Speaking of YouTube atheism, they aren’t even hiding it any more. A subset of those goons are now pondering…The Jewish Question. Here’s Sargon of Akkad aka Carl of Benjamin promising to do a video series on The Jewish Question, inspired by another series of videos by a guy named Mouthy Buddha.
I skimmed through a few of those videos by Mouthy Buddha — they are impressively and professionally done! The subject, however, is repugnant. He’s openly questioning the existence of the Holocaust; he shows a few still photos of Jews putting on a cabaret show in a concentration camp, therefore these were all happy places. He goes on and on about how Hitler wasn’t a bad man, he was an honorable gentleman and a distinguished leader. You get the idea. They’re outright Nazi apologetics using bad arguments. And there’s Carl Benjamin declaring that they’re not wrong, that he’s going to make videos along this line himself, and suggesting that Mouthy Buddha was making the pro-Nazi arguments stronger.
In case you’re wondering — the YouTube crowd is apparently shy about stating what it is outright — the Jewish question is about the status and treatment of Jews in a country. The correct answer, clearly, is that they are equal citizens who must be treated with the same respect that all residents of a country, all human beings on Earth, should be treated. In the mouths of Nazis, though, the Jewish question is about how best to deprive them of their lives and property and rights, and to them, the proper answer was called the Final Solution.
But once again, there are people trying to make this a respectable debate, and useful idiots who are complaining about calling people who haven’t personally murdered millions “Nazis”.
I propose a moratorium on the term “Nazi” unless explicitly & specifically referring to a National Socialist German Workers’ Party member.
— Peter Boghossian (@peterboghossian) October 20, 2017
Steve Bruce says
Ah Peter Boghossian! The Ray Comfort of atheism.
Is Boghossian trying to be the next TwitterDawkins?
Egads. Thanks for exploring the dark underbelly of Youtube atheism so I don’t have to PZ.
And what the hell is up with Boghossian? What’s the “critical thinking” process behind the “moratorium”. I am amazed at his capacity to fling doozies on Twitter. What is wrong with him? The replies to his tweet were where critical reflection actually took place.
I don’t discount his street epistemology notion and others have taken that baton and ran with it. But his tweets tend to rub me the wrong way. Maybe he should declare a personal moratorium on that and enroll in a gender studies course or two to gain perspective on the world of the Other.
We need to be honest – many atheists (like those here) have far more in common with many religious types. It’s not your belief in sky fairies that make you an asshole and atheism is no guarantee you aren’t. In a political sense, it is better to align ourselves with anyone who believes in freedom, equality and compassion. This matters more. I have almost nothing in common with Sargon of Akkad and want nothing to do with him. Fuck that guy. And fuck his stupid wankery name.
Iris Vander Pluym says
A few years back I had a gift card to Barnes & Noble, and having no idea who Boghossian was, picked up a copy of A Manual for Creating Atheists. To paraphrase a quote (probably mis-)attributed to Dorothy Parker:
Haven’t traveled PB’s tweet feed much since his previous outburst PZ commented upon. Here’s a self-justifying followup:
“Here are a few words it would be wise to precisely define before using:
faith, hope, trust, Nazi, equity, equality, quantum, diversity”
One downstream commenter suggested, quite apropos given who we are talking about, adding “regressive” to the list.
“How about the words: regressive, Marxism, socialism – seems to me those words have been abused to death by you and your ilk.”
Yes that regressive term is an essential component of their idiom. Better to label and dismiss.
I like the WW2 Danish government answer when asked “the Jewish question.”
First, a little background for those unfamiliar with what was a pretty minor area in WW2. Denmark was taken over in about 2 hours. As part of this, neither the royal family (Christian X was king of Denmark from 1912 to 1947, so he’d been through a war with Germany before) nor the civil government had time to flee the country. Hitler decided to make Denmark a “model protectorate” to show the world how good it was to be under German “protection”. The Danes, by and large, weren’t having it, but there wasn’t a whole lot they could do about it–overtly.
