Thursday, September 18, 2014

Enigma of the Atheist/ Freethinker Republican: Hump ‘Splains It All.

I struggle with this every year as election time comes around, trying my hardest to understand how an atheist can be Republican. In the face of the latest avalanche of venom and idiocy spewing and blocking votes from the GOP I am in even more of a quandary.

Now, don’t misunderstand; I fully comprehend that atheist simply means one who has no belief in God or gods.  Period.  It doesn’t speak to political positions, or even imply a high regard for ethics.  It doesn’t define ones perspective towards gay rights, or women, or war, or conspiracy theories, or dishonesty, or fiscal issues. It has little or no bearing on ones prejudices, or perspective on race, or jingoistic nationalism.  An atheist can hold any number of differing view points on these and other issues. 

But I have typically credited atheists with a higher intellect than religionists.  By my experience they more often than not use reason and logic to form their opinions and perspectives.  They tend to be less knee jerk reactionary, if only because their inquiring minds want all the details, the objective data, before formulating a position.  In short: I expect atheists to think on a higher plane than your typical religionist, and the mass of drooling, FOX viewing, Limbaugh and Hannity worshiping, “Christian Nation” endorsing, Creationism promoting, science denying, GOP faithful.

Alas, I have been deceiving myself. Atheists do not, by that label, lay claim to reasoned judgment, or even simple humanity.  

How can a freethinker cast their vote for a party that would take away women’s reproductive rights, because her womb is declared a sacred and holy place that must be filled with a fetus at all costs, lest God be angered; or who can cast their vote for a party that votes down the Violence Against Women Act; or that defeats an Equal Pay for Equal Work Law; or blocks a Veterans Benefits Bill, or whose “Number One Priority” for the first four years of this nation’s worst economic condition since the depression was to “make this [‘nigra, Muslim, commie’ ] president a one term president”, let the nation’s unemployment, foreclosures, and financial woes be damned.

How does a person of reason justify to themselves voting for a party that sues a sitting president for doing the business of running a nation in the face of a congress whose only objective for six years was, and still is,  to stymie progress, and defeat anything the president proposes... even if they themselves once endorsed it?  Or a party whose obsessive hate requires a laser like focus on a terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Africa, when previous GOP presidents had embassies blown up and destroyed killing scores of embassy employees and US citizens with not even a hint of a need for an all encompassing months long investigation to place blame on the administration? 

How can a thinking rational person claim allegiance to a party that has some elected officials who claim the Boston marathon bombing was a government hoax, or that a woman can’t become pregnant as a result of rape?  That hold in high esteem members of congress who hold this nation hostage to the threat of government shut downs over and over again; or who elevate  Palins, and Bachmanns, and Santorums, and Huckabees, and Perrys, and Jindals and their ilk as beacons of intellect and pillars of the GOP platform?  Or that endorses and embraces a block of all male Catholic Supreme Court Justices whose allegiance to the Bible clearly takes precedence over the Constitution and a woman’s right to prescription meds; who declare a business capable of holding a religious view that can be imposed upon its employees; and imbuing a business entity with the same rights of freedom of speech as an individual citizen ...except with lots more money with which to speak?

How do they sleep at night, our fellow freethinkers, knowing that they are supporting a party that would see Creationism taught in our public schools, abortion outlawed, school books infused with Christian doctrine, and distorted history forced down kid’s throats?  A party made of those who eschew exploration of stem cells; who deny scientific evidence of global warming and evolution; who would shut down the EPA, and Department of Education while our nation faces critical pollution related health issues and educational deficiencies that makes us far behind much of the industrialized world? A party whose first response to international conflict is beating the war drum ready to send young men and women to die to feed their blood lust, financial investments,  and chicken-hawk mentality; that kowtows to the NRA thus refusing to support even the most benign crime control gun objectives; and that would deny gays full rights because it is condemned by the very doctrine and document we as atheists disdain as cruel and misogynistic gibberish from ancient sand people and 1st century cultists? 

