Atheism Plus, Radical Feminism and The ‘New McCarthyism’

“Joe McCarthy and his Senate hearings were like witch hunts.” – Desi Arnaz

Back in the 1950′s, Senator Joe McCarthy made a rather infamous name for himself by making accusations of treason, disloyalty and subversion without the benefit of evidence. It was ‘guilt by association,’ of the worst kind. Many people lost jobs and had their reputations decimated. While originally meant to rout out Communists, it wasn’t long before “McCarthyism” bled out into other areas of society. Because of this, “McCarthyism” now means any unsubstantiated accusations on character based solely on a perception of guilt without reason or evidence. This brings me to the issue of,

Witch Hunts…

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the utter immorality of charging someone with allegations of any sort based solely on association. Have we not learned from our own history what happens when this occurs? McCarthyism is only one example, and if your first reaction to this is ‘citation needed,’ they you are even more of an idiot that I thought. Dare I delve into Godwin’s law, here?

This is the main problem I have with the Atheism Plus forum, which I separate from the principles of Atheism Plus. The A+ forum venue has degenerated into a cacophonic caricature of Orwellian proportions. It’s too bad, because social justice issues are of paramount importance to humanity, and the very people who should be at the forefront of addressing the five issues that were outlined as being the staples of the Atheism Plus philosophy are behaving more like the bigots that they portend to be fighting against.

Instead of addressing real issues that effect real human beings in the real world, various entities within the confines of the forum have chosen to spend their time inventing new pronouns, accusing people who ask legitimate questions of being anti-whatever and have instituted banning and vetting procedures that remind me of the Spanish Inquisition. Do these people have any clue, whatsoever, the damage they are doing to the various movements that comprise the non-sectarian activism movement? I think not, and because of this, they are (thankfully) rapidly descending in to the realm of irrelevance. It couldn’t happen fast enough.

Radical Feminism…

I don’t like ‘radical‘ anything. I’ve made no secret of this, and this includes every demographic you can think of. Why? Because extremism of any type is antithetical to the positive, forward movement of society. This includes radical atheists, as well. When one group seeks to usurp the rights of another, for any reason, they become a black mark on humanity. The quest for equality among society should be inclusive of all groups, regardless.

The purpose of equality should be focused on bringing any demographic that is marginalized to a place where they are no longer discriminated against. This goal is best accomplished by ascertaining which group has the least amount of marginalization, and making that group sort of a primmer. This goal is least accomplished when any given group seeks to reduce the rights of the least marginalized group.

When my children were adolescents, one would attempt to win my favor by bringing up something negative that the other had done. This is typical of childish behavior, because it takes some time for a child to grasp the concept of favor by accomplishment. Instead of a child telling a parent they should be favored because of something they had done to garner praise, they will generally tattle on another child to make the other child appear less praiseworthy. This is like the rapist stating, ‘Well, at least I didn’t kill her,’ instead of admitting what they did is a heinous crime in of itself.

Women, as a whole, should have the same rights as men. Period. End of story. Men, however, should not have rights that women do not have taken away from them. Can you imagine if the answer to slavery was not the emancipation of the practice, but to enslave those who were not subject to slavery? It would have been an atrocity of gargantuan proportions if this had been the means and method of dealing with the problem. The message should be,

‘You have no right to discriminate against me because I am a human being, and I have the same rights as you do.’ 

Does this mean that the problems of discrimination and bigotry against marginalized groups should not be specifically addressed? No, not by a long shot. The organizations that advocate for the LGBT community, who have been the target of truly hateful acts, and groups that target the efforts for women to have complete control over their bodies are doing some remarkable work in the realm of civil rights. As are those who represent the interests of black people, Latinos, Asians, and every other group that seeks equality with the status quo. Equality should not be viewed as cutting the patriarchy any slack, but as an effort to bring to those groups who have been historically marginalized up to speed, so to speak.

Some radical feminists are like adolescents that spend their time bitching and whining about how all men are pigs, and that it is time to rise up and take control over a male-dominated world. Some of their tactics are truly abhorrent. They do not seek equality, but seek to replace men as the ruling authority. Replacing one discriminatory group with another one is not a victory, but a loss to all humanity.

Guilt By Association…

It’s funny (not ha-ha funny, either) how someone can so quickly be demonized, isn’t it? There are a group of people with whom I have enjoyed pleasant association with over the past couple of years who have now decided I am Hitler, reincarnated. I am not going to mention them by name, because if you have no idea what I am talking about, then consider yourself lucky not to have had your existence infected with this particular brand of McCarthyism.

Suffice to say, without any provocation, without any instances of personal insults on my part toward them, without any evidence of wrong-doing and without any reasonable consideration as to the point and meaning of skepticism, these individuals have exhibited a penchant desire to blacklist and paint me as a misogynist, a racist, a homophobe and a few other utterly ridiculous accusations.