So…whenever the German occupation command brought up “the Jewish question”, the Danish government replied, “What ‘Jewish’ question’? We’re all Danes here.”
Finally, in October 1943, the Nazis insisted on rounding up the Danish Jews. Since they didn’t have enough troops in the country to do it on their own, they forced the Danish police to help. The first thing that happened was that the details of the operation “leaked”. The next thing that happened was that the Danes got every Jew they could (some refused to believe it would happen) into hiding and then out of the county, primarily to Sweden. The Danes rescued about 90% of their Jewish population that way.
After the war, the returning Jews came home to crowds lining the docks cheering for them. Their homes, intact, clean and stocked with food.
The whole episode makes me proud of my Danish relatives.
I came across “the Jewish Question” (modern day version) in an internet discussion that had started by discussing the attack on mosque attenders in Finsbury Park, London a few months ago. Some racists had congregated in the thread, and were generally saying “they had it coming to them”. They moved on to general moaning about anyone non-white, and one recommended a prominent racist to another for his “deft handling of the JQ”. The JQ? WTF? I dug around, and found they’d invented this modern day “Jewish Question” – basically whether to mistreat Jews in the same way they plan to mistreat anyone not white. Slightly aware that talking about “the Jewish Question” invites direct comparison with the Nazis, whose Question was “kill them all, or just deport them to Siberia if they’ll cooperate?”, they often use the initials.
When I tried to get them to give their personal positions, they refused to discuss it with me, saying I wasn’t “qualified” to talk about it. This, of course, didn’t mean they were themselves Jewish and therefore had added insight; it meant I hadn’t “spent all the time studying this complex question that it needs” that they had – ie they didn’t know me from some racist forum elsewhere.
As far as I’m concerned, anyone who thinks there’s a “Jewish Question” or “JQ” to be discussed is taking the name of “Nazi” on themselves.
I note, from Wikipedia:
Note that implementing specifically German nationalism, or socialist policies to aid German workers (or indeed any socialist policies), is completely absent.
If group X wants policies A, B, C, D, E, F, G, & H implemented, and calls themselves “Neo-Nazis”, and group Y wants those same damn policies, but wants to be called “Alt-Right”, or whatever, well, I think the rest of the world at large can be forgiven for saying that a rose is a rose, and Nazis are goddamn Nazis.
Akira MacKenzie says
Once again you so-called “freethinkers” and “skeptics” reveal your hypocrisy by trying to silence legitimate examination of important controversies? Since nothing is absolutely certain, how do we really know that the so-call “Holocaust” really happened? How many meta-studies prove within a statistically reasonable level that the Jews AREN’T parasitic,rat-people out to destroy Western civilization?
Question everything! There are no sacred cows! Everything, including your scientifically unproven notions of racial and sexual equality and justice , is above criticism or doubt!!
Rob Grigjanis says
It’s really depressing to realize we could have fixed this if we’d just thrown out all the bigoted neo-nazis out of the movement early on instead of protecting them in the name of “free speech” and giving them huge platforms to spread their hate.
I’ve never understood Nazi apologetics. You’d think they would be proud of the Holocaust. Or perhaps they do have some sense of dignity left and understand that Nazism is actually a bad thing, so they try to cover that up. Or something. Not something coherent or logical at least.
“the Jewish question is about the status and treatment of Jews in a country.”
I disagree. The Jewish question asks how to get rid of jews (fill in any other subset of a population) in a society. English Wikipedia for instance lists resettlement, deportation and assimilation – all ways to make jews disappear. Any attempt to a neutral formulation is not a question at all, as you show yourself – it already contains the answer.
@13: the answer is simple. Nazis do not have any sense of dignity left the way you and I understand dignity. They are lying. They are proud of the Holocaust, but understand that would paint them in a bad light. It’s their strategy to
1) make neo-nazism salonfähig:
2) to expose jews etc. as liars, ie as evil.
