Have to confess I've always been irritated by phrases like "White Privilege" and "White supremacism," because while there will always be extremists in every society, to apply such generalisations to every member of a group or demographic whose only common trait is they share a similar skin tone. Is this not the very thing equality activists have been accusing whites of doing to non whites for decades.
Thus I appreciated the comparison of white anti - racists with masochists. I have often described them as 'flagellants' myself. The 'flagellants' were a loosely defined medieval religious movement so called because they liked to run naked through the streets of their communities, whipping themselves into a frenzy of religious ecstacy as they attempted through self harm to 'purge their sins.'
The reason they did this is revealed in the more formal name for them, The Millenarians (not to be confused with the modern tofu eating, "woke" generation, the millenials, the millenarians, spurred on by The Millennium referred to in the Biblical Book Of Revelations and the horror of The Black Death, were convinced the civilised world was at an end.
Similarities between the "woke" millenials and the millenarian flagellants does not end with self - abasement, there are plenty of omens now as then that for people with a lurid imagination can be interpreted as portending the end of the world.
But why are people to the left of the political spectrum so obsessed with beating themselves up? In my opinion, though the obvious answer is insecurity: the world seems to be in an era of instability and many people feel insecure and trapped in lives that lack foundation, the reasons are due to falut lines in society that go far deeper than one word answers can ever cover.
In the past century we in the economically developed nations have experienced several shocks to the system. A hundred years ago in Europe and North America most of us in those societies were brought up in a Romano - Chistian culture, thus we shared the same core values on which our morality is based, and a similar education, even if many people had doubts about the dogma and creed of the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Protestant churches. During social upheavals in the second half of the 20th century most of that moral base (which I've called Christian although other influences such as Hellenic panthesism and North European tribal paganism contributed as much,) was flushed down the bowl of history to be replaced by an anything goes culture in which drug abuse, sexual licence, moral irresponsibility and self indulgence all became norms rather than being regarded as negatives.
But as well as that moral base something else was lost too. As industrialisation had made people more mobile the bonds of community were broken and humans are after all pack animals. As a result we have many people now looking for something to bind to. There has been a growth of personality cults, identity politics and what I call the deification of science, with belief replacing demonstrable facts in many areas and study topics which by nature are not scientific being dubbed sciences. And all these have contributed to the fragmentation and polarisation of society which has given birth to a pandemic of masochism as people seek something, a belief system, an identity group or a set of shered values to which they can bind themselves, while other bind to financial wealth, material posessions, fantasies and the belief that technology will become out ultimate master.
As this has the potential to become a 5000 word essay I'll cut it off here with the words of Russian dissident writer Alekandr Solzhenitzyn:
"To destroy a people, you must first sever their roots."