This is, for lack of a desire to use other phrasing, fucking stupid. Equally idiotic is the presumption that the people which are being targeted as examples of ‘proof’ that I am all of these things have themselves been labeled as such for equally ridiculous reasons. I can give you a list of these people who have been targeted as ‘pure evil‘ by almost everyone at the Atheism Plus forum, several writers on Freethought Blogs and a few sympathizers, but if you have been keeping track, you already know who they are. Oh, and these allegedly evil people that have been targeted by these few include Richard Dawkins, and I would hazard a guess that Sam Harris is about to be included.

These individuals insist on continuing with their witch hunts, though. They are delving deep into the doctrines of Joe McCarthy and others in a concerted effort to demonize, blacklist or cause undue and undeserved harassment against others who are actually trying to do something. They continue to vilify those who are making a real difference by virtue of true activism in their quest for equal rights, who are merely asking questions.

A Skeptic should be able to ask questions and put forth arguments without fear of molestation by those who are allegedly on their side. What’s even more alarming is the expediency at which any one given individual are added to the blacklist, of which I am now solidly placed. I am reminded of a song by Pink Floyd,

_______________________________________________________

Those who insist on continuing their anti-social behavior should understand that they are fast becoming the laughing stock of the collection of movements that comprise the non-sectarian activist community.

About Al Stefanelli
Retired Author, Writer, Journalist and Civil Rights Activist, Atheist.

64 Responses to Atheism Plus, Radical Feminism and The ‘New McCarthyism’

  1. Cheryl says:

    As a woman, and a feminist, I want to applaud you, Al. I used to enjoy reading Freethought Blogs. It was where I first discovered you and some of my other favourite skeptics. I unliked their Facebook page a few weeks ago, when I noticed that you and my other favourite skeptics were no longer writing there and that the rhetoric from some who were left was becoming rather shrill and, well as a feminist, I have to say, embarrassing.

  2. jimthepleb says:

    good piece Al, it is a pity you were caught in this shit for…..DISAGREEING WITH ANOTHER SCEPTIC or two…..really?…really people?? This crap is far beyond pathetic.
    At least the status of non-person must lower your privilege score, so there’s a bonus.
    Or is that not how it works? Is that how it works? How does it work? For the love of god a clear explanation would be nice from someone ‘over there’

  3. bob says:

    I don’t know a whole lot about al’s problems with FTB, but I have noticed that some of the folks there go a little far with the nuttery. One commenter on a thread went so far as to suggest that by referring to Savita Halappanavar by her first name was an example of ‘microaggression’.

    Seriously?

    wtf?

  4. oolon says:

    “The A+ forum venue has degenerated into a cacophonic charicature [sic] of Orwellian proportions.”

    Bullshit, just came from there reading a thread where everyone is giving a fellow member suffering from depression lots of hugs. Apart from acting as an effective emectant for Slymepitters it is hardly how you describe it. Other than that I’ve had a few interesting discussions about computers, scepticism and science and tried to engage an MRA failing to effectively troll on the definition of masculanism. Strangely I’ve not seen Al Stefanelli on there…

    I criticised PZ for his hyperbole about the Slymepit hyperbole he employs… Why is it both ‘sides’ seem to lose all objectivity and start shrieking about “misogynist scum!” or “McCarthyite scum!”… Oh well the pits membership went up from PZs rants, maybe we’ll get a few coming over to see how full of it you are.

    I hope you enjoy reverse Godwinning yourself to the status of King of the Witches. But to deflate your ego a little that Twitter argument we started ended up as a post on B&Ws where OB did not mention you at all as the originator. If they want to burn you at the stake why take heed of your Slyme found paranoia and not take the opportunity to dig the knife in again? Especially as I found a way of viewing that Jon Stewart clip you linked to and boy were you being dim suggesting he was using ‘cunt’ sincerely.

    “I can give you a list of these people who have been targeted as ‘pure evil‘ by almost everyone at the Atheism Plus forum, several writers on Freethought Blogs and a few sympathizers”

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=site%3Aatheismplus.com+%22pure+evil%22
    … No results found for site:atheismplus.com “pure evil”.

    Strange that, when we are spending all our time talking about who is ‘pure evil’ and how we are going to destroy them… Please give me some links where I’ve said that, or is “almost everyone” not me?

    Journalistic objectivity? Integrity? Who needs it when you have pals at the pit to suck up to.

    • Al Stefanelli says:

      Really, Oolon? Where did I even mention the Slymepit, and to what degree are you aware of the general consensus about these issues among others? Where, in fact, have I made any references to any individual?

      If you have issues with certain individuals, perhaps you should address them directly. As far as not seeing me on the A+ forums, there’s a good reason for that.

      Oh, and by the way, doing a word search for ‘pure evil’ on the A+ boards is fucking stupid, by the way.

      • oolon says:

        Ahh so journalistic integrity doesn’t cover such piddling things as juxtaposing quotes like ‘pure evil’ with the target of your article, A+, and require you to be at all accurate… Cheers my job application for the Daily Mail / Fox News should go through a treat now.

