Anxiety is like a fungus of the mind. It grows swiftly, infecting and wrapping itself around all my thoughts. Especially the good ones. I like to let them grow, but so often I look at them and find anxiety growing on the underside.

I have no choice but to destroy those thoughts, removing them as one would remove a sick flower, regardless of how beautiful it might be. My headspace is a massive place, but most of it is unsafe; much of it is utterly rife with the fungus of anxiety, and worse yet the cancer of depression. I have a bunker to hide in, but just outside I’ve cleaned myself a space. And I need to keep that space clean.

Anxiety must be destroyed. Any thoughts that it has grown on must be completely removed; if not torn from the ground they grow in, then dissolved in a wave of cleansing sodium hydroxide. To destroy them, though, is awful, horrible, painful. It leaves a cold, burning emptiness in memory of what once was there, a thought that could have been greater.

I have to protect myself. But sometimes the pain is too great to bear, even as I see the flowers at the edge of my garden fading and turning black, crumbling under the weight of anxiety. And I cannot stop it; merely attempt to contain it within my mind, so that it does not cause me to hurt anyone else.

But it’s so lonely in here, and reaching out means stepping out of my garden and into the infected wastelands…

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Bipartisanship isn’t

So this article from TPM came across my news feed today. Allow me to take a moment to deconstruct:


Wisconsin state Sen. Tim Cullen quit the Democratic caucus Tuesday — throwing a cloud of uncertainty over the party’s narrow 17-16 majority, their biggest victory from the waves of state recall elections.

Cullen announced his decision Tuesday after Majority Leader Mark Miller unveiled a list of committee chairmanships in which Cullen was the lone Democrat missing.

Sounds like someone is mad that there weren’t enough trucks at the store and they just happened to be the last one to the shelf. If anyone isn’t getting the image of an infant in a suit yet, please explain why in the comments.

Cullen’s statement leaves some ambiguity as to his new intentions:

Not really…but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself…

As of the sending of this email, I am no longer a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus. I will decide over the next few days or weeks whether to become an Independent. I will not become a Republican.

This entire episode makes clear to me that Sen. Miller has no time for my independent ideas and my support of bipartisan solutions to the state’s problems.

So, not only is Sen. Cullen mad about not having a shiny position, he also is completely ignorant of, oh I don’t know, the fact that governor Scott Walker was recently -almost- successfully recalled because his Republican administration, which had control of both houses until recalls and resignations rendered it 17-16 for the Dems (now 16-1-16 (you’ll see why I arrange it like this rather than 16-16-1 later) due to Cullen’s leaving the Democratic caucus) was destroying the ability of public sector employees to collectively bargain for pay and benefits. Or that he’s a closet Republican. He certainly is helping the Republicans by bleating on about ‘bipartisanship’ in an attempt to cover his whining.

Again, if anyone has an alternative explanation, feel free to leave it in the comments.

We’ll cut down to the update from Cullen:

“I’m a Democrat — I’m not a member of the caucus,” said Cullen. He said he will speak to people over the coming weeks to decide whether to become an independent.

“If I become an independent, the freedom that gives you is to decide issue by issue, case by case, what you’re going to do, and you’re not bound by your party or your caucus,” he said. “So that’s conjecture as to what may or may not happen in the future. But I’ll be free to do what I believe is right for my district, and what I believe in.”

Cullen said he still supports President Obama for re-election, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin for U.S. Senate.

Er, wow. Cullen is vastly exploiting the public’s ignorance of the separation between state and federal parties. State parties, contrary to popular belief, don’t have to be the same as federal parties. This is the case in BC, where the BC Liberals are the conservative party, and have not been affiliated with the federal Liberals (our ‘centre’ party in relative terms, even though they’re really centre-right) since 1980.
Senator Cullen, you are an “independent Democrat” — you are not in the caucus, but you pledge your support to them on some level. And since you’re bleating on about bipartisanship, it’s really more accurate to say that you’re a federal Democrat and a state independent if you support Democratic candidates at the federal level but waffle at the state level when you didn’t get something shiny.

And hell, the way you ignore what’s gone on in favor of bleating on about “bipartisan solutions”, I’d say that the reason you didn’t get anything shiny is because you’re a DINO. Grow the fuck up, Senator, and act like you deserve the damn position rather than pandering to the local elite.

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Politics Is Warfare, or How I Learned The Meaning Of False Balance

Let me tell you something about liberals: we really are decent people.

