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The Conservative Talks

Joshua Mitchell: The Theology of Identity Politics

Whilst polemics abound against the so-called “great awokening” that unfolded in the summer of George Floyd’s murder last year, the deep religious overtones in much of today's racial justice discourse on the left remain largely unexplored. In American Awakening (2020), Georgetown University political theory professor Joshua Mitchell covers the phenomenon in all its theological dimension. Transgression and sin are just as central to the woke worldview as they are to Christianity, though working in opposite ways. Whilst the latter conceives of all human beings as stained by original sin, transgression is an act of privileged groups against their oppressed victims in the former. These new identitarian paradigms keep reordering our politics in unsuspected ways on both sides of the Atlantic. In this interview, Prof. Mitchell also delves into two other ills afflicting the American experiment in ordered liberty, just as applicable in a wider Western context—bipolarity and addiction.