Records indicate that I first became aware of Renin 1998 or so, upon reading Gil Bailie's Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads.
As indicated a few posts back, Girard admittedly has only one big idea, this being the logic of human sacrifice and of scapegoating violence more generally. I ran into Bailie's book when I was pondering the ubiquity of human sacrifice in premodern peoples. Indeed, it is so universal as to prompt one to wonder whether it might be instinctual.
Given the universality of the practice -- often including consumption of the victim -- what could be the common problem to which it was the solution?
For Girard, it is the pervasive intrahuman violence that is temporarily suspended when collective violence can be perpetrated on a single scapegoat. Someone said that human sacrifice is "unanimity minus one," and that's no joke, especially if you're the scapegoat.
Come to think of it, I myself was the victim of mob violence last night in a dream. I found myself in lone opposition to the mob over the question of the efficacy of border walls, and one of them -- you can't make this up -- snuck up from behind and actually micturated on me.
Distasteful as this was, it wan't fatal, and later in the dream I was going to return the favor by bunging him in the back of the head with a brick. But it was dark, so it was hard to identify him. I woke up before I could exact my revenge.
So my dream featured both scapegoating and mimetic violence, because supposing I had been successful in landing the brick, this would have only spurred more violence. Perhaps the mob would have literally sacrificed me, but things didn't get that far.
The violence that is unveiled in Bailie's book and in Girard's theory is precisely this scapegoating violence. Oddly enough, the very foundation stone(ing) of Western Civilization is a human sacrifice.
But the Crucifixion is utterly unique in the annals of scapegoating violence, this for several reasons. First, the victim is literally God, and you know what they say about striking at the King.
Second, this scapegoat is not only innocent, but said to be without sin. Therefore, the whole scapegoat mechanism is exposed for what it is -- again, it is for the first time *unveiled*, so the mob can no longer engage in it with a clear conscience. To the contrary, the violence turns back upon the perpetrators, such that we see our own guilt.
I am reminded of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, in which the first hand which is seen nailing Jesus to the cross belongs to Gibson himself.
Back when the film was released, secular critics accused Gibson of anti-Semitism -- ironically, trying to scapegoat him -- when he depicted his own guilt, not only as a member of the deicidal mob, but first among them.
But that's what secular progressives do, every day. After reading Violence Unveiled, I would scan the newspaper with an eye to identifying who is being scapegoated today.
But since Christ delegitimized the scapegoat mechanism, there's a new twist, in that every day is a new iteration of the question -- a competition over -- Who's the real victim here?, even -- or especially -- when the victim is actually the aggressor using victimhood as a weapon. The left is the very institutionalization of this inversion and perversion of Christianity.
That is to say, thanks to Christ, there is a new and unprecedented concern for the innocent victims of scapegoating violence. However, just because the Messiah is the innocent victim, it doesn't mean that every victim -- every covetous, underachieving bum with a grudge -- is the messiah.
But this hardly stops them from turning, say, St. George Floyd, into the innocent victim of institutional racial violence. The whole victim culture is predicated on the primordial -- but bogus -- innocence of their sacred Victim.
Now, I ask you: Every time some thug is micturated upon in this fair country, do we have to compensate the family, or the group to which he belongs?
Consider this only the introduction to a Large Subject.