    • TL;DR for oolon:

      “slurp, slurp, kiss, kiss…there, now all the FTB behinds are clean as can be. can I finally get my cookie”?

      oolon doesn’t even need money for buttkissing.

      oolon is pawn in game of life.

      • oolon says:

        Hello John, has Tuvok passed the ‘butt-licking’ meme baton over to you now? Who is going to chime in with the ‘sucking PZ’s cock’ meme, or are you covering that one as well?

      • anon says:

        Well Oolon we know you don’t suck PZ’s cock anymore since he banned your ass. Your calls for civility got you blacklisted and dogpiled by ravenous baboons. Isn’t it nice you can troll thunderf00t’s blog all day long without biting the banhammer? Doesn’t it bother you that as soon as you start trying to have a rational debate in PZ’s lair you get exiled?

      • oolon says:

        Nope. But I cannot manage the levels of butthurt seen in the average slymepitter…

      • “Nope. But I cannot manage the levels of butthurt seen in the average slymepitter…” indeed! didn’t do too well in your oppression olympics, huh?

    • jimthepleb says:

      “The A+ forum venue has degenerated into a cacophonic charicature [sic] of Orwellian proportions.”

      Bullshit, just came from there reading a thread where everyone is giving a fellow member suffering from depression lots of hugs. Apart from acting as an effective emectant [sic]for Slymepitters it is hardly how you describe it.

      You really are a special little soldier aren’t you oolon? Just a hint, if you want to correct someone’s spelling in one sentence don’t start just making fucking words up in the next.
      Emetic is the root you were looking for at a guess unless it was humectant. Neither makes sense anyway.
      Please don’t lecture anyone on integrity, you have amply demonstrated time and again you have no idea of what the word means.

      • oolon says:

        Hehe Jim the goon criticises me for being a spelling nazi and then doubles down as a fellow spelling nazi proving my use of [sic] was prudent… A Slyme emetic would be a better term, emectant is a very obscure version of the root that Jim Googled and I’ve probably spelt it wrung anyway. But Jim with his Google-assisted brain managed to work it out eventually.

        Use of [sic] should be encouraged, it could in context be seen as passive aggressive but it is no where near Jims ‘nya nya you spelt it wrong and you smell’ approach and is the correct way of highlighting a spelling mistake. Anyway I see Al got the message and fixed the typo – so there.

  5. ronja112 says:

    Take a good look at https://www.ptsdforum.org/c/portal/ – how easy would you find it to build a forum for people like that (for disclosure: I was one of them for over two years fairly recently, under a deep pseudonym)?

    IMO & IME Atheismplus.com forum is attempting a nearly impossible task: making a forum welcoming for people whose trauma are that^^ serious, yet allowing also such people to join who initially have no idea about what it means to live with PTSD or many other kinds of trauma or oppression.

    On a more “standard” atheist forum, how many actively posting members are there who openly identify as trans* people, whites from South Africa, gays, people of color from North America or Europe, bisexuals, long-term poor people, asexual, neurodiverse, lesbians, child abuse survivors or runaways, intersexual, single parents with disabled children, genderqueer, hard of hearing, visually impaired, chronically physically or mentally ill, war veterans… My personal count of such people posting actively on A+ is over 40 now, and still growing. That’s a lot of diversity, and clearly more than I have seen on any other atheist forum, ever, including the old RDF. Also, what is the percentage of women among the active posters on “standard” atheist fora?

    Atheismplus.com forum gives *priority* to the voices of those who are usually seen and treated as minorities. That means that the usual Internet forum majorities (white, male, able bodied, neurotypical, middle class or higher income, Western and/or heterosexual…) need to speak little and softly so as not to get in the way of the minority voices. If one values diversity to the point that one really wants to listen (as in shut up and not talk AT people but talk WITH them, giving them ample time and room to say their piece), A+ is an amazing opportunity to learn and to grow. But one has to leave one’s ego at the door, there is no other way in.

    Last but not least: A+ forum is only one forum, and a small one at that. It has no government, police, army or any other power to oppress anyone, and it does not send coordinated attack troops to other fora. So why the fuss?

    • The fuss is because of one simple thing: respect.

      While I’m a stereotypical white guy, I have friends who are all colors of the LGBT, fundamentalists, Mormons, pagans, atheists, child-abuse survivors, domestic abuse survivors, soldiers, vets, pacifists, blind, deaf, etc. There’s only one thing I ask from all of them, that we treat each other with respect.

      We can have knock-down, drag-down arguments about pretty much anything. “God exists”, “No he doesn’t!”. Every topic is open for question, except personal experience. You can’t tell ME that my experiences didn’t happen.

      I read your comment above, and it makes me angry. The subtext is that I have to SHUT THE F*CK UP because some people can’t deal well in public. Well, that’s not my problem. If you can’t stand hearing opposing points of view, go find a closed forum somewhere with your other intolerant friends.

