I really hate personal questions. Not because I am shy or dysfunctional or socially crippled, but because any answers I may give are unlikely to be understood by the Inquisitor and will only lead to yet more questions ad nauseam and I no longer have any passion for confusing those that favour yapping over reading. I’m a complicated guy.
On the question of political and social philosophy however, I am currently at an equilibrium that I am comfortable with and identify with being a Cynic1 and cosmopolite. I used to be what used to be called libertarian (in the classical sense, which has little to do with the kind of “libertarianism” now being peddled in the US by Teabaggers and associated sociopath crackpots), but then I read about stuff like the history of the French public sanitation system and arrived at the conclusion that while the politics of selfishness may be fine at a local village scale, rolling it out as a macro-economic model for an entire country or planet is beyond merely insane, unless you actually have a thing for a society modeled on Mad Max. I’m still pretty much a social libertarian inside though – dope, guns and fucking in the streets; ignorance is no excuse for a law2 etc.
At first glance, Cynicism and cosmopolitanism may seem like an odd marriage, but not so. The term “cosmopolitan” itself was coined by Diogenes of Sinope –
Of Diogenes it is said: “Asked where he came from, he answered: ‘I am a citizen of the world (kosmopolitês)'” – [via the cesspit of lies]
In fact, the two movements are a pretty precise fit for each other – perhaps the only real distinction is that the Cynics are just cosmopolites that really like Derek and Clive.
The etymology of cosmopolitan, when you break down the components, gives a hint at it being a somewhat unique word view –
- cosmos, a natural universal order, and
- polis, society’s variable order
A collective of non-collectivists. Or, what atheists are so often described as, a herd of cats. Diogenes’ use of the idea was much, much more than simply a glib, dismissive statement. It was in fact a revolutionary act – it was a direct attack on the concept of social identity itself, perhaps the first such attack in the entire history of our species. It was more than just a rejection of Athenian identity, but a rejection of all custom, convention, fashion, etiquette, public opinion, reputation, hubristic honour and pointless dishonour, and all associated belief system baggage. No more pigeon holes.
That is certainly a more radical vision than most modern cosmopolites would be comfortable with accepting, nevertheless, it is its origin and the same rough philosophical framework still exists today. Acknowledge the fact that we are all different, yet reject, by any means necessary, all those that may preach for homogeneity.
To the cosmopolite, all personal idiosyncrasies such as race, place of origin, gender, sexuality, spiritual outlook, political predispositions and other miscellaneous beliefs are of little more import than streets signs in a village – just informational snippets to assist us in getting our bearings for the purposes of social navigation, mostly for the purposes of avoiding maniacs, or being forewarned and forearmed for dealing with them. It is egaliatarianism of acceptance of the other on a take it or leave it basis, with no desire to change it unless it does pose genuine risk to life and property.
This all tends to lead to absurdities. Quite often, in the presentations of their position in argument, cosmopolites will get branded with some kind of -ism, usually that of race or sex. The absurdity lies in the charges being of crimes against the very same artificial social constructs that the cosmopolite has abandoned as irrelevant in the first place. Ordinary folks simply are incapable of grasping the basic fact that if a cosmopolite dislikes you, it has nothing to do with your race, gender or belief system – the only reason they will ever dislike you is if you are an asshole. The simplest things are always the most difficult to grasp. When the frustration can reach boiling point is when the cosmopolite encounters people that habitually love playing either race or gender cards as dialectic hand grenades for the purposes of derailing or get out of jail free cards when backed into a corner.
So… what then are we to make of Rebecca Watson, the Skepchick brigade and the atheist/skeptic riot grrrl sideshow that continues to rattle and echo like a can of ball bearings on a paint shaker in a subway tunnel throughout the various online communities?
As summarised previously, it’s as though they look at this whole cosmopolite world view with absolute distaste, contemptuously declare it flawed and fault-ridden, that it is beneath them to coherently explain why (because one should never have to explain anything that obvious) and proceed to stomp all over it with Tank Girl boots – then get a foie gras pump to force feed us some more of the actual truth we are too stupid to acknowledge.
I keep nervously glancing at the current Skepchick main article, The Privilege Delusion, its 1000+ comments, and I honestly don’t know if my stomach and my arteries can handle it. Maybe later tonight… I am terrified, not an Evil Dead kind of terrified, where on a first time, know-nothing-about-it and alone-in-the-dark viewing you may actually crap your pants, but more a Joe D’amato Buio Omega kind of terrified where you know you will probably be grossed out beyond any reasonable limits you may have experienced to date.
What we are looking at here overall is a phenomenon that can only really be described as –
Pretty much every principle is inverted on its head. In the effort to promote tolerance, intolerance is incited. In order to remove alleged barriers, moats are dug even deeper and sharper razor wire is wrapped on the fences. Inclusivity is promoted by denunciations, accusations and excommunications… And for the sake of “unity”, grubby, exploitative wedge politics are being played that are creating a divisiveness we’ve never had to deal with before. It’s all way more fun than a barrel of funnel-webs. If the object of the exercise is to fragment and destabilise our communities, already defined more by chaos than organisation, then this effort deserves some kind of academy award.
