Money Atheism is Regressive Atheism

People pursuing different causes for influencing our society will sometimes form organizations, like American Atheists or The Sierra Club, which pool money from members for lobbying and other ways of spreading the gospel. Then there are people who try to influence society without institutional backing, without money, with nothing but the street game. Groups like Antifa, which is not an actual organization, but rather something anyone can call their self if they go to bat for anti-fascism.

The side of atheism and skepticism with the money? Unfortunately, it seems that side has been overwhelmingly lost to political regressivism. Hj Hornbeck crunched the numbers, and it seems like the more right wing and reactionary you are in the movement, the more money you make. If you want the financial backing of atheists and skeptics, the only sure way to do so is by attacking feminism, hectoring those who advocate for social justice, generally being a conservative shitbird.

So if the side I favor has not a nickel to its name, has no financial leverage in changing the world, what does it have? Maybe nothing, as far as this fight. I think for most of us, other causes are more important than atheo-skepticism, and any leverage we have comes from our solidarity with those unrelated movements. When we do fight to make atheism a better place, all we have is our social media platforms, and our audience is just not large enough to swing this fight. Atheism as a money movement is lost to us, strictly the province of utter bastards and willfully ignorant centrists.

But money isn’t everything, as much as the Man wants us to believe that. Maybe just being on the good side will give us the staying power, the long game needed to change this movement. Maybe the rightward march of the money heads will force them to stagnate at a certain level, while we have potential to expand. That would be nice.

I don’t really believe it though. I think activism for atheism and skepticism are founded – more than anything – on ableism, and are therefore inherently regressive. One could advocate for them for progressive reasons. Most of this blog network is trying to. But that poison in the soil? It isn’t going away.


  1. says

    It’d be interesting, though impossible, to know the income levels of those who financially support “atheist causes.” I’d like to think that the fortunate classes of people that actually have disposable income and consume “SJW” media, are more apt to donate to humanitarian causes (or, of course, they may just keep hoarding wealth). On the other hand, shitlords with disposable income might be more apt to donate to their favorite content creators. After all, trolling is their most important cause, as well as the grand unifier of the various strands of bigotry. Their return on investment is probably very satisfying

  2. says

    I was going to write a comment presenting a counterargument, but then I realized my argument wasn’t actually countering anything you said. Rather, I was going to make the point that the progressive atheists may just be spending their money elsewhere. And you hint at this as well by saying “other causes are more important than atheo-skepticism.” So if we’re going to look at the money we spend strictly relating to atheism and not to loosely related causes, then I may have to agree. That said, I wonder, then, if we can truly count, for example, all of the money Sargon is getting as he’s promoting things besides atheism through his anti-feminism. The one reason we might is because he perhaps* ties his anti-feminism to his atheism and presents them as directly related, even if they truly are not. And perhaps that is the real point? I give money to progressive causes, but those causes don’t do their work “in the name of atheism,” so to speak, so we don’t get to count that? I can accept that as fair.

    Sorry if that was a bit incoherent. I was still working out my own thoughts as I typed them out. 🙂

    * I don’t actually watch his videos. I just hear about them second-hand.

  3. lanir says

    I think money tends to be an awful measuring stick for ideas. If you really believe that and extend it to it’s logical conclusion, Wall Street would be the sacred home to all virtue. I’ll just… let that one sink in and speak for itself.

    I generally write off anyone who fits the formula of being paid to be an asshole. Professional asshats are just not my thing. Sometimes a comedian can pull it off okay if the group they’re antagonizing doesn’t really exist. But generally speaking it just does not work for me at all. It’s sort of pathetic to pay someone to let you vicariously be an asshole through them anyway.

  4. says

    IHFJ – True facts re: paid trollery. It’s a grody business.

    Buzalsky – Sounds like you write close to the way I do, heh. I remember when I first became aware of Carlgon of Asswad. My bro sent me a link to a video that was just some pop culture thing he did. My bro had not noticed the anti-feminist crapola elsewhere on the guy’s page, and was apologetic when I pointed it out.