The problem is that regressives aren’t. Not only that, but regressives are so indecent as to hide their own indecency, or apologize for it by making up claims of liberals somehow being just as bad. In any case, they’re trying to get people to ignore their massive misdeeds somehow, usually by bringing up liberal misdeeds that are somehow equal. This often has the effect of regressives and their defenders focusing entirely on squishing a mouse when there is a Tyrannosaurus rex standing right behind them.

Well, let me tell you a story about false balance. Or, rather, two stories that are part of a narrative.

(Note: The rest of this post assumes you’ve read the relevant links I’ve posted. Any questions involving stuff explained in the links will be disemvowelled and mocked.)
The first has to do with the skeptical community, specifically the continuing fallout from the event known as Elevatorgate manifested in the form of the debacle involving harassment policies and TAM. Specifically, it involves a part I hadn’t linked in my original TAM post, involving a song performed at TAM.

The song is a prime example of false balance. The actions of the rabid anti-feminists are well-documented. Their tactics have been identified and deconstructed. They have proven themselves to be despicable human beings.

And yet, in the comments for the aforementioned song, someone piped up and quote mined out four lines, mumbling about the “overall message” of “can’t we all just get along”. By this time I was obviously getting fed up with the false balance (having seen more than enough over the past year) and thus deconstructed it harshly, calling out the quote mining.

What sent me over the edge was when someone else chimed in saying that the quote mining was somehow a minor point. I flew into a rage, launching with all barrels and a cruise missile marked ‘Gabby Giffords shooting’ — that bit, I will admit, may have been excessive. I did not get a very favorable response and tore into it as tone-trolling, but at the end of it all I was unsure of whether I’d been right in ripping into the false balance that hard. What I did know was that it gave the regressives an out, and I was sick of that.

Rightfully so, it turned out:

Handwringing over “fairness” in the most picayune matters hamstrings the left. Politics is warfare, not a self-improvement exercise. You will simply never get some people on your side and the best you can do is marginalize their ability to do others harm. Other people who unwittingly abet them need to be brought up short, because they are causing harm indirectly.

Politics is warfare.

We’re not discussing as equals. We liberals think we’re correct, but we’re willing to change our minds in the face of new evidence or rational arguments, and we recognize that we must be bounded by those rules (which also govern ethics) in order to be right.

Regressives don’t merely think they’re correct. They think they’re right — period. Anything and everything they do is right. Anything done to forward their conclusions is right. Evidence and logic are just tools to be manipulated to the cause of that which is right. Hell, they even call themselves “the right” (except for the libertarians who don’t want you to know they’re just as regressive as the other privileged righties). And if evidence and logic fail? Bah, that’s just one tool; the next step is to just make stuff up, and if that fails then just pound the  opponent into silence with words.

Or threats. Or bombs. Or gunshots.

Which brings me to my second story. Yesterday, I was counter-demonstrating with some fellow pro-choicers in Vancouver. I was standing a bit away from the group, holding a sign that on one side said “Trust Women” and on the other said “End Rape Culture Now”, when a man came up and started to gaslight me, playing with plausible deniability by being indirect: “you’re not impressing women”. I did not have much of this before I told him to go away, and then moved away myself, turning my back, but he kept it up, to the point of calling me a faggot.

You can read the rest at the link, because at that point I began to have an anxiety attack and was just focused on defiantly staying there until the asshole went and got the bus he said he was waiting for. I tuned out most of the rest of what he was saying, and afterwards I had to leave to calm down. As of this writing, I’m still not fully back from it (which is bad, because it’s making me act highly irrationally), and I’m hoping that work this week is slow enough to allow me to recover. At any rate, it severely impaired my functioning for the rest of the day; when I returned, I felt extremely out of it and could barely hold another sign; it wasn’t until after we left that I was mostly able to function again.

Mostly. The tirade could hurt anyone by trying to make them feel alone (which is a soft spot for any of us, since we humans are social animals), but it hit me particularly hard because for all intents and purposes I am alone. The best friends I have are all online; the best people I’ve met in real-life are all the pro-choicers that I’ve only met this week or last at the demonstrations. If you want to know what my social life is like, just listen to How Soon Is Now? by The Smiths. Hearing that invective threw me completely out of balance and made me lose my carefully-patched comfort, so that the rest of the day I was simply floundering and wondering if I wasn’t making some sort of misstep here or there, or focusing too much on my problems, or boring other people, or doing any of the other things I do that people don’t like but I can’t seem to help.

All because I was trying to say that people should trust women. Because of that, someone else felt that it was okay to render me unable to function. I did their best to make them not see it — but that’s all I could do.

