The New Atheists, like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, the late Christopher Hitchens and many others, purported to offer a sane, secular attempt to roll back religiosity for the betterment of society. Instead, their efforts have begat the mother of all calamities.
How did this come to pass?
Scientific atheism, as promoted by the New Atheists, lacks any unifying central structure or code. Essentially it is based on a negative — not believing in God. So it can’t have a defining structure. Richard Dawkins, one of the most prominent New Atheists, tried to answer this with his ‘brights’ — which was an embarrassment. (Since at least 2014, Dawkins has self-identified as a ‘secular Christian’ anyway.)
After the Enlightenment and especially the French Revolution, European secularism based itself around Reason as the core methodology that would replace, in the minds of those who were atheist, religious belief. This reflected a rejection of hierarchical religious authority, which had begun in the Reformation. The works of philosophers like Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant and Paine promoted the idea of the free-thinking individual whose intellectual scalpel was Reason. Both of these were exported to the US.
Witch-burning is out of fashion in the West these days. Fortunately. But the intolerance that caused it is still with us, and it’s getting more strident. The Internet has given voice to some whose opinions, frankly, are odious, and ‘multiculturalism’ that shameful abrogation of the moral values of our secular society, makes it increasingly difficult for anyone to express legitimate criticism of some of the nastiest ideas put forward by what is, frankly, a thoroughly poisonous group of people.
Today, the victims of the intolerance are not witches or pagans or dissident Protestants, Catholics or Jews. They are ordinary decent people who have been brought up to believe that they have a right to speak freely. After all, the US has a Constitution that enshrines it, and through all those long years of the Cold War, the one thing we in Europe held most dear was that in our culture, freedom of speech was assured, for without it, there would be no freedom at all. If we were to be ‘better dead than Red’ and we would have been, it was in the name of Freedom of Speech that we should have faced our nuclear Calvary.
In my last video I discussed why I no longer feel comfortable calling myself an atheist. This is only partly because it’s an unscientific position. It is, more importantly, a political position that plays into the hands of those who wish to destroy Western civilisation, the finest on the planet.
There is no alternative to Capitalism in a free society. Removing it would also necessarily remove the foundation of Enlightened Culture. As I wrote here, that foundation is that we all own our own bodies and lives. They are ours to do as we will with, so long as we do not harm others. If we so choose, we may use them to earn and acquire property, which is Capital. Once acquired, it is ours to keep or exchange.
Removing Capitalism dispossesses us of our own lives and bodies, since it prevents us from using them to acquire things. Worse, it assumes that, since our bodies and lives are not our own, they must belong to someone or something else. This has been the Family, the State, the Tribe, the Earth, the Party, the Church, the Crown, the Faith; you name it. Our most precious freedom, to live our own lives with our own bodies, is removed when we attempt to remove Capitalism.
We have no time left to deliberate, now. Appeasement has failed, just as it did in 1939. The enemy is among us. He is far more cruel and vicious than Adolf Hitler and more totalitarian than the Nazis. He uses any weapon he can to kill us, while we have allowed our governments to take from us our own, with which we might, perhaps, have defended ourselves. His name is Islam and he has declared war.
Our cultural values of freedom and toleration we must now put aside, because our continent is sick. The dream of a free, peaceful Europe that we have been building for seven decades is dead. We must, now, fight to preserve what is left, the essential core of our cultural values. To do that we must accept that many of our privileges, afforded by the system we live under, must be suspended. We are at war and that is one consequence.
I was asked today if I was a ‘liberal’. Now in all honesty, until quite recently, I would just have said ‘yes’ and moved on. Simple, easy, checks the right boxes. But the world is not as it was; liberalism has become infected with some appallingly bad ideas that we have to stand up to and defeat. So when I analysed ‘what I am’ I came up with this: a socially aware, libertarian, scientific, secularist.
So, for this week’s Friday Politics, what does being a socially aware, libertarian, scientific, secularist, mean and why is it not the same as being a ‘liberal’?
We wake to a morning of black tragedy in Europe as it has, again, been scourged by a Muslim terror attack. This great continent with its myriad and vibrant culture, that has given so much to the world, is on the long march to its final Calvary. And all I can say, my heart breaking, is ‘I told you so.’
Yesterday, the 14th of July, a Muslim terrorist hired a truck and drove it at speed through the crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice. Weaving from side to side to kill as many as he could, the driver, a Franco-Tunisian, brought death and horror to a 2-kilometre long section of the Promenade des Anglais, on the seafront. At least 84 people were murdered and another 18 may not survive their injuries. The killer’s name was Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel. The attack is typical of those carried out by Daesh, aka ISIS or ISIL.
Bastille Day is as great a family celebration in France as Christmas is, perhaps even more. Children, among the dead and maimed, were out having fun with their parents. Whole families were run over. Wives were murdered in front of their husbands as they shared a brief moment of happiness.
I am part of something greater, in a very real and immediate sense. It’s not so much a question of believing but of accepting the evidence in front of me. I am part of the Earth. The Earth is not just a core of molten iron covered in a crust of rock and water, with an outer gaseous atmosphere, though it is these things. It is a living system, an entity. And I am—we are all—part of that entity.
Consider what you are: you are composed of billions of individual living things called cells.
The broader media gave the story of how a young woman was set upon by five other women for sunbathing in a bikini in a park in Reims, France, some attention today and a few new titbits have come out. (I covered this yesterday.)
According to the national newspaper Le Monde, under the headline ‘Emotions and hasty conclusions’ the woman who was attacked is Angélique Slosse. Three of her alleged attackers have been named, Inès Nouri, Zohra Karim and Hadoune Tadjouri. The other two are minors and their names have not been released. All five are Muslim.
This article was originally published in 2015. If I thought then that things might be better by now, five years later, I was deluding myself. Today we see an upsurge, again, of Islamist violence and hatred. All of our appeasement has failed; the war intensifies. Fear of Islam is just the common-sense position to take, in 2020.
France and the world have been shocked by a brutal and vicious massacre of journalists at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. This atrocity was perpetrated by Islamists with the specific aim of preventing criticism of their ideology. In the aftermath, unprecedented levels of public outrage and grief were displayed all over France.
Just this week, 44 men of the Philippines Special Action Force were murdered by Islamists in southern Mindanao. The officers had their throats cut. This atrocity was carried out by the Islamist group the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which has made a career out of the usual stock-in-trades of the Islamist – murder, kidnapping, torture and extortion. Here too, there has been a massive outpouring of public emotion.