Originally Posted by SWM
Last edited by Hatuey; 02-16-09 at 09:53 PM.
I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. - MLK
"He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
Being what the OP calls a political atheist is much, much easier said than done. We are being asked if we are capable of thinking rationally about political issues. Most people would believe they fit the bill, but - as we can probably all agree - very few do. It must be concluded, then, that most people who think of themselves as political atheists are wrong. Which ones? Why, everyone else, of course.
We make the assumption that many social and economic issues can be reduced down to quantifiable, individual integers. If (A) is true, then (B) is true. If (A) is not true, (B) is not true. (A)'s true, so easy peasy, problem solved! I wish politics worked like this; I'd be able to liberate my brain from the foggy, ominous mire of ambiguity where most of my abstract thinking seems to wander, held captive by the ruthless overlord that is paranoid skepticism.
In the world of politics, one man's 'fact' is, at best, questioned zealously by an opposing ideology; at worst it is simply someone's feelings held together with enough dogma and loyalty to appear somewhat concrete from afar (I'm not going to cite specific examples because I don't want to derail the thread). For the most hot-button issues, a little patience and resourcefulness will find you a Panel of Credible Experts that will demonstrate, using copious data and exhausting research, the inexorable truth of whatever opinion you might care to have on the matter.
That's not to say that it's impossible to make rational decisions, or to get decent information. We simply have to do so with a respectful nod towards the intoxicating power of ideology and the inherent limits of our own human perception. We must be honest with ourselves about the reliability of the sources we get our information from. We try to be constantly aware of those misleading tricks of logic: Appeals to tradition and novelty, majority and minority, establishment and disestablishment; cherry-picking anecdotes and data; the use of ridicule, and vilification, and association; the strawman, that classic favorite...as well as any number of other emotional appeals or logical shortcuts.
I catch myself all the time...letting my desire for the truth or falsehood of something guide my pursuit and interpretation of information. The best we can do, I think, is to try to be humble enough to acknowledge our instinctive desire for verifying our worldview, and our instinctive fear of cognitive dissonance. These things are a part of the beauty of human nature, but they are not, unfortunately, facilitators of truth.
Last edited by SWM; 02-16-09 at 11:40 PM.
Atheism =/= not subscribing to an ideology. It means not believing in a deity. Buddhists are an example of people who are atheists who subscribe to an ideology.
athe·ism Listen to the pronunciation of atheism
Middle French athéisme, from athée atheist, from Greek atheos godless, from a- + theos god
1archaic : ungodliness , wickedness2 a: a disbelief in the existence of deity b: the doctrine that there is no deity
Clearly this is not about an ideology, but instead about the singular belief in a deity. Many religions do not have deities.
So the term "Political Atheism" is pure nonsense.
But let's see if perhaps the term "political agnostic" would be closer.
1ag·nos·tic Listen to the pronunciation of 1agnostic
Greek agnōstos unknown, unknowable, from a- + gnōstos known, from gignōskein to know — more at know
1: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable ; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god
2: a person unwilling to commit to an opinion about something <political agnostics>
— ag·nos·ti·cism Listen to the pronunciation of agnosticism \-tə-ˌsi-zəm\ noun
This doesn't quite fit either. Politics is NOT unknown or unknowable. And nobody is truly unwilling to commit to an opinion about politics. They have opinions, but they might not adhere to a prescribed ideology.
So political agnostic doesn't fit either.
I'd venture a guess that "Political Rationalist" is perhaps the best fit for this type of mindset. Again from Webster's:
It seems clear that rationalism does not necessarily adhere to any ideology except that reason has primacy over all else.Main Entry:
ra·tio·nal·ism Listen to the pronunciation of rationalism
1: reliance on reason as the basis for establishment of religious truth
2 a: a theory that reason is in itself a source of knowledge superior to and independent of sense perceptions b: a view that reason and experience rather than the nonrational are the fundamental criteria in the solution of problems.
When someone does not subscribe to a specific ideology in a blind fashion, without the benefit of reason, one must be construed as a rationalist.
Thus, I conclude that "Political Atheist" and "Political Agnostic" are terms that make no sense at all. Anyone who would call themselves such, should more accurately describe themselves as "Political Rationalists".
That is what I would call myself, BTW.
Tucker Case - Tard magnet.
Naw, I'm usually here on Sundays.
"Loyalty only matters when there's a hundred reasons not to be-" Gen. Mattis