Politics is warfare.

And remember what I said about him trying to stretch plausible deniability? The “pro-life” protesters do it too. Take a look at this picture I got (before the anxiety attack):

Yeah. That’s totally not telling men that they have some sort of right to hold their wives or girlfriends hostage, or anything like that, in order to “save them from abortion”. Not at fucking all. Nope. Totally fair.

Politics is warfare.

And the reason that regressives want to conceal this so badly is because they need to scramble and bully, while we liberals are just asserting our rights and the cold, hard facts.

Whose side are you on? The bullies, or the bullied?

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TAM happened. Because I can’t afford to go to Vegas, can’t afford TAM, don’t particularly like lots of people and heat, and don’t find Vegas particularly fun, I didn’t go.

And I’m damn glad I didn’t.

First Harriet Hall showed up wearing a T-shirt that effectively took a very cheap shot at the Skepchicks. When Skepchick Surly Amy took issue, she found herself accosted by some anti-harassment con staff who could far more accurately be described as the thought police from Oceania even though Amy was treated rather tamely.
Then we find out that she wasn’t the only one, and regular attendees didn’t get the Good Cops.
This all comes after the debacle where DJ Grothe said that the problem was complaints of harassment, not harassment itself.
Chew on it. Personally, I think this reeks.

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Spot the difference

This bit of libertarian disingenuity brought to you by Micheal Shermer.
And the Republicans use red, too!

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Open letter to people who wonder why us feminists are so angry

Hi. It appears that you’ve walked into a discussion about feminism on the internet, asked some questions and now are looking on in consternation at what appear to be some fairly hostile responses telling you to do some fucking research before jumping into a discussion, or calling you a sexist for making statements you thought were innocuous.

If so, the first thing I have to say is: welcome to the club. Most of us social justice fighters — the closer to “white, straight, Christian, rich, cisgendered, conservative male” you get, the higher the probability that it’s happened — have found ourselves in the same position at one point or another, being seemingly piled on by a bunch of fellow fighters for what we thought was a perfectly harmless question or statement. Moreover, most of us have likely initially objected, only to be told the same thing: we’re ignorant on a basic level and should really just shut up and listen to what is being said.

Which brings me to the second thing. You see, there are things called ‘points refuted a thousand times’ (PRATTs) that have been brought up and debunked so many times that it is acceptable to post a standard response and then move on because the point has been conclusively shown to be wrong.

Bringing up PRATTs indicates a fairly basic level of ignorance. This isn’t bad, because ignorance will always exceed knowledge. The problem is constantly bringing up and re-hashing the same PRATTs, because that stifles the discussion by restricting it to a 101-level discussion where the educated folks have to start anew every time re-educating people who don’t get it. This gets old fast, and at some point the discussion has to get past the 101 level of just educating people about the issue and actually, y’know, deal with the issue.

It is, furthermore, arrogant to simply waltz into a discussion complaining about how you know nothing and no one in the discussion will teach you anything. This is the Internet. If you don’t know what’s being talked about, it’s not hard to plug it into Wikipedia and spend some time poking around LEARNING SOMETHING before diving in headfirst. You don’t have the right to demand that others spend their time educating you if they would prefer to spend their time discussing the issues you want to be educated on. If you want to sit at the adult table and discuss those issues, then do the research first. Otherwise, you’re free to make your own thread where discussion can be tailored to your level of understanding.

In short, stop acting like you’re The Most Important Person In The World and people will stop telling you to get off your high horse. We are not your Feminism 101 professors, and if we do not have the time and/or energy to teach you then you are just going to have to make use of the resources at your fingertips.

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Ron Paul Bingo

I got bored and made this. Feel free to have fun with it.

Let's talk about Ron Paul!

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False Balance, or Why We Make Fun of the #FTBullies Hashtag

Ophelia Benson linked this article from the New Statesman about Anita Sarkeesian today (TRIGGER WARNING: rape, violence, abuse, and overall toxic misogyny described therein). Here’s what caught my eye the most:

Hate sites

These take a couple of forms: either the creation of specific sites dedicated to trashing you (and again, to come up in Google searches of your name) or posting your details on established forums where haters like to hang out. In Sarkeesian’s case, that has involved posting her phone number and address. It’s hard to see that as anything other than an attempt to intimidate her: “We know where you live”.

