Quantcast

«

»

Dec 15 2011

Projects

Another item from the archive. No reason. Just for the hell of it. I saw a link to it somewhere and was reminded of it so thought I would summon it from ur-B&W.

June 17, 2011

I have a new project. My new project is to convince people on the left that they must work together with Tea Partiers.

This may seem like a difficult thing to do, but I like a challenge. There are many urgent problems in the world, such as countless people who still have the wrong kind of light bulbs, and the only way those problems can be solved is if I – yes I, I alone, I personally, I bravely yet gently yet determinedly yet lovingly – build a bridge between the left and the Tea Party. The division between the left and the Tea Party is divisive, and when there is divisiveness, problems don’t get solved, because people don’t work together, so it is urgent and vital and very important to heal this tragic divide by telling the left to forget about all the things they disagree with the Tea Party about. It would be pointless to tell the Tea Party to reciprocate, of course, and besides, the left is…well you know. So the work is to tell the left how to heal the divide, while not telling the Tea Party anything, because it already.

This is my healing work that I plan to do. I believe in love and reaching out and bridges and unity. I hope you all wish me luck and every success with my work, which I will be working on in many ways for many weeks to come, and which I will be reporting on via Twitter, Facebook, the New York Times, the Washington Post, People, USA Today, the Huffington Post, Tikkun, First Things, Christianity Today, my seven blogs, some of my friends’ blogs which I haven’t counted yet, and CBS News. In spite of all this fame and exposure I remain impressively humble and kind of bashfully surprised by all the success and approval I report daily via Twitter, Facebook, the New York Times, the Washington Post, People, USA Today, the Huffington Post, Tikkun, First Things, Christianity Today, my seven blogs, and some of my friends’ blogs which I haven’t counted yet.

Once I’ve got the left and the Tea Party squared away, I’ll get to work on getting feminists and sexists to work together, then unions and the governor of Wisconsin, then the Taliban and the women of Afghanistan. As I mentioned, I like a challenge. Thank you, god bless you, and god bless the United States of America.

25 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Josh Slocum

    Oh, I think there’s a reason. Oh yes I do. :)

  2. 2
    BenSix

    Of course, there are circumstances where a union between da Left and the tea partiers might be a good idea. If there was a stupid against Iran, for example, the former’s anti-imperialistic tendencies and the latter’s isolationist contingent might join forces in a more forceful endeavour.

    Now I’ve got that tiresome contrarianism outta-the-way, I suppose my broader point is that collaboration between disparate groups might be a good idea if it’s liable to be of concrete value. But, yes, it’s not per se.

  3. 3
    screechy monkey

    I’m telling Mom!

  4. 4
    Ophelia Benson

    There are always circumstances in which alliances are useful. But then, alliances are often formed – so there really isn’t any particular need for anyone to keep insisting that Xs must bury their disagreements with Ys for the sake of working together, because when Xs and Ys need to work together, they will do so.

    This is especially true when Ys have had it all their own way for many centuries and are still the majority in most places and get plenty of near-slavering deference anyway, while Xs are a despised minority who have the reprehensible flaw of seeing the world more accurately than Ys do. It seems partial (both incomplete and partisan) to nag Xs to suppress their thoughts while leaving Ys alone to say what they like; it also seems like just more majoritarian bullying.

  5. 5
    BenSix

    I agree.

    I’m all for respect for an argument if the argument deserves respect – and respect towards an arguer if they’ll offer the same to you and others. Otherwise, the words “fair game” flash in 50-foot neon.

  6. 6
    'Tis Himself

    which I will be reporting on via Twitter, Facebook, the New York Times, the Washington Post, People, USA Today, the Huffington Post, Tikkun, First Things, Christianity Today, my seven blogs, some of my friends’ blogs which I haven’t counted yet, and CBS News.

    You don’t have to be so secretive.

  7. 7
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    I saw a link to it somewhere

    I know where! I know where! :)

  8. 8
    Daniel Fincke

    This cracked me up Ophelia.

  9. 9
    DLC

    And Atheists need to *work with* conservative Christians. . . and be more accommodating. . .

  10. 10
    F

    Ha ha.

  11. 11
    jfigdor

    You and Chris Stedman are working towards similar goals through fundamentally different means. I feel like a lunch together would settle most of the disagreement/misunderstanding. There are many ways to skin a cat, after all (wow, what an immoral metaphor!).

  12. 12
    Ophelia Benson

    John – no we’re not. One of my goals is to see an end to the extra deference paid to religion, while Chris Stedman is relentless about urging atheists to pay extra deference to religion. Deference v non-deference is not just about means, it’s one of the goals.

