Movements

So, I’ve been thinking about movements a lot recently. Natalie Reed basically told the atheist movement that she wanted no part of it anymore. http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/08/10/all-in/ Then there is the whole atheism+ movement that is gaining traction, which people are divided over. Depending on who you listen to, it will either be the downfall or savior of the atheist movement. Then there is the social justice movement which uses bullying tactics and threats, like the ones towards Laci Green, http://lacigreen.tumblr.com/post/26843554247/hey-peeps-i-am-going-to-be-taking-a-break-from, not to mention call out culture in general.

I’m just going to say this. Fuck Movements. I want no part of them. I hold my positions based on the evidence I have at the time. If new evidence is presented to me, I will change my position. Movements actively discourage that. Also belonging to a movement means that you will have to stand shoulder to shoulder with assholes, just because you share a single value, and I will not compromise my integrity to advance a single position. I will work towards advancing causes I believe in. But I want no part in any organization or group that holds positions that they are intractable on and have to stand back to back with assholes. I had enough of that when I was a Catholic.

Let me make this very clear. I support separation of church and state. I support secularism. I think that the world would be better off without religion. I believe in the equality of all people and that we should work towards that goal. I think that A+ is a good direction in which to go (tentatively) for the atheist movement.  [Edit: Looks like A+ didn't work out so well in practice.] But I will not join any groups.

I am an atheist because I see no credible evidence for any god or gods. I am a secularist because no religion or atheist group should have control over the practices of anyone else. I am a feminist because I believe in the equality of all genders. I believe in fighting racism because I believe in the equality of people regardless of their skin color, national origin, or ethnic background. I think that everyone deserves access to healthcare and education regardless of class or income. I have seen evidence that leads me to believe that all these positions are justified, and will likely improve the quality of life for everyone, No matter what their income, race, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic background, cis or trans* status is. I believe that it is the right thing to do to fight for equality and truth, even if that does not improve the quality of life for everyone. But I am willing to argue these positions based on their merits. My ideals are empathy and evidence. If your movement lacks either of those things, leave it.

9 thoughts on “Movements

  1. Thank you for your insightful post. The promotion of equality and honesty is certainly a goal worth standing up for for. I think the most important thing to recognize is that what people hold to be true relies entirely on their perspective and that it benefits us all to respect the right of person to state their opinion in a clear manner. Compromise is the key to harmony – we may not always agree but that doesn’t mean we can’t get along in a civil fashion and work together to make the world a bette place through the sharing of our stances.

    I don’t believe that everyone who takes part in an association or have been otherwise labelled as members of a specific group necessarily shares the exact same viewpoint although they may be similiar in many respects. Politically, there are many often deep divides between members of the same political party but their basic platform to fight for the beliefs that they do have in common assures that at least some progress is made. We cannot discount the value of cooperation and compromise despite our differences.

  2. I think the most important thing to recognize is that what people hold to be true relies entirely on their perspective and that it benefits us all to respect the right of person to state their opinion in a clear manner.

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but you aren’t entitled to your own facts. What people hold to be true has no effect on reality. Some people still believe that the earth is flat, should we respect their opinion? Many people do not believe in evolution; should we respect their opinion? Racists believe that one race is biologically superior to other races. Should we respect their opinion? I say no to all of the above. I hope you agree. Then why should we respect someone’s opinion if it contradicts evidence. Why should we respect the opinion of someone who clearly lacks empathy?

    Compromise is the key to harmony

    I refuse to compromise with racists, homophobes, sexists, and transphobes. Fuck that. Sometimes you have to stand your ground.

  3. I don’t feel the same way about movements, but only because I don’t see myself as a follower in movements–I think that my actions gain power when they align with others, but then if I realize I’m following too much, I rethink.

    I love your last paragraph, especially the “empathy and evidence”.

  4. nonviolentrage,
    The way I feel about movements is not something I expect people to agree with me about, except for my last paragraph where I say that if your movement lacks empathy or evidence, that you should leave it. I will not deny the positive effects that movements can have. I just refuse to be part of them at this point, because of my ethical code.

  5. “But I want no part in any organization or group that holds positions that they are intractable on and have to stand back to back with assholes.”

    what i’m getting is that you have a problem with shitty movements filled with stubborn assholes. me, too. still, i don’t see how condemning movements in general is very constructive. i mean, i want my country to legally recognize nonbinary genders, but i won’t be able to do a damn thing about it on my own. if work with other trans* folks, though, we might get somewhere (in, like, 500 years, probably).

    i don’t know what my point is; you DID just point out in your reply to nonviolentrage that you recognize the potential positive effects of movements. so, yeah.

    anyway, i love movements. i hate some of the people in them, but i’m a proud trans*/queer activist (and an aspiring race ally).

  6. i also want to say that there are a shit-ton of things i won’t compromise on. my values are fucking important to me– so i’m not saying that i’ll compromise with racist/misogynist/cissexist/heterosexist/sizeist/ableist assclowns. cuz no.

  7. To clarify my position, If movements work for you, go for it. I am not condemning the idea of movements. I am saying that based on my experience of movements, I will not join any. The atheist movement has a very vocal minority of mysogynist assholes. The feminist movement has a very vocal group of transphobic assholes. There are other examples, but I am too tired to point them out right now. My point is that I will do what I can as an individual, while not identifying with any movements. I hold the positions I hold. They make me an atheist, feminist, and a whole bunch of other things. But I am not a part of movements.

  8. ah. that makes total sense. sorta like how i’m not part of the atheist movement (nor really atheism +) and how i consider myself a feminist activist but i’m scared to go to feminist events. sorry for misreading your post, cat!

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