Vjack, over at Atheist Revolution, writes a lot about the so-called atheist community and I always disagree with him because I think that not only do we have no atheist community, we don’t need or want one. He recently wrote a post, “recently” as of when I write this, not when you’ll read it, about policing the atheist community and, as you’ll see, there’s no point or purpose to it because, there isn’t a community to police or any way to actually accomplish it.
There’s a simple reality, you cannot police those over whom you have no authority. You can’t stop people from saying stupid things or acting like assholes. It’s just not possible. All you will do is get frustrated over the stupidity of others and what’s the use of that?
See, I can identify with the other side of this, I once felt that way about another situation. I know I’ve talked about this in the past, how I was involved with the “furry community” in the past, before it became a cesspool, filled with all manner of delusional perverts who ruined the fandom. When all of that first started coming to light, I was among the first to lead the charge to policing the fandom because clearly, these people were making me look bad! How dare they take something I loved and sully it with their absurd perversions! But you know something? They didn’t care what I had to say and I had no power whatsoever to force them to do what I wanted them to do. All it did was raise my blood pressure. Therefore, I left the “furry community” and generally stopped caring what anyone thought of me. I can enjoy what I want to enjoy, I can associate with who I want to associate with and I don’t have to give a damn about what anyone else does with their time. They don’t make me look bad, I don’t make them look bad, they did enough of that on their own.
The same is true in atheism. I don’t give a damn what stupid whiny nonsense Atheism+ is saying this week. I don’t give two fucks about Rebecca Watson or Greta Christina or PZ Myers. I ignore them entirely, heck, I’m not even aware of most of the nonsense they do, I get a little of it second hand, but I blow it off. So what? They want to look like idiots? More power to them. So what? I’m not part of their “community”, I’m not part of any community. I’m just me.
But wait, some might say, if you’re not part of an organized community, how can anything ever get done? I don’t need a community, like I said, I’m selective with who I associate with and if I choose to associate with a group of people who are working toward a goal, I can do that. It’s my option. That’s the thing, there doesn’t have to be a single atheist “community”, made up of everyone who bothers to stamp the label “atheist” on their forehead. There can be multiple atheist communities, or just small groups of atheists working on the same project, or who share the same beliefs, or who have other, non-atheism things in common. Why in the world would anyone want to belong to a universal group, along with all of the idiots and assholes, delusional conspiracy theorists and fanatical political types who can’t tell the difference between atheism as a single aspect of their lives and an overarching definition for everything they do.
Just pick and choose your friends and allies. Decide who you want to associate with. Get things done with people you can actually respect and enjoy their company. Don’t worry about the morons and the fanatics, don’t allow their stupidity to reflect on you and don’t take people seriously who try to tar you with the same brush as the atheist crazies. It’s really the only rational way to do things, we can’t police the actions, beliefs or insanity of others and we shouldn’t even try.