    And I don’t think a lunch would make any difference to this. Everybody gets that Chris is a friend of yours and James’s, but we don’t have to like him as much as you do. We just don’t.

  13. 13
    Ophelia Benson

    SC – yes you do! Thanks for the compliment. :- )

  14. 14
    athorist

    I thought “because it already” in the 2nd paragraph was a typo from copypasting, but it’s in the original too. Also, you have 8 blogs now :D

  15. 15
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Ophelia Benson:

    One of my goals is to see an end to the extra deference paid to religion, while Chris Stedman is relentless about urging atheists to pay extra deference to religion.

    This.

    I’m not working toward the end of religion. I’m working toward ending the exercise of religion as an honorable excuse for terrible actions.

    Stedman presents religion as an admirable thing among those who do not use their religion as an excuse for terrible actions. But he ignores the fact the people he admires for their religious beliefs must excuse those who use their religion as an excuse for terrible actions.

    Actually, that’s wrong. he doesn’t just ignore that. He defends it.

    And that just pisses me off.

  16. 16
    Ophelia Benson

    Yup, “because it already” was intentional.

    Only one blog! Ur-B&W is now a website, whereas the blog is here.

  17. 17
    James Croft

    One of my goals is to see an end to the extra deference paid to religion, while Chris Stedman is relentless about urging atheists to pay extra deference to religion.

    You’re just completely wrong, Ophelia. But that’s becoming par for the course here. Total ignorance of any actual facts to support a case, and strange fixations on people who disagree with you. I suppose I shall now be banished from this blog too. This place is beginning to be a repository of all that is worst in our movement.

  18. 18
    James Croft

    By “this place” I mean Freethought Blogs more generally, I should say, not your blog in particular, which some 95% of the time I greatly enjoy.

  19. 19
    Ophelia Benson

    James – no I’m not. I refer you, for example, to this piece at the Huffington Post -

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-stedman/my-new-years-resolution-c_b_808023.html?ref=fb&src=sp

    To build, literally and metaphorically, a Humanist community that is healthy and sustainable, we must get over this sense that provocation should be our number one goal, and that positive engagement with others is unimportant.

    The week following Christmas has passed and we find ourselves in a new year. With a new year comes new work. One of the projects I am most excited about is “Challenge the Gap,” a new initiative of the Foundation Beyond Belief, an atheist and Humanist charitable foundation, which aims to find common ground between the religious and the secular. It is, to my knowledge, the first time that an explicitly atheist and Humanist foundation is funding interfaith cooperation.

    It is a new Humanism for a new year: one that looks forward in hope, not back in anger. I believe that ethics and engagement are central to what it means to live in the world as a Humanist, and that Humanist community and identity require an affirmative foundation, not one structured in contrast to ideologies we disagree with.

    Secular Humanism should not be defined as a rejection of religion; otherwise, we risk living our lives looking for ideas — and people — to rebuff. Rather, Humanism ought to be seen first and foremost as a desire to be the best people we can be, to commune with other humans and live ethically and humbly together. It should not be vindictive or oppositional. Instead, it should seek to build bridges whenever possible, with whomever possible. Let’s not let our differences destroy the essential social bonds that will facilitate cooperation and understanding.

    Now maybe when he says “we” in that piece he means exclusively people who call themselves Secular Humanists (complete with capital letters), or maybe he even means just the Harvard Humanists…but if so he forgot to make that clear, and he combines atheism with humanism, so that it appeared to me his “we” meant non-theists in general.

    It’s just not obvious (at all) that he’s not telling non-theists in general to stop being oppositional. And he’s written other articles that create the same impression, and he’s published others on his blog that are even more hostile to oppositional atheism.

    As for what you say about Freethought blogs, it’s just nonsense.

  20. 20
    Aquaria

    If accomodationists were honest, they wouldn’t say the things they do, Ophelia.

  21. 21
    Aquaria

    You’re just completely wrong, Ophelia. But that’s becoming par for the course here. Total ignorance of any actual facts to support a case, and strange fixations on people who disagree with you. I suppose I shall now be banished from this blog too. This place is beginning to be a repository of all that is worst in our movement.

    There are dozens of blogs on this one, and all you see is what your scumbag persecution complex wants to see.

    Or, shorter James Croft: Boo hoo hoo– being honest about religtards and I can’t handle it!