Well, here’s the answer.  Here’s how these GOP freethinkers and atheists sleep at night, how they can ally with the religiously driven, how they can turn their backs on personal freedoms, on women’s issues, on veterans, on civility and social advancement of a nation that lags behind the rest of the free world.   The answer is THEIR FRICKIN TAXES. 

Yup… that’s what it comes down to. The GOP promises them that their taxes will go down. Period. Oh, not through cutting the Department of Defense - oh no they love the Military Industrial Complex too much for that.  Besides, Cheney needs the money.  And certainly not by removing tax credits and corporate welfare they give to Oil Companies, oh no.  No, they will take from the poor to give to the rich, like a psychopathic Robin Hood.  They’ll finance their beloved and all mighty lower taxes on the backs of people on food stamps, on the erosion of public schools in favor of religious school vouchers, by cutting veterans benefits, by cutting social security benefits, by telling the 3 million+ people who have already received health insurance they never before had  “Sorry..go fuck your selves… this isn’t Europe.”

Yep… that’s what it’s about.  Their personal bank account.  Everything else means nothing, let society, gays, women, the poor, the combat vet, the minimum wage workers be damned. Let the gap between the ultra rich and the middle and working classes get larger and larger as the top of the food chain enriches itself while the other 99% remain stagnant or lose real income…waiting for a “trickle down” that has never and will never come.

Oh they’ll say they worry about the national debt - that this wild-eyed Liberal spending is ruining the nation.  But it’s a lie...either knowingly or by self or FOX deception.  The nation’s debt has, for the past 30+ years, ALWAYS been reduced during Democratic administrations versus Republican administrations.
In short: atheist / freethinker Republican faithful are in lock step with the industrial robber barons of the 19th century.  Their motto: “Fuck ‘em! I got mine, and I want more!” . That or “Let them eat cake!” a mind set that never has been a very useful long term solution as history will testify.

The GOP platform pretty much boils down to this: “If God had intended people to have healthcare, or control of their own bodies, or full equality regardless of who they love, or children with full bellies, or a genuine education free from lies and delusion He’d have made them rich…or written it down somewhere!”

GOP atheists, you’re known by the friends you keep.  Don’t count me among them lest someone think I respect them too. You’ve thrown in with Christian oppressors and backward think. You’ve made your choice, and it disgusts me. 


Anonymous said...

The thing is that most sociopaths are atheists. Not for any moral or intellectual reason, but because to them religion implies somebody else may be superior to them... and they can't have that.
The GOP embraces sociopaths. More than embraces them... it celebrates them, raises them up on a pedestal and points them out as the ideal.
Is it any surprise then that most sociopaths are Republicans.

Dromedary Hump said...

"Most sociopaths are atheists."

Really? That's an interesting statement given the traits and behaviors of televangelists, mega church pastors, the sexual dysfunction of religious shamans toward children.

I trust if you could have you'd have provided evidence based on controlled studies from an a credited scientific / psychiatric / medical source with peer review endorsement by the body that over sees that specialty.
Please post the link here.

While your at it, similar objective evidence for your "most sociopaths are Republicans." statement would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

To go a little bit deeper, I'd say that certain people are just conservative by nature. It has to do with System Justification Theory, which was outlined by Crommunist a few years ago.

So those atheists who are inclined towards justifying the system at a deep level will probably stick to conservative politics.

Also, we have a lot of damn libertarians within atheism. I tend to think that they are atheists just because they hate having anyone tell them what to do. And they also tend to prefer conservative politics.

Neale adams said...

Concur Hump
It is pretty clear that those you criticise value their own economic well being above health, safety, survival of any other.
Hitchens hit it:
“I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement [Libertarians] in the US that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough.”
― Christopher Hitchens

Mike Meyers said...

I am also baffled at the fact that the majority of people that live in the Bible Belt: Alabama, Mississippi, etc., continually vote GOP because the Republicans promise to end government dependence programs (Obamacare, foodstamps, etc.) in the name of Jeebus, yet those states drain the most money out of said coffers. Apparently they don't realize that they are voting for a party that will take away their benefits.

