Wednesday, September 05, 2012

You Say You Want a Revolution, Well, You Know...

Razib Khan:

And as with most anti-religious ideologies Atheism+ espouses “critical thinking and skepticism.” This didn’t seem to work out too well for Objectivism, and I wish Atheism+ (or New Atheism, or whatever) would really just get off it, because there are some things that are obviously not going to be subject to critique or skepticism. If you do subject those things to critique, you’ll probably be called a “douchebag.” Atheism+, like many of the new atheist movements, seems to be attempting to generate a “thick” system of values to supplement spare anti-religious sentiment. Those values, norms, are outside of the process of critical rationalism. It’s pretty obvious if you are outside of those values, but not so obvious if you’re within those values.

Finally, going back to some of the Greek city-states, Mozi in China, and down to the early modern period with the French Revolution and the assorted Left and Right “political religions” (Marxist-Leninism and Fascism), there have been plenty of attempts to jettison what visionary great minds perceived to be “garbage.” The truth seems to be that one man’s garbage is another man’s fertilizer. Remove the fertilizer and sometimes the flowers don’t grow. Reduction and reconstitution is great in science. I’m not sure that it’s so great as a philosophy of life.

Yep. The part about Objectivism made me think of Jerome Tuccille's classic book It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand, his hilarious account of life among the libertarian movement from the mid-fifties to the early seventies. Of course, the FTB crowd would prima facie reject any underlying similarities between themselves and libertarians, but, you know, the perennial psychological themes and group dynamics Tuccille describes would look incredibly familiar to those of us who have been staring in amused amazement, or amazed amusement, at the glorious clusterfuck of atheism, New Left identity politics and intersectionality that calls itself Atheism+. I remember one part, later in the book, where he is rapidly approaching wit's end while organizing a conference:

"Lop off the fringes and keep a good, purist libertarian center. We can't accept any deviationists and we don't need any crazies. Let everybody else keep the crazies. We'll build a good, solid, quality movement."

You can't lop off the fringes, Murray. You can't drive the crazies away because everybody is crazy. If we polarize all the deviationists, there won't be anyone left in the goddamn center!

...Leave me alone, I don't want to hear about it. Now I know why Lenin needed his Cheka. That's what we need now more than anything else, a libertarian Cheka. A secret police to take care of all the goddamn deviationists.

I'm optimistic that we might see one of those yet! I mean, it took several years of the French Revolution before Robespierre got dragged to the guillotine, but Atheism+ has only existed for, what, two or three weeks?—and they're already trying to disappear Richard Dawkins for going off-message! This digital age, man—everything happens so fast, there's hardly any time to enjoy history in the making.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

noel said...

Dawkins is a deviationist? We must Purify the Movement.