Hi Keri, there’s a free book (and audio book version) by Rockford University philosophy prof Steven Hicks, called “Explaining Postmodernism”. Hicks is pretty libertarian; however, you will probably find his (short) book explains a lot of things about the cult that you were involved with.
A lot of people don’t understand capitalism at all, perhaps the most subversive and transformative idea of our culture. (Arguably beats science.) It destroyed slavery and serfdom, fought nationalism and racism (mostly successfully), and laid the ground work for feminism. (Marx noted this in the 1850s.) If you want to know more, then look for an amazing course “Thinking about Capitalism”, which explains the history, including the history of critiques. This should also help you understand the cult, because so much of the far left is bound up in collectivists dreams, and capitalism is the chief antagonist.
When it comes to the psychology of happiness, then I recommend Haidt’s “The Happiness Hypothesis”, which looks at great cultural ideas from around the world in light of modern psychology. The follow on book “The Righteous Mind” is about morality, politics, and group dynamics. It makes a strong case for centrism, and pinpoints how and why group identity causes our thinking to go astray. It is also a science book.
I too left the cult of feminism. Ironically, it was taking a feminist class that spurred me to do this. I’m the type of person who asks questions, and is not satisfied until I know the answers. My profs were good at evading questions, so I just went about their head to the literature, and then looked for competing accounts of the same things. I soon found that the social justice left is _NOT_ engaged in scholarship of any sort. It’s just political rhetoric and naval gazing. There’s no honest attempt to understand the world, but merely an attempt to provide arguments for desired conclusions. I think this is a repulsive use of government funds. If you read the first book (Explaining Postmodernism), then there’s an argument that makes it obvious why leftist scholarship works this way.
Good for you for making this journey. There’s so much more to the world than the blinkered tropes of ideologues. I’ve found that pretty much every group has something useful to add to the conversation, and spend more time understanding where people are coming from, and the world is far more beautiful for it.