Casting his net more widely to include all talk of “privilege,” from male to cisgender, essayist Joseph Bottum has observed that the concept is functionally equivalent to original sin. “I have to every day wake up and acknowledge that I am so deeply embedded with racist thoughts and notions and actions in my body that I have to choose every day to do anti-racist work and think in an anti-racist way,”
Leftism has become a religion, and what we are seeing now is a revival.
The revivalists testify from behind megaphones instead of pulpits and in “safe spaces” instead of country churches, but they stand squarely within the American tradition of converts who spread their gospel by bearing their witness. The way they keep bursting into tears is a clue.
.. The enthusiasm for personal denunciation that sets the present eruption apart from the usual PC background noise is a trademark of American revivals, too. When colonial congregations invited George Whitefield to preach for them, they quickly learned to ask in advance that he not sow dissension by denouncing local worthies by name. No
.. One reason Finney was the most popular revivalist of the Second Great Awakening was that his audiences derived a certain frisson from knowing he would call out by name any deacon he’d heard was an adulterer and any shopkeeper he’d heard saying “dammit” in the street.
.. He was more proud of it than of his more famous innovation, the “anxious bench.” But it’s not as if other preachers didn’t know that they could call down the 19th-century equivalent of a Twitterstorm on any parishioner they wanted. They just didn’t think it would be tactful. Tact, that pillar of decency, is not a principle so much as a truce. To break it, a person needs only to believe that he and his ideas are more important than other people.