No Win

Content Warning: Despairing Rhetoric re: Politics, COVID, Environmentalism.

Fighting antivax beliefs, and indeed reactionary thought as a whole, feels like dealing with an insurgency.  There is just no good solution at this point.  (Government crackdown on facebook’s fascist bullshit algorithms in 2015 might have helped, but there’s no political will to make that happen even now.)  You’ll never win the hearts and minds of people deluded into feeling like brave defenders of an invaded homeland, any effort to force compliance will just lead to more terrorist reprisal.  We’ve already had a taste of that, in destruction of medicine, in obstruction of vax sites, and in many cases of physical assault all across the country.

Given all that, how does one adjust to this new world of biological gods and ideological monsters?  Knowing what endemic COVID looks like will be a good start for that discussion.  Funny to think if I live to my seventies or nineties I could be killed slowly and painfully, asphyxiated and brain damaged by a disease that could have been strangled in its infancy two years ago.  By funny, I mean all rethuglican fucks please eat shit and die ASAP, it’s the least you can do for us.

No, no, Satan.  Calm down.  These are human beings, this is humanity.  The same humanity that supports Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin and Jair Bolsonaro, that has LGBT Jamaicans assaulted every day, living in vacant lots and scrounging garbage to eat, that packs megachurch pews to fund murderous hate around the globe, that scapegoats anybody and everybody to pursue short-term political and financial gain while ensuring the extinction of your species.  You have no choice but to live with these people, or to die.  They are here to stay, for as long as humanity continues to exist.

I don’t know.  We can just keep having these conversations, every day until we die.  Very tiring.

 

 

If You Hail Satan, Come Correct

Woof.  I wanted to like The Satanic Temple and Lucien Greaves, but I randomly came across the real scoop on what low-down fash-friendly piles of shit they really are.  Representing myself as satanic, I feel the need to address this, and while I’m at it, help fix some of the harm they are doing in the world.

To start with, I need to make clear that I do not believe every member of TST is fascist or a scumbag.  Some just haven’t gotten the facts yet, and some who have feel too invested to acknowledge the truth.  To those of you who are good people, I hope you work things out.

But I also hope you can realize you don’t need TST and can represent Satan in your own ways.  There is absolutely nothing stopping you from walking away from TST en masse and starting your own Satanism.  Maybe it starts small, a facebook group or a twitter account, but it can turn into something just as big and certainly better.

 

Eugenics and Nazi Friendliness

I was ill-informed and had little idea that modern satanists were so cozy with antisemitism and nazism until I fell down this unfortunate rabbit hole.  What in the name of Hell is the point of rejecting Christ only to wallow in the shit ideals of his worst fanboys?

Lucien Greaves has made some half-assed apologies for antisemitic comments made on a radio show in 2003 as that came to light recently, and in the narrow context of that clip one could think of his comments as being more antitheist than antisemitic – he was saying jewish religious belief is his problem and jewish blood is not, in disagreement with the hosts of the radio show he was on.

But broaden that context just a little bit more, and things look much worse.  Why did he not rebuke the whole proceedings when his pals on the show went full sieg heil?  Why didn’t he bail?  Because he knew they were nazis going in, and he was OK with that.

The show itself was the “Might Is Right 24-Hour Radio Special” in honor of a new printing of racist / antisemitic book “Might is Right” – and Greaves (as “Doug Mesner”) was invited because he illustrated the book.  Whatever terms or qualifiers he’s used for it (he had a site called “dysgenics” as late as 2018), Greaves has wholeheartedly endorsed eugenics on many occasions.  As recently as the founding of The Satanic Temple ten years after his appearance on that show, he was willingly associating with and involving the sieg heiling host of that very broadcast.

(Quick aside – the event hosts may or may not have identified as nazis and they didn’t actually say “sieg heil” but I don’t give an earthly shit about distinguishing between flavors of antisemite and the finer points of their ideologies.  Another guest on the show was prominent KKK figure Tom Metzger – in a segment of the show Greaves (Doug Misicko in the transcript) happily participated in.  Y’all are nazis; eat shit and die at your soonest convenience, thanks.)

(Aside Deux – because this is an atheist blog network and the “thought leaders” of modern atheism seem to think some nice guy version of eugenics, as a concept, can be salvaged for good, I should emphasize that ain’t true.  I’m not up to linkspamming support of that point, but feeling tempted to give nazi ideas an inch of your mental bandwidth should give you great pause.)