Another puzzling phenomena is how can someone who is in a minority that is constantly being oppressed by religion still be religious? I work with two gay women that both attend regular church services with their partners (MI has put a stop on issuing licenses for same sex couples. Booo Michigane ) and find ways to defend religion, using the "you misinterpret the message" or "my church isn't like the mainstream haters" defense arguments.

Ug, people! So confusing at times ;)

Carl said...

It is amazing that an atheist would vote republican but there are those who are beyond help or common sense even if they don't believe in a sky daddy. And I think the republican party should have the elephant taken away as their symbol after all the elephant is a very friendly social mammal unlike the party.

Zarathustra said...

Didn't anyone tell them??? Jesus has been DEAD for 2,000 years, so he ain't doin' much voting!

Rudolf Kellmann said...

Mr. Hump, Your writing is quite brilliant, and I totally agree. You are doing important work, so I have been asking myself, "what can I do to counter this conservative-religious hurtful insanity." Well, the answer for me has been to work as a volunteer for the Sean Patrick Maloney for congress campaign. Congressman Maloney, a progrssive, and the only openly gay member of congress is running for re-election in the 18th congressional district of NY against Tea Party favorite, Nan Haworth, whose first vote as a congresswomen, before Maoloney won her seat was to defund planned parenthood.My point is that we can all do something. I can't match your writing skills, but I can use a telephone, and support democrats such as Maloney.

Gerard26 said...

Hump, I'm sure you know that the atheist who self identifies as conservative like the execrable S.E. Cupp and the extremist Ayn Rand greed is great sociopaths will now see you as the enemy.This thread hits them directly in their dark hearts. As we approach the coming electoral cycle your global view is just what is needed to rally us for the coming struggle ahead. You never fail to disappoint.

Helga said...

"Most sociopaths are atheists."

Really? That's an interesting statement given the traits and behaviors of televangelists, mega church pastors, the sexual dysfunction of religious shamans toward children.

I read this post with interest, especially your retort to Anon. Perhaps he/she is rather suggesting that psychopaths can easily POSE as religionists. Being ostentatiously pious (as in the case of televangelists etc.), suits them down to the ground and gives them ample space to do their evil thing while collecting the real prize - not a full and everlasting life, but a full and everlasting bank account..

Dromedary Hump said...

idahogie, Neale, Mike, Carl, Rudolph, Gerard25, Helga:

Thanks for your input and feed back.

Having myself been a staunch Republican for some 40 years I understand the mentality of "my pocket book, my guns and a strong military. ..that's all that matters", as that is precisely how I felt. The evolution to a broader and more society sustaining thought process was rather sudden.
They say there is no more smoker intolerant people than an ex-smoker, I suppose the same can be said of a person who is an ex republican.

That said, idahogie, I'm evidence that once a conservative not always a conservative ;).

Mike: I've struggled with that bizarre reality for years. Whether it's Gerrymandering, or lack of activism by the least among us, cognitive dissonance, or simple stupidity...I doubt we'll ever really get the precise cause.

Neal: Hitch hit it right on the nose. But he always had that talent :)

Carl: I hear there is a planned protest by pachyderms to sue the GOP for trademark infringement. On the other hand...have you ever seen the size of an elephant bowel evacuation? It suits the GOP.

Rudolph: Excellent. That kind of local level activism can really pay off. Keep up the fight.

Gerard: Hey..Muslims and Xtians hate me, why not the "Rich makes Right" crowd. I consider it a badge of honor. (and I hope your last 5 words in your comment are a misstatement. I think I know what you intended, and thanks ;)

Helga: Mmmm...nah. I think you're giving anon waaay too much credit.

Anonymous said...

I guess it depends on perspective ... and a level of cognitive dissonance very similar to the cognitive dissonance found when poor/middle class voters vote republican, christians praying for rain or a miracle cure for Ebola, or the fact that they (believers) still purchase health insurance even though their god does tend to have supernatural healing abilities ascribed to it.