  22. 22
    James Croft

    Ophelia, since I started reading your blog regularly I’ve come to have enormous respect for your writing, your mind, your whole “project”. I honestly value the vast majority of what you write. But when we discuss interfaith issues, and particularly anything related to Chris Stedman, I simply don’t understand your perspective. This may well be my own fault – I’m very wiling to learn. In the spirit of helping me out, would you tell me what it is you find objectionable in the quote you presented?

    In my mind it’s clearly Humanists who are being addressed in the piece, and I see nothing that is an attack against people who use a different approach. To say that “X should not be our number 1 goal” is not today that X is unimportant or wrong or nasty. I happen to agree that Humanism (as distinct from atheism) must be a positive setoif values which does more than define itself in opposition to religion, as the post suggests. If someone does not want to self-define as a Humanist, the post doesn’t berate them, and if someone has a different idea about what Humanism should be they are free to present it. I just don’t see what you see in the post which you seem to object to so much.

    Aquaria: There’s absolutely no value in responding to your aggressive froth-mouthed rants. If you can learn to post respectfully I’ll be happy to engage you. Otherwise I’m just going to ignore you.

  23. 23
    Ophelia Benson

    James -

    One, I’ve mostly stopped talking about Stedman at all. This post was the exception, not the rule. There’s no “strange fixation.”

    Two, you and John aren’t the best people to defend Stedman, if only because you do it so regularly, so almost automatically…but also of course because you’re all HH, so you look like interested parties. It’s slightly annoying to be unable to criticize Stedman without immediately getting pushback from you or John or both.

    Three, on how to read the post. We’re both handicapped. I’m handicapped by not knowing him and not having talked to him about these matters – over lunch, as John said. But you’re handicapped by knowing him and having talked to him – it seems to make you unable to read what he writes the way a stranger would.

    It’s not at all clear to me that it’s Humanists who are being addressed in the piece, because at the beginning of the passage I quoted he couples Humanism with atheism twice. He then goes on to talk about Humanism alone, but given the setup, it’s just not clear that he’s not talking to atheists-n-humanists as opposed to Humanists. That’s especially true because there hasn’t lately been a huge backlash against Humanists for being shrill-n-strident about god, but there has been such a backlash against atheists for doing so. The stuff that Stedman talks about is stuff that atheists are constantly upbraided for doing, not humanists. That means the piece looks as if he is doing yet another “you atheists are too shrill n strident” piece even though he is for some reason calling them Humanists.

    Maybe he didn’t mean that. I’m not as confident of that as you are, though. That’s because I think, frankly, that Stedman is using the existing hatred of atheists and the upsurge of hatred of the noisy gnu atheists, to make a name for himself. I think he’s pandering to an existing nasty prejudice. I don’t think he’s doing it really deliberately – I don’t think he puts it in those terms, to himself (or others) – but I think he is hooking onto the meme of gnu-hatred to get attention. I think he should be much more sensitive to that possibility and do more to avoid it.

  24. 24
    julian

    Let’s not let our differences destroy the essential social bonds that will facilitate cooperation and understanding.

    Remember the babelfish!

    Yes I know that’s flippant but Mr. Stedman’s advice and writing are as immaterial as the angels he so desperately wants to believe in. And that’s probably one of the biggest things that irritate some people. Especially for those of us who got to much of that faux wisdom growing up from our families.

    If the man wants to encourage cooperation perhaps he should stop pretending all differences are on the same level as whether you’re a Mets fan or a Yankees fan.

    We don’t all share the same priorities, principals or belief and often times those differences lead to us having dramatically conflicting views on not only right and wrong but how to approach life (on the personal level) to how to govern a nation (as Ms. Benson points out.)

    What’s gained from pretending there’s common ground between me and Michelle Bachmann? What’s gained from pretending we ultimately want the same thing? We’re enemies in every sense of the word except we aren’t shooting at one another.

    And how exactly are we to build anything when it’s assumed that we all want the same thing? It’s ridiculousness on par with the Tea Party. Part of the reason for engaging with others is to work out whose goals are better, whose goals can be said to have the best impact on the larger population to determine, in short, whose right in what they want.

    I suppose the goal might be ‘make things better’ but that’s such a feeble and rickety bridge to meet on why would you? It doesn’t even have the same meaning to everyone. Already there’s a million different ideas about what that simple phrase means.

    How’s about we just let people argue it out and try to hold people accountable when they slip into poor reasoning and bigoted language?

    Wow that rant went on for a bit longer than I thought it would.

  25. 25
    cashback

    Someone essentially assist to make severely posts I might state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I amazed with the research you made to make this particular publish extraordinary. Wonderful activity!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite="" class=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>