Anyone who would oppose the hypocrisies and injustices of cultural christianity has to decide for theirself what they will propose in the wake of christianity’s defeat.  Because you’re not going to defeat xtianity at large, of course (only they can do that to themselves lol), but you are going to win some hearts and minds away from the pews and pulpits.  What are you giving them in exchange for what they’ve given up?

For some opposing xtianity is enough, like dictionary atheists who are iconoclasts without a care.  LaVey was in the pitiful thrall of Ayn Rand and his satanic bible owes its soul to her “objectivism.”  His Church of Satan and the satanic movement generally from that point on carried those values of cruelty and greed forward.  This was the movement from which Greaves emerged, only differing in that he was more fully atheistic than his predecessors.  Or maybe just more ableist.  From what I’ve seen, ableism was always his biggest hobbyhorse.

OK, greed as a value does seem to oppose the charity spoken of by Jesus, so satanic, right?  Wrong.  If we were just going to oppose xtianity as described in the bible, maybe.  But I don’t give a fuck about that.  I want to oppose xtianity as it is practiced in my culture, and all the harm it does – most of which is fueled by greed.  If you’re not doing that – fighting for the ability of people to enjoy life, fighting oppression – what’s the fucking point?

In their stances on gay rights and reproductive rights and religious freedom, The Satanic Temple has lured in thousands of progressive people – taken their time and money.  But was this truly deserved?  The organization is rotten at its core for the same reason the gnu atheist movement was: the founders centered ableism, the ability to feel superior to the “stupid” xtians, which is just about the quickest path to eugenics and nazism.

To this day, there are high ups within TST that have a history of consorting with nazi clowns like Mike Cernovich and Milo Yiannapolis.  TST have gone on record as being anti-antifa, and you know what you get when those antis zero out.

 

Reproductive Rights People Hate Them

Just because anti-abortion scumbags have had a great deal of success lately does not mean that the defenders of reproductive health have been failing at their jobs, only that fascists have been achieving horrific victories across the board.  But The Satanic Temple has opted to use that messaging to suck up activist dollars – to claim “We must accept the fact that traditional efforts to protect reproductive rights have failed.”

And what are they doing with the pro-abortion activist dollars?  They’re acting like $cientology in the way they veer between saying they’re a religion and denying that depending on what’s most advantageous in a given financial or legal situation, and not being at all transparent about where the money goes.

 

SLAPP Suit

All these issues and more led some Satanists in my part of the country to rebel, to make public critique of the organization.  The law protects criticism of religious organizations, but they’re still suing for business harm – a business when it suits them, a religion when it doesn’t.  The apostates are just regular people facing tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses they can’t afford.  It’s a SLAPP suit working as intended, and you can see why I might find that something worth fighting against.

Support the Queer Satanic Apostasy.  Help defend them against the SLAPP suit.

 

Full Disclosure:

TST and FtB have both employed the same lawyer in free speech cases, a man who is a strong partisan on that issue, but easy to find very negative articles about.  That lawyer is specifically named as one of the reasons for dissenters leaving TST.  Due to our prior relationship with him, I will not be addressing that one specific issue here and prefer it not be discussed in this space, except to say I understand and very much sympathize with those concerns.

Blatantly Rigged Trial Ends as Expected

I guess all nazis have to do to get away with murder is have their teen sons pull the triggers.  Given the public statements of the judge in murder boy’s case, I want nobody to act surprised by this outcome.  Outraged is cool, yeah, do that.  But surprise?  That would just be silly.

There’s a foul stench of danger hanging over this country, that the barely concealed racist fascism of the turn of our century will go overt, will remove the last pretenses of democracy from our processes and usher in a new era of far greater horrors.  I can understand people feeling hopeless – and especially turning up their noses at our supposed liberal political party – but we can’t stop until this is over.

I mention these things because stuff like the result of this court case is empowering to the fash, which will make them more motivated to turn up in numbers next election, depending on what happens in the meantime.  And what’s been happening lately is a 24-7 doubt parade from corporate media on the ability of the democrats generally and Biden particularly to govern.  The “people say” style of reportage is in full gear, where any nasty fucked up lie from billionaire-funded nazi-ass think tanks turns into a headline.

Protestors will be returning to the streets.  Some are probably there already.  And now murderers have been forearmed with precedent for how to get away with straight-up executing them in broad daylight.  But people will fight on anyway, and I fucking love them for it.  Long live the fighters!  Black Lives Matter.  Black Power Now!

