Intersectional Atheism

There is absolutely nothing on the internet about intersectionality within atheism/skepticism. I checked. The entirety of what’s out there is about atheism as part of the Matrix of Oppression in society as a whole, but nothing about the how the Matrix of Oppression works on and within atheism or the skeptical movement.

Which is why I’m writing this post despite the fact that I’m just about the last person who should, since I have a small audience, and one that’s made up to a very large degree of white, straight(-ish), guys. Someone has to make this post, and at least once it’s written, it’ll be out there on google for more relevant people to pick up on it. Plus, maybe some good ideas will come of it even here.

So, for starters, intersectionality means looking at oppression and discrimination not from the POV of identity-politics, but from the POV of the three main dimensions of oppression: the institutional, the symbolic, and the personal. We don’t think much about this in atheism/skepticism, especially as it relates to the skeptical/atheist movements themselves. We just take for granted that certain aspects of being or becoming an atheist and being/becoming a part of the atheist movement, are universal because they apply to most of the atheists we know. “most atheists we know” most often happens to be other white/straight(-ish)/male atheists (and the occasional white/straight(-ish)/female atheist who happens to live a life that closely resembles that of the male equivalent). These non-intersectional, most likely unconscious, assumptions are very likely what explains the abysmal lack of diversity in the atheist/skeptical movement.

If the goal of the atheist/skeptical movements is really to broaden the base and make atheism, and especially skepticism, attractive, acceptable, and attainable by as many people as possible, then solving the lack of diversity is essential, because white, straight, cis, middle class or higher, ex-christian(or cultural christian), anglophone guys make up a minority of the population even in Western Europe and the USA, where they’re most common. Hence the need for intersectional atheism: if we can’t figure out how the perspectives, issues, and problems of people from completely different backgrounds differ from ours, we will never be able to make our ideas acceptable to them, even if they’d otherwise already agree with us. Because people aren’t going to accept a worldview/contribute to a movement that behaves as if they didn’t exist, creates an environment in which they feel unwelcome, unneeded, or even threatened, and expects them to give up more than just their attachment to irrational ideas and/or superstitions.

So, here’s a list of stuff that needs analyzing and possibly changing, and that most importantly could really need the input of atheists/skeptics from these backgrounds:

1)Most prominent atheists are deconverts from the mainstream religion within their cultures, specifically Christianity. This creates issues and perspectives quite different from those who would be deconverting from a minority-religion, and especially from a religion closely tied to a discriminated against ethnic community. The problems WASP-y future ex-christians face are completely and utterly different from the issues facing Native Americans thinking skeptically about their tribal religions, or members of Middle Eastern diasporas thinking about leaving Islam. To them, the perspectives of secular diasporic Jews would probably be far more valuable than the perspectives of millions of cultural Christians living in cultures that are Christian or even secular-but-formerly/predominantly-Christian.

2)Related to the former is the assumption that secularization equals Westernization. Meaning, it seems to me that too many atheists assume that deconversion from a non-Christian religion automatically means also becoming part of the mainstream western culture (and on a larger scale, that secularization of a country means abandoning traditions derived from their cultures in favor of Western culture), which, in case no one noticed, is to a large degree de-religioned Christian/Euro-pagan culture. Secularism won’t ever win in non-Western countries if the choices are traditional religion vs. neo-colonialist secularism. The secularism of non-Western cultures must be a home-grown secularism that manages to separate the harmful and supernatural aspects of their culture without destroying the culture as a whole. And since the West managed that, there’s absolutely no reason to assume this cannot be accomplished with non-Western cultures.

3)Simply talking about how well feminism (and anti-racism or LGBT-activism for that matter) and atheism/skepticism go together won’t do any good if this is not something the atheist/skeptic movement actually acts on. Skeptifem said that she started her blog specifically to fill the niche of analyzing things critically from a skeptical feminist perspective. This perspective is still extremely rare within the skeptic movement, which is idiotic, because the Matrix of Oppression, and especially the symbolic dimension of oppression, lends itself spectacularly to skeptical analysis. So why isn’t there any of that?

4)Going from theory to praxis, atheist/skeptic events are also never intersectional. Part of the problem is that they’re lecture-based. The grass-roots, interactive level happens after the events, in the evenings over beers. This perpetuates already established hierarchies. And while one way to fix this is to invite more speakers from different backgrounds, another is to make grassroots participation an inherent part of the events. Interactive workshops, children’s events, and safe-rooms have been some of the things mentioned as possibilities to attract a more diverse crowd and faciliate more diverse conversation. I’d add that these sort of things need to be also part of the smaller interactive events. People with small children, people who work non-traditional hours, etc. may not be able to participate in the standard atheism/skepticism in a pub format.

5)Women who grew up within and still live in very conservative, religious, rural communities, especially if they’re also poor, depend on their church communities for social networking, influence, help etc. While internet communities help, physical rural support networks for people who think of leaving a religion are absolutely essential, because people are never likely to cut themselves off from their social safety network if there isn’t an alternative network. (this has worked somewhat on Pharyngula’s TET, both in terms of financial help and personal support. It’s still extremely spotty though)

Well, that’s all I can think of right now, and I’d definitely welcome other ideas or issues that might need to be addressed. It’s not muc right now, because there simply isn’t much to go on right now. That fact alone means that what atheism needs is something like Womanist Musings but for atheism instead of feminism, just so different perspectives can be shared between diverse writers and a wide audience. Obviously, I and my blog are entirely unsuited for that endeavor for the aforementioned reasons and because I suck at organizing people (I wouldn’t be able to convince a starving person to buy a sandwich from me, nevermind convince a bunch of diverse people I don’t know to start blogging together on the issue of intersectional atheism). But I’m curious if anyone has any ideas about which bloggers would make a good contribution to such a collective?

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58 comments on “Intersectional Atheism

  1. David Marjanović says:

    Mind-blowingly awesome. Gotta run.

  2. Paul says:

    So nice to see another post. Something that really does need to be discussed if we’re going to move forward and branch out from the monoculture. Hope it starts a discussion; maybe you should tweet this out and try to start a trend!

    ce I have a small audience, and one that’s made up to a very large degree of white, straight(-ish), guys.

    If it helps, while I don’t argue when accused of “white privilege” I’m not really white (but my dad was, so it’s like a curse that follows for seven generations right?). And I’d tend towards True Neutral on the sexuality thing, but it’s moot since I’m in a monogamous relationship.

    To them, the perspectives of secular diasporic Jews would probably be far more valuable than the perspectives of millions of cultural Christians living in cultures that are Christian or even secular-but-formerly/predominantly-Christian.

    Are we just asking Jews to step up and help deconvert? As a non-Jew, trying to do this sort of thing seems kind of like kicking a puppy (or like kicking Walton when he talks about the English monarchy). A lot of them are tied into the aesthetics of practice, moreso than actual God-belief. And according to MarkCC anyway, even Orthodox Jews don’t even care if you believe, all that matters is proper practice. Don’t see how one can push back against that without being accused of a crusade for ideological purity.

    So why isn’t there any of that?