But, according to people like Paula Kirby the real bullies are the people who won’t stand for this shit and ban the people who readily engage in it, a sentiment shared by commenter iamcuriousblue who seems to think that it’s not bullying to poison the well in my comments while not making any sort of response to the substance of my argument. Indeed, the general sentiment from Kirby, IACB, and other pitizens is that what they do is okay when they do it but when anyone else does something that maybe possibly somehow could be construed in that way it’s this Massive Evil Wrong Thing. Even if it’s as small as…oh, say, not putting up with people who will do everything in their power to not admit being wrong even when it’s blatantly obvious.

Or, for those of us who pay attention to US politics, IOKIYAR — it’s okay if you’re a Republican (I can’t find a link to that segment on MSNBC’s official site right now and don’t really have the time to scour, if anyone else could that would be great). Which I seriously think should be changed to “it’s okay if you’re a regressive”, because anti-feminism isn’t necessarily partisan.

PS: Anyone who posts something critical without any direct quotes from the links provided can have fun in moderation hell. I will NOT tolerate blind dismissal on this thread. I do not maintain a policy of free speech on this blog; I prefer instead to use the legally accurate term protected speech because this makes it clear that not all speech is acceptable. Dishonesty is not protected speech. You do not have the right to stifle discussion in my comments by repeatedly being wrong and insisting that every minute facet of your wrongness be dealt with as is satisfactory to you to move on. You also do not have the right to make demands about this space, because this is my blog and thus my space; it is egotistical and rude for you to assert any right to it, and dishonest for you to assert that regulating this space somehow undermines my arguments. There are plenty of very large, very public forums where dishonesty is not against the rules. Go there, because dishonesty is very much against the rules here.

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Stalkers vs. Stasi

So, I finally have a working computer of my own after six months without one, and I get it at the same time that the skeptical-atheist blogosphere is having another of these scuffles over feminism where a couple of women raise some complaints only to have a wall of (mostly) men stand up and scream about the Feminazi Galiban is trying to stop them having a little fun. I won’t waste time summarizing it for those who don’t know what went on; Jason Thibeault has done a wonderful job of it already.

What I would like to talk about (if WordPress will stop trying to embed that link in the rest of it) is this post by Justin Griffith. See, Greg Laden recently announced that he would be going on vacation from FTB, which suddenly today turned into him (along with Thunderf00t for his massive privilege fails) being kicked out. The first part of Justin’s post explains why. It does so very well, in fact.

Unfortunately, beyond the part explaining what Greg did wrong — and even in some of the explaining — Justin is pretty full of shit.

The post opens with an e-mail sent to Justin by Greg, with some pretty obvious threats (if you haven’t read the post by now, go read it, final warning). These are wrong. They are most certainly reason for Greg to be kicked off.

Unfortunately, Justin then sticks his foot in it.

Greg also recently admitted to taking his slime fighting to directly attempt to interfere with Abbie Smith’s education and career. This tactic has been used on Hemant Mehta, PZ Myers, and even me by Christian extremists. I understand the urge to stop something you see as evil at all costs, but our movement does not need to stoop to that level. Are we going to attempt to deprive humanity of a scientist? Notice, I’m not trying to find Laden’s employers to tell them about his behavior. His exposure here is for the betterment of the movement as a whole, not a personal vendetta. Even if it is possible that his employers may see this (I hope they don’t), the secular movement deserves the truth.

Seriously, Justin? You’re comparing pissed off religious assholes who revel in their privileged ability to tell any atheist “shut up” to someone who maintains a thread full of cyberstalkers (one of whom has decided to take up residence here) who routinely post statements that border on threats and libel.

Greg isn’t calling up Abbie’s university to tell them “your student is a misogynist and I don’t like that and don’t think you should have them there”. He’s telling them “your student is enabling and possibly engaging in illegal or potentially illegal activities”, and not in the sense of smoking pot behind the lab either. There is a fucking massive difference here. Greg’s threats are not justified, but neither is your false equivalence.

Justin then goes into a description of how he views the slimepit. It looks good for a while, but then he sticks his foot in it again:

You’ve been trolling them long enough to make them sharpen their eyes and their claws towards gendered slurs. I understand that you think they’rethe bullies, but making somebody cry, or extremely uncomfortable is not a respectable tactic. It’s chaos that generates more people against you than for you. Stop now.


What they were ‘trolled’ with was nothing more than “you are wrong, here is why” when they came to Pharyngula, Greta’s, Ophelia’s, or anywhere else they complain about to spew their toxic misogynist shit. They kept spewing, and they got increasingly annoyed — and angry — responses to their shit until they finally got banned. And even then, they kept at it, and when not coming in new disguises they would keep at it in ERV’s many, many ‘Monument’ threads that became termed the ‘Slimepit’ itself.