Skeptisuck – Harriet Hall Time

HJ doesn’t do comments at his blog, but his recent article about Harriet Hall – concluded with a simply told bit of news that makes the more well-loved end of the skeptisphere a lot less lovable – cries out for comment.  If you wanna rip on Harriet Hall, or her pals Steven Novella and David Gorski, or whatever, I invite you to make the comments on this post into your mosh pit.

A Fistful of Justice

Justice is a human construct.  The Universe does not have an inherent sense of right and wrong.  Karma is nonsense, heaven and hell moreso.  But sometimes we luck out, and things happen that look to us like nature making things right.

Five conservative radio hosts – all people who spread deadly misinformation about covid – have died of covid.  Of them, as you may have heard, Phil Valentine died in the most brutal, drawn out, and excruciating way of the lot.  His fellow radio recipients of coincidental justice were Tod Tucker, Marc Bernier, Dick Farrel, and Jimmy DeYoung.

In other good news, disgraced fascist demagogue Baby Milo got covid and poisoned himself with ivermectin.

For a LOT of additional examples of people dying for conservative identity politics, check out the reddit COVIDAteMyFace.  How do you feel about the ethics of this kind of reportage?  I feel like these stories need to be spread as much as possible, for the sake of the dicks that are dying.  If all they care about is owning the libs, maybe they’ll get smart and mask/vax up – if they see that doing otherwise is fielding the opposite result.

Hot Tip to Unionize Video Games Now

Get a load of this shit: Activision-Blizzard Hires Amazon Union-Busting Firm.  As Boots Riley from the Coup said, “If we’re ever gonna do it let’s do it now.”  That is to say, when a government agency in a state with anti-worker wildcat strike laws decides to bring charges against a company for fucking massive systemic sexual harassment, and as employees start to organize, and that is their response?  Workers of the world unite!

The game industry is massive in profits thanks to selling gambling to children, but small in workforce, which makes it extremely vulnerable to labor revolt.  It hasn’t happened yet only because douchebros attach sucking corporate ass product to their sense of manhood and identity, and have stacked the industry with like-minded people.

But the video game industry, like all creative industries, is so vicious and life-draining that even scumbag misogynist right wingers last an average of two years there before flaming out and going back to work at Electronics Boutique.  The sausage is made out of art students and young programmers, and management thinks nothing of it because there’s always a new graduating class to brainrape (or sometimes just physically rape).

So here’s how you do it.  Organize their asses before they leave the schools.  You can’t do this at one school or you’ll just get the grads there shadowbanned.  You need to hit them all at the same time.  There are not that many schools producing video game creators.  Find them, do not involve the faculty in any way, and infiltrate their shit.  Full court propaganda press.

You get enough traction and make these vampire businesses face a united group of graduates saying NO.  I don’t have the time to do a two year unpaid internship, or take starvation wages.  NO.  It is not acceptable to make drinking to excess normal during business hours.  NO.  Seriously, your entire fucking culture must die, now, so that the silly people who love video games enough to want to make them can stop being chewed up and shit out.  Having a dream should not make you into so much bloody meat for billionaire pit bulls.

Video game workers of the world unite.  You have nothing to lose but your mass exploitation.

Ending Quarantine, Bound by a Death Cult

Past a certain point in the USA, holdout businesses and agencies are going to need to end their quarantines, even in places with low vaccination rates, where it will result in contagion and death.  A certain amount of americans have chosen ignorance and the risk of death – to themselves and others – that it carries.  We’re stuck together in this country.  Most of us do not have the means to emigrate, would not be allowed into many other countries due to our national antivax rep, nor allowed to stay due to local xenophobic policies that mirror our own.

We’re stuck together and that means we’re really over a barrel.  There are some things we cannot force on other people, any more than the US could force itself on Vietnam or Afghanistan.  If fashy freaks don’t want to participate in a public health project even to save the lives of them and their own, we cannot make them.  We cannot try to protect them from themselves forever.  It’s just not feasible.

At some point, we must embrace the horrible status quo.  Sufficient numbers of people want their grandparents, parents, husband and wives, themselves offered up as a plague sacrifice to their orange god, and they can make it happen.  Just like they can make getting a simple ID practically impossible in the pursuit of vote suppression, they can make vax carding illegal, or make enforcement unfeasible.  We cannot control them, cannot control this, and some crucial public services cannot remain limited like they are now.

It’s time to reopen the government offices (yes, many are still closed right now, even in texas), wear masks all day long if we have to, get used to this reality.  Trump-style virtue-signalling won’t die until the last trumpist dies, probably around the time coral goes extinct and the US midwest is the new Sahara desert.  Many of us will be alive to see that.  Looking forward to the death of qanon-type shit, not looking forward to the time that will drive in those coffin nails.

