by Guest Contributor, Richard A. Kellaway
The UUA and the UUMA should act immediately to establish a new MINISTRY OF TRUTH. We need to be at the cutting edge of fundamental reform. There is no need to create a design. It can be found readily in George Orwell’s novel 1984. That agency’s responsibility was to delete all old history that might question the current party line. It is charged with creating new truths to enable continuing control of the masses. What is true? Whatever we say it is. Evidence? Reason is a form of unacceptable dissent. Not only should people do as they are told; they should believe what they are told.
The UU History and Heritage Society, if it has any right to continue, should commit itself to canceling almost all of our religious ancestors, since they were part of the White Patriarchy Culture. It could begin by canceling William Ellery Channing. His wife’s family fortune came substantially from the Rhode Island slave trade. All of his progressive religious ideas are irrelevant in light of this fundamental sin. Most of our other patriarchs were White supremacists. Many of them were ardent supporters of Sir Francis Galton, the father of Eugenics, whose “scientific” theories “proved” the superiority of the White “race”. Who among us has been without sin?
Is there any hope of redemption? Confession could be a beginning. In Stalin’s Soviet Union there were many show trials of dissidents. During their incarceration before trials they were “encouraged” to confess their errors. Doing it did not save most of them from death sentences or the gulags. The “truth” is what those in power say it is.
How did this happen to dissidents? Neighbors were encouraged to spy on their neighbors and to report any suspicion of dissent to the authorities. Be especially wary of your own children.
All of this is addressed in a book review, “The New Intolerance” by Simon Jenkins in the October 2 issue of the Times Literary Supplement. The book is Cynical Theories: How Universities made everything about race, gender, and identity – And why this harms everybody. Swift Press. Authors: Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay. (other reviews)
“The thesis is broadly familiar. Something called Critical Theory and latterly Social Justice Theory… has burst out of academia since the turn of the century, initially in the US. It holds that truth in all forms is subjective, a function of power exerted by the privileged over the victimized. This power envelops not just the “marginalized” but everyday language, law, science, medicine and academic research. All these intellectual realms are mere creations of ‘an entrenched patriarchal ascendancy’. Only identities and emotions may be treated as ‘reified’ or real . . . Radical theorists sought out every more esoteric and paranoid concepts, such as microaggressions, unsafe spaces, cultural appropriations and hate speech. Theorists cloaked themselves in the impenetrable ‘woke’ jargon of gender performativity, problematization, queer theory, and white fragility. They very concept of knowledge, they argued, needed to be cut loose from empiricism and objectivity to reside in ‘lived experience’.”
The Theory offers no tolerances, boundaries or courtesies, using its current undoubted power to bully and impose ruthless discipline and often cruel hostility. In this, it seems to mimic the early American fundamentalists in what the authors call ‘a new religion, a tradition of faith that is actively hostile to reason, falsification, disconfirmation and disagreement.’ Passages of the book echo Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and the Salem witches. Only an elect can be ‘saved’ by a priesthood who define them.”
Alas, many of us in the ministry are probably beyond redemption. Being the adoptive father of a racially mixed daughter and decades of work for racial justice can’t excuse me from being part of the White Patriarchy. Perhaps I can begin to make amends by giving up pizza. It’s a blatant example of cultural appropriation. So is coffee.
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