The Victims of Cancel Culture Are Sacrifices to Propitiate the Gods of Wokeness

Many have observed that the beliefs and conduct of the self-styled “woke” left in many ways resemble those of a religion, complete with rigid orthodoxies, the denunciation of heretics, ritualized professions of piety, and a sharp delineation between the saved and the damned. Exploring this analogy further, Molly Brigid McGrath suggests that the way online leftist mobs “cancel” public figures who offend their beliefs by subjecting them to general shunning is akin not so much to the eradication of heresy as to sacrifice:

The idea [of sacrifice] occurs across cultures, and with great variety: sacrifices may include money to a temple, food, and libations, “spiritual sacrifices”—or animals and people. There’s a lot of variety, but sacrificial victims always carry symbolic significance. One of the ways ritual sacrifice can work is that we use the victim symbolically to reenact and expiate our own guilt. We get clean.

The sacrificial core of the [woke] movement comes out most clearly when a blasphemer gets publicly excoriated. These humiliating spectacles do not merely punish or correct individuals. They are public sacrifices seeking communal atonement (and policing communal unity). Otherwise, it’s hard to account for how disproportionate the response may seem. Within the sacred system, the response seems totally justified.

Our blasphemers—publicly shamed, de-platformed, ostracized, often slandered and fired—are symbolic substitutes made to bear the punishment of the social structure and the individual injustices enabled by it. That’s a lot to bear, and that’s what justifies the unmeasured response of activists and social-media mobs in their own eyes. As a symbolic punishment on a substitute, the act is impotent. It cannot repair or avenge. The sacrifice must be repeated again and again. There are no rites of forgiveness.

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Read more at Law and Liberty

More about: Leftism, Political correctness, Religion, Sacrifice

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia