Is Atheism a chiefly liberal or conservative philosophy?

I know this may seem like a bit of an odd question but I’ve been wondering about it for the past few days and for some reason I can’t escape the feeling that it (atheism) would be a rather ‘conservative’ point of view (that is, at least in title), and yet I’m constantly being called a liberal because of my social and political leanings. I'm just wondering what your views are on this.

 

PS: I’ll be gone for a few days but I will catch up with this thread when I return.

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W,

Democracy should only be in place to choose those that will be in charge of the monopolization of force. We do not need taxes for this. So, no, I do not think that people should choose where their involuntary tax money goes, but if it is a voluntary tax, then yes. In a free land, anyone is able to do what they can to get the power to have an education and healthcare without having other people take from them or directly violate their right to their own life. It is not the successful's fault that others may not be successful. I think it is sad when people suffer. But it is part of nature. The rich people did not design reality to require one to think and work to live. And not you or anybody else has a moral right to place that blame on them. Our government can enact laws to protect people from direct harm so that they may make their own way. That is fairness, not trying to force equality of life with the threat of incarceration. This cannot work. It will only foster addiction to the welfare state, by rewarding need instead of work. Needs of others should be addressed peacefully or not at all. Once you need to hold a gun to my face to get my help, you no longer deserve it. Make your own way. 

@ MT: No, the Libertarian, Objectivist mold. It is nice to hear that you disagree with Objectivism and Ayn Rand on some points, however. I am also a determinist (and obviously an atheist), but I wouldn’t call myself an egoist. I am much closer to being an egoist than virtually anything else, but the fact that you believe that one is either an egoist or an altruist shows that your understanding of ethics is narrow (and borrowed entirely from Ayn Rand). Perhaps you do have some differences from her philosophy, but it is nearly identical. And it should ring some bells that you have taken nearly your entire philosophy from just one person. My philosophical opinions in ethics, politics, or just about any area of inquiry are taken eclectically from a great variety of sources. I suggest you broaden your horizons.

Perhaps you have read more Objectivism than I have, but I don’t recall her ever using the concept ‘soul’ as if it were a real thing. I agree with you that this would be disconcerting, and I also agree with you that her views on male-female relations were off-kilter. She did justify her cheating on her husband, after all (and on the basis that she was acting out of self-interest, which should also give you pause about the implications of her ethics). Though I can actually sort of see what she means about romantic/sexual attraction having a lot to do with relative power of each partner… And I also agree with you that her view of “volition” is wrong. So we are not so dissimilar after all (I always like to look for common ground and see how far different viewpoints can be reconciled).

I definitely see a problem with your assertion that either your political or ethical views can safely be called knowledge. I have no problem with scientific truths being called knowledge, but if you are implying that anything else you have said (and that does seem to be your intention!) is in any way secure knowledge, then you are way WAY off-base. Also, although most religious people do exhibit contradictions in their reasoning, it is entirely logically possible for a person to be religious and still be contradiction-free. I know a guy whose beliefs are vastly different from my own, but it is greatly difficult to point out any contradictions he makes. This is largely because he bases his beliefs in faith, so he can justify virtually anything. Maddening, and irrational, but not illogical.

You say:
“In regards to politics I believe AR was right on about the importance of individual rights politically and I believe as AR wrote mostly herself: ‘A state must not intervene in the intellectual or moral life of its citizens. It has no standards to uphold and no benefits to confer in regard to education, literature, art, science, sex (if consensual between adults) or philosophy. Its function should be to protect freedom, not truth or virtue. The goal of a proper society, accordingly, is not to compel truth or virtue, but to make them possible by ensuring that people are left free. A proper government offers freedom from coercion, not from the responsibility of self-sustenance.’”

And:
“A person does not have a right to a job. That is something they must get themselves. It is not the responsibility of a company to make a nice pretty job for someone to have. If a company's working conditions aren't good or if the pay is not good or the managers are mean, then don't work there!”

A state has the responsibility of looking after its citizens, true, but this need not necessarily be restricted to protection of personal freedom (i.e. property). If a people decide that they want to make laws respecting the idea that all of its members should be granted some basic social benefits, such as education, literature, art, science, and philosophy (or shoot, even sex!), then it is within the power of such a people to empower its government to see this through. If a people decide that this means that the functions of government should include compelling truth and virtue, then they may do so. Of course, this may easily be done poorly, and I agree with you that this could be very dangerous indeed. I disagree with you that it cannot be done well or rightly and in the best interests of its people. Further, if such an enlightened people decide that a basic social service should be gainful employment, this is also within the powers of a people, and may also be done rightly and well (or wrongly and poorly). There may be delicate balances which must be struck, but to outright dismiss these possibilities as morally wrong is dogmatic. And as for the O’ist argument that if you don’t like where you work, go somewhere else, tell that to the unemployed! You think it is just a matter of going where there is work? This is so terribly simplistic. And it takes a knowledge of what life is like for the poor or the sick to understand why, which you seem to have no interest in discovering.

And going back to what you said in one of your earlier posts, I wonder why it is you think the government is corrupt? It certainly isn't corrupt because the poor have any influence over it. I suggest you rethink this premise, because the obvious conclusion that government corruption occurs on behalf of private, rich and powerful interests is inescapable.
Thanks JD!

Why don't you simply come up with a list of superficial arbitrary insults and aim them at me? Rather than digest the concepts. It is clear you are not. Broaden my horizons? A very small percentage of what I have read and engaged is Objectivism. You are misconstruing my words and I do not think you understand the point. I do not believe that people are either egoists or altruists. I also know that many people articulate their explicit morality in a myriad of other ways. I believe that by nature everyone is an egoist. The singular nature of the mind and it's ability to make a choice necessitate this. Collective consciousness is an oxymoron. You may wish to give your last piece of bread to a starving child, but it is still a decision made in an egoistic fashion. It is what you want and decide. It is your moral choice. Self sacrifice or altruism will necessarily result in the destruction of the individual if practiced, which it cannot be. People choose what they think is right, with their brain, on their own behalf, based on their convictions, even when that entails supporting, fostering and growing the dependent welfare state. 

And your claim that my philosophy is nearly identical to AR's and the claim that you have an eclectic philosophy do not support me being wrong and you being right. Rightness is not a function of how many sources your opinion comes from. And I held the vast majority of my convictions before I ever read Ayn Rand. I simply think she does a great job of articulating much of it and I use a lot of the same words. 

Faith, by definition is illogical. Noncontradiction is necessary for logic to exist. Logic and contradiction are mutually exclusive. Your friend, the theist, is extremely contradictory and illogical if he believes in God being all knowing, all powerful, responsible for creation, able to perform miracles.........

"A state has responsibility to take care of its citizens." Says who? By what standard? Why? I say the state has a responsibility imposed by individuals with rights to ensure people are left free from others feeding on them. Obviously, I believe it is wrong to give the government power to take care of some at the expense of other individuals. I will not argue that the government does not have the power to attempt this. They obviously do. But it is first and foremost an immoral violation of the only thing that can properly morally command rights, the individual. 

Your use of the word dogmatic: I do not at all espouse a conviction by dictae. There is no source, like the bible or AR or some invalid metaphorical abstract concept that I use to support a conviction. Commitment to noncontradictory logic and reason is not and cannot be dogma. If you are using it to suggest that I strongly believe something, like 2+2=4, then fine, go ahead. But that is ineffectual and meaningless in this conversation.

This is why I do not like to claim being an O'ist. Because people like you run with it and claim that since AR was nuts in some way, then so am I. My statement that one should go somewhere else to work if they don't like it does not stem solely from AR. And again, simple does not in any way mean wrong. You do not know me enough to know that I don't know what it is like for the poor and unemployed. I have plenty of sympathy and empathy for those who suffer. I just don't think it is right to base a society on need. Practically speaking, I would not suggest that it is a good idea to simply fire the current government and replace it with people who understand why morality properly centers around the individual and Marxian wealth redistribution grows and sustains the lower class, but would endorse a slow transition. Iow, I don't think, now, because of what has been done, the millions of uneducated financially and psychologically codependent masses can do what it would take to get some new skills and go somewhere else to work. I am for a laisser-faire 'survival of the fittest' profit motive economy, but that does not mean I think we should go kill all the nonproducers. We should stop telling them, by no longer celebrating altruism like the church, that it is their right to have other people's shit.

Our government is now set up to be corrupt. It is the way business in Washington gets done. Special interest groups get lobbyists to bribe representatives. Both the rich and the poor get hand-outs and they are both corrupt. Buying out banks, forcing sub-prime loans......

it is supremely clear that the war and the military industrial complex, not the New Deal, got us out of the depression.

 

After just watching a documentary (WWII in Color: Britain at Bay), I heard this: "By 1940 the US was out of the Great Depression with industry and economy booming. But a poll taken in July of 1940 showed that only 8% of Americans favored joining the war in Europe". It seems you have been getting some bad information. I love that you use the phrase "it is supremely clear". It shows that you are supremely overconfident in your understanding of history.