    This ties back into the whole question of not liking to acknowledge privilege, I think. Skeptical feminists tend to discuss it, and it pushes away or alienates people who don’t like to think about or acknowledge it (in our culture, one rises or falls on one’s own merits). Unfortunately I don’t have any suggestions on how to change that =\.

    As for bloggers. Unfortunately anyone that I’ve read that might be interested in blogging on this topic, you’ve already read. And many more.

    Tried a brief sojourn back to Pharyngula, don’t think it will last. Where I live right now, it just gets too depressing reading about what’s going on while I’m stuck socially isolated and not even able to discuss things openly with friends because of the need to maintain a job and provide for another while in a very conservative area. meh.

  3. llewelly says:

    Jadehawk:

    There is absolutely nothing on the internet about intersectionality within atheism/skepticism. I checked.

    Err. This doesn’t count? Why not?

  4. Paul says:

    Oddly enough, I was initially going to point out that I thought it was at least a topic Greta Christina had covered in passing, but I didn’t have a link handy. Note that that post was part of a series, as I recall.

  5. David Marjanović says:

    Sorry for being so over-the-top. :-] I had already overstayed and arrived late at my job…

    Still, this is the best answer I’ve yet seen to “why have a movement”* and “why care at all about whether other people deconvert”:

    If the goal of the atheist/skeptical movements is really to broaden the base and make atheism, and especially skepticism, attractive, acceptable, and attainable by as many people as possible

    * A question that isn’t obvious from a European perspective, where public life is already fairly secular, there is no public perception that an atheist movement exists, and there is on the one hand little overt discrimination against atheists and on the other little public visibility of atheism, less than in the USA.

    =============================

    The problems WASP-y future ex-christians face are completely and utterly different from the issues facing Native Americans thinking skeptically about their tribal religions, or members of Middle Eastern diasporas thinking about leaving Islam.

    Or those facing, say, Christians in a 95 % Islamic country thinking about leaving (organized) religion altogether and jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

    Secularism won’t ever win in non-Western countries if the choices are traditional religion vs. neo-colonialist secularism. The secularism of non-Western cultures must be a home-grown secularism that manages to separate the harmful and supernatural aspects of their culture without destroying the culture as a whole. And since the West managed that, there’s absolutely no reason to assume this cannot be accomplished with non-Western cultures.

    QFMFT.

    Simply talking about how well feminism (and anti-racism or LGBT-activism for that matter) and atheism/skepticism go together won’t do any good if this is not something the atheist/skeptic movement actually acts on. Skeptifem said that she started her blog specifically to fill the niche of analyzing things critically from a skeptical feminist perspective. This perspective is still extremely rare within the skeptic movement, which is idiotic, because the Matrix of Oppression, and especially the symbolic dimension of oppression, lends itself spectacularly to skeptical analysis. So why isn’t there any of that?

    Because the men don’t notice (being privileged and all) and the women are too intimidated by all the sexism they see in the skeptic movement?

    Do you have a link to an explanation of “matrix of oppression”?

    Going from theory to praxis, atheist/skeptic events are also never intersectional. Part of the problem is that they’re lecture-based. The grass-roots, interactive level happens after the events, in the evenings over beers. This perpetuates already established hierarchies.

    I think this is copied from the way scientific conferences are organized – except that at such conferences almost every participant gives a presentation, so there isn’t much of a hierarchy of gurus/Tentacled Overlords vs disciples/fans.

    And while one way to fix this is to invite more speakers from different backgrounds, another is to make grassroots participation an inherent part of the events. Interactive workshops, children’s events, and safe-rooms have been some of the things mentioned as possibilities to attract a more diverse crowd and faciliate more diverse conversation. I’d add that these sort of things need to be also part of the smaller interactive events. People with small children, people who work non-traditional hours, etc. may not be able to participate in the standard atheism/skepticism in a pub format.

    These are extremely good points and ideas that hadn’t occurred to me – again because I’m used to scientific conferences.

    Women who grew up within and still live in very conservative, religious, rural communities, especially if they’re also poor, depend on their church communities for social networking, influence, help etc. While internet communities help, physical rural support networks for people who think of leaving a religion are absolutely essential, because people are never likely to cut themselves off from their social safety network if there isn’t an alternative network.

    And that’s the difficult part.

    I suck at organizing people

    Don’t exaggerate that, though. You have at least organized parties; I, for instance, haven’t ever organized shit. :-)

    =============================

    I’ve now read Greta Christina’s two-part post. I particularly like this comment.

    And for a damper on everyone’s mood, there’s this comment.

    =========================

    I’m off to have a look at Womanist Musings.

  6. Jadehawk says:

    shit. here I make a post about wanting discussion, and then end up leaving for almost 2 weeks myself. sorry for that everyone.

    anyway, from the top:

    maybe you should tweet this out and try to start a trend!

    no phone, therefore no twitter. I’m totally behind on modern communication technologies :-p

    Are we just asking Jews to step up and help deconvert?

    no, you misunderstood. I’d consider secular Jews functionally deconverted already (similarly, I’d consider Spong a functionally deconverted Christian; and I vaguely recall there being at least one atheist pagan on Pharyngula). The point is that here you have people who are atheists/agnostics for all intents and purposes, and yet they practice the culture of their religion. This may not be very important to us who are from the mainstream religious culture, but it matters to those who are from a minority religious culture. To know that it’s possible to retain your culture while being an atheist might make it easier to let the skeptical thoughts in and allow oneself to think them through, instead of blocking them for fear of losing one’s entire culture along with religion.

    So I was basically making the point that secular practitioners of minority religious cultures are a voice we really need in the atheist movement, because they’d be able to share their experiences on how to make that balancing act work.

    Err. This doesn’t count? Why not?

    lol, I was being a lot more literal with that comment, meaning the combination of words “intersectionality” and “atheism” being vanishingly rare. But of course, just to spite me, blaghag went and wrote a post with (almost)those words right in the first sentence: http://www.blaghag.com/2011/05/when-religion-protects-sexism.html

    Anyway, there of course are a few blog-posts that touch on this subject. Pharyngula’s “white male atheist” and “the woman problem” threads for example (warning, do not reread if you suffer from high blood-pressure or lack of time). Jen McCreight has a smattering of those as well, including the list of possible female atheist speakers”

    But these are rare, sprinkled across a wide range of blogs, and deal with only a single intersection: that of feminism and atheism; which is a good start, but not nearly enough. I for example have no idea where one would find good posts on ethnic, class, nationality or race in relation to atheism. (in terms of sexuality and atheism, Greta Christina does great work on atheist sexual ethics so there’s that)

    Basically, nowhere is intersectionality as a whole a main focus. There’s no intersectional atheism aggregator/blog/newsgroup/whatnot, where such information could be grouped and easily found.

