There’s been a lot of talk lately about getting the warring factions together in this 2-year long “social justice” feud. Lee Moore, the co-host over on the A-News podcast, suggested getting leaders from both sides to sit down and hash out their differences and other prominent bloggers have thrown their hats in the ring supporting the idea. Now while I’m fully on board with anything that gets the constant whining to taper off, I just don’t think this is going to work. Here’s why.
For one thing, there is an assumption that there are only two interested parties involved here: the Atheism+ people and those who are not. Unfortunately, that’s not really the case. You have the radical feminist fanatics that inhabit Atheism+ and it’s associated networks, you have the vicious trolls and assholes on the anti-Atheism+ side who follow their enemies around like stalkers, scrutinize every word that comes out of their mouths on blogs, in comments and on Twitter, then post endlessly to all of those sources, pointing and laughing and insulting the opposition; then you have the final group, the largest group, which most people totally ignore in these peace talks, the vast majority of us out there who just want the first two groups to go fuck off and die.
See, most of us actually understand that atheism has nothing to do with social justice. In fact, there’s no way to get from atheism to social justice without massive leaps of irrationality and adding things that simply do not belong. While lots of people agreed that social justice issues were important, virtually all of us disagreed with krazy-gluing a “+” onto the end of atheism. It’s gotten even worse with all the rhetoric spewed primarily by the Atheism+ side.
Why? Well in the apt words of a commenter that I found here:
Over the last two years, the progressive and social justice minded atheists have decided to make a political push of their accepted political ideology, and in order to force their political views on every part of the community they can, have simply thrown honesty, debate, and skepticism out the window. With a trebuchet.
Yet it’s not just the radfem nutballs that have issues, there are tons of people on our own side that are just as bad. It’s getting hard to decide which group is worse and that’s the problem, they’re all idiots! Let me spell it out for them because some of them are slow. If a person is on Twitter and they’re following PZ Myers, Ophelia Benson, Greta Christina, Adam Lee, Stephanie Zvan, Greg Laden, Ed Brayton, Rebecca Watson, Melody Hensley, Lousy Canuck or a host of other dyed-in-the-wool-Atheism+ers, just to see if they can find something to post on the Slymepit and laugh about, or just so they can stick it on Elevatorgate, they’re a fucking asshole. They’re a troll. They’re a sleazeball and deserve no more respect than any of the asshats I mentioned them following.
And that’s really the reason this will never end. You’ve got dicks on one side and dicks on the other and both sides want this to go on forever. A lot of people on the Atheism+ side are true believers, they are no more rational than their fundamentalist Christian brethren. They are unable to compromise, just as the religious are unable to compromise on their beliefs. Al Stefanelli referred to it as the following:
Diplomacy only works if both ‘sides’ are willing to be diplomatic. Thus far, only one ‘side’ has done this. Think of diplomacy as building a bridge. A real bridge. What this entails is two construction crews, each starting on one side. If all goes well, they will meet in the middle. The problem with the ‘other side’ is that their idea of ‘the middle’ is firmly on their shoreline. As long as it remains that way, the prospect of ‘peace’ is lost. Period. End of story.
I don’t think any of that’s true though. Clearly, the Atheism+ side is not willing to compromise, they hold a fanatical faith-based position which cannot be compromised on. Clearly, the non-Atheism+ trolls aren’t willing to compromise, in fact, they spend their time looking for trouble. They rely on Atheism+ for their entertainment. They’re not going to change. And then the rest of us who think everyone else are idiots, we’ve got nothing to compromise on. We have no horses in this race, in fact, it’s our fondest desire to have the other two horses keel over and die.
Further, none of the people who are suing for peace are the ones being the problems in the first place. It’s like having a conference to stop extremist Muslim violence and only inviting liberal Muslims. It’s a great concept but it ultimately accomplishes nothing because you haven’t had any agreement from the people actually causing the problem. The same is true here and this is ultimately why any so-called peace accord will fail. The people who are causing the problems aren’t willing to come to the table and they’re sure not willing to compromise. The hardcore among Atheism+ certainly will never admit that their beliefs are not 100% correct all the time, you’ll never see someone like PZ Myers or Ophelia Benson or Greg Laden coming to the table and agreeing to stop fighting what they see as the good fight. These are people who are, in the vernacular, “true believers” and are not open to re-examining their beliefs. On the other side of the table, you get those, like many on the Slymepit, who draw their primary entertainment value from making fun of Atheism+. They are trolls at heart, they are going to keep poking Atheism+ with a stick until the people in Atheism+ stop reacting, which simply will never happen. They have no reason to compromise or stop provoking the fanatics, that’s how they have fun!
The only real losers are the majority of people who just don’t give a damn about Atheism+ or the Slymepit, who just want them all to go away. The warfare won’t stop, just because a couple of concerned citizens get together and wish real hard. That’s never worked with extremists of any kind and it won’t work this time. Once there are fanatics in your midst, unless you can somehow forcibly eject them, they’re with you forever, or at least until they decide to give up and go home.
All that’s really happening here is a meeting for show, to make people feel like they’re making a difference. I predict that after this “sit down”, nothing will have changed and the warfare will continue as before. They’re just not meeting with the right people or changing the right minds.