No coherence or logic involved, though.
Robert Westbrook says
Whenever theists claim (falsely) that Hitler was an atheist, actual atheists are quick to point out (with much glee) that Hitler was a theist.
And then prominent atheists go and take up the banner for nazism. If you point this out on the atheism subreddit, you get insta-banned. Along with anyone who brings up the overt racism of Sam Harris.
It’s become clear to me now that Theism/Atheism is an absolutely useless metric for determining anyone’s ethics and values. the ones that really matter, at least.
Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says
The Jewish Question:
Religion just adds a few reasons to be evil. Therefore atheists aren’t necessarily better, they just abstain from those few crimes which are religiously founded. The second problem is that once the masses are deconverting from their religions, we (i.e. the atheists) also get the assholes (the same effect is visible in cyclists running over pedestrians – they often are converted car-drivers who retained their aggressive behavior).
I’ve been to Auschwitz and I have no intention of ever going back. If there is such a thing as haunted ground on this planet that place is it. I recall standing in a room in one of the remaining original buildings by myself and trying to get a feel for the place when I was suddenly overcome by a profound sense of hopelessness and despair. It was as if some tormented spirit had gotten into my own soul and was making me feel what it felt. I know this was probably subconscious projection that was the result of the powerful emotions I was feeling by being there, but it affected me so strongly that I had to get some fresh air. That palpable feeling of despair still stays with me.
If people doubt the reality of the Holocaust I urge them to visit Auschwitz and go to the museum with its piles of countless eyeglasses, shaving brushes, purses and wallets and shoes and other personal items. Where are all the people that these things belonged to? They were all murdered because the Nazis had answered The Jewish Question.
Chuck Stanley says
Well I guess you and PZ both have finally figured out what atheists have in common. Nothing except disbelief in gods. Atheism is not progressive, it’s not feminism, it’s not critical thinking. Even those three circles are not remotely identical. Most atheists have never thought otherwise. Maybe PZ will someday stop feeling the need to comment on everything stupid a prominent atheist says, but I’m not holding my breath for that.
People who have a common cause or belief do not have to agree on everything or even anything else. Seems obvious to me but some people seem to have a very difficult time accepting it.
Mark Dowd says
“Maybe PZ will someday stop feeling the need to comment on everything stupid a prominent atheist says, but I’m not holding my breath for that.”
Why the fuck would he do that?
“People who have a common cause or belief do not have to agree on everything or even anything else. Seems obvious to me but some people seem to have a very difficult time accepting it.”
There’s a very huge difference between people that have different values than yours, and people with values completely opposing your own. Assholes and vile little fuckers are everywhere, and must be called out everywhere and every time.
For most people here, their atheism means something to them. For me, it happened when I read The God Delusion and everything made sense all of a sudden. Progressivism and feminism stem from the same thinking that lead to atheism: they are sensible. They are united together by a far deeper principle than a mere dictionarydl definition. Hipster atheist trolls are no kin of mine.
Go tone troll somewhere else.
TheGyre – I had much the same experience at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam – the hair on the back of my neck really did stand up, and I felt really, really edgy for the whole next day. Auschwitz, I think, could easily be beyond my ability to bear. I would run back out, I think.
Fuck you Boghossian you digital Quizling
@the Gyre. @coragyps. I have been to Buchenwald. It was much smaller than Auschwitz and was originally built (by the prisoners themselves) as a camp for political prisoners. I had a similar experience; perhaps all the closer to home because, although I was born after the war, my parents had friends who were German refugees from the Nazi persecution and later on I lived in Germany and learned the language. I love the language and like the people. (Mrs Lucifer’s Bike is however Italian. You can imagine what we as a family living in England think of Brexit).
Buchenwald was taken over by the Russians after the war. The NKVD used it as an internment camp until 1950.
Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says
That’s the PROBLEM, stupid.