Well, if that documentary said it, it must be true. The new jobs were war machine making jobs. There was no other new innovation then that created the economic turn around. People got jobs after 1939, when the war started. Whether you like it or not, our government began to create our war machine before we got bombed in 1941. Unemployment was still very high, 17%, in 1939, despite years of FDR's superfluous infrastructure building and wealth redistribution. And what does a poll showing few Americans wanted to go to war have anything to do with it? The federal reserve loaned us basically fake money to build war machines and it worked, for the short term. Until we abolish the fed, we will all be slaves, not only to each other, but to the central banks as well.

MT,

Finally a point that I can agree with.  The Federal Reserve was probably the worst creation of our economic history - and they are still loaning the government fake and devalued money. Their manipulation of our money supply threatens to end the dollars position as the Worlds reserve currency.

The Creature From Jekyll Island is a great book. Know it? I don't think we are ever going to escape it as long as people keep voting for big government and don't see the ass raping our country is giving us. Nothing short of slavery, imo. Surely, we can come up with a better way to advance our human position other than slavery to each other and the Fed.

I think that the "moral majority" and other vocal, religious fundies on the Right may polarize atheists towards the Left. Personally, my views don't coincide with the Left or the Right. My tendency is to vote Democrat as the lesser of two evils.

 

Also, the importance of individual civil liberties weighs more heavily than other issues for me. The Right seems to hold these liberties less dear. They seem to confuse nationalism with patriotism. Also, there is a tendency on the Right to go for overly simplified, emotion driven solutions such as:

  • if you aren't with us, you're against us
  • all we need is to send those blacks and Mexicans back to their own country
  • if it weren't for the minorities on welfare, everything would be great
  • America, love it or leave it
  • If you aren't a Republican, you are un-American
  • Allow queers to get married!?! What next, people marring dogs!?
  • This is a Christian nation. We have "In God We Trust" on our money

i've seen plenty of equally emotion driven and/or illogical statements from the left:

 

*if you oppose illegal immigration, you are a racist or xenophobe. (AND it's mainly a 'white America' issue. never mind how many other countries have far worse laws than us and never mind the MANY non-white Americans including legal immigrants who are 'conservative' on this issue.)

 

*if you support the second amendment, and gun rights, you are a looney toon or a victim of outdated 'religious mindset'

 

* rail on conservatives for things like the Patriot Act, even though Dems had a large part in passing that also.

 

* all anti-war......til a Dem pres starts one anyway.

 

* use the word 'racist' like conservatives do 'socialist', abusing and misusing it all the time.

 

*fast to point out if someone uses a biased conservative source, but more than willing to use equally biased liberal sources and not care.

 

* a totalitarian ban on smoking inside buildings enforced by government thugs is best for everyone......instead of people choosing their own environments (work or play) responsibly like mature adults, since they already have other options for non-smoking places without removing other people's existing choices.

We weren't playing: "here's some statements I disagree with, lets say they're stupid without adequately explaining why".

I hold many of those 'Liberal' opinions with good reason. Certainly better reason than your muddle of a first point. Is it really enough that a token Diego and unenlightened regime share your views to make them not racist? Think about it. In all probability your views aren't particularity racist and you could have forwarded better arguments, maybe you're just being a bit emotional right now, it's not a crime.

Edward was simply pointing out some simple catchphrases of the right, after-all it's upsetting when people rattle these out without ever thinking. (a month ago though: dead thread, dead thread!)

PS I agree with your status. "Money can't buy you happiness" is a lie put about by the rich to stop the poor from killing them.

The points I made were simple bulleted items. They, in my opinion, were about as common sense as the bulleted points I seen above....which also didn't exactly go into detail. I do not feel that...

 

"use the word 'racist' like conservatives do 'socialist', abusing and misusing it all the time."   needs any more explanation than "This is a Christian nation. We have "In God We Trust" on our money" does.

 

Catchphrases like "we're all immigrants" are truly no more clever, as the right's not usually complaining about all 'immigrants'. That's one example of a simple leftwing catchphrase that doesn't work

 

"Is it really enough that a token Diego and unenlightened regime share your views to make them not racist?"

 

My point with the part of the comment in parenthesis is simply that you always hear certain liberals making jokes that make it seem as if 'white racism' is the only source of the rights opinions on immigration issues. btw, it is NOT just some 'token Diegos'. Plenty of black Americans and other minorities are conservative on immigration issues, (and for many other reasons than 'racism') without even stating where I stand personally. All I'm saying is that oversimplifying an issue AND limiting it to 'white America' is racist itself.

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