Power: Who Has It, Who Doesn't and How to Alter The Status Quo

In my last blog, I found myself focusing on the issue of an atheist "movement" and wondered whether such a movement would have to be bloodied in order to gain any ground against the theistic majority which holds de facto control in the culture of the United States.

Courtesy of Real Time with Bill Maher and a quote referred to by his guest, Rula Jebreal, I may not have gotten a hard answer, but an indicator of the thoughts of at least one person who has contemplated this issue in the past and given what I think is an opinion worthy of consideration:

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
-- Frederick Douglass

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Tags: Bill Maher, Frederick Douglass, Rula Jebreal, power, status quo


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Comment by Glen Rosenberg on January 27, 2013 at 9:24am

Loren, I am willing to grant said quote status of axiom royal. Not quite as pithy as typical axiom.

I like Harris a good deal but I agree with you, he has it incorrect on issue of "atheists". We ought to proudly proclaim our opposition to all manifestations of theism. The identification through label is important.

And I agree with everything you have written here.

Comment by Loren Miller on January 27, 2013 at 9:06am

I didn't know it at all, Glen.  I was really struck by it because it gives expression to a truism which approaches the status of an axiom.  I was just listening to a lecture by Sam Harris, who expresses the idea that we don't need to call ourselves "atheists" and that we don't need a movement, but to merely oppose the kind of magical thinking which doesn't or shouldn't survive public exposure.  The more I look at the current status quo, the less I think that kind of approach is going to be successful, that a "velvet revolution" against religion is possible without active conflict and possibly bloodshed.

All I know is that the human animal isn't what he or she could be, that religion is a significant component of WHY that is the case, and that removal of the influence of an element of human culture which is currently dominant and unwilling to relinquish that position is unlikely without a serious confrontation, possibly involving violence.

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on January 27, 2013 at 8:42am

Good quote, unfamiliar, would not have guessed it with 50 tries.

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