I should probably be more clear about this. The point comes from an article on Christianity, and the context is that forgiveness and redemption is a very important concept that makes it extremely popular as a doctrine. All human beings make mistakes. I know for myself that I have done a number of things especially when I was younger that I find it difficult to forgive myself for. Having an external figure who sees the goodness in you and accepts you warts and all is very comforting and part of what we seek out in relationships.

The message behind evangelicals accepting Trump, despite the whole grabbembythepussy thing among others, is that the right is willing to forgive him and even love him. Contrastively, the left is portrayed as unwilling to forgive. If you said the wrong word twelve years ago in a private conversation that happened to be recorded, you’re cancelled.

In retrospect, I wish I had elaborated more about this in the article. I imagine most people have said something they could be seriously condemned for, and in the modern age a lot of that is probably public record. People have a need to feel accepted and if you put out the message that you are unwilling to accept them for what they’ve done under any circumstances, they’re going to be operating under the assumption that they couldn’t join your community even if they wanted to. If you don’t feel like you have a solid community (isolation and alienation is a major driver of extremism), you’re going to seek acceptance somewhere else.

Traditionally, shame is used as a form of social control. Social death is in some ways worse than actual death, so the threat of excommunication can even drive people to do extreme things like ritual suicide. Part of this mechanism is that it needs to be channeled correctly: people need a way to repent and they need a community to return to after they’ve changed their behavior. My argument is that the right is much better at implementing this mechanism. I think the left should focus much less on harassing people and more on forming desirable communities where values like gender acceptance, anti-racism, etc are taken as a given.

Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.

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