What the Fuck is Wrong with People?
I wrote about the conversation surrounding Atheism Plus a few weeks ago. In general, I like the idea. I don’t think it needs to be all of what being an atheist is about (neither does anyone else) but I think it’s a good idea and I don’t understand the vitriol that is aimed at the people spearheading the idea.
That vitriol has managed to silence one of the voices behind that movement (at least for a time) and now I’m going to ask what the fuck is wrong with you people?
I’ve read Jen McCreight’s blog for a long time. Long before she was part of Freethought Blogs. I’ve enjoyed her voice. And you all got her to shut up.
I’m not a prominent Atheist blogger. My most popular posts on the topic get about 300 views. I don’t experience a lot of hate directed my way because, frankly, my opinions aren’t loud enough to matter and most everyone reading my blog already agrees with me.
But here’s the thing guys, the thing that I love about the atheist community is that we challenge everything. None of us take anything at face value. We think about it. We roll it around. Sometimes we disagree about it.
All Jen was trying to say was this: when we disagree about shit, how about we all learn to be fucking nice about it?
You don’t like what she had to say? Cool. Don’t harass her, threaten her and ultimately silence her because you don’t like what she said.
Argue with her. Sure. That stuff is completely acceptable.
Be prepared for her (and others who agree with her) to argue back. That’s the way this is supposed to work.
But if you are going to celebrate silencing someone because you just abused the fuck out of her, don’t expect me to give a flying fuck what you have to say. You are an asshole.
If you don’t have enough confidence in your point of view to be civil, you have already lost the argument. If all you do is engage in personal attacks on the person espousing the view without actually engaging their points, you have already lost the argument.
If you are so busy thinking that Freethoughtblogs is a big, bad bully pit instead of recognizing that everyone in this movement has a voice and not all of the voices agree, you have already lost the argument.
I read Freethoughtblogs all the time because I like how they write. You know how many times they have forced me to think a certain way about something?
Because I can think for myself. And so can all of you.
I don’t read Thuderf00t’s stuff any more because I’ve mulled it over and frankly I don’t like what he has to say.
But here’s the thing – I don’t want him to shut up. I want him to keep talking and while I disagree with what he says – sometimes to the point of swearing at my computer screen in disgust – he has every right to say it.
So, too, did Jen. The difference here is that she was asking all of us to stop being such assholes. She was pointing out that she felt uncomfortable (and harassed) in this community and she wanted that to stop.
The worst of the respondents ranged from “stop being such a baby” to “you aren’t really being harassed” to “good.”
So she said “hey, can we stop being such dicks about all of this” and the ringing response was “No! Fuck you!”
Now that wasn’t the only response. It was just the loudest. Eventually, she couldn’t take it any more and she had to step away. I hope she comes back because whether you like her and Rebecca Watson and Greta Christina and other feminists in this movement or not, their voices are important and every time you shut one of them up by being an asshole, we all lose.
Nobody shut Thunderf00t up by taking him off of Freethoughtblogs. He’s still there. He’s still writing and producing videos.
But they managed to shut Jen up. And they are celebrating as if it is something about which they should be proud.
So here’s my proposal to all you assholes out there. I’m an insult comedian. Bring it. I don’t give a flying fuck what you think about me or my opinions and I can dish as good as you can. In fact I can do it better because I make a living at it.
You will not shut me up.
And you shouldn’t fucking want to. Did you all miss the part where we are a minority in this country and around the world? Did you miss the part where no matter what our disagreements, we need each other?
We need women in this movement. We need them because they have important things to say. Some (a lot) of them are feminists and they feel that they have a right to talk about it (and how it relates to the atheist movement) without being subjected to rape and death threats.
When you think there is something wrong with that to the point that you subject them to rape and death threats, you push them away from a movement that fucking needs them.
I’m not saying I want you out of the movement if you aren’t a feminist but then, Jen wasn’t saying that either. She was saying that if you were one of the abusive fucks who called her a cunt every time she mentioned the world “feminism,” she didn’t want to have to associate with you. She wanted a place within the atheism movement where you would fucking leave her alone.
You don’t have to leave me alone but I bet you will because I’m a middle-aged white guy who doesn’t give a fuck what you think.
Unless you choose to be civil about it. And then we’ll talk about it. And we’ll probably still disagree but at least I won’t think you’re an asshole. I’ll just think you’re wrong.
If you bring the heat, though, be prepared to have it dished back. I don’t respect shit like that and nobody should. The difference between me and other people on whom you rain down your hate is that I can’t wait to make you look like an idiot. I get paid to do this. Bring it. First one is free.
When you shut down a voice in our community because you don’t agree with it, we’ve all failed. The power of the skeptical movement is that we don’t accept anything on faith. We will argue about everything.
But that doesn’t mean we have to be dicks about it. And when your dickishness drives a voice away, you have nothing to celebrate. None of us have anything to celebrate.
Well done, assholes. Well done.