Thursday, May 30, 2013

My email to CFI in support of Ron Lindsay

  To put it bluntly: A small number of extremely vocal bloggers and speakers have decided that the core mission of all skeptical, secularist, and atheist organizations and communities must be to support a number of "progressive" liberal political ideals, and that any individuals who do not comply immediately, without discussion or debate, must be silenced, ousted, shamed and shunned. They have zero interest in skepticism, and their only interest in secularism extends no further than how it can help their political agenda. Included in this group are bloggers and speakers PZ Myers, Ophela Benson, Stephanie Svan, and Jason Thibault of Freethought Blogs, Rebecca Watson of Skepchick, and Amanda Marcotte.

  I only name a few of the most vocal, and the only reason I name them is so that you can take the time to see what these people actually say and do. PZ Myers recently posted a blog offering the opinion that anyone who identifies as a "Men's Right's Activist" is simply a mass-murderer of women without the guts to pull the trigger. Amanda Marcotte recently penned a hit piece on atheist/secular activist Justin Vacula, claiming that he believes "women exist to serve men", simply because Justin does not agree with her that atheism logically leads directly to feminism. Some of these people have been directly involved in "outing" or "doxxing" people who disagree with them, so that their followers can call employers, harass, and intimidate. Some of them have been seeking to get people fired from their jobs, ousted from organizations, and attempting to establish blacklists of people not welcome to speak at or even attend events, all for the crime of disagreeing with their politics or their morally bankrupt tactics. Obviously false threat narratives, claiming harassment and fear of violence, have been built up around many individuals who dare to disagree with these ideologues.

  You now have a case of this treatment in your own organization. For simply noting what is obvious to any casual reader of these individual's blogs, that limited sociological terms are often used to silence dissent and vilify people who disagree with their views, Ron Lindsay has been called a sexist, a misogynist, a "thug in a cheap suit" (PZ Myers), and the hounds are now baying for blood.  These individuals and their supporters have little or nothing to do with secularism or ending religious discrimination, and are almost the polar opposite of "skeptics". They respect no science that does not validate their worldview, and they cannot tolerate even a hint of debate or open discussion. They openly mock the principle of free speech as being only a cover for hatred and bigotry and oppression. In their minds, anyone being allowed to talk back, instead of permanently "shutting up and listening", is oppression. How people so privileged became such experts on oppression is anyone's guess, but they certainly have no intention of "checking their own privilege" or "shutting up and listening" to anyone.

  I hope that you will take the time to see the full picture here. I hope that you will support Ron Lindsay, and keep a careful watch on those who seem to think their voices are the only ones that matter. Irrational ideologues like this are poisonous to any movement, but especially to one based on skepticism, freethought, and open discussion. I and many others will be watching the outcome of this particular "putsch", and I for one will not support any organization that gives these individuals any more influence than they already have. Again, please support Ron Lindsay in this matter. He has done nothing wrong and simply said out loud what so many reasonable people in our community, men and women, liberal and conservative alike, have been thinking lately. He couldn't have been nicer about it, yet witness what such consideration gets one in return...ridiculous accusations and outright dishonesty and hatred. Do not pander to these poisonous ideologues, it will benefit nobody.

I thank you for your time.
Neil Terry

In the interests of full disclosure, I made some small changes to my original email, which was written hastily.  I removed a three-word redundancy, I added Ron Lindsay's name earlier in the text, since some now might read this and not know to whom I was referring, and I corrected a misspelling.

If you are familiar with the internal political on-goings in the relatively small atheist/skeptical/secular communities, you might have a clue as to what this is all about.

If not, hello and welcome!  At this point, all I can say for online Atheism is...we're not all liars and ideologues, so sorry if you got a bad impression.    

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Word to the Wise; or, How Many Privilege Checks Does It Take To Chafe My Bunghole?


This is my favorite piece of sketch comedy ever.

Sadly, the reason I am posting it is because I couldn't find a shorter clip.  The part I want is at 50 seconds in.

To PZ Myers, Rebecca Watson, Melody Hensley, and more than a few other bloggers and assorted professional victims:  

Shut your festering gob, you tit!

Really though...don't.  Keep speaking your mind.  Just quit pretending that you are oppressed, or speak for oppressed people in any meaningful way.  
It's getting a bit pathetic.

Your type really does make me puke, though.  That's just a fact. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Favorite Conservatives #1

I assure you I am quite serious with my first pick for My Favorite Conservatives.  I am not one for hero worship or personality cults, but I have long respected the outspoken, freethinking, and skeptical views of self-identified conservative, entrepreneur, and fellow freethinker and religious skeptic, Frank Zappa.

Yes, he was primarily a musician and family man, and not a politician, statesman, philosopher, or scientist.  Yet I find his views, as much as he made public, are as well thought out and principled as those of any politician in office today or in recent memory, or any slacktivist blogger for that matter.  He preferred minimal government, low taxes, and was as much an absolutist as myself on issues of free speech and expression.  But he was also....a thinker, plain and simple.  

Lead up post: My Favorite Conservatives

This is an opening post to kick off a series based on my favorite conservatives and their may be a short series, depending on how may corpses I can dig up that fit the bill.  I will be taking a look at some of my favorite conservatives, some of their representative quotes, and most importantly, as this is not about hero worship or idols, their ideas and ideals that may have some relevance today.  First though, some explanation and definitions.     
In my lifetime, there has been a noticeable dearth of people who self-identify as conservatives, or whose political leanings seem conservative, who are worth listening to at all.  While many normal working folks are conservatives, not very many of them are any good at defending their beliefs or even explaining them in any coherent way.  Most of the self-identified conservatives I know do little more than fill up my facebook feed with idiotic "liberal conspiracy" theories, pure, seething, rabid hatred of Obama(but they are NOT RACIST...not at, really, not at all, I know because they keep telling me so), and the conviction that any social, governmental, or community solution to a problem, no matter how necessary or beneficial, is the feared specter of oppressive communism rearing it's head.  Very few of them are capable of talking about any kind of systemic problem realistically, or ever admitting when a social solution is the best solution to a problem.  But...they're not really evil.  To me it seems that most conservatives, like most people everywhere, are good-natured, hard-working, morally upright, well-meaning idiots.  And, as with every group of people, at least a few are small-minded, ignorant, and bigoted idiots as well.  But there are in fact more than a few conservative people with good ideas, and there are more than a few good ideas that happen to be considered "conservative" these days.  It seems to me that many people aren't even aware that many of the ideas and ideals now considered politically "conservative" in America, are actually ideals first seriously championed during the European Enlightenment, are the philosophical and political foundations of both the United States and of most of the modern West, and are known generally as "Liberalism" in the history of Western politics.  Funny how words change, innit?