Jodi Dean has posted a diary on Gingrich’s desire to institute “patriotic” teaching of American history from a religious perspective over at the marvellous I Cite. The diary has generated a lot of heated exchanges that are probably less than flattering to all involved. What I find most interesting in this whole discussion is not the question of which side is correct, but rather how certain forms of criticism seem to be entirely off limits no matter how carefully crafted or qualified. Where certain groups should be aligned with one another in fighting a common menace, there’s instead a series of mischaracterizations and sophistical insults. What is it about our identifications that lead us to such mental contortions, sophistries, and distortions of clear thought? And to take yet another low blow, why is it that the Christian seems constitutively unable to avoid viewing themselves as a victim beset upon the wicked forces of paganism and secularism, regardless of whether they have all the power? Perhaps this discourse of the victim is the first thing that needs to be overcome. Then again, after having been up for over 24 hours grading (the joys of having a 5/5 teaching load), I suspect I’m not thinking all too clearly either.

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