    A question that isn’t obvious from a European perspective, where public life is already fairly secular, there is no public perception that an atheist movement exists, and there is on the one hand little overt discrimination against atheists and on the other little public visibility of atheism, less than in the USA.

    an atheist movement is necessary in Europe as well, but it obviously has different goals than an American one does (and similarly for other countries/continents/regions; hence the need for intersectionality and regional special-interest atheism): the Atheist Bus campaign was thwarted in several European countries, indicating a lack of acceptance for public atheism even there; European countries still overprivilege religion, esp. Christianity (noise-exceptions for churches but not mosques, for example); and they overprivilege the opinions of the religious, hence a priest on every ethics-discussion/committee. Further, a skeptical atheist movement needs to be able to tackle New Age woo in Europe, which is hideously ubiquitous and accepted.

    I think this is copied from the way scientific conferences are organized – except that at such conferences almost every participant gives a presentation, so there isn’t much of a hierarchy of gurus/Tentacled Overlords vs disciples/fans.

    ooh, that would explain it! I hadn’t thought of it that way. And I have to say, it’s not really a good way of structuring atheism conferences. Like you said, not everyone presents something, so you create a split between the talkers and the listeners; and also, it’s not like we’re being presented with new “research” into atheism. People usually hold speeches about their favorite topic, over and over again (this format may work better for skepticism, because there’s always a new woo to dismember… but still, it’s not quite the same as presenting a new scientific finding).

    Workshops and discussion groups seem more useful in terms of what the atheist/skeptical movement need: basically a giant exercise in knowledge- and experience-sharing, with some instruction-sessions on critical thinking etc.

    Don’t exaggerate that, though. You have at least organized parties; I, for instance, haven’t ever organized shit. :-)

    feh. when you’re a teen, all that’s required is to not be disliked by your peers, and to announce “my parents are gone this weekend”. no organixational skill required.

  7. Jadehawk says:

    I hate the comment section on my blog. it’s hard to tell when one comment ends and a new one starts, and it’s hard to tell quoted text from non-quoted text.

    *grumble*

  8. Paul says:

    no phone, therefore no twitter. I’m totally behind on modern communication technologies :-p

    Well, you don’t really need a phone to twitter. There’s a web interface. Granted, using that it seems silly to be limited to the SMS character length, but that allows people to see your tweets on their phones even if you don’t use a phone to post.

    Basically, nowhere is intersectionality as a whole a main focus. There’s no intersectional atheism aggregator/blog/newsgroup/whatnot, where such information could be grouped and easily found.

    Sounds like a good idea to have one. Do you think there is enough interest in such a hub to support one?

    I hate the comment section on my blog. it’s hard to tell when one comment ends and a new one starts, and it’s hard to tell quoted text from non-quoted text.

    fwiw, I just look at the feed in Firefox for comments. It’s pretty easy to read, although it mangles whitespace a bit.

  9. Jadehawk says:

    Sounds like a good idea to have one. Do you think there is enough interest in such a hub to support one?

    I honestly don’t know, and am somewhat afraid there might not be. OTOH, it might be a chicken/egg problem. If a skilled organizer/communicator and/or an already popular blogger got involved in one, it could create the interest this subject badly needs.

    But again, just having the idea is simply not enough. I’m not Jen McCreight: I don’t have the luck/charisma/stamina to make myself a widely-enough read blogger to be able to pull such a thing off. :-(

  10. David Marjanović says:

    I second the hate for the comment layout. I’ll start italicizing all quotes like I do on another such blog and like you just did.

    I’m not Jen McCreight

    The only thing you clearly lack is time to post often enough to gather a large number of regular readers. Luck and charisma can be replaced by promotion by PZ.

    Of course, nobody says such a hub needs to be operated by one person alone.

    * * * * *

    BTW, for Chinese, the 140-character limit is still a 140-character limit. That’s almost a 140-word limit for them, mwa ha ha haaaah.

  11. David Marjanović says:

    On the need for an atheist movement in Europe: yes, the thwarted bus campaigns did drive the point home. However, I think part of the reason why various city governments (…opinion polls of the general population were not conducted…) refused to carry the ads was not so much hostility to atheism in particular, but the concept that religion is an utterly private matter. The buses over here don’t carry Christian ads either.

    Yes, Christianity is still privileged, and occasionally there are Christian billboards. Most of them, here in Vienna anyway, are for charities or hospices which happen to be Christian and don’t advertise for the faith itself. Occasionally there are some for the Catholic monastic orders; these are very subdued, ascetic even, and say little more than “we exist”. There’s nothing comparable to what I saw on a ten-minute bus drive through US suburbs; no “join our church” ads, let alone “repent already” ones.

    =================

    Of course, you’re also right about the… not necessarily priest, but theologian on every ethics committee. It’s still taken for granted that mainstream Christianity has tons of authority on ethics. (Well, except on the things — contraception in particular — that everyone quietly ignores anyway.)

    And it’s not just ethics committees! On May 31st, in the city hall of Vienna, there’ll be a podium discussion about Baupläne und Materien der “Schöpfung” (building-plans and matters of “creation”, scare quotes in the original). I’ll try to attend. The participants will be Prof. Dr. Dr. Johannes C. Huber, Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Walter Thirring and Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Anton Zeilinger, the moderator will be Dr. Ursula Baatz.

    One should think this is a discussion about physics, about the Big Bang and stuff. And indeed, Zeilinger is a famous physicist. So is Thirring, but now it gets “interesting”: Thirring believes in fine-tuning, believes a god did it, and has published a book about this at Templeton Press.

    Another such book, which just came out is by Thirring and Huber… and Huber (article in German) is not a physicist at all. His two doctorates are in theology and medicine; he leads the clinical department for gynecological endocrinology and reproductive medicine at the Medicine University of Vienna, was the president of the Austrian bioethics committee from 2001 to 2007, and from 1973 to 1983 he was the Archiepiscopal Secretary of Cardinal Franz König, then archbishop of Vienna.

    Baatz’s doctorate is in philosophy. She’s a radio journalist… in the religion department of the Austrian public-owned broadcasting corporation. Among other things, she designs and moderates the broadcasts “Praxis — religion and society”, “Logos — theology and life” and “Tao — religions of the world”. The focuses of her work (she teaches or has taught at the U of Vienna) are spirituality and intercultural & interreligious dialogue. She’s also a coeditor of “polylog — Journal for Intercultural Philosophizing”.

    Evidently, lots of people still believe all “Ultimate Questions” are the domain or at least co-domain of religion.

    If only Sastra could participate. She’d turn this into a bloodbath. Zeilinger alone will have to be the voice of reason, against the two other participants and the moderator. *sigh*

    =================

    It goes without saying that you’re also right about the newage that covers Europe. The “lower” dilutions of homeopathy are considered completely mainstream for the treatment of minor health problems, and then there’s moon woo, something that doesn’t seem to have reached the USA: it’s the idea that there’s a right day for every and any activity, and this is determined by not just the moon phases but also the astrological position of the moon on that day. It’s very complicated and therefore difficult to practice, and I think few people really try, but public acceptance of it is very high. The handful of skeptics who struggle against moon woo remind me of the legendary samurai who fought with two swords (one per hand) against sixteen enemies at the same time — except, he won.

    Example of moon woo: in the Vienna subway, there are “infoscreens” which show news flashes and ads. They have a regular moon woo column. A few days ago, it said: “You must water you flowers today. Yes, even if it’s raining.” And no, “must” is not a mistranslation.

