Thursday, April 17, 2014

Writer for Townhall claims that atheists will take over the Democrats within 10 years.

I ran across this article by Kurt Schlichter

By 2024, The Democrats Will Be An Atheist Party

I know that is not exactly the most reputable source of information on politics, but this article seems bad even by their standards. I mean, first we have to acknowledge that currently there are exactly zero members of congress from either party who are openly atheist. Of course some may be unbelievers secretly but the very fact that such people would feel it is necessary to keep their beliefs private should let people know how silly this idea is. In any case, the article starts its argument thusly

Democrats are delighting in their opportunity to burden, harass and humiliate the believing. They use Obamacare to try to force the faithful to breach their consciences. They demand that believers be silent or lose their livelihoods. Their liberal academic flunkies do everything possible to marginalize those of us who feel that life must mean more than dreary obedience to liberal orthodoxy.

First off I’d point out that one can disagree with their interpretations of religious freedom without being an atheist, and I personally find a lot of conservative orthodoxy to be rather dreary too, but none of this proves either position right or wrong. As far as people loosing their livelihoods I can only assume they are referring to the Christian couple who’s bakery went out of business after they refused to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. How exactly was this the governments fault? Last I checked they went out of business because local customers choose to take their business elsewhere after they found out about these people’s beliefs. Was the government suppose to compel people to shop there against their will? Isn’t this just capitalism at work? What they really seem to object to here is the fact that they no longer hold a majority view on this issue and they are feeling social pressure to conform. The governments job is to make sure everyone's right to hold unpopular views is legally protected, but they cannot protect people from non legal consequences like people choosing to spend their money elsewhere.

They are getting closer to outright admitting what we all know they really think. Part of it is fashion – boutique atheism is trendy. Part of it is snobbery – the same people who think socialism is a viable system like to look down on others for believing in “fantasies.” But mostly, liberals worship Government and don’t like the competition.

First off the notion that atheism is “trendy” is just nonsense, but yes I do think religion is untrue. As far as their critique of socialism, while I don’t embrace socialist ideas in total, I think anyone who believes that lassie-faire capitalism is a viable system also believes in a type of fantasy. Liberals, by and large, don’t worship government. Most of them are well aware of government excesses and are quite critical of the government in a number of ways. They just don’t buy into the libertine argument that less government is a magic bullet to fix these problems, and thus advocate for better government instead of less of it.

It's important to distinguish between regular atheists and the militant liberal atheists. There are plenty of conservative atheists who don't feel a connection to God but share conservative values. The Democrats are militant atheists. They are atheists because they imagine they are smarter and wiser than people like Isaac Newton, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, and about 85% of the rest of America.

Ok, first off a person who doesn’t feel a “connection” to god is not the same as someone who doesn’t believe in god. I’ll happily acknowledge that there are conservative atheists out there, though I have trouble understanding how any of them vote Republican given the stark reality that said party overtly operates against our political interests by advocating for more religion in government. However, if you are a conservative atheist you must also believe your position on god’s existence is more rational than that of Newton. Though this does not imply we think Newton was stupid. He was quite smart, and he added much to the field of physics. One the other hand, he also spent years studding alchemy which we now know to be absolute rubbish. We have to examine each claim on it’s own merits regardless of the person presenting the claim. Newton was smart, but so was Nietzsche, and Hume. The fact that I think every single religious person was wrong about this important fact does not mean I think they are all stupid.

They are proud believers in “Science.” That’s different from science. Science is the one where you take evidence and draw conclusions from it. “Science” is the one where you figure out what gives liberals the most power and shriek at anyone who dissents. This explains how the “Science” is settled that cold weather proves global warming.

Also known as the, “I know you are but what am I” argument. The fact that this author sums up his understanding of global warming in this way leads me to believe I have little to fear from their scientific knowledge. I don’t deny that from time to time democrats have taken scientific claims out of context or overstated them to try to make a political point. I’m generally against the over-politicization of science but what world must you live in to not see the egregious misuse and politicization of science done by republicans. Just take global warming, in just the last few years it was discovered the anti global warming group Heartland Institute has taken donations from large oil companies including ExxonMobil. Isn’t there any conservative out there willing to admit that this could constitute a conflict of interest? During the 60’s people paid by cigarette companies published studies saying there was nothing dangerous about smoking. What are the chances that 50 years from now groups like Heartland Institute will be views as oblivious and anti-science as the groups that published those cigarette studies?

The Democrat Party’s changing composition makes it possible to be openly anti-God. It’s now made up of a very rich urban elite and the poor. The urban elite despises God. They aren’t even lapsed faithful – you had to have faith once to have it lapse and most of them grew up in the secular world of elite universities and liberal coastal enclaves where you’re more likely to encounter some feminist babbling about Gaia than someone who has attended mass non-ironically.

Well I can’t speak for every liberal out there but I’m neither rich nor am I someone who never had religion. I was an evangelical Christian for a number of years. I don’t despise god, a non existent being, but I am, at times, angry with his supposed followers for their ridiculous caricatures of me. I live in the bay area, which one of those “liberal coastal enclaves” he is talking about. I’ve never heard any feminists babbling about Gaia. However, wait a minute, I thought he was criticizing the democrats for being atheists but now he is complaining about them buying into new age ideas? I personally find both Christianity and new age beliefs to be equally wrong, but I’m not going to make fun of people for having beliefs I don’t agree with. This guy, on the other hand, has no problem making fun of religious beliefs he finds wrong yet wants us atheists to respect his beliefs.

Plus, being God-free lets liberals take advantage of the moral ambiguity of situational ethics. It provides them with the kind of wiggle room they need to do exactly what they want without any annoying principles obstructing them.