      But a forum allegedly about atheism should be open to discussion and questions. Yet when I ask questions (under other pseudonyms), I get told “check your privilege”, or “you need to read more”, or “you can’t question the foundational tenents of feminist theory”. The people who are telling me this are the ones in charge. I have to kow-tow to their agenda before they permit me to communicate with them.

      Well, f*ck that.

      If the A+ forums are open to all, then the discussion is open to all. If the discussion is biased towards people with PTSD, then stop pretending it’s an open forum. There are forums for people with PTSD. The topics allowed there are limited, and that’s FINE. No one objects to closed forums or closed topics, so long as that is said in advance.

      I could deconstruct your post in detail, but there’s no point. The tactics used by A+ proponents, and the vocabulary directed towards there opponents show me that it’s something I will oppose with all of my effort.

      I’m atheist, and proud of it. I think people should be equal. But the A+ dogma is directly opposed to every principle of respect, rationality, and reality that I hold dear.

    • karmakin says:

      Why the fuss?

      Myself, I was a member of the FTB community until the whole A+ thing started, and I still read there from time to time, as I think there are a (small) number of quality bloggers still there, but generally speaking, A+ sent up huge red alarm bells, klaxons and sirens to me. (And others).

      Why? Because I’ve seen this go down before. A+ sounded to me, to be the conclusion of much of the FTB community to totally embrace a Social Justice Warrior stance. This is something I want no part of. Absolutely none. Not just because I think that from a community stance, it’s a pretty ugly thing that ends up hurting a lot of people (but I do), but because I generally think that the SJW movement is very..shall we say. privileged, and dismisses the concept of intersectionality in order to protect that privilege.

      Truth be told, it’s really best described as a sort of academic privilege. (See their talk about learning “101″).

      And quite frankly, as someone who does work towards equality and tries to convince people of the need for systematic change, SJW communities make my job harder. No, we’re not all sexist hypocritical jerks that go off on every little thing. I guess it SHOULDN’T make a difference if they close off behind their gates and walls and nobody can see them…but that’s not really what happens, now is it? Can’t be crusaders without a crusade, after all.

      So that’s the way I see it.

  6. I’ve always had a problem with the basic principle of A+, because as a group, “active atheists” are too far few in number to be effective in any cause above a strictly symbolic manner. If one wishes to be an effective feminist, for instance, N.O.W. as been promoting that cause for decades. True, there are theists in N.O.W, but is there a reason you can have common cause with theists?

    Each of the goals of A+ already have effective, and better organized groups persuing them. All you have to do is shake off the god question.

    • Zed Kelly says:

      “True, there are theists in N.O.W, but is there a reason you can have common cause with theists?”
      Did you mean “True, there are theists in N.O.W, but is there a reason you canNOT have common cause with theists?”

  7. charlou says:

    ummm…whose blacklist? Oh yeah .. meh.

  8. charlou says:

    snap, ronja

    • charlou says:

      withdrawn .. misread.

      ronja, I perceive a very different atheismplus forum to the whitewashed (no pun intended) one you’re projecting there. It is not welcoming to all those people, because all those people do not act in the way in which that forum thinks they should. I would not, so I have not even tried.

  9. charlou says:

    snap withdrawn

  10. charlou says:

    Interesting point arises, though … it’s clear that there are people who feel safe in that environment … an environment which to many of us looks counterconducive to healing … My first question is .. why is that? … And next .. what, if anything, can we do that doesn’t further facilitate the divisive negative victim culture of atheism plus?

  11. JRS says:

    If you need a blacklist, a good one can be found here, with reference links:

    http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/2012/11/14/list-of-known-sexists/

    It is intend as a joke, but a half serious one, because it exists in practice within certain forums as can be seen from the links, even if not listed publicly.

    A small word of warning – many of the links go back to FTB and pals and I generally prefer to steer people away from there, but if you must…

  12. charlou says:

    heh .. I must not.

    Thanks for the link.

  13. Liam says:

    “these individuals have exhibited a penchant desire to blacklist and paint me as a misogynist, a racist, a homophobe and a few other utterly ridiculous accusations.”

    Its the hat.

  14. skep tickle says:

    There goes Al, hitting another one out of the park. My single favorite line: “Replacing one discriminatory group with another one is not a victory, but a loss to all humanity.”

    You wrote, “What’s even more alarming is the expediency at which any one given individual are added to the blacklist, of which I am now solidly placed.” Do tell, what has occurred that demonstrated your solid addition to this list?

  15. Hi Al,

    It’s a bit disappointing to see a self-professed skeptic making this many unevidenced claims, I have to say. It seems you have a great many misconceptions about the beliefs, attitudes, and goals of those of us at the A+ forums, and it is troubling to see a skeptic beleaguered by such falsehoods. Additionally, hyperbole of the sort you’ve used here is not becoming. You assert that the A+ forum is doing damage to “the various movements that comprise the non-sectarian activism movement.” I wonder if you wouldn’t mind pointing to specific instances of this damage?

