seem very cultish (I could post contemporary videos from the SDA church that are identical to the mentality of the meetings in the video) and shouldn't be considered representative in my opinion, either. I think it's important that those on the left and proponents of social justice make that clear and basically denounce those who are not representative of the majority. 

 

 

 

 

 

I agree about the broad brush, perhaps I should have tried to be clear this whole time that I am referring to the extreme SJW not most social justice endeavors. I was using Evergreen as a representative of extreme radical behavior, not to represent all people who claim to be an advocate for social justice. Evergreen is extreme, but there are PLENTY of video evidence that portray similar cultish behavior or at least on the same path to the same result in public places like universities or protest riots. The unquestioning "oppression" narrative does not have much factual basis, it reminds me of my time as a Christian.

 

Also, hallelujah to the denouncing aspect. That is the far left's problem right now, they are NOT doing this as they should and they're going to begin eating each other alive if they don't soon. 

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1 hour ago, ag_NO_stic said:

The unquestioning "oppression" narrative does not have much factual basis, it reminds me of my time as a Christian.

 

Yes, exactly.

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As has been pointed out, there is a very important difference between being a liberal who is concerned with social justice and related issues, and being a SJW. No one here has been equating the two that I can see, but this does happen regularly in common parlance, which is regrettable.

 

There are certainly cult-like aspects to radical SJW behaviour. It starts with some good ideas, but then everyone gets all carried away. It's not unique in this. This kind of thing happens all the time. People seem to like to go to extremes. :shrug:

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I feel like college is also definitely the right place to experiment with being a little too radical. Well, for the students. Maybe less so for the professors :P

 

2 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

The unquestioning "oppression" narrative does not have much factual basis

 

I'm not sure exactly what narrative you mean, so I'm not sure if I disagree or not. As an aside, I was quite struck by this article from David Brooks yesterday, revisiting Coates' Case for Reparations which is somehow now already 5 years old. If ever there has been a case for taking some of these narratives seriously I think Coates made it well in that piece, and I think Brooks brief explanation for how he came to appreciate it is very well stated. It occurs to me that the quasi-religious nature of some of Brooks' language might even be off-putting in this context, but I also think it's quite poignant.

 

Quote

 

We’re a nation coming apart at the seams, a nation in which each tribe has its own narrative and the narratives are generally resentment narratives. The African-American experience is somehow at the core of this fragmentation — the original sin that hardens the heart, separates Americans from one another and serves as model and fuel for other injustices.

The need now is to consolidate all the different narratives and make them reconciliation and possibility narratives, in which all feel known. That requires direct action, a concrete gesture of respect that makes possible the beginning of a new chapter in our common life.

 

 

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When enough people are united in parroting the same "poignant" message, then utopia will come.

 

Not gonna happen.

 

Perhaps if individuals with strong beliefs simply act on their convictions by spending their time and resources relieving individual suffering instead of just preaching...

 

Never mind. That won't happen either.  

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21 hours ago, webmdave said:

When enough people are united in parroting the same "poignant" message, then utopia will come.

 

Not gonna happen.

 

You don't have to have a utopian vision to believe that there are social problems or to take action in some limited way to try to address those problems. It might be true that you have to be a little too optimistic to devote much of your life to trying to create change on issues you care about, but I would suggest on the whole that our world is better because of people who are a little too optimistic.

 

21 hours ago, webmdave said:

Perhaps if individuals with strong beliefs simply act on their convictions by spending their time and resources relieving individual suffering instead of just preaching...

 

Never mind. That won't happen either.  

 

I disagree with this in at least three ways. First, you're simply wrong on the facts. Many people with strong beliefs absolutely spend their time and resources trying to help people directly, and you shouldn't dismiss those efforts out of hand.