Trotting out the “atheists have no morals” argument. Though he doesn’t even do a good job of formatting the argument which leads me to believe he knows as little about ethics as he does science. Situation ethics is not the same as relative ethics, and there are many atheists, like myself, who believe ethics are objective, and thus are not using our lack of belief to get out of some moral duty.

It will be interesting to see whether they choose God or Mammon when their party rulers come out and say what they really think – that the religious are suckers and freedom of religion only applies if it doesn’t interfere with progressive prerogatives.

This argument only means anything if you truly believe that religious freedom is absolute. If you place ANY limits on religious freedom, say outlawing human sacrifice, then you have already acknowledged that the government CAN place reasonable limits on religious freedom when that exercise of religious freedom affects other people. The question instead becomes which limits are reasonable. Unfortunately the people who write for town hall would rather sell the notion that they have a fundamentally different ethos rather than just acknowledge that they merely differ on interpretation and scope.

Sure, we occasionally see a few liberal evangelicals get trotted out by the mainstream media to tut-tut believers who actually believe in something more than free money for the lazy. Their ideology is just socialism with a thin veneer of Jesus. And it’s a Jesus who appears nowhere in the Bible, a gutless hippie who runs from fights and thinks that the Gospel requires you to keep fishing while giving away your catch to the dude kicking back on the beach because he doesn’t feel like casting his own net.

No one trots anyone out, liberal Christians have just as much of a right to their views as you have to yours, and they think it’s you who have fundamentally misunderstood the person of Jesus. Personally I couldn’t care less about the internal squabbles of doctrine you guys have, at least that is what I would say if your internal squabbles weren’t having an effect on the, supposedly secular, law. I think the liberals may have much more of a point than he is willing to admit though. Jesus actually DID tell his followers to give anything that was asked of them and not to try to get it back. (Luke 6:30) Now I actually think this is bad advice. The ironic thing is that conservatives think it’s bad advice too, but rather than acknowledge Jesus wasn’t the perfect moral teacher they imagine they simply ignore the parts they don’t like.

The larger point here, however, is that liberals just believe in free money to lazy people. This is an absurd caricature of the goals of Democrats, and is insulting to every poor person who has ever needed government assistance. Not everyone is some listless drug user who wants a free ride, in fact very few of them are. Truth is, most people on some form of government assistance are actually working, sometimes more than one job.

Europeans are leading the way to progressive extinction. When your society believes in nothing beyond the next statutory six-week paid vacation and your guaranteed pension at age 42, you don't have much incentive to invest in the future of mankind. Accordingly, you don't make babies. The thing is, though, societies tend to belong to those who reproduce. So get out there and make more babies, American conservatives.

Almost the end of the article and the author finally actually makes some fact based claims. Namely that some country, in Europe, guarantees it’s citizen 6 weeks of vacation and gives them pensions at age 42. The 6 weeks of vacation might be true, but doesn’t strike me as much of a problem. I’ve had some pretty crappy jobs that gave me 3 weeks of vacation. Now, giving people pensions at 42, if this were happening I’d actually take this guys side for once. People are living longer these days and so it is likely that few countries could afford to pension people off when they could easily live another 40 years, particularly when that means they would only work for about 20 years. Unfortunately for this author I think this piece of data is totally made up. I did a web search and came up with exactly zero European countries that pension off citizens at 42. The U.K. sets retirement age at 68, Italy, age 66, France, 62, Germany, 67, Greece, 65. Sweden is the lowest I found at age 61. This seems like an outright fabrication by Schlichter, or at least an example of his ignorance of European law. It’s possible that I simply missed the country he was referring to, but if that is the case why wouldn’t he have named the country? It seems more likely that he just said whatever he felt like knowing that the typical townhall reader would simply accept his claim without examination because it fits their preferred narrative.

Next, he offers a rather simplistic explanation for why some countries have low birth rates. Our birth rates have fallen in the last hundred years along with most of Europe but most of this seems to be due to a sharp decline in infant mortality. Further, new groups of immigrants like the Muslims he mentions almost always have a higher birth rate than the general population, often because they are coming from countries that still have high infant mortality. It would be true that Muslims would over take the rest of the population in Europe in several hundred years except for two facts that Schlichter misses. First, those rates of higher reproduction rarely continue past the first generation of immigrants because their children acclimate to the new culture’s way of doing things. Second, the children and grandchildren of these immigrants usually liberalize to some extent, abandoning the more strict rules of their forefathers culture. This notion that conservatives can take back the nation by having more children is ridiculous, since children aren’t automatons that always follow their parents will. My parents want me to be a conservative evangelical Christian, and you can see for yourself how well that worked out for them.

It’s only a matter of time before the Democrat Party comes out and proudly admits to being what it inarguably is today, the party of hopelessness, the party of no future, the party of “Just give me money until this whole thing called life ends in oblivion.”

So now we are all nihilists? Look, I’ll be the first to point out that the Democrats do some bone headed things now and again. I am no where near their biggest proponent, but their actions don’t speak to a nihilistic world view, they speak to an attempt to improve the world we live in. As an atheist, who does not believe there is some better world for us after we die, this appeals to my sensibilities since I want to do what I can to improve the lot of humans in the here and now. I don’t always agree with HOW they go about trying to improve things but at least they make an effort. which is unfortunately more than I can say for Schlichter.

We'll soon find out how the allegedly religious react to a party that loves their votes but think they are fools for believing. We will soon know where their faith really lies, in government checks or the word of God.

Well, as an atheist, I obviously have no faith in the word of God. Though personally I don’t think the Democrats are terribly irreligious on the whole. They just don’t do quite as much to alienate non-religious voters as the Republicans so it isn’t surprising that many of us tend to congregate in the Democratic party.

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