I wasn’t going to write about this, I think I’ve spent a lot of time writing about crap that pisses me off on the Atheist Experience, although the majority of it comes from callers and not the hosts. This time though, it was a host dog-pile on someone who called in and questioned whether atheism and feminism ought to be closely linked. Earlier in the show, another caller had questioned whether atheism and gay rights ought to be linked as well and my response to both is no. Atheism is about one thing, feminism is about one thing and gay rights are about one thing. There is no need to put them all in the same pot and mix well. I was in the UStream chat room and while there were others who agreed with me, it became obvious that the chat moderator was getting personally emotionally involved and kicking people so I just gave up.
My position, as I’ve said many times before, is that atheism is about not believing in gods, it is not just another word for liberalism. Atheism+ is an idiotic idea, you have atheism and then you have other things. You don’t have to Krazy Glue all of your personal positions together into a single overarching label. You can be an atheist and a feminist and a gay rights supporter and a stamp collector and a baseball enthusiast, all without having to push them under the same umbrella. I have no idea why so many liberals and atheists can’t understand that simple point.
I’ll be honest, I virtually never engage anyone in the Atheist Experience chat, both because I find UStream’s software obnoxious and I find that the moderators are entirely inconsistent. There used to be a link to chat rules but that link has vanished and now, they just assume that people either know the rules, or they just make up rules, and kick people for the heck of it. Some moderators are worse than others. It’s just not worth my time. But I had answered someone’s question earlier before the show started so I was already logged in and sometimes, I just say things without realizing how pointless it is. It seems to me, and I could be completely wrong, that the guy who called was also in the chatroom and got kicked by the moderators while trying to defend himself. I was paying more attention to the show than the chatroom for most of it so don’t quote me.
Anyhow, back to the call. I personally agree with the guy, feminism has no part in atheism. Atheism is atheism, feminism is feminism. You can be both. You can be one or the other. You can be neither. Being one does not imply the other. That’s how it is. However, lots of people in the highly liberal atheist community presume that anyone who declares themselves atheist must also check off all of these other boxes and share this collection of views or they get to attack them, which is exactly what they did with this guy. They pulled out the equality of outcome claim that is so critical to liberals without recognizing that many people want equality of opportunity. They played the quota game, where people have to be the same percentage in every industry as they are in the general population. CEOs have to be 50% male and 50% female. Journalists have to be 50% male and 50% female. And for those industries that are more than 50% female? They don’t talk about those. One thing they will never acknowledge, and I will admit that both Martin and Russell were being complete assholes on the show, shouting at this guy and never giving him a chance to make a point, is that they’re only interested in gross percentages and quotas, not in how many people actually want to do those jobs. They don’t acknowledge interest or qualifications. If a company has 100 jobs and 90% of the applicants are male and 10% are female, it should come as no surprise that there will be more men working there than women. That’s not what they care about though, it has to be 50/50. The same always goes for racial mixes too, blacks need to make up 20% of the workforce and if they don’t, it’s racism. Maybe there just aren’t that many black applicants? Has anyone done a study on that? I haven’t seen one. Someone please point one out that passes statistical muster.
As I said, I wasn’t going to bother responding, it isn’t like I haven’t talked about it before, but I started running into similar things elsewhere. Of course, if you go to the show thread over on their blog, Russell is still attacking anyone who falls outside of his little comfort zone and it wasn’t worth getting into it. Also, over on VJack’s blog, he had a thread about trigger warnings and higher education, which was quite good, but I made the comment that there seems to be a lot of similarity between liberals and theists when it comes to censorship. Both of them want to keep opposing opinions that they find offensive out of the narrative. It happened on Atheist Experience, it happens on liberal college campuses, it happens with gay rights and extremist feminism, this is not any different than the religious who declare anything that disagrees with them to be blasphemy and they want people punished for saying they’re wrong. Same shit, different label. The second I said something, people started jumping on me for mentioning liberals, as though the whole damn post wasn’t about liberals doing objectionable things. I said that I found it funny that someone who rather commonly finds things to disagree with in the liberal position continues to label themselves a liberal. While that’s probably a discussion for another post, what the heck, I’ll do it here. There are a lot of people to whom labels mean more than ideologies. If anyone insults their chosen label, whether it be liberal or conservative, atheist or religious, they leap on people for daring to say anything critical about the label, even if the criticism has nothing whatsoever to do with their actual position. People, if it has nothing to do with your actual ideology, why are you whining? Personally, I go after everyone, liberal and conservative, atheist and theist, black and white, male and female alike. If someone says something stupid, I don’t care what labels they apply to themselves, they’re fair game. I don’t care if someone out there criticizes conservatives. I’m probably right there with you, assuming it’s an honest criticism. There are no sacred cows, nor should there be. It shouldn’t be about labels, it should be about ideology. It should be about positions. Then again, there are far too many atheists who are more interested in being part of the crowd than in ideological clarity. I have a problem with that.
Before I drift too far afield, let me get back to the Atheist Experience. I’m not defending the guy who called and I’m certainly not defending the Gish Gallop that Russell and Martin were clearly guilty of during the call. There should be no MRAs and there should be no feminists. There should be no white-apologists or black-apologists, there should be no straight rights or gay rights. There should just be equality for all, but equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. Anyone should be able to get into any field they want with no regard for their race, gender or orientation and nobody should be keeping track of who gets jobs and who does not. Nobody should be making charts and saying more people of this particular demographic ought to be working here. It ought to be wholly irrelevant, so long as nobody is being kept out and until it can be shown with a solid evaluation that people are being kept out specifically because of their gender, race or orientation, liberals need to shut the hell up about it. It’s not helping anyone. It’s just making you people look like idiots.
I am ever so sick of idiots.