  12. David Marjanović says:

    ARGH! I, of all people, forgot a comma! Find out where it belongs :-)

    BTW, not that it matters, but the program doesn’t mention that Zeilinger has two honorary doctorates. Thirring “only” has one. :-þ

  13. David Marjanović says:

    (Mom tells me Huber is rumored to be Cardinal König’s son. :-) )

  14. Jadehawk:
    I’m the one who wrote to PZ yesterday to talk about including and welcoming disabled individuals into the atheist/skeptical community, and was linked to this post in the comments.As long as there are people/bloggers like you around, I have great hopes for the future of the skeptical/atheist movement and community.

  15. David Marjanović says:

    So… TET is still on vacation, so I’ll simply unload here. The discussion could have been worse. Thirring very briefly tried to introduce fine-tuning, but this topic never came up again. Zeilinger is very careful to keep religion out of science and to keep it private; after saying that scientists — as scientists as opposed to as people — can only be agnostics, he did say that atheists are believers, but this, too, never came up again. Huber seems to be the type that talks a lot, occasionally contradicts himself in the process, and doesn’t notice… There was a Gnu Atheist in the audience, who asked Zeilinger if theists don’t have the burden of proof. Zeilinger didn’t understand the question, saying there can’t be no proof and therefore no burden. After the official end, I walked up to Zeilinger (who had left the podium), and after a few people had him sign books, I explained that the burden-of-proof thing probably meant parsimony, that even Dawkins is an atheist only in the sense that he doesn’t need to assume a god, and so on; the gnu was there, a discussion started, and when Zeilinger left, the gnu invited me for a drink. I only came home at midnight. :-) The gnu has studied philosophy and is familiar with the Four Horsemen, but not with PZ! He had never heard of Pharyngula. I expect him there soon. :-)

    Zeilinger mentioned that he had once sat on a discussion panel with the Dalai Lama. Like Sagan, he had the experience of hearing the Dalai Lama say “if it will be disproved, we will have to change our teachings”. Baatz got to point out, though, that Buddhism isn’t usually as atheistic and generally rational as Westerners tend to think; that conception actually came to Asia as part of anticolonialism.

    I think half of the audience was female.

    Sastra wasn’t necessary, but a neurologist would have kicked a lot of ass, and Huber brought up more about epigenetics than he knows.

  16. While I might set out to make atheism be more acceptable and attractive, it often loses to other priorities. The tea party event I went to today, started with the pledge of allegiance and an emotional prayer. I came intent to make the members more aware of significant percentage of atheists that are part of the movement (perhaps more than 10%) and that it might be nice to make us feel more welcome because we have a lot to offer, but I was quickly sidetracked by more important issues, there were statements that seemed a little too jingoistic about America “first”. I wanted to make sure this didn’t devolve into demagogic populist calls for protectionism or into the demonization of immigrants. Fortunately, I was assured there was little reason for concern in these regards, and this tea party at least was sticking to the centrist compromise focusing on fiscal issues and the constitution and didn’t take Donald Trump populism seriously at all.

    Does there really need to be more of a “movement” evangelizing atheism? The universities bring considerable resources to bear spreading atheism already. It would be tough to make much of a dent beyond that. My daughter’s freshman english classes included readings of Nietzsche and Foucault (obviously translations into english) and her art history classes were full of critical theory interpretations as racism, oppression and exploitation. Of course, IMHO, these are more woo, and the true atheism is to be found in the biology, physics and philosophy departments. Is atheism among the less thoughtful really desirable? Isn’t that what Europe and California have with all the new age and eastern woo?

    I find it easier to persuade for the things that really matter within the Christian fundamentalists movement, it isn’t hard to persuade believers that they don’t want prayers written by “expert” committees of progressive union educators, they don’t want group discussions of the intelligence (or lack thereof) of the intelligent designer and that perhaps rather than contesting separation of Church and state, they should be supplementing it with separation of school and state. The nationalist religious strain can be tempered with reminders about the admonishment about serving two masters. Many fundamentalists already refuse to take the pledge of allegiance or to swear oaths.

    We are fortunate in the United States, that fanatical nationalism is fervent about the rule of law, checks and balances, and the bill of rights. I reassure them that atheism and science reach many of the same conclusions about the nature of man and how we should live together. After all, the wisdom literature was produced by humans every bit as intelligent and experienced with other humans as we are.

  17. David Marjanović says:

    I don’t know about California, but atheists aren’t all that common in Europe. What you have here, and this includes most of the people who believe in various woo*, are bleached-out Catholics or Lutherans who don’t talk about their remaining faith in public because religion is considered a private, if not outright intimate, affair.

    Isn’t the thoughtless jingoism you deplore the very essence of the Tea Party? Isn’t it just a bunch of undirected and misdirected anger by people who don’t know enough to direct their anger at the causes of their problems?

    What, if anything, do you hope to gain from a separation of school and state? Already, the US public schools are managed at a micro-local level, in districts so small that experts who could work out useful curricula are simply not available in most of them, and even funded at a micro-local level, so that rich neighborhoods have better schools than poor ones (this is nothing less than a national shame; I almost get convulsions as I write this); and, already, homeschooling is legal in the US, so that hippies as well as traditional religious fundamentalists can keep their children from being exposed to science.

    If you want to temper the nationalist religious strain, more power to you. I’m not sarcastic. I’m just very, very pessimistic about your chance of success. I mean, did you really believe you’re the first to quote “give unto Caesar” at them?!?

    If US nationalism really were fervent about the Bill of Rights, how come so many teabaggers act as if they had no fucking idea of the First Amendment? Or which planet are you talking about?

    * The believers and the credulous tend to be the same.

  18. Yes there is some jingoism in the Tea Party, but I don’t think that it compares in scale to the demonization of corporations and of Israel and the class warfare rhetoric of the progressives. Nationalistic jingoism in the American right is very skeptical of government, so is of quite a different character than virulent nationalisms of the past.

    I think separation of school and state, will eliminate the tension between religion and the secular teaching in government schools. Prayer in the schools and the teaching of evolution will no longer be an issue. We will no longer have the conflict of interest of government employees leading children in the pledge of allegiance. Local control of schools has been seriously compromised by the strings that come with national involvement, and by the movement towards consolidated school districts. Recognition of the principle of private control of children in contrast to government control is important in making children less attractive to the government as fodder to be made into the most destruction weapon of mass destruction in history, a large conscript military.

    The true meaning of “give unto Caesar” would have been understood by the jews who heard Christ, because “give unto God what is God’s” meant everything. All earthy property is owned by God, and believers are just to be stewards during their life on earth.

    You will find that the jingoism of the tea party is not”thoughtless”, but is historically literate. Books like “Road to Serfdom” and “Liberal Fascism” and various founder biographies have been widely read. I think most of the religious right are probably wrong about the faith of Jefferson and Franklin and perhaps Washington, but they are well informed about the level of public religiosity in government practice among the founders. You will also find that churches on the left are far more comfortable with the strings that come with government money than those on the right.

    I don’t mind the term “teabagger” and am not put off by the meaning of the term in a fringe subculture, a meaning that even liberals wouldn’t feel comfortable explaining to their children. Perhaps that subculture is more put off by the terms more predominate meaning.