 

Secondly, you're wrong to believe that relieving suffering on a purely individual basis is the only useful way to address the kinds of issues people care about. I think you under-appreciate how institutions, laws, and even just common attitudes about various issues play a role in outcomes associated with them. If you care about poverty then you can and should do things like donating time and money to a food bank or soup kitchen, but there is also valuable work that people do to try to change institutional policies and laws to reduce poverty, because those laws and policies play an important part in structuring poverty. You may volunteer at a soup kitchen and also try to organize political action aimed at (for example) expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child Tax Credit. You may try to persuade others to support policies that you think would reduce poverty and you may organize politically around candidates whose platforms address that issue. In many cases the only way to create lasting change is by changing institutions and laws. I think this should seem obvious: what else is politics about, or why should anyone care otherwise?

 

I also think you're wrong to characterize activism as "just preaching". For one thing people do more than just talk, as I already noted, and not just on the left. Pro-life activists, for example, do not just preach at people that abortion is wrong, they engage in various actions intended to change laws, or to prevent abortion clinics from opening in their towns, and so on. Or, in the case of Evergreen, it's worth noting that the complaints people have are not that they are too preachy. It's that they are exercising institutional power in dubious ways. The Weinstein story is all about the contention surrounding a proposed "Day of Absence" policy for white students. Complaints about "de-platforming" are similarly not complaints about preachiness but about the exercise of power.

 

Finally, I think you also underestimate  the importance of what you're calling "preaching", but which I'm understanding to mean exhortations aimed at others on the issues you care about. Addressing social problems invariably means also changing what people believe and how they feel about various issues, and democratic politics necessarily involves some element of persuasion. Clearly there's room for debate about how to best go about trying to change people's minds, and plenty of reasonable criticism that some activists' tendencies are less successful than they might be because of the way they present their views. But you seem to have the attitude that persuasion is suspect in and of itself, and I think that's wrong. I would even use this site as an example. The overarching goal of the site is to provide support for people in the process of deconversion (a goal I wholeheartedly support). However, I think that many/most of the participants here would also relate to a larger goal of making their society more accepting of the non-religious, and even increasing the number of the non-religious. There is lots of good material aimed at persuading people about the flaws in Christian dogma, the value of secular/scientific approaches to knowledge, and so on. There is a section aimed at debating and debunking Christian ideas. All of this is not in principle so very different from other forms of social activism aimed at persuasion, often called "consciousness raising". Fundamentally, change involves changing people's view of the world. Whether or not attempts to do so seem like "preaching" will often depend on whether or not you agree with the new view being promoted, but in any case I think such attempts are a pretty integral part of activism of any type, from the pro-life movement to anti-racist activism and even the mission of this site.

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Hmm. Appears I may have kicked your dog...matism.  

 

Now that your emotions are engaged, I will explain why my metaphorical shots over your bow. In short, your wordy, self-important and authoritative sounding "teachings" annoyingly resemble the style of many of the arrogant evangelical preachers I've endured.

 

Your beliefs are your beliefs, and I sincerely applaud your zeal if your words are actually backed up with actions in the real world. However, as this website exists for the singuar purpose of providing a safe harbor for those in the early stages of de-converting, your motive in tirelessly promoting your pet version of social truth -- here -- of all places -- is intriguing to me. 

 

Fanaticsm is rarely self-evident to those under its power or in its firm embrace. I recommend you introspect on how anything you post on your pet topic is helping the de-converting to navigate the process of deprogramming from the cultic mind control of Christianity. 

 

With respect.

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19 minutes ago, webmdave said:

However, as this website exists for the singuar purpose of providing a safe harbor for those in the early stages of de-converting, your motive in tirelessly promoting your pet version of social truth -- here -- of all places -- is intriguing to me.

 

Sorry, I didn't start this thread, I just wandered by and it was interesting enough to me to respond to. If you'd prefer that I not engage on these topics in this forum I'm happy to oblige. In all honesty there's very few places to go to find constructive and engaging debates on political issues with people you disagree with, so I tend to jump on opportunities wherever they present themselves.

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6 minutes ago, wellnamed said:

there's very few places to go to find constructive and engaging debates on political issues with people you disagree with, so I tend to jump on opportunities wherever they present themselves.

 

Good answer. 

 

"Off-topic" discussions are OK until the discussions begin to resemble dogma or "feel like" attempts at conversion. 