    I’m also not sure why you’ve chosen to couple A+ with “radical feminism” here, given that the majority of A+ forum users do not identify with that label. Granted, A+ supporters are often labeled as “radfems” by some of their detractors, but these people do not seem to 1) understand the term, or 2) be familiar with A+ beyond the most superficial of stereotypes–or more accurately, beyond its occasional caricature. In that sense, a reference to McCarthy may not be unfounded, but you’re pointing it in the wrong direction. If you believe A+ collectively has the goal of “usurping” rights, please know that I very strongly disagree, and I’d rather like to know just how you came to that conclusion.

    I’m sorry to hear that some people who you’d previously considered friends have developed such a harsh opinion of you. I sympathize with how startling that must be. To the best of my knowledge (and with a little help from google: https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aatheismplus.com+%22stefanelli%22), no one at the A+ forum has identified you as a misogynist, racist, or homophobe, but even if an individual A+ supporter or two has done this away from the forum, I will caution you against falling victim to a composition fallacy.

    I assure you that neither Dawkins, Harris, nor you are thought to be “pure evil” at the A+ forum, and I frankly haven’t the slightest idea why you think that. You must recognize the potential to disagree with a person on a given point without extrapolating that into a generalized hatred for that person. Is it necessary to preface every criticism of a person’s argument with “I don’t despise so-and-so. Now that I’ve said that, they were wrong to say…?” Surely not. Someone who interprets a refutation of their argument as a personal attack isn’t doing skepticism very well.

  16. heisenbug says:

    It seems that denial is not a river in Egypt… I had to go through group bullying on a FTB forum (most of the people from that forum migrated to A+ forum) just for the sole fact that I said that even if I did support the equal rights for marriage I could not understand same sex attractions and that I was personnaly disgusted with homosexuality. At least I was able to understand a little better what LGBT people had to go through in christian communities, so it was not a wasteful experience. It was also said I was not a freethinker, because I did not apply reason to my feelings (sorry for being human and having irrational emotions). Finally, I was banned in another thread of the same forum because after a load of insults for explaining why I was an antifeminist I snapped and called my opponent “stooopid”. Is my personal experience enough evidence for the damaging nature of A+ policies? I can also assure you that my negative experience is not the only one.

    • oolon says:

      FTB=/=A+. So pop over to the A+ forum and try and learn, I’d think you may need a lot of lurking before posting and if you post anything that dehumanises and double down you will be banned. Fitting in would require you to listen to others there and not tell them how it is. FtBs forums, especially Pharyngula, are rude and often lightly moderated in regard to gratuitous use of insults. A+ is the same if you say something insulting, but you maybe don’t realise you can be very insulting without using ‘rude werds’.

      IMO (Not A+’s as I don’t speak for the forum) you are fine to have whatever emotional reaction to homosexual sex that you want. If, like me, you are not gay you are hardly likely to think its the best thing since sliced bread. However if you extend your disgust for what people do in the privacy of their own home to the person themselves then you’ll get no sympathy. I find smoking absolutely disgusting but people have a right to smoke and I don’t think smokers themselves are disgusting – I certainly would not pop onto forums where there are smokers and go out of my way to go on about how disgusting I find them and their habit. Poor analogy but you get the gist I hope.

      • heisenbug says:

        I have specifically noted that the people who banned me on that FTB migrated to the A+ forum. Some as administrators even. I have no reason to assume they had a sudden change of heart in just a few months.

        I am listening to others, but if they are spouting crappy ideas, I will point out that their ideas are crappy and explain why in details without regards to their hurt feelings.

        If my position is insulting to anyone, please point this out to me and explain why it is insulting. If you have reasonable grounds to be offended, I will apologize and be careful not to offend anyone on the topic in the future. However, If you are offended by the term “girl” for a coworker and you believe it is degrading, I will not use it to design you, but I will not stop using it for the majority of female coworkers, who do not find it degrading, even if you ask me to. If you tell me that the LGBT community deserves special treatement just because some retarded christians are concerned over the issue what two consenting adults are doing in the privacy of their home, I will not stop treating them as equals because you did not provide me a good reason to change that. And yes, I will be dismissive to minor problems like the worries of some feminists with issues that cannot hear an invitation for a cup of cofee/sex without a fit of panic (and no, the fact that it was done in an elevator at 4 am, does not change anything) .

        P.S. And no, I do not extend my disgust for homosexuality to the people themselves. I do not care for the sexuality of others unless they are my partner. However, even when I had pointed that out, people still insulted me and behaved exactly the same way as radical christians.

      • heisenbug says:

        I went to the A+ forum to check it and it did met my expectations… Let me quote a passage for which a person was banned:

        Mod: Criticizing someone’s feelings about other’s comments about their rape is rarely okay, and never in this forum. User has been banned. [ Hide ]

        Kassiane wrote:Bit of a TW for rape

        “I’m sorry that happened”.

        NO. FUCK YOU.