The language of accusation is not an occasional theme at Skepchick either it seems. It is the entire backdrop, as a few minutes on Google can show –
Yahoo site ballpark-o-meter tells us there’s 1,232 pages all up, and it’s coming up to its 6th birthday. Do the math. This is a skeptic site isn’t it? Skepticism is the main focus isn’t it? Google must be broken.
Let’s try some other hot topics, because they must talk about stuff other than evil penises –
|vaccine OR vaccination site:skepchick.org||About 1,070 results|
|deepak OR chopra site:skepchick.org||About 130 results|
|abortion OR “birth control” site:skepchick.org||About 750 results|
|acupuncture OR herbalism site:skepchick.org||About 246 results|
|oprah OR “dr. phil” site:skepchick.org||About 556 results|
OK, we haven’t quite nudged the sexual terror numbers yet, content-wise. One more search will do it, and this one with a bump –
|homeopathy OR homeopathic site:skepchick.org||About 1,230 results|
Right we’re finally over the line. Skeptic site? You decide. You can also technically say IMDB is a database for supporting actors. It wouldn’t be a factually incorrect statement.
This is beyond simply disturbing. Before allowing myself to get distracted by all of this, I viewed Skepchick in a generally positive light, if somewhat ambivalently at never having examined it in detail or followed it. Now that I’ve been rummaging around in it, this is just another Off Our Backs, albeit with a skeptical theme. Nothing wrong with that per se – it’s just somewhat misleading to have an about page that claims –
Skepchick is a group of women (and one deserving guy) who write about science, skepticism, and pseudoscience. With intelligence, curiosity, and occasional snark, the group tackles diverse topics from astronomy to astrology, psychics to psychology.
This is highly dishonest and misleading. And it only gets worse once you begin to explore the myriad of fora where time and again, Skepchick and “sexism” and “misogyny” keep bursting into threads that refuse to die. And the traffic is hardly all one way, pro-Skepchick, as you might be led to believe from reading about this nonsense on Pharyngula. Seems there is quite a mass of ladies out there that really resent being misrepresented in this way.
It is not enough to even say that Watson and co. are acosmopolitan. Another bogus assumption is that they are somehow liberal as well. Perhaps, if you subscribe to the vile corruption of “liberalism” as sold to subnormals by the likes of Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter, then yes they are. But not by any actual political standard could they ever be described as actual liberals. They are nothing of the sort – far closer to the mark is their own brand of authoritarian crypto-fascism. Hyperbole? Not really.
How else do you describe unrepresentative minorities that through sheer noise and shamelessness attempt to create an illusion of being a majority? When they promote their views by propagandising evil by using isolated events as being evidence representative of an entire particular, clearly defined demographic in order to demonise it? Selectively harvested evidence, much like that used in the past to prove all negroes want to rape white women (and that they have thick skulls to boot). Or, casting your mind back further, proofs that Jews required the blood of infants for their religious ceremonies.
Yes, I can hear the oh but that’s different squeals from here… but again, no it fucking isn’t. It is exactly the same mentality utilising exactly the same kind of villifying tools as every ideologically deranged maniac in history has ever used. There is no difference. Generalise, ostracise, demonise, dehumanise…
And when the nonsense is rammed down your throat in a saturated bombardment, and you see anyone that raises a voice in protest get immediately similarly villified (“rape apologist” is a charming example of such slander being used to silence potential dissent), and if they are female, have the added accusations of being a gender traitor and a collaborator added for good measure.
And then you throw in truck loads of fear, loathing, guilt, shame and good old fashioned puritanical wowserism, you have satisfied quite a number of the commonly accepted indicators of a fascist movement. This is not a movement that tolerates the other. It is a movement governed by assimilate or destroy.
This obscene atheist misogyny meme, birthed some years ago by Greta Christina, in an article strangely enough about Rebecca Watson (now fancy that! Mere coincidence or work o’ the devil?) and immediately embraced by godless fem-bots the world over and spread like herpes at a rave, has gotten way beyond minor rash and is blossoming into a full blown cancer. Thanks in large part to well intentioned dupes like PZ Myers and Gollum3 that allow themselves to be used to feed it oxygen. I really cannot think of a more destructive and divisive force at work within the godless and skeptic communities. And for what? Is it genuine derangement or is it just grubby self-publicity? Whatever the case, it is an abyss of raw nihilism that wants to suck everything down with it. There is not a single positive outcome for it whatsoever. You cannot continue to brand people, both male and female, criminals for no reason other than your own concocted phobias and expect them to feel grateful for it.
Wake the fuck up. That Becky, in a nutshell is why you are such a venomous, destructive little toad. And guess what? It has absolutely nothing to do with your precious little pussy, no doubt much to your chagrin. Here’s a nice graphic found elsewhere that sums it all up.
1 – Case is everything with the word cynic. Lower case “c” refers to the common dictionary definition of cynic, which is in every respect antithetical to the philosophy designated by the upper case “C” spelling. To emphasis this distinction, some authors, like Peter Sloterdijk, even go to the extent of spelling the latter “Kynic”.
2 – No that phrase is not a misprint. Ruminate on it; work it out for yourself.
3 – “Gollum”, or Phil Plait. Coined by a character called CK, so ask him. I like it. “We mussst be nice, preciousss, yesss nice. Not assholesss, oh noes… must never be assholesss my preciousss, we are nice, yesssss…”