You can’t help but notice that the New Religion is developing its own language. It sounds like English and much of it is understandable to English speakers. Much of it is a weird jumble of sounds that have magical properties for the faithful, but sound like nonsense to normal people. Check out this letter to the editor in the NYTimes.
To the Editor:
We are militant about justice, but the justice we seek and enact looks like healing, reparation and care. We do have demands, but not that you submit to our “etiquette,” rather that you join a culture of compassion and acknowledge vulnerability.
College students are volatile, and if our “safe spaces” seem more for hiding from ideas than for shelter from oppression, it is because we occasionally confound structural injustice (which hurts, badly) with being-in-the-world (also hurts). We are obliged as social individuals to fight the first and weather the second, and also to help others do the same.
We do have a settled philosophy. It combines an understanding of power structures with the golden rule. Do unto others as you would if you wanted to heal the pain of injustice. We ask no more than David Brooks does: to defer to the complexity of reality, and to find in our deference the kindness to care for one another’s vulnerabilities and to be honest about our own. HANNAH McSHEA
The writer is a student at Harvard.
I understand that I’m just an unfrozen caveman lawyer, but this confuses and frightens me. I do like the implied threat in this bit:
“We do have demands, but not that you submit to our “etiquette,” rather that you join a culture of compassion and acknowledge vulnerability.”
How can that be read as anything but “join us or die”??
That’s the thing with new religions. When they can’t convert the heathens, they settle for killing them. Fortunately the little princess who wrote that letter and her coevals lack the stones to do it, but that will not always be so.