There would be no contemporary public atheism without the Four Horseman Flavor-of-the-Month atheist arrival quite a few years ago, over a decade, and yet milquetoast “atheists,” or even, worse, milquetoast “agnostics,” or there’s probably an even worse term below that, are tripping over their tears of concern for the poor, vilified believers in haruspicy. Once the paragraph begins with “I’m an atheist, but…” there is going to be some serious, soppy hug-a-Christian-persecutee accommodationism coming.
After the vicious, fascistic anti-atheist crusades of the 50s that elveated “In God We Trust” and “under God” into inscriptions into our secular republic, atheism was about as popular as the NAMBLA folks. Madalyn Murray O’Hair was only the public atheist left standing during those days, and she was fighting the most losing of battles to educated us propagandized little unformed youth. The 60s “Revolution” was co-opted by “spiritual” hippies and Jesus Freaks, though the ground was starting to rumble. Against this cult of anti-humanism came very brave, quite flawed authors to ride the flag of atheism up the flagpole, and it has become a major social (though not political) presence in many countries. Any one of the New Atheist heroes can be smited for this or that peccadillo or animadversion or peculiar anti-humanist fault, but they risked the wrath of the pestilent theocrats across the lands, and we are their beneficiaries.
For Steven Akey, avowed “atheist,” really a milquetoast like John Gray or R. Joseph Hoffmann or Norman Finkelstein or Chris Mooney, none of this New Atheism was good, necessary, or even remotely just.
Really, there’s not much need to read Hitchens, Dawkins, and the other exemplars of the New Atheism when you can read Hume instead; it’s all there in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion but without the hectoring and with incomparably more grace.)
These poo-pooers, these fuddy-duddy classicists, these fake-empaths with the tiny, beleaguered sects of monotheism, have no idea what is going on outside their libraries. Look at the US and A, currently run by a fascist (centralized, corporate-criminal rule) theocracy, taking the breaths away from poor sick people, denying women the right to have children when they want, amping up global technowar. Look at Russia, enjoying the resurgence of Russian Orthodox fascism. How about Saudi Arabia, or the Philippines, or Turkey, or Nigeria, or wherever religion works hand-in-hand with the forces of militant oppression against the values of secular humanism.
For Akey, though, it atheism that made Mao become the all-time killer that he was, though it was hard to remember when Dawkins or Onfray was at the Great Leader’s side:
I wish I could believe that a rising wave of secular enlightenment would wash away religious persecution and ignorance, but what we might get instead (and often have got) is something like Maoism and other horrors of the 20th and early 21st centuries.
Mao might have been an atheist, he might not have been, but only milquetoast atheists think they have to apologize to the world for Mao. There is no cult of Mao, no dogma of Mao, no Mao veneration in contemporary atheism. Stop associating people with cults that existed continents away, before they were alive, and have zero degrees of humanism about them.
The Four Horseman are gone off to their ranches, and their guns have fallen silent. Public, private, social media, anti-social media atheism is now in charge of the flag, and each atheist branch must contend with a social world run by fascist theocrats. The least atheism can do is stop crying tears for crocodiles who are choosing to align themselves with the worst forces of anti-humanism, and stop apologizing for the hurt feelings of the marauding theocrats and their sympathizers. Milquetoasters should turn in their badges.