As I was saying… in free inquiry one doesn’t want taboos, to put it mildly. In political commitments, however, one does (in a sense).
What sense? Maybe the most basic one, the one you learn slowly as a child: that other people have minds too, and they are different from yours, and you can’t treat them just any old how.
Or maybe Google’s is a better version: don’t be evil. Or that of the Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm. Or the first clause of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
That’s a commitment rather than a fact, and everything depends on it, and it implies some taboos. To make equal rights of all humans a reality as opposed to a pretty phrase, it’s necessary to make certain kinds of behavior and discourse taboo. Calling people “niggers” or “wogs” wasn’t taboo at all a few decades ago, and now it is. I had thought that calling people “cunts” or “twats” was taboo now, but it turns out to be not as taboo as it ought to be (not as taboo as “nigger” or “kike” for instance).
That’s a taboo much more than it is a matter of free inquiry. I don’t think that by itself is a genuine problem for free inquiry (does free inquiry need to call people cunts? No.), but other taboos can be. There are subjects that are notoriously minefields, and that is obviously inimical to free inquiry into those particular subjects.
But I don’t conclude from that that therefore atheists/freethinkers who have egalitarian commitments are doing their atheism or free thinking wrong. It would be the other way around. Atheists and freethinkers who had no egalitarian commitments would in my view be the wrong kind of atheists and freethinkers, however good (tightly argued, carefully thought through, eloquently expressed) their atheism and free thought might be. They would still be atheists and freethinkers, certainly, but I wouldn’t want them as comrades. That’s all the more the case if and when they become active in their freedom from egalitarian commitments – when they take to sneering at the very idea of feminism (i.e. at the very idea of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family including women).