        It’s not like my abuser’s dick just accidentally fell into me. Rape does not “happen”. Rape is not an unfortunate accident. Rape is an action that people take. It is an action that people explicitly choose to take.

        Stop fucking distancing the actor from the action. Mistakes were not made, some asshole went out and fucked up. Rape & abuse did not happen to me, it’s not like I got randomly hit by a tornado. PEOPLE DID THAT SHIT. STOP USING WORDS TO MAKE IT SEEM THEY DIDN’T. Acknowledge it. Acknowledge that people do bad things and need to be held accountable for them.

        /pedant

        Well, if someone said they were sorry something had happened to me I may be a bit kinder in my response than “FUCK YOU”, I may point out my personal preference for not using that particular phrase and my reasoning behind it but I absolutely wouldn’t say “fuck you”. Ultimately I would thank them for their kind words, albeit misguided wording.

        I would say that’s more “educational” than “fuck you”.

      • oolon says:

        OK I take back my suggestion you visit the forum… You expect someone who has been seriously traumatised by their experience to calmly and rationally explain to YOU exactly why you are offending and triggering them so much. They use ‘rude werdz’ and don’t acquiesce to insistence that they should explain themselves. Its a bit of a cliché these days but you appear to be a privileged entitled asshole, fuck you. “Educational” enough for you?

      • heisenbug says:

        Hm… Now I understand… The correct reaction to sincere compassion should be a “Fuck you”. Any asshole saying that it is wrong to fuck off people that express honest sympathy should be automatically banned. Being traumatised by an experience makes the person completely immune to any criticism.

        Ooolon, you also forgot to call me a misogynist, a homophobe and a racist. Isn t this an all-included package?

        Also a little food for thoughts. Isn t every person priviledged compared to at least one of the 6 billion population? That sort of “insult” always puzzled me.

      • why oolon…you *almost* sound like you’re not a bigot. kudos.

  17. Laurence says:

    I have never met a feminist that things that “all men are pigs.” That line of reasoning sounds eerily similar to the Christian line, “There’s those radical atheists that want to kill all Christians” or something like that. It’s a strawman used to make all atheists look bad.

    • I’ve heard women say it. I avoid them after that.

      And see this:

      http://femen.org/front/images/header/femen-sait-02.jpg (NSFW)

      It’s either a parody, or the real belief that the best thing for feminists is to cut off a mans testicles.

      Mainstream? Maybe not. But this sure looks like it:

      http://agentorangefiles.com/

      Well-known authors, along with social workers and lawyers discuss how great it would be if all men were dead.

      Oh, but Not all Feminists Are Like That. Sure.

      • bob says:

        every movement is gonna have its share of crackpots

        the freaks who go too far

        for example, I consider myself a feminist, pretty hardcore in fact

        and I hate, hate MRA’s

        but, even I can acknowledge that not all MRA’s are inherently evil, and that some probably do have legitimate gripes. the fact is, people will be shits, and women are not exempt from that and should not be given a free pass in divorce proceedings just because they are women

        isn’t the fight for equality all about everyone having the equal opportunity to be an asshat?

        that is how I prefer to look at it

      • > I consider myself a feminist, pretty hardcore in fact

        I believe in equality, so maybe I’m an “old school” feminist. But I have passionate opposition to current feminist theory and practice. It’s a long ways away from equality.

        Like A+, it’s founded on dogma. You can’t question the dogma without being abused or violently attacked. It is blatantly false-to-fact. The proponents don’t care.

        See the stats on domestic violence. The current story is that it’s overwhelmingly men. The government-produced stats (CDC, etc.) for the past 40 years show it’s pretty much 50/50. Yet you can’t question that without getting death threats. See Erin Pizzey for proof.

        > isn’t the fight for equality all about everyone having the equal opportunity to be an asshat?

        Sure. The A+ proponents claim the moral high ground, while being asshats. This alienates the people who have a more balanced view of their own behavior.

      • bob says:

        What I find annoying is how some of them have a penchant for attacking people who are on the same side. That to me is baffling

    • “I have never met a feminist that things that “all men are pigs.” you’re confusing humanists with feminists. feminists, as a central tenet of their ideology, like all supernatural belief systems, vilify a group in its entirety-in this case, men. w/o this belief, the entire thing falls apart, which is why feminists take great pains to mention that “the patriarchy”/god, hurts men too.

  18. Stephen T says:

    Some radical feminists are like adolescents that spend their time bitching and whining about how all men are pigs, and that it is time to rise up and take control over a male-dominated world. Some of their tactics are truly abhorrent. They do not seek equality, but seek to replace men as the ruling authority. Replacing one discriminatory group with another one is not a victory, but a loss to all humanity.