You said it yourself, Justin: they are obsessed. This is not our fucking problem. We’re the targets of this obsession. Victim blaming is not fucking cool.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured. (King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail)

That’s you, Justin. You and everyone like you who is calling on ‘both sides’ to stop fighting. You’re the white moderate. You are a part of the group that is the most dangerous in the struggle for social justice: the ones who are calling for “decency”, for “compromise”, for “bipartisanship”, and for those who are complaining about injustice to be decent, and in being decent be silent and listen to the complaints of the unjust because conflict looks bad.

I think that those who say decency involves remaining silent are more interested in good appearances than good things. Conflict is messy, yet like many other messy things such as entropy and gravity it’s a fact of life. We can’t get rid of it, we can only either deal with it ourselves or make it Somebody Else’s Problem. That’s what this is about: Rebecca, Greta, Ophelia, Ashley Miller, Amanda Marcotte, and all the other feminist skeptics and their allies seeing that women are encountering disproportionate maltreatment and harassment and saying “we have a problem, let’s deal with it”, against all the “moderates” who think it should (for some magical reason) just be Somebody Else’s Problem, and worse yet the slimepitters who think that it isn’t a problem and anyone who thinks it is is a totalitarian.

It both amazes and saddens me that from their “detached”, “independent” viewpoint all the white moderates can’t fucking see this.

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Non-atheists revisited. (In Memory of Christopher Hitchens)

The death of Christopher Hitchens yesterday brought out such wonderful examples of the religious sentiments of love, peace, fairness and justice.

On Twitter, the hashtag #GodIsNotGreat started trending. Many, many ignorant — and in some cases nutty — believers then began adding to that stream with complaints about the mere fact that it was trending, or highly offended responses about the existence of such a hashtag or the existence of people who believe such sentiments.

Many similar sentiments were aired in the comments, with many there disingenuously using Hitch’s Islamophobia (never mind of course that many atheists also disagree with it and will readily say so) in an attempt to discredit his religious skepticism. Some didn’t go this far, but still took passive-aggressive shots at the fiery style that made Hitchens so well-respected amongst atheists despite some of his less favorable stances, characterizing it as anger and acting as though the world could do with less of it (they’re wrong; in fact, liberal institutions would do very well to copy Hitch’s playbook, considering that conservatives have been doing so since forever).

This brings to mind other events where atheism and atheists were brought into some facet of the mainstream public eye. Every time this happens, it seems, we will have religious nuts ramping up their nuttery, religious non-nuts calmly and condescendingly pooh-pooh-ing the mean atheists, and staunch “agnostics”, “spiritualists” and the like murmuring some light derision at the nuts before loudly agreeing with the non-nuts and echoing such claims as atheists being angry amoral nihilists who really should just leave all those nice religious people alone. All those non-atheists, furthermore, will immediately run over to the other side and crow about special exceptions, how this is only one case, how they only don’t like the mean atheists when another (ostensibly not mean) atheist brings up the fact that this happens every single time atheism is brought into the public eye.

How many times do you hear about a church getting this sort of response when they want to put up a billboard pushing their flavor of Christianity?

How many times do you see Christian missionaries called “angry” or “militant”? These are people who are sent around the world for the sole purpose of converting people to Christianity. That is, at the end of the day, their job (and almost none of them are paid to do it). No atheist does that. There are no atheist groups that send bands of atheist missionaries out to the Philippines or Africa or South America to deconvert all those deranged Christians. Hell, I don’t even know of any individual atheist (except maybe Dan Dennett) who exclusively devotes their time to justifying atheism, let alone going around trying to get as many people as possible to deconvert. Missionaries are many, but how many times do you hear missionaries told that they’re not allowed to do what they do because that’s just too mean, too aggressive, and they should respect others’ beliefs?

When do you see any religious apologetic get told that their arguments are not worth addressing because of some perceived “meanness” or “aggressiveness” or “anger” or the like? Never mind Christianity, when have you seen a Muslim, a Jew Buddhist, a Confucian, a Scientologist told this?

