Eternally The Outsider

outsiderIt’s really tough being a secular conservative in the modern world, you are always on the outside.  It’s virtually impossible to find a place to fit in when  the only people who tend to hold your fiscal and social views are the ardent religious and the only people who tend to reject belief in gods are far-left liberals.  It gets even worse when you have an interest in sci-fi and fantasy popular arts like television, movies, books, comics, etc., where some large percentage of the audience skews young and therefore, liberal.  It means that, pretty much without fail, I spend a huge amount of my online time biting my tongue in some fashion or another.  You don’t dare stray outside of the very narrowly defined confines of shared interest or you get attacked.

Yes, I said attacked.

Now I’m not going to regale anyone with stories of these attacks, I’ve done so in the past and it’s largely not productive.  It really just means that someone like me can never have a true home online with any of these groups.  Even those few other people who self-identify as conservative atheists, as I’ve said before, have taken to focusing purely on one side of the coin, to the point that they really don’t want to talk about the other.  They’re either atheists first and refuse to talk politics, or they’re political bloggers exclusively and refuse to talk religion.  Finding a way to marry the two has proven to be an extreme challenge and, honestly, it’s one that I’ve failed pretty much across the board to do.  Finding any significant audience that shares both sides of my personal worldview (and yes, I hate that word but it seems to apply here) is virtually impossible.  When I write about atheism, I draw the ire of religious conservatives.  When I talk about conservatism, I draw the ire of liberal atheists.  I just can’t win.  But whereas this might otherwise drive one to despair or depression or disillusionment, it’s done something else for me.

It’s pissed me off.

And it’s because I’m pissed off at a world that is being poisoned by both religion and rampant liberalism, that I write.  It’s kept me going for 8 years and I’m not going to be stopping any time soon.  It’s actually pretty easy to chalk the planet’s problems up to a single, overarching problem:  irrationality and unbridled emotionalism.  There are far, far, far too many people out there who drift through their lives just “feeling” things or reacting emotionally to things, they never bother to sit down and actually think or reason or justify their positions rationally.  I get the appeal, emotions are easy, they take no effort and, at the end of the day, they just feel good. At some deep, primitive level in our brains, we’re “programmed” to be emotional beings, it’s how we evolved, but that doesn’t mean it remains a good thing today.  Oh, don’t  get me wrong, I’m not saying we should eliminate all emotion and be stiff automatons, certainly our emotions have a lot of valid and important uses, but we also evolved this wonderful, sentient, intelligent part of our brains and if we don’t use it as well, what’s the point?

Our future rests on intelligence.  It relies on it.  It requires it.  Nobody invented anything useful because they “felt” their way through it.  They didn’t come up with the Internet because “it felt good”, but because it was a potentially useful tool and it took serious brain power and technical know-how to accomplish the task.  We live in an increasingly technological society that is being absolutely hamstrung by uncontrolled emotionalism.  It’s what drives religion and it’s what drives liberalism.  It’s wishful thinking because it feels good, not realistic thinking that can actually lead us down a productive and healthy path.

I defy anyone to produce evidence that either religion or liberalism produces rationally superior results to either logical atheism or actual conservatism.  Anyone?  Just one person will do.  Don’t give me emotional diatribes, show, via objective evidence and critically evaluation, that either of these things can get us from point A to an intellectually superior point B.

I don’t think anyone can do it.

So I guess I’ll just continue to write and say the same thing I’ve said for 8 years and weather the slings and arrows of the irrational left and the insane religious because they’re just not on the same page as rational people.  I care about the future.  I care about where we’re going.  Does anyone else really care at all?

4 thoughts on “Eternally The Outsider”

  1. Cephus, I may not agree with all your political views, but the thing I like about all your posts is that they make me think because you keep it logical and it makes sense to me. If people are going to get all twisted about something emotionally it shows a lack of reason. Sometimes I listen to the podcast and stuff irks me at first listen, but then when I listen why I can respect it as I see the rationality. I think I maybe am more an idealist than a liberal after listening and reading your blog for some time now. So all I can say is keep up the good work.
    My recent post Steven Tari gets his comeuppance

    1. See, I don't really care if people agree with me as long as they are able to intelligently articulate why they disagree and can explain, using logic and reason, why they hold the positions that they hold. The problem is, most people cannot, they either react entirely emotionally, get mad, call names, etc. when their sacred cows get questioned. They don't hold positions rationally and they don't want to think about why they do hold positions.

      Myself, I constantly re-evaluate my ideas and beliefs, I actually care if my beliefs are warranted and match up with the best currently available evidence and reasoning. There isn't a position I hold that you couldn't ask me to justify and I couldn't do it immediately. I don't have to think about these things, I have and continue to think about them all the time. That's something everyone should do but unfortunately, few ever do.

