OK, let’s talk about hatred shall we?
The Watsonistas certainly do. Relentlessly. In fact, if you take their word for it, outside of Saudi Arabia, the greatest concentration of misogynists and rape apologists on Earth can be found within the atheist and skeptic communities and a woman that attends any of their events and escapes without being sexually assaulted is in a rare minority (and probably a traitor and collaborator).
Perhaps the Watsonista that most openly, honestly and unambiguously expresses the true sentiments of all involved is Skeptifem. While others go to great lengths to disguise their hatreds as concerns, she has no such inhibitions and just lets her venom drip. A great display can be seen in an extended rant against male-friendly women, appropriately titled inside the mind of a gender traitor. It is worth reading this extract with care as there is an unusual observation to be made –
What is a gender-traitor, you ask? I am sure you all know a few of them. When you tell your co-worker to knock it off with the stupid sexist jokes, she is the one who leans over to exclaim “No, its really true. Women really are crazy drivers!” The dude bro you were talking to is now smugly satisfied that a woman defended his sexist bullshit, and she has earned herself a new friend as a result. I was that woman for a little while, and a lot of other women have been too.
She “doesn’t get along with women”. She watches porn. She calls men pussies as an insult. She gets to be the cool chick. Guys will say she isn’t like other chicks, who act so fucking stupid and girly all the time. Nope, she is different. She isn’t always whining or talking about boring girly crap like jewelery or babies. The gender traitor usually bonds with men over some typically masculine hobby like video games, guns, violent movies, drinking, etc. She gets to be an honorary dude, as long as she shrugs off sexism and helps dudes feel better about themselves. That is her job inside the group of friends…
…All these were inspired by a general concept of manners and morals which was openly put into practice by a large section of gender traitors and could be established as attributable to them. Here, again, the life which I observed on the streets taught me what evil really is.
The part which the gender traitors played in the social phenomenon of prostitution, and more especially in the enslavement of women, could be studied here better than in any other city…
A cold shiver ran down my spine when I first ascertained that it was the same kind of cold-blooded, thick-skinned and shameless gender traitor who showed her consummate skill in conducting that revolting exploitation… Then I became fired up…
This is just stream of consciousness bile from yet another person seeking revenge on an unfair planet for unspecified personal reasons. Not like there’s any shortage of it – from islamist clerics to Westboro Baptist to black and white supremacists to gender catastrophists, it’s all pretty much the same stupidity with only minor variations in theme. Reasons don’t need to be specified, scapegoats can be broadly brushed and causality is irrelevant. All that’s important is to drive the wedge into the ground to clearly demarcate us and them and then just spew the pent up hatred that only bitterness and resentment can really breed.
But what’s really is interesting about the above extract is this – the last half isn’t Skeptifem. It’s the clown prince of comedy Adolf Hitler. With European references removed and gender traitor substituted for Jew, it is otherwise an exact copy of a passage out of Mein Kampf – the original text can be seen here. Not a whole lot of difference is there?
Hate speech1, and let’s make no bones about it, that’s what rants like Skeptifem’s actually amount to, is a slippery thing. It’s like an ice skating rink coated in oil. Most of it is just inconsequential flatus and nonsense. But some of it has come close to destroying the world. And way too much of it spurs the uncritical and easily manipulable into irrational action. It is made by unstable minds for unstable minds and consequences are the very last thing to ever be considered. For instance, consider the case of Valerie Solanas. She spent much of the ’60s spewing Skeptifem style misandrist venom culminating in her magnum opus, the SCUM Manifesto. Then, some years later, in what can only be described as a Mark David Chapman moment using logic that only made sense to her2, she decided to try and kill Andy Warhol.
Now I will vehemently disagree with anyone who may claim that Solanas’ writings are the reason she attempted murder. That is the censor’s trump card and a dangerous nonsense. I will however say the circumstances in which Solanas wrote can be viewed as giving her a helpful nudge. Consider her life – it was an aquarium. Sealed off and protected from all criticism and contrary opinion; spurred on by a bunch of encouraging, confirmation bias groupies; reading the same kind of hate nonsense from others part of her scene; and complete isolation from the kind of information and interaction the rest of the world deals with as part of day-to-day life. It was a bubble sealed off from reality. It is not surprising that social inhibitions, empathy and reason would melt away. And for a personality like Solanas’, compounded by probable diagnosable schizophrenia, it was the perfect way to tip her over the edge into darkness.
