You may recall that terrible conversation between Sam Harris and British neocon, in which I pointed out a very few appallingly stupid things that were said, and then we got that delightful influx of Harris fans who insisted over and over again that he was taken out of context, he didn’t really say that, and that he also covered his butt with contradictions, so none of it really counted…you know, the usual Harris song and dance. Well, we’re probably going to get some more two-step and soft-shoe, because I didn’t cover half of it. There’s much more awfulness to be exposed to the light.
For instance, Sincere Kirabo calls him out on blatant transphobia.
Throughout Murray’s cissexist rambling tirade about trans and genderqueer people, Harris…giggled, even outright laughed in some spots. Further, when his guest finally finished his verbal onslaught that declared having to recognize the humanity of those who don’t conform to gender norms and stereotypes as “a breakdown of our society,” Harris had only one reply: “That’s hilarious.”
That wasn’t the last of this dismissive commentary, and I implore everyone to listen for themselves as Murray went on to state ideas such as homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia are a part of a political agenda concocted to enforce what he imagines to be the social tyranny of political correctness. Unsurprisingly, Harris agreed with this assessment, even referring to it as anti-intellectualism.
I don’t think anyone will be surprised by this. Just as there is a whole constellation of regressive beliefs correlated with creationism — climate change denial, self-destructive economic policies, and xenophobia, to name a few — so too there is a far too familiar set of attitudes associated with the neocon flavor of atheism. Part of that is a refusal to give broader social concerns their due.
Harris’ muteness, as well as Murray’s (also an atheist) expressed contempt, reflects the general tenor of “mainstream” atheist attitudes. There are widely accepted views in our culture, as well as the subculture of the atheist community, that preference certain issues over others. This leads to a continuation of diminishing the importance of confronting interpersonal and systemic inequalities.
Vocal atheists tend to contend with religiosity adversely affecting legislation and abstract debates over invisible, intangible, and inaudible god entities. At the same time, there’s a continued trend of unconcern for social issues that affect minority groups. There’s a firm belief that “religion poisons everything,” and that if religion (a generalized, non-nuanced view of religious belief) is dismantled, that would somehow alleviate most or even all of our social ills.
I hate the idea that that is our “mainstream”. We need to keep fighting back to reduce these bozos to a forgettable fringe.