    Totally agree. And since you obviously thoroughly researched this ‘article’, no doubt you can give an example of where members of the A+ forum act like this…

    • David Bartlett says:

      A link placed in the A+ information section:
      http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=22
      http://radtransfem.tumblr.com/post/24818439850/first-attempt-at-a-list-of-ways-for-men-to-use

      And some quotes from it advising men on how to combat their innate privelege…

      “1.Assume you don’t have a right to be in the room or to express your opinion.”
      “2.Assume that the women in the room do have a right to be there, and that their opinions are worth hearing.”
      “3. …pay more attention to any given opinion from a woman, since her being a woman and daring to speak up is almost certainly an indicator that she’s more confident of that opinion than average.”
      “5.Consider combinations of privileges. If you’re white, some women may be silenced by your whiteness”
      “6.Consider volume. Men often actually SHOUT in discussions.”
      “12.Consider silence.”
      “14.Sometimes, just shut up. We don’t need to hear from you about everything, or right away.”

    • David Bartlett says:

      Can you really not see how the information I linked below is offensive? If you can’t, then our perceptions of reality are so far apart that I can see no hope of finding a common ground.

    • Al Stefanelli says:

      I suggest you go back to the top of the page and read the title to this piece.

      • David Bartlett says:

        Sorry Al, a big fan of yours, but what do you mean in regard to re-reading the title? Both of my comments were aimed at Stephen T. I just need some clarification.

  19. I recently noticed that a long time friend of mine had de-friended me on Facebook almost certainly for the reasons you describe here. I found this pretty surprising considering that we have a long history of working together. But because I was demonized on FtBs, she unfriended me. Oddly enough her husband is still on my friend-list. It really is sad.

  20. Al Stefanelli says:

    This is a commentary, people (Oolon, mostly). Regarding your continued reference to ‘journalistic integrity,’ this is not ‘journalism.’ Do you guys even know the difference? Wow, even after my comment about asking for citations. This is an opinion piece. An editorial.

    If you want to journalism, go to where I write news:

    http://www.goddiscussion.com/author/al/

    • oolon says:

      Cool more edukashun on journalism from Al, I can be a ‘serious’ journalist but still write ‘opinion’ pieces full of biased distortion and inaccuracy. Are you sure you weren’t trained by the UK tabloid press?

      I like that you don’t actually refute any charges of bias or lack of integrity, just – “its fine as I’m not being serious!”

      • Al Stefanelli says:

        Are you REALLY that stupid, Oolon? Seriously, you mean to tell me in all the years you’ve been alive on planet earth and functioning in society, you were never, ever, ever, aware of a writer who writes in different categories? Really? I mean, come on, you’re grasping at straws here, Oolon.

        My entire comment is a refutation of bias, and nowhere did I say I was not serious about what I wrote.

        I don’t give a flying fuck if you don’t agree with what I wrote. You’re entitled to your opinions. However, I do give a flying fuck about the consistent volley of utter bullshit that is, right now, bordering on spam.

      • Roland says:

        … People write both journalistic pieces and opinion pieces every freaking day. WTF are you talking about.

        You can not be more than 14 to 16 years old, oolon. If you are older, I’d suggest you feel ashamed of yourself, but I suspect, like most of the A+ hive, you are mentally damaged goods. Just stop posting here. We all see through your atomic level hypocrisy. You’re not fooling anypne or making any converts to your insanity.

    • So logical fallacies are totally okay now, as long as you make them in the context of an “opinion piece?” I am once again disappointed. I expect skeptics to be better than this.

      See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I'm_entitled_to_my_opinion

      • d4m10n says:

        Ye gods, it’s a Plusser in the wild. I didn’t think you guys ventured forth from your safe spaces. That’s not sarcasm, that’s awe.

      • Roland says:

        Pity is what I feel. I mean, look at the poor thing. It ventured out from the safety of the warren, and all it could do is blither incoherently.

      • Joan Reems says:

        I think the way you have weighed into the forum, just throwing your ideas around, belies a real privilege problem. You should have spent more time reading comments and allowing others to lead the discussion before dominating it. A real hetero-centric/phallo-centric move if you ask me.

      • “… just throwing your ideas around, belies a real privilege problem” so…not a single bit of refutation of any of the ideas, just an insult. a real gynocentric move if you ask me.

  21. Fantastically written piece, Al. I’m in awe over how you’re able to perfectly express many of the thoughts I have regarding A+, FTB, and radical feminism.

  22. Astrokid.NJ says:

    These individuals insist on continuing with their witch hunts, though. They are delving deep into the doctrines of Joe McCarthy and others in a concerted effort to demonize, blacklist or cause undue and undeserved harassment against others who are actually trying to do something.

    A few bloggers who voiced their opposition to FTB late, have said that they were afraid actually.. of being labelled misogynist or MRA. They had good reason too.. this McCarthyism is nothing new to feminism. Warren Farrell talked about this in his books from the 90s. There’s a concept called the Lace Curtain whereby opinions offering the men’s perspective are not allowed, and even punished.

    The Lace Curtain

    Hearing women’s internal stories – without hearing men’s – made the world seem unfair to women. Ironically, because we didn’t know men’s stories were being left out, the more we heard from women the more we thought we’d been neglecting women. Soon it became politically incorrect to interrupt her flow. So women’s stories became women’s studies, not to be interrupted by men’s studies.

