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.

Read more at Law and Liberty

More about: Leftism, Political correctness, Religion, Sacrifice

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7