John Morales says
Chuck Stanley @20, there are differences between personal atheism and movement atheism — and one of them is that the latter makes no sense for true dictionary atheists.
Clearly, atheist activists have at least one thing more in common which each other than just mere disbelief in deities, since non-activist atheists do exist, and this fact refutes your claim about the uniqueness of the deity disbelief as an universal belief of movement atheists if not about atheists per se.
John Morales says
I note that you concur with him that Peter Boghossian wrote something stupid.
That was the whole point of A+: The recognition that atheism alone is insufficient.
Chuck Stanley says
John Morales, I did not say atheists don’t ever agree on anything else. I said they don’t have to. Clearly many atheists agree on many other things. I also thought that would be obvious. And yes I agree he said something stupid. Gee I agree with another atheist on something. Big deal. If I take round number and guess there are maybe 30 million atheists in the U.S. I’m going to take a small leap and say there are probably some with whom I disagree almost completely and some with whom I would agree almost completely on those things people typically find topics of dispute. I also would guess that most of them fall somewhere in between. I have far more common beliefs with some theists I know than some atheists. So what? I frankly don’t get the need to constantly point out the sins of someone with whom I happen to share a common belief. I assume it is obvious people are different and that being an atheists doesn’t lead to all the rest. Some atheists feel that all atheists need to have some common core beliefs besides their atheism. I don’t..
consciousness razor says
Must they agree on anything else? No, obviously not, and that’s an obvious strawman.
Should they agree on anything else? Is it true that anybody should agree about anything, including for example your claim which I just quoted? Or is that not true? (If it isn’t, then I’ll promptly dismiss whatever you’re saying right now and get this over with.)
Many think that people need, morally, to do so, which is just to say that they should. That’s not to say that they must, logically or physically. If the claim were that it’s not even possible to do otherwise, that one must, then there would be no point in telling anyone about it, to treat it as an obligation, to treat it as something people may need to work on in order to be better human beings, etc. Yet we do have a point (many of them) when we tell people they ought to be feminists and so forth. So, you’re just confused about what we’re saying and doing, or you’re being dishonest.
TheGyre Respect for reaction #19
whheydt You make me feel ashamed for how the Dutch treated the Jews.
Jeremy Shaffer says
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 3 guys arrested for shooting at unarmed protesters at the (for fuck’s sake) 2nd gathering in Charlottesville the other week are counted as close friends by Mouthy Buddha.
Akira MacKenzie @ 10:
Except their objective and absolute capacity for reason and skeptical mindset, their unerring ability to logic, and the purity of thought that is every utterance from Sam Harris (PBUH).
OK sure people are different and disagree on many issues from the mundane to the highly significant and controversial.
I do not understand the argument of someone who professes the none belief in gods of any kind should refrain from commenting and criticizing anyone with whom they share this none belief because they share it. This is way more confusing when the person who is complaining about the criticism claims to be rational as does those who are the butt of the criticism.
Is the suggestion that one should not criticize those with whom they disagree because they are rational or because they are not being rational?
Or is it that the complainants do not personally like these kinds of issues or their discussion? do disagreements bother them? or just disagreements with them or their own pet ideas?
“you mind is on vacation” (and your mouth is working over time) Mose Allison
Chuck Stanley says
Well uncle frogy when you find someone who professes that perhaps you can let them know of your confusion.
I for one commented on and criticized PZ with whom I share ‘this none belief”. Good grief.
Marcus Ranum says
The movie Conspiracy, with Kenneth Branagh playing Reynard Heydrich, is worth a watch. It’s about the Wannsee Conference – the meeting where the nazis asked “the jewish question” and answered it.
yah dude you criticized him for criticizing someone who you do or do not agree with. why is he different from you because it don’t seem to be make sense. there was nothing that was wrong about what PZ said you might even agree only PZ said it does seem to be the issue. so why him and not you?
