I’m still thinking about it, because the more I think about it, the worse it gets. The more I think about it the more it underlines that this is not what I want in any kind of campaign or movement, let alone a community.
I was trying to say something about logical thinking, but that logical point doesn’t raise its silly head in neutral cases like X and Y and in cases like giving somebody a slap around the face as distinct from breaking their nose. It doesn’t raise its head with that. It does raise its head when you’re talking about rape and pedophilia and possibly nothing else. Therefore, I wanted to make the point that we are rationalists, we are humanists, we are skeptics, we are atheists. Why have we allowed these two topics of rape and pedophilia to deprive us of our normal logical reasoning? We say, “Oh we don’t talk about that, that’s too sensitive.” [emphsis in original]
It does raise its head when you’re talking about rape and pedophilia. Ok, and why would that be? Let’s think about it. It would probably be because they are subjects that are personal to a great many people, and associated with terrible trauma and misery.
So, given that, it’s not very becoming for a prominent intellectual to be so censorious about it. It’s crass and unfeeling, at best, for someone like that to say what amounts to “why do people get so damn worked up about rape??!”
and possibly nothing else. Oh, no, I doubt that very much. Why would that be the case? Why wouldn’t murder, and assault, and war, and mental illness, and disability, and poverty, and injustice, have the same kind of baggage? Poor people don’t much like it when rich people make calm, cool, “rational” generalizations about poverty, in my experience. Why’s that? Because rich people aren’t harmed by poverty in the way poor people are. People who are suffering or who have suffered don’t much like to see people belittling, or even seeming to belittle, their suffering. It’s not a good cause to take up. “Damn it, General, why can’t we talk dispassionate rubbish about the war dead without a lot of widows and orphans making a big fuss?!”
Therefore, I wanted to make the point that we are rationalists, we are humanists, we are skeptics, we are atheists. Yes, yes we are – and why would that mean we aspire to be able to talk and think about rape or pedophilia or genocide without emotion? That’s the last thing I want. I don’t want to stamp out human fears and sympathies. That’s not what humanists should be doing.
Why have we allowed these two topics of rape and pedophilia to deprive us of our normal logical reasoning? We haven’t. Everybody gets the trivial point that “not as bad as” is not the same as “good.” Everybody. We get it. What we don’t get is what the point was of using rape and pedophilia to “provoke” people. The answer to that is not a matter of logic.