PZ takes a look at the Global Secular Council Debut and compares how that’s being run to how he and Ed thought about Freethought Blogs when they were setting it up.
Will they be effective? I looked at their Issues page, and it’s rather high-mindedly vague. For instance, one issue isInternational Human Rights. I’m glad they’re for ‘em, but after a scant 3 paragraphs that consist of platitudes, they present their summary:
POLICY RECOMMENDATION: The U.S. government should apply political pressure whenever possible to countries violating their international human rights obligations.
So, the Global Secular Council’s advice is that the US should do something about it?
I had to stop and laugh for about 3 minutes. I’m so glad they have all those EXPERTS to come up with that groundbreaking new POLICY RECOMMENDATION.
They’re not going to accomplish much if they’re just going to announce a set of goals on a website and then pose wisely to convince other people to go do the actual work, somehow.
I’m always going to be suspicious of an ad hoc group that assembles itself, declares itself the leader, and then tells everyone to follow on the strength of the prestige of their team. That’s not how real, functional organizations work. “BE IN CHARGE” is not a mission statement.
As a counter-example, look at Freethought Blogs. It’s an organization. When Ed Brayton and I were discussing setting it up, we did not begin by saying we’re really, really smart, and we should take charge and lead the whole atheist movement — we had a more reasonable and limited and specific goal. We wanted to set up a platform where we could write freely, and where we could create a shared space for people who wanted to promote equality and diversity within the movement…and thereby amplify the voices of all those people with broader social concerns than simply not believing in gods.
Mission, then framework to do it, and only then people to do the doing. This Global outfit seems to have thought, “Oooh we have all these shiny thought-leaders going to waste; let’s call them a GLOBAL COUNCIL so that everyone will be excited.” And now they’re surprised and puzzled that some of us are saying it seems to be a clusterfuck.