 

De-conversion is a slow process with many challenges. I request that you please keep in mind that the de-converting reading your posts carry signifcant baggage with them. An authoritarian evangelical-like presentation of left-leaning liberalistic opinion can be painfully disconcerting to those just extracting themselves from stricter versions of the Jesus death cult.  

 

Thank you for your consideration in this matter. 

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On ‎3‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 4:04 AM, ag_NO_stic said:

Also, hallelujah to the denouncing aspect. That is the far left's problem right now, they are NOT doing this as they should and they're going to begin eating each other alive if they don't soon. 

 

A problem with denouncing those on 'your side' is that the 'other side' will then say - ah ha, the left is eating itself... and vice versa for the right.

 

We don't seem to have much of a political group or party congratulating or agreeing with points that could be agreed upon - instead they are used as points to create division.

 

 

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1 hour ago, webmdave said:

Thank you for your consideration in this matter. 

 

👍 I'll keep your post in mind.

 

7 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

A problem with denouncing those on 'your side' is that the 'other side' will then say - ah ha, the left is eating itself... and vice versa for the right.

 

 

Politics as team sport definitely has some pretty big downsides. I think it's pretty much always been that way in the US, at least in the history I'm familiar with, but two teams are more ideologically/culturally polarized than they used to be.

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I agree with much of what is written in that article. Almost  none of it is unique to "woke SJWs" though. Any passionate, politically motivated (dare I say populist?) group could be substituted throughout most of the piece without having to make more than superficial changes.

 

Again, I agree with the author that progressives can, and should, do better. And I think many of us are concerned with this, and are committed to doing better. But I also agree with what @wellnamed alluded to earlier, that lots of people try out new ideas in college, and sometimes they get a bit too radical. In a very real way, that's what colleges are for.

 

I still think lumping all progressives in with the SJW crowd is a major mistake. Many of us are not like that,  and some of us criticize,  and even engage in a little gentle mocking of them from time to time. Still, I think it's important for society as a whole that these ideas continue to be explored and expressed. And those who disagree should voice their dissent. As long as it's done peacefully,  where's the harm? It seems to me that free societies progress in this way; through peaceful dissent and the exchange of ideas. Sometimes good ideas,  sometimes bad ones. But it seems fairly clear to me that ideas precede social action. So we need good ideas before we can undertake positive societal change. And sometimes we get to good ideas by throwing bad ones around and arguing about it.

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37 minutes ago, disillusioned said:

Any passionate, politically motivated (dare I say populist?) group could be substituted throughout most of the piece without having to make more than superficial changes.

 

Agreed. And as such, all should be subject to scrutiny, scepticism and criticism. None are untouchable.

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On 3/10/2019 at 2:02 PM, wellnamed said:

 I think such attempts are a pretty integral part of activism of any type, from the pro-life movement to anti-racist activism and even the mission of this site.

 

The "mission" of this site is not "activist."  The site exists to encourage those who need it, but it is not evangelistic in any way. Christians who come here to argue are engaged accordingly, but there is no encouragement from the leadership here to go out and de-convert the deluded believers out there.

 

Supporting apostates in their apostacy is a far cry from rallying the troops to an activist agenda. 

 

And frankly, most of the time what is called activism is nothing more than self-important hot air. It's like prayer. Makes the one praying feel like they are doing something when they are actually doing nothing. 

 

Don't musunderstand me, I am fully aware that contemporary history is replete with charismatic leaders rallying others to sacrifice time, resources, and even their lives to causes that at the time appeared worthy. Part of the human condition is a search for significance and purpose, and working for some worthy cause can appear to fill that need. However, it is only in retrospect that the historic value of popular causes can be determined.  

 

Those formerly decieved by activist religion are the ones invited here, and showing compassion toward them suggests wielding a gentle hand while waving other activist flags. 

 

Habitually self-identifying under socio-political positional banners divides us. Division may be unavoidable at times, but I think wisdom dictates regular, healthy, introspective questioning when it comes to our personal socio-political opinions. I also think there are occasions when we would be more advanced human beings by occasionally looking past our favorite "fighting words."

 

"Maybe I'm just a dreamer." -- John Lennon

 

 

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