Secular Right: Futility

Heather MacDonald suggests that all her posturing about the foolishness of religion is a way of attracting young people to conservatism, of “rebranding” it. She seems to think that the young are running away from institutions like the GOP in droves because of their theistic stances.

So her anti-religious rhetoric has nothing to do with Reality or Reason (the two things that SR is supposedly about), but is entirely a means toward her end – which seems to be the propagation of what is commonly called “social conservatism”, or so I presume.

Meanwhile, religious morons dominate the discussions. I mean, just look at this guy. That’s the sort of comment that’s all over the place on SR – not because the morons are exerting themselves, but because no one is saying anything of value. Are the morons shouted down? Are the glaring errors in their arguments acknowledged, much less condemned, by anyone? No.

I’m ‘conservative’ because I think change should be approached with caution – which is not to imply that it’s not inevitable, or not desirable. I think the best of the past should be carefully preserved, and care taken to see that the things we introduce to history are worthwhile; I don’t want to back blindly into the future.

In other words, I want to preserve the legacy of Jefferson in “It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg” mode, regarding what should be tolerated. Not “maybe we shouldn’t execute homosexuals, just castrate them instead” mode. (Well, that’s more tolerant than the general view at the time, but I think you get my point.) Or “let’s declare blacks to be two-thirds of a person for purposes of voting assignments”. Or “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are natural rights, but I need to be able to own slaves.” Those are aspects that I don’t see the value in preserving.

The people who want to preserve that sort of stuff aren’t necessarily conservatives. But they are morons. Pure and simple.

I don’t think it’s the GOP’s theism that’s driving people away. It’s their authoritarian, culturally reactive, narrow-mindedness. Those aren’t traits that make up the best parts of our historical legacy. They’re not things I want to preserve and encourage. I want political groups that are based in reason and reality, not ideological stances that proclaim to possess a continuity with a better past while not actually representing what the past was really like. I want stances to be taken because they’re true and correct, instead of being advertising gimmicks.

I’m increasingly of the belief that SR isn’t interested in providing those things.

As long as the religious morons believe they can be influential without having to give up their attempts to promote their delusions, they’ll keep promoting them. The only way to get the religiously conservative to work for the cause of secular conservatism is for secularism to become sufficiently powerful in its own right that the religious feel they have something to gain by allying with it – and something to lose by not doing so. Power attracts power; strength attracts strength. At least in the nonsensical, limbic-brained world of politics.

MacDonald isn’t just going about things in the wrong way, she has the wrong goals. And no one else is doing much contributing to SR, so she’s establishing the site’s message by default.

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6 Responses to “Secular Right: Futility”

  1. I think you may be promoting a variety of the Dougherty Doctrine.

    • The idea that what’s wrong with the Republican Party is that it’s not enough like me?

      1) I have no interest in preserving the GOP, or in changing it. I think it’s outlived its usefulness and isn’t worth repairing or altering.

      2) In regards to what is usually meant by “social conservatism”, it seems to me that most young people have no more use for the outdated conventions and norms of old than I do. Atheism isn’t going to attract anyone to those ideas who isn’t already enamored of them.

      Considering that the biggest population Secular Right has attracted thus far is a bunch of religious morons who want to defend the respectability of faith (in the most pointless way possible – repeatedly insisting that it’s so), it’s clear that it’s doing something wrong.

      • I’m not restricting it to a particular political party. You’re saying that the problem with Secular Right (as the cosmos say of the GOP) is that it’s not like you.

        I don’t read SR much, my impression was that there were more left-atheists than right-theists there.

  2. You’re saying that the problem with Secular Right (as the cosmos say of the GOP) is that it’s not like you.

    No, I’m saying the problem is that it’s not right.

    I have tried very hard (with a certain amount of success) to remake myself according to what I perceive to be right. So, by extension, we can say that the problem of SR is that it’s not like me – precisely because I try hard to be right and SR is not right so SR is therefore dissimilar to what I try to be.

    But there’s a difference between asserting that directly, and having it be true because of an asserted equivalence of concepts.

  3. I think that the religious base of the GOP is certainly driving some of us away from it. I could be a conservative, by other definitions, but I could never follow a party that appears to be trying to lead us into a theocracy. That is how I see their aims now.

    • Precisely.

      I don’t want to live in a society dominated by ANY faith-based belief system. As I see it, modern liberalism is precisely that: a collection of sacred premises to which people must give lip service and pretend to accept lest they be labeled as unvirtuous sinners.

      Supporting the teaching of evolution, race-realism, disliking our political system – it’s all a part of adhering the the reality of things rather than what we perceive to be socially appropriate or acceptable to me.

      I am especially concerned about the loss of the distinction between “willingness to tolerate a thing” and “approval of a thing” in the public mind. People don’t have to approve of homosexuality or polyamoury or whatever; they can believe those things are undesirable and harmful without wanting to use the power of the state to prevent them. And you can tolerate or approve of those things without wanting to use the power to the state to promote them.

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