I do tend to stereotype atheists and freethinkers as more intelligent and analytical and independent. (A flaw in my thinking.) However, it is those very attributes that make libertarianism (current republican conservatism on steroids) or self-sufficiency arguments so attractive. After all, what is more independent than freeing oneself for socially and family approved norms such as belief in a god? If you are that independent, wouldn't you be willing to be independent in other areas as well? The message may resonate on purely emotional terms and thus bypass the critical thinking parts of the brain.

Not only that - one can be rational about one thing while simultaneously holding another entirely irrational concept. As you pointed out in your blog, atheists agree on one point - the lack of belief in a god/supernatural entity (or plural). One thing I hope to push out in society is the concept that atheist is just one dimension of a person. It doesn't describe the sum totality of a person just like being a christian doesn't describe the sum totality of a person. Stereotyping is a very dangerous weapon that can be used quite successfully against minority groups. (see Jews in Nazi Germany, blacks in the US, Mexican/Latino immigrants in the US and so on.)

Wilson said...

Hump. Did you jump the fence and get into some poison ivy? The vitriol and lack of objectivity are glaring even by your standards. Surely you don't think that all things left of center are to be embraced, and all things right of center are to be rejected. To do so is to endorse the polarized political climate in Washington during the last two pitiful administrations.

Dromedary Hump said...

Camels are immune to poison ivy.

I do not belong to the democratic party..I'm an Independent. I have voted for some local representatives who are Republican..who share my liberal leaning social values/positions and who are more fiscally conservative than typical Dems., as am I.

That said: You read my points about abortion, gay rights, religious intrusion into secular govt. etc. If you disagree with them, why not say so... specifically. If you are against a woman's right to chose, say so. If you vehemently oppose gay marriage, explain why. If you think crosses belong on school walls, and prayers should invoke Jesus in local govt meeting and creationism should be taught as science in schools be up front about it. But don't whine to me about my objectivity.

My objectivity is demonstrated by the fact that I can identify and verbalize the glaring differences between Democrat positions on social issues and Republican. I didn't detect your criticism of those differences, so I can assume you accept their truths.

I cease to remain objective once those glaring differences are evident and in opposition to reasoned thinking. Period.

One can be objective in studying The Third Reich, then ... assuming one is sane..that objectivity leads them to making judgements.

I no longer maintain objectivity on GOP social positions which I deem to be backwards and dangerous to our freedoms. To do so would imply I accept GOP social positions. I do not, clearly.

If GOP positions, their ignoring of the nation's problems to attempt to block a president's re-election as the "Number 1 priority", and their position on women and gays and religion do not offend you and do not bring out your vitriol I'll chalk it up to your having little interest in said issues. In which case..refer back to my contention vis-a-vis voting for one's pocket book.

If the shoe fits... wear it.

Wilson said...

Hump. I suggest that "the shoe" fits a huge percentage of voters, both democrat and republican. Many because they want to pay lower taxes as you suggest but also many because they want to receive or continue to receive government benefits that they feel might be threatened. Both are legitimate concerns, but obsession with only one and ignoring the other is short sighted and an invitation for disaster on many fronts.

Dromedary Hump said...

As I am on Soc. Security, and Medicare I too have an interest in seeing those benefits continue.

And if I bowed to the scare tactics of the Right, and saw any indications that they had a resolution while the Dems are single handedly running us headlong into SS and Medicare bankruptcy I certainly would be alarmed and my position softened. But the fact is they don't, they aren't and it isn't.

Meanwhile, the appetite to cut our defense budget...the highest expenditure as a percent to GNP than any other three nations put together ... is nonexistent. The Repubs however have twice unanimously voted down benefits to Vets, the same vets they sent to war for a lie. Cheney applauded that move.

Nah..the GOP doesn't give a damn about SS, Medicare, Obama Care, Veterans Benefits. No, "trickle down economics" from cutting taxes for big business, and sustaining Oil corporate welfare is going to solve everything.
Just ask them.

On the upside, the GOP is no doubt praying to their god for the economy to take a down turn and perhaps a nice bloody terrorist attack on our homeland, the better to position them for 2016. It's what they do.