I am an anarchist and an atheist. There aren’t many individuals that fall into those categories. I like to challenge the status quo and I will engage with those who disagree with me. I’m coming from a pretty disadvantaged position, both are marginalized groups in mainstream discourse. I summarize my position thusly: no man, whether he be in flowing robes, a gaudy hat or a shiny badge is above another. Surely, we can agree on that can’t we? “NO!” cries the internet police. “What we have here is ‘a White Male Problem.'”
Quoting another article, the author criticizes atheists in much the same way that some “libertarians” have criticized the libertarian movement. “If mainstream freethought and humanism continue to reflect the narrow cultural interests of white elites who have disposable income to go to conferences then the secular movement is destined to remain marginal and insular.”
To say that holding a conference is racist because it necessitates disposable income to attend is nonsense. How about teleconferences? These opportunistic naysayers could then say that only those with internet access could participate in those conferences so, racism.
“The Need to Frame X from a Radical Social Justice Lens”
No. “Social justice” has become synonymous with more government. In fact, this article makes a point that atheism is in a deeper political closet than homosexualitywhich is pretty deep. (To this day Barney Frank has been the only member of the federal legislature to be “out.”) Perhaps, this link between anarchists and atheists is so strong that atheists are as interested in running for office as they are in trying to change the Vatican “from within”.
The article again and again obfuscates capitalism and free markets, not only with each other but, also with the current form of government in the US. Two out of the three men in their graphic aren’t (or, in Hitchen’s case, ‘weren’t’) American. Neither atheism nor anarchism are movements rooted in geo-political areas. Werleman goes as far to say that “The surest way to defeat religious extremism is to defeat free-market extremism.” What?
And then… I found the missing link. You see, CJ also writes for Alternet where he states, “When I hear an atheist say he is a libertarian, I know he’s given absolutely no thought to it…” So much for being a “free thinker” or skeptic. He claims that libertarians are literally sophomoric, as it’s in that year of college that they read Atlas Shrugged. And yet, he states: “With communism, property is theft; capitalists are thuggish villains; workers rule; the poor are oppressed. With libertarianism, property is sacred; all governments are bad; capitalists are noble heroes; unions are evil; and the poor are pampered good-for-nothings.” Does he live in a cartoon world?
Werleman’s Salon article’s call to action is that atheists should also be social justice warriors. He’s writing about politics, not womens’ or minorities’ influence in the secular movement. In fact, a year before his article, Salon published “5 Reasons There Aren’t More Women in Atheism” by the well known atheist writer, Soraya Chemaly, who makes the astute observation that “We see more male atheists because we see more males.” If Werleman’s main concern was women and minorities in the movement, he could sing the praises of their articles and books, of which there are many to choose from. Instead, he seems obsessed with one woman, Ayn Rand.
The secular movement seems to be going through the same growing pains as the libertarian movement, Victoria Bekiempis, in her article, Why the New Atheism is a Boys’ Club, says the same thing about atheist circles and gender as I’ve been saying about libertarian circles and gender for years. “…a “quick [internet] search for female atheists will pull up such depressing fare as ‘Dating Atheist Single Women’ and ‘Top 10 Sexiest Female Atheists’ … the loudest complaints about the absence of atheist women [seem] to come from atheist males who want non-believing girlfriends.” In fact, a search for “atheist men” is also quite illuminating.
Secularism is not a political movement. I’d call it a philosophical one but, some would call it a moral imperative as they free people from arranged marriages, genital mutilation and other religious crimes. If Werleman’s real concern was “morality” then he could’ve written about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whose organization AHA Foundation, focuses on a number of specific forms of oppression of women and girls that are justified by religion and culture. Or he could have covered Doug Stanhope’s campaign to help an atheist victim of a tornado in 2013, with which he recorded a follow-up podcast this year. But no, that wouldn’t have gotten him to his end goal, replacing God with government.