C J Werleman claims that New Atheism – all of it, not just Sam Harris and Bill Maher – is pro-white supremacy.
[The New Atheist movement has] become a pro-white supremacy movement. New Atheism is anti-Muslim, anti-Arab bigotry dressed up with a thin veneer of fancy sounding words.
That’s not a very effective way of making his claim, since white-supremacy isn’t the same thing as anti-Muslim bigotry which is not the same thing as anti-Arab bigotry. There’s overlap, but it’s possible to be one of those things without being the others, and it’s possible to be two of those things without being all three.
Individually, and on a personal level, however, New Atheists can be good people. Collectively and unwittingly, however, they not only espouse white supremacy but they also speak in a language that is every bit as crude and racist as fascist, neo-Nazi, movements. Although a little more discreetly.
Hm. He’s really not good at noticing when he contradicts himself between one sentence and the next, is he. If the language is a little more discreet, then it’s not every bit as crude and racist. The language can’t be both a little more discreet and every bit as crude and racist.
Some do; some don’t. Also, “violent” won’t do as a dog whistle, because it’s an indispensable word. If you treat “violent” as racist-dog whistle, you’ve made it impossible to use a necessary word.
Moreover, New Atheists enthusiastically, and often unintentionally, promote western imperialism, and any individual who supports an erroneous narrative (“clash of civilisations” is the theme of New Atheism) that, by design, attempts to justify western intervention in the Middle East, Africa, or Asia is, ergo ipso facto, a white supremacist.
Jesus – what a terrible writer he is. No wonder I’ve never bothered with him before. Again with the confusion – “enthusiastically, and often unintentionally” – that doesn’t really cohere. And then the random jumble of clauses, and then the silly “ergo ipso facto” – what a mess. Oh and a wrong factual claim – no, “clash of civilisations” is not the theme of new atheism.
Like their anti-theistic genocidal forefathers of the middle 20th century, New Atheists dabble in the dark arts of scientific racism. “The cult of science promises to eradicate or reform the tainted and morally inferior populations of the human race,” warns Chris Hedges. Today’s New Atheists proclaim science and reason will save humanity; bring an end to all wars; and bring about a more perfect civilisation. On the way to this imagined utopia, however, and again like their genocidal, anti-theistic forefathers of yore, they champion those who urge violence and discrimination.
Which anti-theistic genocidal forefathers of the middle 20th century are those then? And name one new atheist who says “science and reason will save humanity; bring an end to all wars; and bring about a more perfect civilisation.” Just one. He offers Bill Maher as an example but forgets to include the part about how science and reason will save humanity; bring an end to all wars; and bring about a more perfect civilisation, so that’s not an example of what he just said.
As for Hirsi Ali, no New Atheist alive in America today is unfamiliar with her story. But it’s not the retelling of her story they seek. They want to rehear again and again how “Islam is one of the world’s great evils”, or “the mother lode of bad ideas”, or the greatest threat to Western civilisation, a “nihilistic, cult of death” and so on. They want to be made afraid of Islam in order to justify their hate of Muslims.
Except that maybe, just maybe, that’s not true. Just maybe it really is Islam that they dislike, and that leads some of them into rhetoric that does look anti-Muslim, and sometimes is anti-Muslim.
Sam Charles Hamad is a journalist with great expertise on the Middle East and US foreign policy. On the day Hirsi Ali spoke and received “a standing ovation” at the American Atheist’s convention, Hamad posted on Facebook:
“You’ll find that the vast majority of Ali’s fans are white males who hate Muslims and, in her, have found a perfect little brown-skinned conduit for their bigotry. I’m not a racist or prejudiced, they can say as they spout racism and bigotry. I’m a big fan of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The fact that she’s a complete fraud making a shitload of cash at the expense of these slobbering white bigots would be rather funny if she also didn’t appeal to genuine fascists and demonise Muslims in such a fascistic and potentially dangerous manner.”
Notice the sexism that slipped in there? That Werleman apparently didn’t notice? That tell-tale “little”?
There are plenty of assholes in the atheist/new atheist movement, for sure. I wouldn’t dream of denying it. Lots of them are sexist men, and some are also racist. But is the whole movement “white supremacist” (or sexist)? Nope.