Have you ever actually sat down and read Leviticus, from start to finish? The other day I was thinking hard about how to carefully describe some of the serious problems of reason and compassion in the political correctness movement, and I realized that for all the arguments I have heard referring to Leviticus, I not only hadn’t read it, but also didn’t personally know any leftist who was familiar with it.
Criticism that begins without any attention paid to the thing itself is way too much like bad art criticism – nothing to do with advancing understanding, everything to do with promoting fashionable taste. We do still see an awful lot of it – but I don’t ever want to get that lazy, especially about book knowledge.
Just a note for my younger friends, books do not represent an allegiance or bias for obsolete tradition – they are instead a yearning to learn all possible lessons from previous strugglers throughout the ages, so that we may advance our understanding of others, our knowledge of technique and failed experiment, and therefore raise our horizons, our goals, and best of all, our chances!
So I sat down and read Leviticus from start to finish, and by the time I was done, I realized there were way too many isomorphisms with excesses on the left to be ignored. The content and language of dogma may change quite a bit over the years, but the way dogma functions in society and the risks of its misinterpretation and abuse by unsound individuals, remain profound down to this day.
The single best thing I got from reading Leviticus, but could not include in this episode?
The Scapegoat was one of two healthy excellent ‘pleasing’ goats selected for a sacred ritual, and upon the head of this goat were placed the sins of the entire tribe, after which the poor shamed creature was taken away into the wilderness by a young man, so far away from the community that he would never find his way back.
The ritual value of sending away collective sin in a living being of great food and trading value at the time was no doubt profound. That poor ostracized scapegoat would have to find new friends, pyjamas, trees to stand on mysteriously, etc.
Mind you, the other goat, the honoured and respected one? He was slaughtered.