    Lanir – Thanks for saying that. I’m culturally USian in the same way I’m culturally xtian, and it’s natural to feel like money is more important than it is. Likewise, I’ve lost any taste I used to have for professional assholery.

  5. kestrel says

    Yeah… it’s pretty discouraging. Some of the organizations/people I’ve tried to donate to in the past have been revealed to be pretty skivvy. It’s hard to know where to go with my pittance.

    It amazed me at first because I would have thought that people who were atheist/skeptic would spend a little more time thinking… I was originally posting on a Really Big Forum, always bothered and upset by the other posters, and finally figured out it was the misogyny and unthinking bias that was bugging me so much. So I went elsewhere, lather, rinse, repeat… finally ended up here.

    I don’t doubt that there are people out there who would love to donate what little money they have to the betterment of humanity through atheism/skepticism but man, it’s hard to find a good organization, group or person. Apparently our culture is way more bigoted and biased than I ever realized, enough so that it even pollutes people who are supposedly free thinkers. It makes it really hard to donate money especially if you’ve been burned a half dozen times so far, giving a small amount of money to an organization and then finding out they are harboring someone or some people or some ideology who/that are really quite horrible.

  6. says

    I hardly ever donate to anything, being broke as a joke, but when I was having a financially OK moment on a specific occasion, I donated some to Ania Bula over at The Orbit. She’s one of the good guys, very financially disadvantaged, and still manages to write for the cause regularly. Maybe donating to or buying things from individuals may be a better approach than orgs, as things stand.

  7. Hj Hornbeck says

    So if the side I favor has not a nickel to its name, has no financial leverage in changing the world, what does it have? Maybe nothing, as far as this fight.

    Time is money, as they say. The oft-maligned lobbyist is literally someone you pay to do your activism for you. Standing Rock lasted as long as it did thanks in part to food donations from others. Second-wave feminism was dominated by upper-middle class white women because they could afford to take time off.

    Your side does have leverage, the critical questions are “how much” and “how to best apply it.” Forming your own atheist organization to offer an alternative to the assholes isn’t an option if you struggle to put food on the table.

    Leo Buzalsky @2:

    That said, I wonder, then, if we can truly count, for example, all of the money Sargon is getting as he’s promoting things besides atheism through his anti-feminism. The one reason we might is because he perhaps* ties his anti-feminism to his atheism and presents them as directly related, even if they truly are not.

    That is a good point, Benjamin’s atheism-related activity is pretty small next to his work against social justice. Mind you, I can also say that about Thomas Smith and AronRa. Heck, Neil deGrasse-Tyson doesn’t make religion a focus, yet is well-known and highly regarded within the atheo-skeptic sphere. So while good, I don’t think your point is disqualifying either: so long as Benjamin is listened to and admired by a significant chunk of the atheo-skeptic community, he counts as a part of it.

  8. lanir says

    Satan – I sometimes think that the only PR campaign that has been running longer than the spin doctoring of religion is the spin doctoring that says the asshole that has tons of stuff while you don’t somehow deserves it. I don’t have a good example for the money bits other than “noble” as an adjective meaning virtuous when the people were generally anything but that. The religious bits though… I still re-use some of the imagery in RPGs at times without thinking about it (although they’re distinctly repurposed) and say “Oh god” as an exclamation. I just don’t have any other words to fit in those spots and hold those meanings. And I left religion behind because I found the hypocrisy revolting.

  9. says

    HJ – True facts. Man, based on your phrasing, it sounds like Aron Ra might’ve gone regressive. I don’t watch his videos any more because if I did, youtube would recommend a bunch of “related” moldy mushroom people to me. So I don’t know – did he get grody to fit in with his peers?

    Lanir – Big time, big time. The words “mean” and “vulgar” are both rooted in classism, though are far enough from that root to be OK at this point. I don’t remember which of my readers were or were not previously religious, and seeing that you were, it makes me think that might be an interesting discussion some time.

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