  19. David Marjanović says:

    Where to even start…

    — “Liberal Fascism” is historically illiterate. Painfully so. This is plainly obvious from reading any part of it. Sure, it’s much better than it could be, but it’s still historically illiterate.
    I haven’t read “Road to Serfdom”.

    — Teaching of evolution will be an issue as long as any significant number of people opposes the teaching of science. Privatizing the schools won’t magically (or otherwise) make Americans scientifically literate! I mean, what have you been thinking!?!

    — If you’re afraid that the draft might return, you’re again exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger effect. Popular opposition to it is extremely high in the USA and quickly growing elsewhere; France and Germany (among several others) have already abolished the draft, Austria (among many others) will follow soon… Even from a purely military point of view, a conscript army doesn’t make sense anymore. Today’s armies require very well trained professionals, not unwilling (or enthusiastic, for that matter) amateurs dragged off the street.

    — “ownership of children” BZZZT! Wrong.
    (Really, what more can I say? The very concept is wrong-headed. That doesn’t depend on who “owns” the children. Do I need to spell out the obvious? Here goes: Education is a service to children, not to parents or governments.)

  20. johannes says:

    Yes there is some jingoism in the Tea Party, but I don’t think that it compares in scale to the demonization of corporations and of Israel and the class warfare rhetoric of the progressives.

    Things like George “the cat*” Galloway or Gilad “protocols” Atzmon are creepy, that much is true. Had been on a SWP rally once, and it had been one of the most surreal experiences in my life, the guys were wearing black leather coats, the girls huge hair and dirndl dresses, it felt like a meeting of supervillains from an old TV show, lets say The Man From UNCLE. But to claim that the only choice is between those weirdos and the Tea Party is, plainly, a false dichotomy.

    What keeps pogromists in check in liberal democracies is the governments monopoly of power, in other words, the armed forces paid by taxes; Eisenhower sending the 101 Airborne to Little Rock.

    * http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e80_1215044352

  21. David Marjanović says:

    To elaborate on my previous comment by spelling out the obvious… Liberal Fascism points out the well-known similarities between fascism and communism, and then it blithely equates modern American liberals and the Democratic Party with communism. TSIB. I’m not sure if Goldberg can really be so stupid or if he’s trying to make a Big Lie.

  22. I don’t think you have quite captured the structure of his argument, it is more nuanced than mere “equates”, because there are many facts supported by references about liberals of the past who are still quoted and cited by liberals today, and strains in past 20th century liberalism/progressivism, that can be argued to be similar to strains that are present today. Some of these facts establish that liberalism/progressivism was enamored with eugenics, fascism, Hitler, Lenin and Stalin, well, until they weren’t, and contrasts that with the opinion of conservatism at the time, and with the misrepresentation of the past in today’s liberal propaganda that those were right wing movements.

    When Goldberg is making his arguments, based upon similarities and differences, it is, of course, an unrigorous argument like those in critical theory or the social “sciences”. The reason “Liberal Fascism” is so demonized and reviled in progressive circles, is that it makes it case quite persuasively, with the facts he has assembled.

  23. David Marjanović says:

    well, until they weren’t

    Oh dear. And all Democrats are traitors because the Democratic Party was the party of the South till the 1960s.

    Don’t you notice how stupid you sound?

    Don’t you realize how stupid you make Goldberg sound?

  24. No, not really, I was just being generous, perhaps too generous, because many never lost their affection for Stalin, and there are Stalin apologists in the progressive movement even today. Just because liberal/progressives eventually were no longer enamored of the totalitarian dictators, doesn’t mean that the same cult of personality and central planning aren’t present in today’s liberal/progressives (LPs). There is a sizable segment of today’s enamored of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, so they didn’t learn much from the LPs of the past who were attracted to the scientific efficiency of fascist italy and the soviet union. If you had actually read “Liberal Fascism”, you would probably be surprised at the positions and statements of many who are still held up as liberal icons today, such as Wilson, FDR, and Sanger.

  25. I also should have mentioned that Goldberg points out a lot of similarities to the characteristics of today’s L / Ps to the fascists and the L / Ps enamored of them in the past. Most telling, after the cults of charismatic strong man personalities, are attraction to and expectations of youth movements and of the “street” (“mass-action” democracy). He gives plenty of examples, but a clear example that may not have been in his book is Al Gore’s speeches to young people, flattering them about how they are smarter than their parents and will have to lead the way.

  26. monado says:

    Good thoughts! My feeling about developing social support networks is that we should push at the civic level for community centers to serve the whole community, where people can make non-church connections. But perhaps that’s impractical, since the usual reaction is probably, “But the church is doing it.” On the atheist-to-atheist level, I’d like to see coffee-shop meetings, pot lucks, picnics, or something similar every couple of weeks. I’d be happy with the same thing every time, but if people want more variety and we have volunteers to make the effort, look at how Parents without Partners or outing clubs do it.

    Also, some people are reluctant to go to pubs so atheist conventions you need more picnics, pot lucks, coffee shop get-togethers, bowling expeditions, boat tours, history walks, and so on.

  27. David Marjanović says:

    many never lost their affection for Stalin, and there are Stalin apologists in the progressive movement even today.

    …Wow.

    You’re blatantly repeating Goldberg’s intellectual dishonesty, completely mindlessly, and slapping it in our faces.

    First, what is “many”? Does it mean “if all of them from all over the world were gathered on one plaza, I’d be afraid of a mob that size”? If so, you’re probably right; there’s an awful lot of people in the world, you know. Or does it mean “several % of all people to the left of Richard Nixon”? That would be a blatant lie. Goldberg equivocates between these two possible meanings, probably deliberately.

    Second, acting as if “the progressive movement” were a monolith can only result from truly astounding ignorance or from lying. Obama is not in the same movement as Castro, just like how even Bush wasn’t a Nazi.

    Have you no shame?

    At last, have you no shame at all?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-wing_uprisings_against_the_Bolsheviks

    You’re right that Chávez is being admired a bit too much by many people. But his rhetoric and diplomacy notwithstanding, it’s silly to lump him with Castro. Not long ago, Chávez held a referendum to change the constitution to, like, double his power. He lost, grumpily acknowledged that fact, and went back to business as usual. We’ll see what he’ll do when his term in office ends (the constitutional amendment would have allowed him more periods), but I don’t think he’ll try to stay in power. Castro? Referendum? LOL.

    If you had actually read “Liberal Fascism”, you would probably be surprised at the positions and statements of many who are still held up as liberal icons today, such as Wilson, FDR, and Sanger.

    You say I’d be surprised. This implies that American liberals would be surprised, too, doesn’t it? It’s not possible to admire someone for having held positions one didn’t know they held.

    Thinking: you should try it sometime.

    I have never heard of Sanger. I also don’t know that Gore speech you mention, or, well, any other. I suppose I’m not American enough to be in Goldberg’s target audience.