The Success of Qanon and Trumpism

There are a few articles around now about how laughable Qanon is.  It’s true, they’re the most absurd and easily mocked face of modern nazism.  And as atheists, seeing a new religion arise around a well-documented and incredibly obvious con man confirms our prejudices about religion as a whole.  Trump as messiah?  One wonders how much a twisted crapsack a historical Jeezy could have been and still ended up with that hagiography.

Trump showed the right wing of politicians across the entire planet how much they could achieve with bald-faced lies and appealing to straight-up white supremacy.  Qanon was a crucial component in the latter part of that project in a number of ways.  One, there is a limit to the bullshit the masses will accept, even if it’s dangerously high, and Qanon showed us the upper extent of that limit.  The majority of people who see the facts regarding Qanon will not accept it, now we know.  That gives the fascist bullshitters a neat metric to constrain their lies.

Two, Qanon has not reflected badly on Fox News, Breitbart, OANN, or any of the other people that helped create them.  It was an object demonstration in how the public consciousness is utter shit at connecting important related concepts, at holding the right people accountable for serious problems.  Now more than ever, Fucker Carlston knows he can have 100% swastika facial tattoo having nazis as audience members and nobody in the USA that matters will ever call him to account for it, or at least they will not be believed.

I’m not going to breathe any sighs of relief about this fascism crisis being near an end.  Not that I think any of my comrades are either.  They’re just taking the chuckles they can where they can.  But personally, not laughing right now.

Why that Moral Arc Idea Convinces

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” That quote popularized by MLK Jr and originated in a different form by an abolitionist preacher in the 1800s has appeal for a lot of people, not just to our sense of optimism but also to our sense of reason and observation. We see injustice spark resistance, we see how some great injustices of the past were defeated, or at least greatly diminished by long struggle. It makes sense that given enough time, all injustices will fall, right?

With more recent history we can see resurgence, re-empowerment, and expansion of old injustices, which is a really useful reality check for those naturally inclined to optimism like (believe it or not) myself. And while outside of the worst environments for these prejudices (such as being trans in the UK) it can still be easy to see the resistance and feel optimistic they will overcome again, what would that mean long-term, if anything?

I’m not going to say that this process is perfect equilibrium, with history swinging between justice and injustice in equal measure. There does seem to be some staying power in some of the successes justice has achieved. People aren’t willing to lose the freedoms they earn with blood. But the arc idea is too simple to describe how the world works. A more accurate way to look at this fight, I think, is that there is an ecosystem of ideas in which selection plays a role.

Injustice species Misogyny rex rules the land unopposed, king of ideas. But wait, opposition appears. Justice species Feminism ceratops evolves defenses so effective that M rex dies out. But a subset of M rex mutated bigger teeth that can overcome F ceratops defenses, and do so well against them that F ceratops goes extinct. But lo, there were a few survivors of F ceratops and they evolve into the next progressive resistance.

In this model, injustices in their existing forms do go extinct – the phenomenon that makes the moral arc model seem convincing – but something always seems to evolve to replace them. What replaces them isn’t always equally bad, so it is still useful to keep fighting. But without the absolute destruction of these injustices, some form of them always survives and has a chance to grow again.

And now, from my reality-checked place of diminished optimism, I feel like even if every ounce of racism misogyny homophobia transphobia ableism antisemitism islamophobia colonialism etc. were magically extirpated from the minds of our species, some new injustice would arise de novo, due to the angling of the power hungry.

The arc of the natural universe is long, but it bends toward everything going extinct in ways ranging from miserable to horrible. Humans have time and again shown ourselves collectively unable to overcome our animal nature. As much as hippies like to separate man from animals to say industrialism is unnatural, it is not. Human decimation of the biosphere is the natural result of a species becoming too fucking successful – something we’ve seen many many times before in nature. The difference between freshly evolved plants causing a mass extinction and what we’re doing now are mostly cosmetic.

My only hope is in the unnatural. Not Elon Musk pipe dreams of technology saving us. More like Gene Roddenberry pipe dreams – the idea we can somehow overcome human nature to create a lasting utopia. And where I said the difference was mostly cosmetic? There’s a fundamental difference that might offer a sliver of hope. The tool of our decimation is a social construct, and we have the power to change those within the space of a single generation sometimes – if rarely. Whether that happens or not, praise for all of the warriors for justice, whatever your part of the struggle. Power on.