This is precisely the same kind of reality bubble occupied by Skeptifem, Rebecca Watson and most of the rest of the Watsonista gang. Is it any surprise that they are as deranged and sociopathic as they are? Or that once you are so insulated from reality, and lose all empathic touch with those outside of your clique, that hatred becomes a natural response for dealing with anything which is alien? The other?
Hatred on it’s own is to an extent excusable. Under these insular conditions, if you’re not the sharpest knife in the drawer, reacting with hatred to the alien is not all that different from dogs and cats reacting to each other. It’s only when this kind of hatred gets coupled with ideology that it becomes something far, far more toxic.
The poison that has been spewed thus far by Skeptifem, such as what’s above, is in no way unique or isolated. For a start, there is not a single critic of her nonsense to be found anywhere in the Watson apologist camp. This in itself is bad enough, but what is worse is that most reiterate much of what she says, albeit in diluted and obfuscatory form. The sympathy for her views is close to universal – so much so that Skepchick itself thinks Skeptifem is such an outstanding representative of the community that she deserves her own in depth interview.
The best example of grinding the same gender traitor millstone comes from Rebecca Watson herself. In her very first video on the subject of Elevatorgate, and on numerous occasions since, Becky has been branding Paula Kirby a traitor. But that is all mild in comparison to the malice Becky directed at Steph McGraw (more detailed analysis here). From the outset, these women have been punished for daring to dissent from the official opinion as preached by Watson. Many, many other women in the community have since also been branded for similarly showing dissent. Many have also been intimidated into silence.
A similar attitude has been displayed by many other prominent Watsonista bloggers – dissent from women will not be tolerated. Your reasoning for disagreement is irrelevant, the crime lies simply in the act of disagreeing and you will be branded as a traitor. This bullying is a pretty constant feature on any Watsonista blog that you look at. A fairly typical example can be found from Ophelia Benson on Butterflies and Wheels in a blog on the upcoming kangaroo court advertised as the CFI Women in Secularism conference. Not only does she take an obligatory stab at ScienceBlogs Abbie Smith for treachery, she gives a head-kick to another less prominent female blogger to put her in her place. The original smackdown (for questioning the whole idea of the conference), hastily redacted (but caught in screencap), simple read –
Aw fuck you, [blogger in question].
This was the response to a pertinent point being raised in an amusing fashion – open hostility. Kind of like islamists responding to Muhammed cartoons. Heresy will not be tolerated. It worked. The blogger has ceased to be any part of the public conversation on these topics. Dissent will be silenced. And this is only what’s visible. There is a fairly steady stream of women commenting here in private – all out of fear of recrimination from speaking up in public. Wonderful.
Herein lies the paradox which underscores the maxim the path to hell is paved with good intentions – all of this atheist misogyny nonsense began ostensibly to redress the largely erroneous assumption that women were intimidated from actively participating in the atheist and skeptic communities. Yet the resulting jihad has ended up driving thousands of women either underground or into abandoning the communities altogether. Well done Becky. Jolly well done. If only I could believe that this was not your actual intent. And we haven’t even touched on the vile slander and hatred that has been directed at men.
In realpolitik terms, what we are witnessing is the good old fashioned sports of witch-hunting, guilt by association and blacklisting – exercised with a finesse not seen since the glory days of Senator Joe McCarthy. Though its foundation is in a perverted ideology, its practice is ruthless, pragmatic, utterly amoral and Machiavellian.
Nor are these practices limited to mud slinging on Youtube and in blogs. Watson extends this to suggestions for a list of prohibited authors and books that falls just short of calling for public book burning. And the Baboon King PZ Myers grabs hold of it with both fists and has entire Pharyngula wiki entries devoted to destroying individuals on top of a common blacklist of known dialectic criminals – a blacklist once devoted to genuine loons such as Dave Mabus has now been expanded to anyone that deviates from accepted groupthink. And in fact, as I personally discovered, you don’t even need to participate in the baboon board to merit inclusion.
But perhaps the crowning achievement of dissent purging again belongs to Rebecca Watson herself. Becky has earned herself a permanent ban from randi.org for using inadvertant account privilege escalation to gain unauthorised administrative access to the Randi forums to destroy data and user identities of those she had disagreements with. In online terms, this was an action that is the equivalent of cold-blooded murder, or more appropriately, as extrajudicial political assassination. Destroying the existance of other users is a final taboo – it is a line that pretty much any non-sociopathic internet user will never cross. It is very firmly in the never do, under any circumstances basket. Yet Becky committed this act without hesitation or blinking, proceeded to brag about it and even now, simply dismisses it as a trivial joke that has been exaggerated. No Becky. It was not a joke. It was a crime. It is a crime that is punishable by jail time in very many jurisdictions in the world. It is many things Becky, but a joke is not one of them. This is perhaps the clearest indicator of the sheer amorality and ethical destitution of Rebecca Watson there is.