    FDR is famous for the New Deal. Again, I’m not American enough to tell, but I bet it’s the New Deal that’s “still held up as [a] liberal icon[…] today”, not the person of FDR. Cults of personality are a lot more common in the moderate right than in the moderate left (even though both extremes of course dwarf all moderates that way). I bet there’s a lot of projection going on there.

    some people are reluctant to go to pubs

    You bet. If you want to talk, a pub is among the stupidest choices of location; there’s loud music in there, FFS.

  28. “You say I’d be surprised. This implies that American liberals would be surprised, too, doesn’t it? It’s not possible to admire someone for having held positions one didn’t know they held.”

    But that at least raises the question of to what extent they should be held responsible for their blissful ignorance, when they praise those with a history of backing eugenics while accusing the American classically liberal “right” of supporting social darwinism.

    Is Hillary Clinton really ignorant of Margaret Sanger’s support of eugenics, or is eugenics forgivable in one of one’s own? Are progressives really ignorant of Woodrow Wilson’s racial segregation of the military?

    Maybe progressivism isn’t one movement, but perhaps the sectarian divides within the movement seem like minor differences to those viewing it from the outside. I am mainly familiar with move-on.org, pharyngula, the huffington post, the atheist/freethinker groups, and various progressive cliques on wikipedia. In general the progressive thought leaders are followers of Noam Chomsky, are pro-palestinian, pro-central planning of healthcare, pro-cap and trade, anti-globalism, pro-union and prone to anti-colonial, anti-imperial, class-warfare, re-distritribution and collective identity rhetoric. Obama’s black revolutionary theology joins in most of these tendencies. The most overtly pro-Castro rhetoric was mainly in just the atheist/freethinker and wikipedia groups, although people who have traveled to Cuba and praised Castro are accepted within the overall movement.

  29. johannes says:

    Singling out the most degenerate Strasserite or Marlenite fringe elements of today’s left (if they are leftists at all) and back-projecting their thoughts – or lack of thought – on early 20th century progressives like Wilson or La Guardia makes no sense at all. Claiming that everybody who backs single-supplier healthcare is also a supporter of Michel Caignet or the Interahamwe is patently wrong. There might have been some ideological overlap between Progressivism, Socialism and Fascism – after all, Fascism was invented by renegade Socialits like Sorel or Mussolini – but when push came to shove, it were the progressives who wanted to fight against Hitler; the conservative Republicans and Dixiecrats remained isolationist to the bitter end.

  30. David Marjanović says:

    But who praises Sanger or Wilson uncritically? (And, to repeat my question, who is Sanger even?) Cults of personality are out of fashion, in case you haven’t noticed.

    And, BTW, why bring up Clinton? I’m sure I’ve already said that both Clintons, Kerry and Obama aren’t on the left by any other than a US definition. All four would fit quite comfortably into the middle of most or all conservative parties in Europe.

    “Pro-central planning of healthcare”. This is such a funny wording I hardly know where to begin. Dude, you seem to have no idea how exotic the lack of a public-owned health insurer in the USA is. China has this situation (only worse, because there’s no Medicare or Medicaid equivalent — Red China of all places has brutal capitalism as its health insurance system, you pay or you die); South Africa has it, IIRC; and that’s it. If you aren’t very ignorant indeed, I simply cannot see why you consider support of not-for-profit health insurance worth mention at all. It is the global default position, at least in the First World and anything like it. It’s almost like being against child labor.

    Obama has a theology now? If so, is it described in his books, which how many people have read…?

    johannes, did the Interahamwe have an ideology other than “*hack* *hack* *hack*”?

  31. David Marjanović says:

    And how does a not-for-profit health insurance corporation equal central planning of healthcare itself?

    Have you ever looked beyond the rim of the dinnerplate you’re standing on?

  32. johannes says:

    johannes, did the Interahamwe have an ideology other than “*hack* *hack* *hack*”?

    Volksgemeinschaft? Or, among the more Catholic elements in their leadership, some distorted form of “liberation theology”?

  33. David,

    A “not for profit health insurance corporation” doesn’t equal central planning of healthcare itself. They do tend to lose money too frequently and thus often require subsidies, while for profit insurance companies are a more sustainable form of organization.

    I’ll admit that Obama, Kerry and the Clinton’s aren’t wearing black hoods and advocating anarchism or unrepresentative mass-action “street democracy”, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t to the left of a Merkel or Cameron. Despite what was forced upon them by political realities they all support nationalized healthcare, higher taxes, redistribution of wealth, elimination of secret ballots in union organizing elections, etc. Obama with his revolutionary theology and radical associates goes further with marxist critical theory appeals to racial and class identities.

  34. David Marjanović says:

    More sustainable? Then where are the regular collapses all over Europe, Canada, Australia, NZ, Japan, South Korea…???

    And no, neither Obama nor Kerry nor the Clintons are to the left of Merkel or Cameron. Merkel and Cameron support their status-quo healthcare situations (healthcare provided by the state in the UK, a system of very heavily regulated private companies that aren’t allowed to refuse people and AFAIK have regional monopolies in Germany), they support the high taxes their countries already have, they all support most of the existing redistribution which goes beyond what you can probably imagine, and…

    hey…

    …wait. What do presidents and presidential candidates have to do with union-organizing elections???

    And there you go again with Obama’s alleged theology. Why don’t you tell us anything about it? I know about the pastor in whose church he was several decades ago; that pastor started going off the deep end much later, after Obama had left, so tell us something new if you want us to be afraid of him.

  35. You don’t appear very familiar with US political history or current policy. Obama has advocated a “card check” union organizing proposal which would eliminate the protection workers currently enjoy because of the secret ballot.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Card_check

    Obama appointed pro-union board members to the NRLB:

    http://thehill.com/blogs/transportation-report/labor-employment/169153-nlrb-fight-is-land-mine-in-reelection-

    Obama’s membership in Wright’s church continued into his Senate term and his presidential candidacy, only resigning May 31, 2008, in response to the controversy. it is hardly ancient history. Obama continues to advocate “social justice” and collective salvation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremiah_Wright_controversy

    Your view of Cameron’s political leanings, is apparently not a consensus:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/may/14/david-cameron-adviser-health-reform

    Obama’s has explicitly discussed a universal public health care system has his ultimate goal, with anything else being a stepping stone.

    The national systems you mentioned are subsidized.

  36. David Marjanović says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Card_check

    That’s all very bizarre. So, if you want to found a union in the USA, you somehow have to get this approved at the national level, and the union needs to represent the majority of the workers in a particular company? ~:-| What does it even mean to “require[…] the employer to recognize the union”? Isn’t the existence of a union simply a fact?

    And why the fuck can the president appoint anybody to an organization of unions!?!?!

    Obama’s membership in Wright’s church

    What does “membership” mean, and when did Wright go off the rails?

    Obama continues to advocate “social justice”

    *blink*

    Are you advocating social injustice???

    I’m having a culture shock. You just said “Obama is for good and against evil” and implied that that’s bad. O_o

    Cameron

    Oh, sorry. Cameron wants to change the situation to Austria’s, where the state is the only health insurer but does not directly pay a salary to the doctors.

    Obama’s has explicitly discussed a universal public health care system has his ultimate goal, with anything else being a stepping stone.