    Graduates of women’s studies courses soon controlled gender related decisions in almost all large bureaucracies. When an issue about sexual harassment or date rape came up on a college campus, the feminists flooded the committees concerning these decisions, created the agenda, and decided who would be hired as consultants and speakers.

    The problem? Women with backgrounds in women’s studies were not only uneducated about men, but often saw men as the problem and women as the solution. They had demonized men. If someone spoke up against them, they weren’t just outnumbered, they were labeled sexist. And what we will see in this chapter is how that labeling led to the end of careers in the ‘80s and ‘90s as quickly as being labeled communist ended careers in the 1950s.

    The power of feminists to allow only a feminist perspective to be aired (in every field that dealt with gender issues) came to be labeled the “Lace Curtain.”

    The Iron Curtain shut out opinions considered a threat to Communism. The Lace Curtain shuts out opinions considered a threat to feminism.

    In an Iron Curtain country, capitalist-bashing was the norm. In a Lace Curtain country, man-bashing is the norm. The chapter on man bashing hopefully made clear the degree to which man bashing is the norm; this chapter on the Lace Curtain shows us how each institution, from the government to the school system, from the helping professions to the media, produces that outcome, each in its own unique way.

    In an Iron Curtain country, being too critical of core Communist tenets could cost you your job. Especially if your job was in the government, media or education system. In a Lace Curtain country, being too critical of core feminist attitudes (sexual harassment, affirmative action) can cost you your job. Especially if your job is in the government, media or education system.

  23. David Bartlett says:

    I posted this on another forum a while back but it fits well here and really explains the problems I think most people have with A+. Here you go…

    I have seen posters on Atheism+ write “I am a privileged cis gender white male so take my opinion with a grain of salt.” I don’t care if Atheism+ thinks it is simply correcting a societal imbalance, the end result is the same. Using privilege as a beating stick people are losing their individual histories and identities, only to be placed under a large generic “identity,” such as white, male, or cis. Once this is accomplished the views of that person may be thought of as less than in the ensuing discussion, simply because of their inborn traits.

    I also find it odd that white upper middle class feminists who went to university can really argue that it is the other people on the forum who suffer from delusions of privilege. Privilege Theory is useful to a point, but take it too far and you just start placing people, and their ideas in boxes. That is exactly what I want to get away from. It should not matter what someone is, all that should matter is who someone is. Also here are my links for proof.

    A link placed in the A+ information section:
    http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=22
    http://radtransfem.tumblr.com/post/24818439850/first-attempt-at-a-list-of-ways-for-men-to-use

    And some quotes from it advising men on how to combat their innate privelege…

    “1.Assume you don’t have a right to be in the room or to express your opinion.”
    “2.Assume that the women in the room do have a right to be there, and that their opinions are worth hearing.”
    “3. …pay more attention to any given opinion from a woman, since her being a woman and daring to speak up is almost certainly an indicator that she’s more confident of that opinion than average.”
    “5.Consider combinations of privileges. If you’re white, some women may be silenced by your whiteness”
    “6.Consider volume. Men often actually SHOUT in discussions.”
    “12.Consider silence.”
    “14.Sometimes, just shut up. We don’t need to hear from you about everything, or right away.”

    More.
    “Several people have mentioned that the word mansplain is seen by some as offensive. I don’t get it” http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=715

    “men have more power in society than women do, therefor fearing them is entirely reasonable and not bigoted.” http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=930&start=25

    A “priveleged” man tried posting on A+, this is what he got in response:
    “With all due respect, you’re annoying the frick out of a lot of people here. At some point it’s just freakin’ polite to sit back and let the other people discuss what they feel is important. That goes tenfold if you’re used to being respected and listened to.”

    “posts about things you think are important, opinions you think we should hear, a privileged perspective you think we haven’t considered even though the reason we are here is to get away from it. A+ is not about you.”

    “I seem to ‘get’ the people and community here a little better than you do, to say the least.
    Maybe it has to do with that whole ‘Shut up and listen’ thing”

    He responded to the criticism with:
    “you make good points, maybe more tomorrow. Seriously having to re-think my entire approach to participation, not easy work.”

    The Mod Chimed in with:
    “I always find it refreshing to encounter people who accept that they may be wrong. I suspect that as long as you continue not getting defensive when someone disagrees with you (and good on you for that), you’ll be fine here. You’re on the right track.”

    http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2116

  24. Speaking as a Freethinking feminist I just wanted to say that I appreciate the rational and intelligent approach you are taking to this hot button topic.

    RadFems and extremists in the women’s movement have done a lot of damage over the years and many of their claims are wholly baseless and unsupported.

    Their behavior is not the behavior of skeptics and rationalists. It’s the behavior of demagogues.

    Best wishes,

    Kitty Hundal aka Trance Gemini

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