I have often wondered if my state of mind as an atheist has also played a role in becoming a men’s rights activist. I like to think I view things objectively; that I rely on available science rather than faith or folklore to shape my beliefs. That attitude has certainly helped me to understand issues like domestic violence and alleged wage gaps as much as it has evolution.
I have been hindered, though, in my ability to form alliances in the atheist community by two critical factors. One, my atheism does not lend me to being antagonistic or condescending to people of faith. I am not frightened by them and I don’t find them to be ignorant or deficient. Indeed, I have no investment whatsoever in the personal religious beliefs of anyone I encounter, a trait I find lacking in some religious people and to a much greater degree, atheists.
But the other problem here is much more significant. The problem I have with atheists is that they are too religious. Yes, I mean that literally. For when you wipe away all the bombastic bellowing about empiricism and the strident mocking of those who choose a life of faith, what you are left with is a population of people that surrender their reason and cognition as though they were at gunpoint; that hit their knees as fast as any Catholic…to worship at the altar of feminism.
There are some notable exceptions, of course, but in the rank and file of vocal atheists, particularly in their online incarnation, what I have found is a culture of indoctrinated clones, with no more discernment of fact and fiction than you would find at a Branch Davidian revival. Indeed, they are so ideologically rigid that the only things these people are missing are shaved heads, tambourines and two weeks without a shower.
I got a slight taste of this in 2009 after penning an article about a Levi Strauss ad campaign for Men’s News Daily. One of the writers at Atheist Nexus picked up on it and used it to pose a question to the reader base there. He referred to the piece, and said, quite cautiously, that it “prompted me to wonder if A|N is ready for a true discussion of masculinity.”
And they were, as long as it was within the parameters of the approved feminist narrative. Though there were some decent comments early on, the instructive feminist posturing on gender, concerns about homophobia and of course ultimately the fresh-out-of-women’s-studies indoctrination talk, like “the binary of masculine-feminine which is the dominant gender identifier in the West and the socialized nature of what we call masculine and feminine,” eventually took over and all was lost in a sea of conflated femmo-babble. No real discussion of masculinity took place, at least nothing near in the context of my article, which was the supposed centerpiece of the OP.
With a couple of refreshing exceptions what transpired between the members of this oh-so-erudite group was a demonstration of feminist dominance and cluelessness, complete with the obligatory attack on MND for fearing women’s equality. Or as one devout atheist-feminist put it:
The whole web site mensnewsdaily.com is a sad overreaction to the growing equality of women in society.
These people are forward thinkers; people who think they have overcome ages of religious indoctrination and bravely stand to tell the world their vision isn’t clouded by superstition and fantasy?
Apparently they can’t even handle 50 years of loud mouthed arts majors without drinking the Kool-aide and going brain dead. There was scarcely a voice among them that did not wallow in the ersatz enlightenment so common to feminist ideologues. There was no real discussion, just an impotent thread that came to a rather underwhelming and predictably vacuous conclusion.
I understand the phenomena all too well. Feminism, as far as ideology goes, has been very effective at using human reproductive realities to co-opt other movements. In fact, from the American Civil Rights Movement to Occupy Wall Street, feminism has progressed without paying its own way, but rather by sending women in to other social arenas and wheedling men into supporting them. The Borg would be proud if they had emotions. Resistance is Futrelle.
All of this goes to demonstrate the power of reproductive dynamics between men and women. Even in a sub culture that places an unusually passionate emphasis on science and empirical evidence, the dogma of gender feminism, complete with the entire litany of enabling fantasies, was just able to waltz in and take over.
You find this in the work of PZ Myers, a zealous ideologue with an openly feminist agenda who makes no bones about what men should do in the presence of women. They should put a piece of tape over their dominant, patriarchal mouths and shut up. So says Myers:
Listen. To. The. Women.
I’ve got a simple suggestion for my fellow men. Learn to shut up and listen. Seriously. You want women to find your organization pleasant and interesting and worth contributing to? Then don’t form panels full of men trying to figure out what women want, talking over women who try to get a word in edgewise, belittling women’s suggestions with jokes, and trying to determine how We Well-Meaning Men can give Those Women what we think they want. You are assuming an authority and presuming that it is in your power to give it to the minority, when what you should be doing is deferring to that minority and giving them your attention, letting them speak and shape your organization.
If that is not enough bilge for you, he also recommends that you click on over to be treated to more shaming at the hands of fellow ideologues Sharon Moss and Lyz Liddell, who are making it their mission to convince free thinkers (there’s a fucking laugh) of the male persuasion to similarly shut their mouths and let feminists dictate their sense of decency as well as their beliefs, rational or not.
How’s that for humanism?
As an atheist, I will be the first to admit that I take some issue with the male disposability often furthered by religious doctrine, and I surely do not approve of the way many modern churches have taken a top-down pro-feminist stance. But I understand that sort of thing a good bit more in communities that so strongly attach themselves to tradition.
What I find utterly laughable, though, is the idea that a collection of people whose raison d’être appears inextricably tied to freedom of ideas and independence from groupthink, now find themselves in open public view, turning their hymnals to the instructed page, and singing for phony salvation.
The more of Myers you read, the more you get the idea that masculinity is his version of original sin, and that he is constantly trying to indoctrinate his readers (or is it congregation?) to fall into line with it; without thinking, without dissent. Religiously.
Just shut up and listen to the women. How long, one has to wonder, before PZ wants us all to pray to them?