    Well, what does that mean? The mere existence of a public-owned health insurance company? A monopoly for that company? Or the state as the provider of healthcare like in the UK?

    The national systems you mentioned are subsidized.

    Well, Austria’s at least is financed by what is basically a tax. Whether the nine individual regional insurance companies make deficits or profits varies with time and space; profits are used to pay back debts. :-| I don’t see the problem.

  37. You are confusing “social justice” with “justice”, which was probably the intent of those that adopted the term.

    Where did you get the idea that Wright went “off the rails”? He is pretty typical of black liberation theology, he perhaps because less diplomatic in the decade or so before Obama ran for president, but that is a privilege some claim for age.

  38. David Marjanović says:

    What’s unjust about social justice?

    What evidence do you have that Obama holds any particular theology, and what evidence do you have that anybody should be afraid?

  39. The evidence for Obama’s particular theology comes from his writings and speeches. You can get an idea of some of what is controversial by searching on:

    “collective salavation” obama

    The evidence that we should be afraid is both theoretical from the Marxist influences on his philosophy, his racism and from his international and domestic policies. He has had advocates of the fascist style “street” democracy in his administration as well as admirers of Chairman Mao. A frequent visitor and adviser is Andy Stern of the Service Employees International Union who is gives more than lip service to the slogan “workers of the world unite”. Obama engages in divisive class warfare and collective identity rhetoric and political strategies. He has abused executive power, implementing via execute orders, policies that he could get through congress.

    He has extended the recession with “stimulus” packages that allegedly were for “shovel ready projects”, but really were just traditional corrupt Democratic pork barrel politics. He has purposely throttled development of oil and natural gas resources, raising the energy costs and costing jobs for the whole economy, and is threatening to extend government regulation to every part of the economy with proposals for cap and trade.

    “Social justice” is inherently unjust because it treats people as collectives rather than individuals, it divides and demonizes whole groups of people. The critical theory analyses, used to justify redistribution, are “just so” propaganda lacking intellectual rigor, supported by little mor e than anecdote, opinion and innuendo.

  40. David Marjanović says:

    Again this moronic claim that Obama is a Marxist.

    Hey! If he is one, why the fuck doesn’t he behave like one!?! Why do you still have private health insurers in your country? Where is the executive order that abolishes them? Why doesn’t the Democratic Party have its own army/goon squad? Why isn’t every worker a member of a union that is a suborganization of the Democratic Party? Why… why… why… where even to begin. *headdesk*

    If by “development of oil and natural gas resources” you mean drilling in the ANWR, you’re silly; there are just a few months’ worth of oil in there. If you mean his reversal on deep-sea drilling, good on him, finally!

    “Raising the energy costs”… dude… have a look at the costs over here and shut up. A liter of diesel costs between 1.280 and 1.300 € here in Austria — most of this price consists of taxes, and we still don’t riot.

    Why do you act as if cap & trade were somehow the same as a planned economy?

    How does social justice demonize anyone? What critical theory? What analyses? What justification other than “we would be assholes if we allowed people to starve in the streets”?

    Bad Internet connection and no time, so I’ll do the googling later.

  41. Paul says:

    I’m surprised africangenesis is being treated as serious here after all the time wasted with him on Pharyngula. Talking about Obama’s “Marxist influences” is just icing on the crazy cake, especially after he pushed for and signed on the corporatist welfare that he called “health care”.

  42. Paul, Are you a European as well, how could you miss Obama’s marxist influences? Here is a quote from his own book:

    “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout,I chose my friends carefully.The more politically active black students.The foreign students.The Chicanos.The Marxist Professors and the structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.We smoked cigarettes and wore leather jackets.At night,in the dorms,we discussed neocolonialism,Franz Fanon,Eurocentrism,and patriarchy.When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake,we were resisting bourgeois society’s stifling constraints.We weren’t indifferent or careless or insecure.We were alienated.”

    It isn’t all in the past, a youthful dalliance. He attended a black liberation theology church, his administration included Anita Dunn who openly admires Chairman Mao, and van Jones who openly avowed communism and intended to use the green movement to achieve fundamental change, and his administration refused to prosecute black panthers in a blatant case of voter intimidation. He repeatedly uses divisive identity politics, accepting critical theory type characterizations of non-coercive relationships as “exploitation”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_theory

    The reason i was banned from pharyngula is because I could be taken seriously, the mocking vitriol and dismissive name calling couldn’t stick. I was better informed than most participants there, and could usually back my scientific knowledge with the peer review literature. After all, it was ostensibly a scientific blog. I was an uncomfortable presence because I couldn’t be rationally dismissed. I was consistently civil in the face of mocking vitriol. The culture there, tolerates easily mocked trolls more than serious atheist critical thinking of a different political stripe.

  43. Jadehawk says:

    no AG, you were banned for being an obnoxious, delusional asshole. nothing you say can be taken seriously by anyone, because it’s thoroughly counterfactual, delusional, or merely stupid. And the moment I no longer need something to keep my readers entertained while I get over my writer’s block, you’ll get banned from here, too (sooner, if you start spouting toxic shit again)

  44. I will continue to be civil, responsive and difficult to dismiss with anything but name calling, innuendo, mischaracterization and censorship.

  45. Jadehawk says:

    you have been none of those things except in your own mind. but SIWOTI has kept people coming back to my blog while I’m not writing anything, so your existence here has served a useful purpose.

  46. David Marjanović says:

    I’m surprised africangenesis is being treated as serious here

    Combination of Asperger’s and massive SIWOTI syndrome. :-) I simply cannot leave nonsense uncommented.

    Paul, Are you a European as well, how could you miss Obama’s marxist influences?

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    Being a European makes it easier to recognize Marxism. How much more often do we need to explain this till it sinks through your osteosclerotic skull? :-D

    The countries over here all have big Social Democratic parties that are in power half of the time (the other half being occupied by conservatives comparable to the Democrats), to their left (usually — it’s more complicated) we have Green parties, and to the left of those we have communist parties. The communist parties, who freely call themselves such, are sometimes extremely small, sometimes fairly big (depends on the country and the decade), but always very loud, so it’s difficult to completely escape all knowledge of what they want.

    Not everyone to the left of Strom Thurmond is a Marxist.

    Here is a quote from his own book:

    So he didn’t run screaming from Marxist professors, and he was a bit rebellious. Guess what: in his generation, the same was true of almost every single university student on this planet. It’s not at all surprising some such people ended up in his administration.

    Don’t believe me? Austria’s previous Federal Chancellor (prime minister), Alfred Gusenbauer, was a Marxist university student in the 1970s. Once he flew to Moscow (!) and kissed the ground at the airport*. When he became the head of the Social Democratic party in 2000, the conservatives and the xenophobes (who were in power together) reacted with a mixture of mockery and fear — but everything Gusenbauer said was hardly to the left of Blair. The Social Democrats won the election in 2006, formed a coalition with the conservatives**, and Gusenbauer became chancellor. What happened? Nothing to the left of Blair, except that the railways still haven’t been privatized (thank FSM). People really are capable of changing their minds over thirty years.