I haven’t. The Scientologist will get called crazy — but not angry, not aggressive, nothing like that. But as an atheist, on a large and public forum meant for debate? I got that. Someone would make a post about their religious beliefs, I would respond with my questions, and more than half the time the discussion would quickly degenerate into me having to defend myself from a slew of accusations regarding my tone or intentions, and wondering why questions I had worded to be as calm and objective as possible were having all of this dishonest intent and “negative” tone read into them. When I asked about these things and got no answers, I would then begin to get angry — but not so much anger as frustration, the feeling of beating my head against a wall. I literally was. I wasn’t having anything explained to me; why I was wrong, what was so wrong about my questions, where this claimed dishonest intent was, where this reading of anger was coming from, why I was getting such a hostile reaction, none of those apparently deserved to be made known, or I somehow already knew them. In fact, those I talked to wouldn’t even admit their hostility, instead claiming that I was (in some unexplained manner) being hostile!

Valid question, non-answer. Probe further, further non-answer. Probe even further, malicious intent. Probe into the malicious intent, non-answer. And so on. Thud, thud thud, my head, concrete wall, until eventually it got so tiring that I resigned myself almost exclusively to atheist communities because it seemed like atheist communities were the only place where these questions were taken seriously. And the more time I spent in atheist communities, the more it felt like the debates I had outside of them consisted of me making a rational point only to have my opponent try to find every reason possible to not address my argument, let alone believe it. As if my opponents saw my arguments and felt them so horrible that they could not even be given the time of day, that they had to be dismissed for some reason — and none of those reasons had anything to do with their logical consistency.

Non-atheists wonder why we’re so angry. Of course we’re fucking angry. You would be too, if every time you tried to debate you got dismissed for reasons that don’t belong in any debate. If every time you tried to advance your point of view, you were surrounded by people doing nothing but attempting character assassination and not explaining what exactly you’re doing that’s so wrong and makes you so deserving of this assassination, and if you saw nothing different except when amongst those who agree with you on the point you’re trying to defend, you’d be livid. Wouldn’t you? You wouldn’t? Tell me that again, with a straight face. Tell me that after days, weeks, months, years even of getting this, that you wouldn’t get frustrated. Maybe you wouldn’t get mad the first time, but don’t tell me it wouldn’t pile up in the back of your head, slowly eating away at your unflappable temper until you discover that it’s really not as unflappable as you think.

You’re not unflappable. No one’s unflappable. At some point, you, like any of the rest of us, will have had enough of the bullshit, the silencing, the domination of the public square by this belief that is at the end of the day propped up by nothing.

Isn’t this supposed to be a democracy? Aren’t we supposed to have free expression of ideas? Aren’t ideas supposed to duke it out in the public square, fairly and honestly?

One idea is being dismissed. One idea is being told that it cannot participate, that it is wrong not because it is wrong but because some people are offended by it, they think it “angry” or “aggressive”, and they think its advancement dishonest. What is fair about this? What is honest about this? What is reasonable about this?

Would it be reasonable for me to tell a missionary that they are being angry and aggressive, and deny them the ability to put their religion into the public square on an equal ground on this basis? If not, then why is it reasonable to tell an atheist that?

Religion, in particular Christianity, has hogged the public square for far too long. Even 15 centuries is far too long to remain in childhood. Believers need to grow up and accept — really, not just grudgingly — that they’re not the only fish in the pond, and then re-evaluate whether they truly believe in a free and democratic society where all ideas are granted equal respect and judged on their factual and logical merit.

But for that to happen, non-atheists need to stop babying believers and rushing to their defense when atheists rightfully point out that they’ve stepped out of line and are acting like children and trying to monopolize debate (again). They need to stop being big brothers and start being parents, welcoming and accepting yet willing to bring down the hammer if necessary, upholding fairness and equality for both sides rather than just one.

Non-Christians in particular need to check their priorities. Fifteen centuries, people. Fifteen. Centuries. Christianity is now the largest religion by number of adherents, it dominates the political discourse in many countries; most notably the United States, where a party stacked full of Christian wingnuts (even by moderate standards!) currently owns enough of both legislative houses to block anything that they don’t like.

You defend them now. But how well do they defend you? You will find these nuts and their supporters spouting off a myriad of claims about how the United States is a “Christian nation”, how Christianity is seemingly required for one to be considered a Real American, et cetera. You can find sentiments to this extent all over outlets such as Right Wing Watch that devote themselves to chronicling the lies of the “Moral Majority”.

They came for the Muslims and you did not speak up because you were not Muslims. They are coming for the atheists and you are not speaking up because you are not atheists. How long will it be before they come after the agnostics? The spiritualists? The Hindus? The Buddhists?

What about all of you liberal Christians who disagree so vehemently with their politics while defending their religious sentiments? How long will it be before you are the last enemy that must be destroyed?

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