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The Michael Shermer Show

A series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

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EPISODE # 297

Andrew Doyle — How the Religion of Social Justice Captured the Western World

The New Puritans (book cover)

Shermer and Doyle discuss: terminology of: PC, identity politics, woken, social justice, antifa, BLM, TERF, intersectionality • Critical Social Justice as a witch craze • Satanic Panic (1980s) • Recovered Memory Movement (1990s) • How widespread is the problem: minor skirmishes on social media or mainstream? • Hill-Harris 2021 poll: 32% voters ID as woke and 31% said they don’t know what the term means • new puritanism as a secular religion • Whiteness and White fragility • Implicit Association Test • Postmodernism • Neo-Marxism • Cancel Culture • hate speech • J.K. Rowling • pluralistic ignorance.

Andrew Doyle is a writer, satirist and political commentator. He regularly appears on television to discuss current affairs, and is a panelist on the BBC’s Moral Maze. He has written for a number of publications, including the Telegraph, Sun, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Standpoint, Spectator, and Sunday Times. He is the creator of satirical character Titania McGrath, under whose name he has written two books: Woke: A Guide to Social Justice and My First Little Book of Intersectional Activism, both published by Little, Brown. Titania McGrath has over half a million followers on Twitter. He was formerly a Visiting Research Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast, and a lecturer at Oxford University where he completed his doctorate. His previous book was Free Speech and Why it Matters. His new book is The New Puritans: How the Religion of Social Justice Captured the Western World.

About the Book

The puritans of the 17th century sought to refashion society in accordance with their own beliefs, but they were deep thinkers who were aware of their own fallibility. Today, in the grasp of the new puritans, we see a very different story. Leading a cultural revolution driven by identity politics and so-called “social justice”, the new puritanism movement is best understood as a religion — one that makes grand claims to moral purity and tolerates no dissent. Its disciples even have their own language, rituals and a determination to root out sinners through what has become known as “cancel culture”.

In The New Puritans, Andrew Doyle powerfully examines the underlying belief-systems of this ideology, and how it has risen so rapidly to dominate all major political, cultural and corporate institutions. He reasons that, to move forward, we need to understand where these new puritans came from and what they hope to achieve. Written in the spirit of optimism and understanding, Doyle offers an eloquent and powerful case for the reinstatement of liberal values and explains why it’s important we act now.

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This episode is sponsored by Wondrium:

Wondrium (sponsor)

This episode was released on September 13, 2022.

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