It has now long past the point where this atheist misogyny meme as instigated by Watson and Greta Christina some years ago even needs a crypto- prefix to describe it as fascism. It has become raw fascism. Tally all of the behaviour up, and they have checked more than a sufficient number of boxes of criteria to qualify as a fascist movement to satisfy the UN or any political science scholar3.
We have a small minority of maniacs exploiting guilt by association, fear, intimidation, threat, ostracism and even data destruction to promote their own narrow brand of ideology at any expense, fueled by the amoral fanaticism of some incoherent greater good for which the ends justifying the means. It is a vile replay of every mass hatred movement that has cursed human history throughout the ages. And in order to be able to stomach it themselves, they concoct a sugar coating by painting themselves as some kind of enlightened liberalism – liberal only by the perverted definition pushed by the likes of Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter.
It has moved beyond being simple insult slinging and bitch fighting into territory that is extremely dangerous – as highlighted to me by a couple of female academics I have spoken with regarding this Rebecca Watson sideshow. These are highly intelligent, highly qualified female intellectuals, and they now fear the impact that speaking out will have on their academic careers. The parallels to what has happened in the past, and still happens, to males in academia that have challenged idiocy is fresh in everybody’s minds – these women have come to realise that they too are vulnerable to such attacks if they speak their minds.
This is the ultimate aim of any fascist movement – to completely shutdown dissenting opinion, by fear if necessary, and promote an ideological monoculture that has zero tolerance for the opinions or rights of others. Superficially, there is the impression that the Watson’s, Skepchicks, Pharyngudrones and miscellaneous others that choose to wallow in slave mentality are winning. But that is only if you believe the noise. There is some degree of comfort to be found in the large numbers unaligned atheists and skeptics covering the whole political and social spectrum that now see this nonsense for what it is – a divisive, destructive and dangerous brand of fascism that has nothing in common with either movement.
The problem lies in expressing the discontent and the greatest impediment to this, unfortunately, is the Center for Inquiry itself. As long as CFI continues to provide the stage, the propaganda and the funding for the Watsonistas4, it will be an uphill battle. The events they are promoting have strayed so far away from the organisation’s charter it has simply ceased to be either relevant or to represent the interests of the communities it claims to support.
Consider, what business does CFI have in supporting Amanda Marcotte? A woman that not only wants to suspend the right to presumption of innocence for men accused of sex crimes against women (but not against males or children because that isn’t as important) and seems to be in favour of Guantanamo Bay style military tribunals for the same purposes (so all that dumb regular law stuff can be ignored), amongst an endless list of other serious derangement. Seriously, WTF has that got to do with what CFI is supposed to be doing? CFI as an organisation has been derailed and it is impossible to place any faith in its integrity in its current incarnation.
This type of thinking speaks to the more primitive, emotional, pattern-seeking part of the brain. It probably will also tend to attract those in the community who have a predisposition to conspiracy thinking. Social media can further be used to magnify these effects, creating a self-reinforcing feedback loop. A specific manifestation of this is the comment section of blogs, or in forums.
In these forums people can get each other worked up, and confirmation bias takes over with each person giving their supporting anecdotes. Dissenters may be chased away, or even censored. The conspiratorial jihad group mentality then takes on a life of it own.
Novella is writing about hostility towards scientists, but his words in every respect are just as pertinent to everything that has gone down with the Rebecca Watson circus.
One can only hope that Novella applies his observations consistently, right down to who he invites to host SGU. So please do us a favour Steve. Do your bit to inch us back towards sanity. It shouldn’t need to be explained.
1 – No I don’t advocate “hate” legislation of any kind. No I will not argue my reasons here. Suffice it to say existing laws more than cover all eventualities without building in exceptionalist clauses.
2 – Actually it was most likely due to thinking Warhol stole a script to one of her plays. He actually thought the play was an obscenity sting by undercover smut cops, threw it in a box somewhere and forgot about it. It was discovered again after his death. See the cesspit of lies.
3 – A useful checklist is “The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism” first published in Free Inquiry, Spring 2003 –
4 – CFI itself is eternally crying poor in the last couple of years, seemingly teetering on insolvency. Yet they have no shortage of funds to throw at ideologues like Watson. This is perhaps the biggest “please explain” that can be posed.