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The Age of Resentment

Summary:
There are several ways of expressing the “wokeness” of the times we are living in. I would argue that this is the age of resentment. It works like this, there is someone or something else, never oneself, to blame for every problem in life.  This concept applies across all (intersectional) groups, a primary example being racial groups. Thus, the 1619 project by the New York Times is intended to make African Americans resentful of white Americans based on the premise that American history is essentially a story of the victimhood of blacks. It follows that deep within the Maleboge of wokeness are white, male, heterosexual, Christians. They are the sole group (even as individuals) that can never claim victimhood, and in the end, are

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There are several ways of expressing the “wokeness” of the times we are living in. I would argue that this is the age of resentment. It works like this, there is someone or something else, never oneself, to blame for every problem in life.  This concept applies across all (intersectional) groups, a primary example being racial groups. Thus, the 1619 project by the New York Times is intended to make African Americans resentful of white Americans based on the premise that American history is essentially a story of the victimhood of blacks. It follows that deep within the Maleboge of wokeness are white, male, heterosexual, Christians. They are the sole group (even as individuals) that can never claim victimhood, and in the end, are the perpetrators of every injustice ever committed anywhere. If that were not the ultimate indictment, even bad luck or acts of nature can be blamed on white privilege.

A very rare moment of truth-telling on race and the complexity of life was exhibited by the journalist Keith Richburg in his book Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa and this excerpt on why the problems in Africa persist,

The reason, of course, is that Africans are black. Too much criticism from white countries in the West comes dangerously close to sounding racist. And African leaders seem willing enough to play that card, constantly raising the specter of “neocolonialism.” Most Africans were born in independent black countries, but their leaders still harp about colonialism the way black America’s self-described “leaders” like to talk about slavery and Jim Crow. There’s another similarity, too. Black African leaders talk about foreign aid as if they’re entitled to it — it’s something that is due to Africa, with no strings attached — the same way many American blacks see government assistance programs as a kind of entitlement of birth. In both cases, you’re left with black people wallowing in a safety net of dependency…

Even more heretical, he expressed gratitude that his ancestors were taken to America in spite of their true status as victims because life for blacks was so much better in white, racist America than in black governed Africa.

While much can be written on the groups who are harmed by wokeness, I think it is critical to understand the impact on those who are “helped” by it. That is, to understand the sad and pernicious effects of fostering resentment in these people. The fact is that resentment is a psychological problem. To anyone I care for I always advise to try to overcome resentment, even when the person has truly suffered from injustice. Of course, Jesus’ message to love your enemies delivered at the Sermon on the Mount resonates with the perspective to eschew resentment.

To reject resentment is a primary assertion of stoics. One of my favorite quotes of Pascal through the years makes this point also through the Christian perspective.

“Thus I stretch out my arms to my saviour, who, after being foretold for four thousand years, came on earth to die and suffer for me at the time and the circumstances foretold. By his grace I peaceably await death, in the hope of being eternally united, and meanwhile I live joyfully, whether in the blessings which he is pleased to bestow on me or in the afflictions which he sends me for my own good and taught me how to endure by his example.”

I think the teaching against resentment has been expressed in many cultures. For example, the Bengali/English writer Nirad Chaudhuri wrote this passage in the second volume of his autobiography “Thy Hand, Great Anarch! India 1921-1952,”

“I have learnt the significance of suffering without understanding why it should be the lot of human beings to have it inflicted on them. It does not regard innocence, nor wrongdoing, but comes upon all impartially. It seems to be some natural, inescapable phenomenon like storms, floods, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions. Looking upon it in this light, I have come to feel that there is nothing more cowardly than to nurse a grievance for it. Above all, I have come to hold that it is frivolity of the worst kind to air cheap compassion over it. There are only two victories over suffering offered to man: either to rise above it or to submit to it without complaining. That is being Homo sapiens in the first instance.”

Unfortunately we are living in a culture of resentment. Young minds are being formed by a zeitgeist of resentment. Yet, to encourage resentment in individuals and groups is truly madness, portending evil for everyone.

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