  2. Great post. I had an interest in sci-fi and comics and used to promote comicons in the Ann Arbor/Detroit, MI area back in the 90's. I'm now living in Grosse Pointe Farms and am self-employed. Seems as if there are at least two of us on this planet, eh?
    I'm a libertarian (with a small "l") on some issues, a staunch conservative on others. I see myself as a conservative libertarian first and an atheist second…a far second. Atheism does not define me or my life in any way, libertarianism and conservatism do. In my day to day interactions with people both on and offline, I have found that I have much more in common with moderately religious conservatives than I do with the majority of atheists, who almost always tend to be liberal in the extreme. That being said, I have almost nothing in common with ultra-conservative religious types, either. I see them as being mirror images of the nanny-state proponents on the left.
    I don't do a lot of socializing and I don't place a whole lot of importance on what others think of me, so being the odd man out doesn't bother me. In fact, I prefer it. For the most part, I just want to be left alone to live my life as I see fit. This characteristic of mine is perhaps why libertarianism appeals to me as much as it does.
    One topic in which I certainly differ with most atheists is the subject of gun control. One area in which I would have in common with most atheists is my concern for the environment. I see a consistency in my stances on both as without a habitable earth all other considerations are irrelevant and without the freedom to defend against tyranny or against personal criminal assaults, all other freedoms are meaningless.
    I spend more time on gun blogs than I do on atheist blogs because atheism in-and-of itself is rather boring and other than your blog and Atheist Revolution, very few atheist bloggers have anything to offer that is in any way even remotely relevant to me or my interests.
    I've long given up on converting liberal extremists in the atheist fold, as they aren't going to listen to reason. If they were open to reason, they wouldn't be extremists in the first place.
    I do, however, often interact positively with religious conservative types whom I gently take to task whenever they start to shriek about their "god given right" to bear arms. I politely remind them that there are many unbelievers who are patriots and gun owners and that we shouldn't be marginalized. I also often have success in getting them to admit that perhaps the right to self-defense is a natural right instead of a supernatural right. If presented in a way that is non-threatening and logical, I find that most religious types will concede my points in this area. When I try a similar approach with dyed-in-the-wool apologists for the far-left, I'm vilified.
    Unfortunately, intellectual conservatism is a rarity nowadays. It is the right that now routinely (and proudly) champions ignorance, not the left. Long gone are the halcyon days of William F. Buckley and Senator Barry Goldwater. They've been replaced with the likes of Sarah Palin and John McCain. Intellectually, the right is pretty much all washed up in the U.S. The left has always been stocked with intellectuals, but a large number of them (the majority, it seems) are ethically challenged cowards and prefer to push an emotional ideology over working towards the common good using reason.

    1. Thank you for the excellent comment, if I could give it more than one thumbs up, I would. I fall very much along the lines that you do, probably more small-l libertarian on social issues and definitely strong conservative on fiscal issues. The problem is, we just don't have a conservative party in this country anymore. You have the lefty-wingnut, super-emotional, politically correct liberal party and the righty-wingnut, ultra-religious, a-couple-screws-loose liberal party. Neo-conservatives are not conservative, they are fiscally liberal and they want just as much power over the American people as the Democrats, just under different conditions. I reject the Libertarian party because, like all other political parties in this country, they appeal to a lunatic fringe. That's what all political parties do. They go for the crazies, figuring that the normal people have no choice but to vote for the lesser of the evils. The fact remains that real conservatives have nowhere to go and I, for one, am sick of it.

      I honestly don't think that the left is stocked up with intellectuals, they are stocked up with people who have letters tacked on after their names. Just because you have an advanced degree doesn't mean you're an intellectual and so many of these people go completely sideways, away from their rational training, whenever they get the emotional wherewithall to do so. You have a side with impressive credentials who completely ignore what those credentials are supposed to mean.

      The same goes for atheism. I can find no atheist group, no secular organization, no humanist club, where I fit in. A lot of it is my conservative views, but let's be honest, most atheists aren't rational either. We keep seeing story after story after story about how the big names in the atheist "movement" are just as wingnut crazy as the religious, they don't know how to apply reason and skepticism to their beliefs, virtually everything they do is on faith. Why would I want to have anything to do with them?

      I've made a concerted effort to locate any small enclave of intelligent, rational, intellectually-honest people out there and I have failed entirely. Finding people who are really critical of their own beliefs is virtually impossible. I'm not particularly bothered at being alone, I'm particularly bothered because I seem to be almost entirely alone as a rational being on this planet.

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