@ TheGyre #19
There have been two places on Earth which have given me that feeling. The first was the room in Auchwitz with the glass cabinets filled with hair and belongings, the other was the S21 facility in Cambodia where the Khmer Rouge took political prisoners for torture and false confessions before moving them to the Killing Fields.
Chuck Stanley says
uncle frogy please look carefully at what I said. You will find that it is nothing like what you claim I “professed”.
See the word “everything”? Of course I did not and do not mean that to be taken literally, but just that he seems a little obsessed with what certain atheists say and at least in my view is overly concerned with them. That was just a little afterthought to my main point in response to @16 in regards to atheism being a metric for what values someone might hold.
I did not say he shouldn’t criticize other atheists. I did not say he shouldn’t criticize them because they are atheists. Just about everyone including myself and PZ say stupid things at times. I think PZ obsesses just a bit too much when a white, male, prominent atheists says something stupid. That’s it. I did not point to a specific instance for the very reason I was not concerned with a specific instance. Specific instances taken in isolation seem perfectly appropriate. It’s the overall pattern that I think is excessive and quite frankly silly. Someone ele might have a far different opinion on the matter. That’s fine, I don’t care. I was simply opining on it.
apparently it was not to silly that you felt the need to comment on his commenting too much?
it’s a blog post after all they are just all a little obsessed
if it bothers you you could try not reading it.
I get the feeling that telling the professor who,what and how to post would be some what of waste of time most of the time.
consciousness razor says
Would you care to make any remarks about my #30, which was in response to your #29?
What did it mean when you insisted, repeatedly, that atheists “don’t have to” agree on “anything else”?
Was it in the sense that it isn’t physically or logically necessary? Alternatively, the claim could be that they shouldn’t have to, that there are no moral responsibilities about anything (including of course opposition to Nazism, anti-Semitism, etc.). Or if I’m very lost, then maybe you think it meant some totally different thing than either of those.
If you’ve decided you’re simply going to back away from that claim, whatever it was, then you could also just say that.
The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs) says
Ugh. Reminds me of “The Irish Question”, which was how the English used to refer to the fact that the Irish didn’t actually like being robbed blind and misruled by rich English people. Somehow this was always referred to as a mystifying thing which required careful analysis — while the Potato Famine was going on, Ireland was still exporting vast quantities of food, more than enough to feed everyone living there, because the English didn’t care in the slightest about the welfare of the population of Ireland and saw it as a profit center.
Come to think of it, putting a group of people into a phrase like that kind of automatically implies both disdain for them and that there’s a really nasty outcome waiting for them. It would not surprise me at all to hear that the US government was talking about “the North Korea Question”.
Raphael Melo de Oliveira Bastos Sales says
I propose a moratorium on the term “Hot” unless explicitly & specifically referring to a person whose body temperature is above 98.6°F (37°C)
Chuck Stanley says
That just because someone is an atheist doesn’t mean they are going to be a feminist, a progressive, or anything else. There is nothing that logically implies any such thing. Therefore one should no more focus on what an atheists believes or advocates in regard to any other issue than anyone else.
Of course if one is a feminist one is going to want others to be feminists too. But to focus on atheists as opposed to all others makes no sense. I do not get nor will I probably ever get why some are so obsessed with what other atheists beliefs, values, etc. are. You can say people should be feminists but that applies to everyone not just atheists or atheists in particular.
If an atheists makes a good argument for atheism that promotes or results in others altering their beliefs I can support that, applaud that, quote it, whatever without in any way supporting anything else that person says or does. And I don’t feel the need to mock everything stupid they say. The fact we have atheism in common says nothing about any other issues.
This seems so obvious to me. To say atheism is “sensible” and feminism is “sensible” and therefore if one is an atheist they should also be a feminist is absurd beyond belief. That’s just asserting atheism is right and feminism is right so if you believe one you should believe the other. Well of course one should believe all true positions. JFC. Atheist X’s position on feminism is no more important than anyone else’s just because they are an atheist. Obviously others disagree with that, but that is my position and I don’t know how to be more clear about it.