    Frantz Fanon (yes, with t, to avoid confusing his fellow French) was a fascist. Mentioning that guy in the same sentence as “Marxist professors” indicates he didn’t identify with Marxism or fascism.

    Want to know what people are going to do? Take what they are saying now, and compare it to what they are doing now.

    Should I go on? Hugo Chávez. Quite obviously to the left of any European government and any European mainstream party. Still, his rhetoric is to the left of his actions, and it’s drifting even further to the left (and even deeper into craziness) while his actions hardly change at all.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_theory

    Says:

    The concern for a cultural “superstructure” is one of the few Marxist ideas left in much of contemporary critical theory

    followed by footnote 2.

    And, dude, responding to criticism with pouring your Dunning-Kruger victimhood all over us may be civil, but it’s nonetheless an insult. It insults even your own intelligence.

    * Of course, some say this was neither meant as admiration of the Soviet Union nor as mockery of the pope. It was because he had flown in a Tupolev. :-þ
    ** Sounds silly. Is silly most of the time. But in Austria it’s normal; a “Big Coalition” has ruled the republic for most of its existence.

  47. Paul says:

    Paul, Are you a European as well, how could you miss Obama’s marxist influences?

    American. US, specifically. I’ve actually never even been to Europe, although it’s on my list of things to do once I can decide on a venue (how to resolve something so nebulous as which singular location in Europe to visit gives me a bit of trouble).

    Here is a quote from his own book:

    You know, part of being an adult is paying more attention to what people do than what they say. Especially when it comes to politics. Can you seriously look at actions taken during Obama’s first term and call him a Marxist? You point to an administration official that looks up to Mao, and one that “openly avowed communism”. In a short amount of time one could research dozens that support Israeli support even at the detriment of the US’s political interests, does that make Obama a Jew? I can point to dozens(including senior administration officials) with strong corporatist interests. Doesn’t that disqualify him from being a Marxist, over one or two examples of political “radicals” in his administration? You shouldn’t be proud that your whole world view is deliberately constructed using only confirmation bias.

    He repeatedly uses divisive identity politics

    Name more than two politicians in the US who haven’t. Are they all Marxists? This sort of shit is why I was saying you are not someone to take seriously. You toss anything that sticks and is in some way accurate to make your argument, even if it’s a total non sequitur.

  48. I don’t think you will find dozens in the Obama administration that support Israel even at the detriment of US political interests, and even if you did, in the US that would more likely make Obama an evangelical Christian than a jew. 8-)

    I judge people by both what they do and what they say. What Obama has done has been limited by what was politically feasible, so his policies have been just to the right of the progressive part of the Democratic base.

    If you judge a candidate just by what he has done, the Bush was a liberal with this medicare drug plan, attempts at immigration reform and nation building foreign policy. But I think most will acknowledge that he was personally more conservative than that, just that he couldn’t achieve many of his conservative goals for practical political reasons.

  49. Jadehawk says:

    If you judge a candidate just by what he has done, the Bush was a liberal with this medicare drug plan, attempts at immigration reform and nation building foreign policy. But I think most will acknowledge that he was personally more conservative than that, just that he couldn’t achieve many of his conservative goals for practical political reasons.

    and another gem from bizarro world. you’re hilariously delusional.

  50. Paul says:

    If you judge a candidate just by what he has done, the Bush was a liberal

    In the spirit of SIWOTI, I’ll dignify that with a response since it ties in with another comment I made to you. You’re still wearing your confirmation bias goggles. You’re ignoring the neocon-driven wars into a country under false justifications, the tax cuts for the rich, the attempts to cut Social Security, the attempts at immigration reform (conservatives need the cheap labor, and the proposals were definitely not geared at the good of said immigrants), the use of black prisons, etc*. Rather conservative actions, and much more prolific than the token “liberal” examples you give. Sort of how the Corporatist leanings of Obama and his administration by far outweigh the “Marxist” influences you decry, while you ignore the former and parade the latter around. I’m noticing a trend. How odd.

    Oh yeah, you said you were a Teabagger. Mystery solved.

    *Curiously, Obama participating in much the same activities puts him firmly in the Conservative camp, even by American reckoning (but this isn’t news to most people who don’t walk around with their fingers in their ears, which is admittedly a small group).

  51. The tax cuts were across the board, not for the rich, as you should recall from the debate surrounding the extension of the tax cuts. Most of the bipartisan justifications for the wars were true, and all were thought to be true. He was going to privatize social security, creating a ownership stake that could be passed on to heirs greatly benefiting minorities who are more likely to die before receiving many of the benefits they have worked for. Obama’s proposed immigration reform was pretty much what Bush proposed and McCain supported, which is why there was so much criticism of McCain when he was against it when Obama put it forward. The cheap labor needs legal protection. There is nothing particularly conservative about black prisons, they are far more characteristic of marxist and totalitarian states.

  52. Paul says:

    The tax cuts were across the board, not for the rich, as you should recall from the debate surrounding the extension of the tax cuts.

    I don’t object to lower or middle-class tax cuts, assuming they’re not to a silly degree. If you put a dollar in the pocket of someone that’s not rich, that dollar goes pretty much directly to stimulate the economy. Do the same for a rich person, and it doesn’t make its way into the economy.. The calculus is inexcusable for the endless cuts for the rich, especially when they pay significantly less as a percentage of what they make than those not rich.

    Most of the bipartisan justifications for the wars were true, and all were thought to be true.

    Saddam is linked to Al Qaeda? Nobody with brain cells to rub together believed that (granted, shortish list). Many believed the WMD thing, but that is because the government blatantly misled them. “Were true”? Please. Citation needed. The main “truth” was that Saddam had gassed people before, but that was a decade earlier with weapons we had given him.

    He was going to privatize social security

    I see why you were characterizing him as a liberal.

    Obama’s proposed immigration reform was pretty much what Bush proposed and McCain supported

    Can you point to where I even hinted I might disagree with this?

    There is nothing particularly conservative about black prisons, they are far more characteristic of totalitarian states.

    FTFY. Removed the unnecessary label. The US has never had a political movement on the left that used or openly approved of the use of black prisons. Here, they’re very much a conservative wet dream. If you want to keep redefining liberal and conservative on the fly based on whatever the immediate point you are making is, I have no interest in continuing. I was trying to keep it US-centric since that seemed to be what you were going with.

  53. David Marjanović says:

    test

  54. David Marjanović says:

    Help! My comment disappeared, without any warning that it’s in moderation or something!

    Wasn’t anything special, just that I’m with comment 50, and…

  55. David Marjanović says:

    Saddam totally had WMD!!!1!

  56. David Marjanović says:

    Ah, now I get it. Are the names of the banned banned? I wanted to ask africangenesis [HTML trick used] if he has any idea about how few people outside the USA ever believed that Saddam had WMD and how much fewer ever believed he was behind 9/11 — I hadn’t yet seen that he’s banned.

    Also, Ctrl+Z doesn’t seem to work anymore; I guess every size change of the comment window counts as an action.

  57. David Marjanović says:

    Yes, that’s it. :-) Sorry for the traffic.

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