If you are going to the 2016 Reason Rally, feel free to have a wonderful, invigorating time with your fellow atheists, stretched as far as one big outdoor megachurch Sunday barbecue. Enjoy, bathe it in, feel overwhelming affinity for your non-closeted like-minded folk, start the revolution with some good outdoor crowd-mingling.
The format of speeches, , though, of endless hectoring and performance art, is not in the spirit of Fun Social Nihilism. After a lifetime of punitive ecclesiastical, academic, literary, familial, governmental, and other institutional pretenders to the authority throne, why should grown men and women have to be mute witnesses to some microphone-hogging promulgator of the individual-as-Artiste? Atheism should be in rebellion against the undemocratic format, where supposed nobody/dummies are subject to the lecternists of the registered personality trademark. Are we, the assembled, to get righteous moral instruction from the flawed celeb-folk? Is there some supposed way out of the darkness of Christian ownership of the courts, the politics, the family den, the media circus that will be revealed by the speechists?
The news of today is an obligatory series: bad, bad, bad, then, always, hope alighting, aglowing! The critiques are strong, are impassioned, voluminous with detail, about the institutional horrors of our global project, but this is never enough, there has to be some overriding, bounteous wellspring of hope for change to come, despite that drumbeat of bad shit, stupid shit, malfeasance and nonfeasance shit.
Not here, though, not at FSN. WE are not speechifying, and we are not in service to some phantasm of “We Shall Overcome.” Michael Shermer is not going to come here and extol the virtues of the Free Market’s Invisible Hand as direct analogue to the bounties of Darwinian natural selection. No FSN guru is going to bray like a circus chimp for the crowd’s public amusement.
Should atheists gather? Yeah, sure, if they want to, but give them a voice, dammit. They are not a flock, not a malleable congregation. Each one of them is a vibrating skeptic, and they need no leaders. Humans will always look for a social grouping to manufacture leaders, but the “leaders,” in this case of public atheism, should abdicate.