Lines in the sand, not a good tactic for any human as always beign an absolute.
This thread was also inspired by not just recent events but other events in my past.
Are there lines that should be drawn. Yes, like claims that women should submit to men because a deity told them so, or because of a cultural norm> Or a science class being dumbed down because a creationist wants to treat their claims as an equal probability.
But, I do get down on anyone who gets tunnel vision to the point that "this is the only way this can or should be be done". That is the exact climate that creates Stalin's Russia. That is the same climate that causes Iran's theocracy.
I had a friend on another board where I had been a mod, which is why I am not one today here, whom I lost as a friend because I refused to take sides. I did the ethical thing in stepping aside so that there would be no false accusation of playing favorites. In a civil society the reffs (government) SHOULD be as neutral as possible.
It ultimately amounts to, without personal stories from anyone of any label, past or present, that absolute black and white thinking is not a good solution.
One of those attitudes is that it is possible for ANY ONE OF US to be 100% consistent all the time. Humans, not any one of us, is capable of being absolutely free of some sort of hypocrisy or inconsistency. Humans are not perfect, none of us are.
We are all humans, all 7 billion of us, we as a species, did evolve to gravitate to like minded people. That social interaction is normal. But unfortunately it can also cause our species, far too often, to see dissent or people we don't like as a sub species. That is the downside of our evolution. It is what allows us to get violent with each other.
It is one thing to say "I don't like what this person does" or "I hate what that person does" OR "I don't like that person" . That is going to happen. And the other reality in our species is that there will ALWAYS be individuals who will never get along. So in this situation, the best you can do is live under laws that allow people to be themselves and merely simply demand the common ground both sides have in not physically harming someone in spite of what we say.
If the goal of humanity is pluralism then drawing lines in the sand cannot work. If our goal is to see ourselves as individuals, then we too, not just as atheists, but theists too should speak as individuals and don't speak for others under that label.
Guilt by association is what fascism does.
One of my favorite letters was Jefferson's letter to Adams about the state of "mudslinging" in politics. Jefferson basically, of course without cussing, but basically threw cold water on Adams face.
In a very real literal reality, the Declaration of Independence was blasphemy to the King and his position. They could have skipped that formal letter and simply wrote "fuck you" AND IT would have meant the same thing/ Jefferson reminded Adams that it was the King demanding absolutes, and the King was not protecting dissent. While they did not want to fight that war, I don't think any human in reality likes war, unless they are mentally ill. I think humans like the honor of protecting friends an loved ones and resources, though. So some people in that context like the motif of the military.
In any case, time after time after time after time in our courts, but especially with "The People vs Larry Flint" OUR COURT has rightfully said, that merely getting pissed off at someone, or being offended by what someone says is not enough to make a demand for their silence.
Now that was a Christian court that made that decision, and the issue wasn't even religion, it was about Larry Flint poking fun of Falwell's mother. The court said, while we may find that vile, the fact is that it does not meet the higher standard of a public figure. They said that no reasonable person would believe that was true, and parody for that matter, is protected.
WHY? Because if humans go around making demands that others not pick on them or offend them all the time FOR WHATEVER REASON, as an absolute, it does not take into account that powers shift long term. And the short term well intended idea of "cant we all just get along" DOES NOT take the long term reality that power changes, into account. So the people who think like this, ARE well intended, but can, without realizing it, hand a loaded gun(government) TO a future majority that might not agree with them.
The issue isn't "the only way to skin the cat is to get in their face" OR "the only way to skin the cat is to play nice all the time" The issue either way is not drawing lines in the sand not making absolute demands about the actions of others.
Otherwise the individual who does this is no better than the others in other groups whom they rightfully condemn.
You don't fight intolerance with intolerance. And life is NEVER, for anyone, ever simple black and white thinking.
I wrote this because I have seen, not just here, but people in my personal life, not even involving me, do this, I see it also in the news far too much. There ultimately is no "us vs them". There is only one species living on one planet. There are always going to be disagreements and even individuals no matter what, who wont get along with others. So one cant use ultimatums or threats to get people to do what one wants. One can control oneself, and one can try to appeal to others, but one cannot force other people to be a clone of themselves.
This also really cuts also to the core of my childhood too. My parents wrongly tried to push me in directions I didn't want to go( it wasn't that they were bad people, but they lacked the better psychological data we have now in accepting children as autonomous) AND I also suffered at the hands of peer pressure in trying to fit in and as a result I unknowingly sacrificed my dignity and threw myself at people who would never like me and even bullied me. The truth was that I only made it worse by trying to demand they not pick on me. I only made it worse when I didn't ignore them. It would have given me more power and control to either say "fuck you" BACK TO them or simply walk away and ignore them. The fact is I made the mistake of trying to control others instead of accepting that their baggage was theirs.
Part of me me now is a direct result of accepting and recognizing all the needless self inflicted trauma I caused myself.
I want atheists, and not just atheists, but all humans to be empowered to see themselves as autonomous. Something did not have the knowledge of when I was a kid which is why I let my parents baggage the bullies baggage and societies baggage get to me. I want people to be judged not as gangs merely based on being offened. The long standing religious disputes are based on the "sins of the father guilt by association" mistake.
The world does not need more lines in the sand. We simply need to see ourselves as humans first, the labels and disagreements have always been around and will always be around with different motifs and flavors some giving way to the future and some continuing. But what can minimize the harm to our species, or at least reduce it is the idea that we all want to be free from the physical harm of others. That is where the focus should be. Not our words, not our tactics. The mere knowledge that we all shit and pee and need food and shelter and have loved ones. That is where the common ground is, not the fact that we bitch or like to bitch.
My only issue with my detractors ANYWHERE, not just here, is not your tactic itself, but the attitude that "never under any situation" as an absolute. Whatever good intent someone might have with "never" gets lost in the real reality of situations and sheds of gray because life is complex and never simple one word or one way solutions. Most of the time they are a combo coming out of lots of sources.
"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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