Saturday, March 15, 2008

"New Atheists": Chris Hedges's version of "FemiNazi"

Chris Hedges takes on an appalling new threat to the U.S. and the world in his latest book "I Don't Believe in Atheists". The "New Atheists" are gonna take over All Of Civilisation and establish a worldwide Caliphate ... oh, sorry, wrong fundie threat, nevermind....

From the Salon article on Hedges and the book:
Strange bedfellows indeed -- according to Hedges, the New Atheists and the Christian right pose the greatest threat facing American democratic society today.
What is the nature of this insidious new terror? Well, why not ask Chris?:
[Salon]: A lot of people would find it counterintuitive that you would go from your last book, "American Fascists," which was a scathing critique of Christian fundamentalism in the U.S., to writing against atheism. Do you see these as connected projects?

[Chris Hedges]: I do. I didn't start out that way, because these guys were not on my radar screen. I think a lot of their popularity stems from a legitimate anger on the part of a lot of Americans toward the intolerance and chauvinism of the radical religious right in this country. Unfortunately, what they've done is offer a Utopian belief system that is as self-delusional as that offered by Christian fundamentalists. They adopt many of the foundational belief systems of fundamentalists. For example, they believe that the human species is marching forward, that there is an advancement toward some kind of collective moral progress -- that we are moving towards, if not a Utopian, certainly a better, more perfected human society. That's fundamental to the Christian right, and it's also fundamental to the New Atheists.
Wow. I can seee danger lurking there, yowzah. Some [unspecified] people "believe the human species is marching forward". What next, will they think that mankind is made in the image of Gawd?

Someone forgot to invite Hedges to last Wodensday's sermon and rally at the Atheists United To Subjugate The World To Inevitable Improvement club (by invitation only; we have to make sure you're utopian enough to get in the door, you see). <*Sheesh!*> Like atheists are ever going to get organised.... Plus, I detest one of these Hedges-described "New Atheists", Christopher Hitchens, and wouldn't come within flame-jump distance of his breath.

But what's really lacking here is any evidence that there's any such New Atheist Church. Seems that Hedges gets to pick the membership, but doesn't have to tell anyone who's on the list. Not to mention, the "beliefs" he picks on above ("they believe that the human species is marching forward...") are hardly universal, hardly sinister (and no more sinister than many mainstream Christian beliefs), and hardly supported by any quotes by those that purportedly hold such beliefs. I, for one, don't have any such belief in any inexorable march to Better Living (see, e.g., the Dubya regime). Also lacking is any evidence that there is such a 'church', much less a conspiracy.

Anything else to add, Chris?:
[Chris Hedges]: I would say that the fascist agenda was Utopian, and that it adopted the cult of science. That's what leads Hitler to try and breed humans and apes to try to create an oversized warrior or to send expeditions to Tibet to find a pure, Aryan race. I mean, that's not science. It's the cult of science, and I think the New Atheists also make that leap from science into the cult of science, and that's a problem.
Godwin's Law sets in early, I guess. "Nazis were [purportedly] Utopian. Hedges's purported 'New Atheists' are purportedly Utopian. Therefore (all together now) ....."

Hedges's "New Atheists" is very reminiscent of Rush Limbaugh's "FemiNazis", a group Rush made up, and to which he alone holds the keys to membership (which list Rush is quite tight-lipped about when confronted with a request for just who are these terrible "FemiNazis"...)

If we're going to worry about demagoguery, isn't it worth while for Hedges to look at what he himself is doing?

More Hedges blathering:
[Chris Hedges]: I write in the book that not believing in God is not dangerous. Not believing in sin is very dangerous. I think both the Christian right and the New Atheists in essence don't believe in their own sin, because they externalize evil.
But Hedges will be glad to set them straight, you can be sure. Of course they're sinners!!! Who could doubt such a proposition? Aren't we all sinners? But where he gets this idea that atheists don't believe in sin is beyond me.... Just a hint for the brain-damaged like Hedges here: Belief that you are a sinner is logically a different proposition from saying that there is evil in the world; there is "right" and "wrong". But then again, what do I know; I'm not a Christian....

As for his claim that "I Don't Believe in Atheists", he's welcome to that absurd belief. But why he should expose his own arrant stoopidity on the cover of books in such a manner is beyond me.

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