reposted (and mildly edited) from facebook:

A few weeks ago, I went to the American Atheists 2009 conference, and for the most part, had a great time. Melisa and I got to meet a lot of great people, and talk, and heard some great speakers.

One experience, however, has stuck in my mind since the conference, and I thought I'd share about it. I'm pretty much a left-wing liberal secular humanist atheist, while my wife is a dyed in the wool right wing Ayn Rand objectivist atheist. This, in itself is causes some interesting discussions in our house, but hey - Discussion of differing ideas is what makes the world go around, right?

Well, that's kind of what disappointed me. When I mentioned that fact to the people at our table after Mike Malloy said he couldn't see how you could be right wing and atheist, (And hearing some of the loud agreement with that statement at the conference), I was dumbfounded as to how close-minded some of our fellow atheists seem to be on this topic. When my wife mentioned some of the ideas of objectivism to a lady at our table, she (the lady in question) became livid at the idea that government shouldn't help the indigent and the poor. This seemed to color the rest of the conversation we were having as well. Now, I do disagree with this statement, but it seems to me that this type of thing should be able to be discussed without the obvious anger and revulsion at some logical and rational level.

In any case, it seems that even we, who claim to be open minded and rational, tend to have a bit of work to do in our own camp as well.

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Comment by Clarence Dember on September 22, 2009 at 1:33pm
The idea of philanthropy is a prerogative you may wield if you have the means and the inclination. It is not the government's job to extract charity or sacrifice from you by means of force, even if they are democratic or arbitrary about it.

The laws are not as plain.

The constitution says representation and income tax shall be apportioned, not collected according non-apportionment (democracy or political whim or statist mandate or bank fiat).

Apportionment means Congress is supposed to take a census, set up a budget and divide it equally amongst the inhabitants (excluding slaves taxed as 3/5 of a person and Indians not taxed as they are of foreign nations). The 13th amendment abolished slavery.
The 14th amendment gave free non-inhabitants the right to attain citizenship under residency, and the right to due process under the law although not the same dejure status of the FREE BORN OF STATES.
15th amendment gave voting rights to resident citizens which could no longer be withheld due to race, color or previous conditions of servitude.(Women were excluded from sufferage till 19th amendment).

The 16th amendment said "Congress shall have the power to tax all incomes without regards to the origin of the income." It is assessed in a non-apportioned manner on residents (everybody treated as a resident for tax purposes) by jurisdiction and contract where they either never were free born of one of the states or have submitted knowing and intelligent waivers to such inhabitant status (such as by agreeing under residency rules to: "abide by all the rules of the bank" when getting a bank account or receiving some benefit under residency or by having their mail sent to their "residence" instead of a post office box). Prima Fascia proof of residency along with contract to a bank under residency rules places one under the 16th amendment arrangement for non-apportioned tax obligations...... in MY VIEW.

In law, excluding some influence of contract or jurisdiction or both, the words income and wage are separate with separate meanings and so are the words resident (debtor- owing their citizenship to 14th amendment, an act of Congress) and inhabitant (creditor, someone to whom a debt is owed- a peer of any in political power who took such a vocation by volition- to serve the people as representatives.)
Comment by Clarence Dember on September 22, 2009 at 11:51am
Hi Ivan. You said...."She is definitely against any type of socialized programs...I wonder what she (Ayn Rand) would think of the President Obama's healthcare?"

This from the Ayn Rand Lexicon:

"Government control of a country's economy--any kind or degree of such control, by any group,
for any purpose whatsoever--rests on the basic principle of statism, the principle that man's life belongs to the state."
Comment by Ivan Reyes on September 22, 2009 at 10:21am
I love Ayn Rand and at times I have had some trouble with her ideas of a capitalistic society. Ayn Rand is one of the reasons that I choose to be atheist, her words have spelled out what I have felt was wrong with my social environment that I grew up in, but could not properly put into words. At times I find myself totally agreeing with her, but sometimes I think certain social programs are beneficial...She is definitely against any type of socialized programs...I wonder what she would think of the President Obama's healthcare?
Comment by Nate on June 7, 2009 at 12:06pm
I agree wholeheartedly, Brian. I know a few right-leaning atheists and a few libertarian atheists. Though I tend to lean left, I appreciate what I've learned from my conversations with them.
Comment by Фелч Гроган on May 6, 2009 at 10:39am
Brian Fields:Well, that's kind of what disappointed me. When I mentioned that fact to the people at our table after Mike Malloy said he couldn't see how you could be right wing and atheist

Aside from the narrow mindedness, that statement is absurd to me. The only thing I can think of is that their concept of "right wing" is based on Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh, and that in itself betrays an appalling lack of interest in self-education. Don't they read ? To me, godlessness is intrinsically anti-authoritarian, and as such would naturally lean more to the (libertarian) right than to the (socialised) left.

In any case, it seems that even we, who claim to be open minded and rational, tend to have a bit of work to do in our own camp as well.

Yeah. It gets depressing. Lots of big words and concepts thrown around, but mostly like advertising jingles rather than something genuinely meditated on. A lot of fundamentalist dogma and hair-splitting, and even more auto-pilot, insincere mouthing off of what you're expected to say without thinking that wouldn't be out of place in a bored knitting circle.

Your description reminded me of a passage from an article by John Gray -

Zealous atheism renews some of the worst features of Christianity and Islam. Just as much as these religions, it is a project of universal conversion. Evangelical atheists never doubt that human life can be transformed if everyone accepts their view of things, and they are certain that one way of living - their own, suitably embellished - is right for everybody. To be sure, atheism need not be a missionary creed of this kind. It is entirely reasonable to have no religious beliefs, and yet be friendly to religion. It is a funny sort of humanism that condemns an impulse that is peculiarly human. Yet that is what evangelical atheists do when they demonise religion.

It appears that the clods you were unfortunate enough to encounter have extended their fundamentalism to politics. These folks are so full of their own self-importance that they don't even notice the harm that they do to the perception of the godless as a whole. It is these people that get held up us examples of us by theists - and it really sucks.

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