Those who must not speak

by | March 17, 2014

I posted the other day linking to Rationally Speaking.
The knives have come out.

Predictably, my recent post on some remarks made by American Atheists President David Silverman has generated a firestorm on blogs and twitter, even though I thought the opinions expressed therein are actually quite mild.

It’s funny, I get the whole privilege argument, as a white male heterosexual, it is easier for me to express my opinion, because those particular features mark me and I’m not faced with the prejudice that makes it more difficult for others to do the same.

But screw the whole ‘be silent’ B.S. I have the freedom to express myself, unlike quite a few people in this shit of a world. I’m going to use that freedom. I’m going to use the shit out of it. I should, because I can. Because everyone should, even those who can’t.

9 thoughts on “Those who must not speak

  1. billybob

    Are you talking about our “inalienable right to whine”?

    1. Joe Post author

      The great part about freedom of speech is that you and I can whine together.

  2. Jim Royal

    I used to be a regular reader of both PZ Myers and Greta Christina. Over time, these two slowly became sources of unreadable, and often reactionary, vitriol.

    I suspect this is the same phenomenon that affects newspaper city columnists. I have noticed how columnists on political or social issue beats slowly become angry and jaded. First and foremost, outrage spawns readership. And they spend years writing about the same things, and dammit, nothing ever changes! So they get angrier and more spiteful at the world. And when change comes, it’s too little, too late.

    Reading stuff like the linked blog post, I understand why people like Neil deGrasse Tyson — a textbook atheist if there ever was one — avoids the label “atheist” so assiduously.

    1. Critic

      I called out PZ Myers on his hostility, and then defended R. Dawkins. I did both in the comments section of Pharyngula.


      Snuck back on with a different userID and IP address (thanks to Tor). As soon as they recognized my distinctive (grammatically correct, consistently reasoned, no spelling errors) writing style, banned again.

      PZ can go to heck. He’s not quite as nasty as some of the religious right are, but he’s NOT widening the gap as the R.R. gets whackier and nastier by the day. He should widen that gap.

      BTW, if you read the commentary on his site, you soon notice that no one has much to say that is meaningful. It’s mostly a tl;dr of WTF in-jokes and mutual back-slapping.

  3. dusttodust

    Here’s my expression of free speech.
    When giving a comment at someone’s blog they have the right to do whatever they want with it. Show it, edit it, ignore it, delete it…it’s their blog…their house.
    When writing on your own blog you can do and say whatever you like.
    Your opinions may be at odds to others. They may be “right”. You may be “right”. Doesn’t matter. Both think they’re right. Others will “side” with one or the other in their own way. Your opinion may get attacked. Suck it up…you put it out there. Defend it as best you can if you like. Both sides of the argument are being read by people who may have open minds to learning new perspectives.
    Your opinion may have consequences that come back to haunt you what with this day and age of social media. If your opinion is deemed to be “out there” then you may get shunned in one way or another.

    Since this seems to be stemming from the abortion topic…everyone has opinions. Is anyone right? I happen to think that the bodily autonomy trumps all other considerations. I may have opinions on late term. I may have opinions on gender selection. None of it matters, in my opinion, due to the fact that the woman has that final authority. NO ONE ELSE. That should be glaringly obvious to atheists due to the complete lack of evidence of the existence of an all-encompassing final authority. Even anti-choicers hypocritically get abortons when they find themselves with an unwelcome zygote.
    So having all these endless discussions or offering of opinions about abortions is a waste of time in my opinion.
    There, I just added to the time wasting.

  4. Corwin

    The knives may have come out, but Pigliucci’s keen rapier of an analytical mind appears more than equal to the situation. His new post answers his critics very effectively, and in more general terms is a lovely riposte against anyone with an urge to shackle atheism to a burdensome cartload of specific political and ethical positions (a near-absolute right to bodily autonomy, for one). Thanks for linking to it.

    In general, I think, what you aptly call “the whole ‘be silent’ B.S.” is best ignored. If expressing ourselves gets us thrown out of “safe spaces”, we can have our discussions in spaces that are safe for strong opinions and free-wheeling debate, like Canadian Atheist.

    1. Joe Post author

      Yeah, I understand the need for ‘safe spaces’, its like going to the hospital when you are really really sick.

      But you can’t LIVE in an echo chamber for long. For those of us that are not sick, the big dangerous world is much preferable, and really, if I’m going to go out, I don’t want it to be in a hospital bed, no matter how kind… and hot.. the nurse might be.


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