I like your list of analogues (starting with “Heretical = Problematic”).
I can’t claim credit for most of them. Most flow from the James Lindsay video posted, and originated within the Pluckrose GS² thinktank. I may have augmented their list a bit. The video is worth watching, although I did my best to summarize. Most of the original content in this article revolves around exploring the “Crowdsourcing” concept, which I find fascinating, and the thought process that SJ should just take the extra step to making its religious nature official. The GS² folks are definitely waging a war against what they’re calling “Grievance Studies,” and that’s fine for them, but I don’t really care to wage that war. I just want to understand it.
I think they’re trying to restore faith in Academia by cleansing it of indoctrination masquerading as “Studies.” I think that’s a fools errand, because Academia itself is going to collapse under its own weight anyway, once it falls to the knife of automation. When I taught engineering as an adjunct, I would tell my students they could probably get 90% of what they were getting out of my class for free on youtube, if someone had put my lectures up there. They were paying a tremendous amount of money for tuition, which basically went to the final 10% of class value, that of teacher interaction, and for a diploma to act as a hiring signal. That model is garbage and not sustainable in the 21st century, and a lot of people are starting to realize it.
So when Academia goes away, the problems the GS² people are freaking out about also go away. To me, they’re trying to plug holes in a sinking ship that’s floating downstream towards a waterfall.
In truth, SJ announcing itself as a religion may be a way for them to flee the boat.
It seems like any transgression should have a reasonable punishment and some path to redemption, but I don’t generally understand what the crimes or the punishments are anywhere. Social justice needs to work out some mechanisms for this, if it hopes to have wider appeal or a more practical role.
Lack of a defined penance-redemption structure really hampers SJ, and that’s a great point I hadn’t really thought about. In practice, it feels quite a bit as if SJ lacks “do ten hail marys” and instead jumps straight to “permanent excommunication.”
And then when you throw in the political spice of “but Bill Clinton gets a pass because Blue Team,” it feels very sloppy.
Perhaps this is a drawback to having the authority structure decentralized / crowdsourced. Lacking clear rules, the penance is meted out via twitter groupthink at the whims of mob emotion. If any new religions are going to follow the beta and adopt some of its principles, this is a system failure they’re going to have to resolve somehow.
I personally think many of SJ’s failures go back to them not understanding what they are. I think if they had this epiphany, they might have better tools to correct themselves. I wonder if there’s space in their crowdsourcing for “Religion Theory,” where someone could use an analysis like this, but populate their space with the realization that they’re a religion from within, and then use that “Theory” as a way to find the very idea of things being “problematic” to be “problematic.” An internal meta analysis like that could maybe plug some of its own holes, so it can float on its own, and hopefully maybe float to a better, kinder place than it’s at now.