February 23, 2017

When Our Leaders Deny Reality

Fake NewsYou are standing outside a big box store in which you have just finished shopping. It is pouring rain, and you are scanning the parking lot for a clue as to where your car might be. You know you are going to get wet anyway, but you'd hate to pick the direction and have to reverse course eventually. A stranger is standing next to you and appears to be doing the same thing. In an uncharacteristic moment of friendliness, you comment, "It's really coming down, isn't it?" The stranger looks puzzled. "What do you mean? What's really coming down?" You laugh, "The rain, of course." Without so much as cracking a smile, the stranger replies, "It isn't raining."

Now you are the one looking puzzled. You can see the rain, hear the rain, and if you took half a step toward the parking lot, you'd feel the rain. There is no question that it is raining. In a mildly sarcastic tone, you hear yourself say, "Okay, I guess I don't have to worry about getting wet then" before you leave the stranger behind and charge across the parking lot. You are thoroughly soaked by the time you reach your car, but at least it ended up being in the general direction in which you headed.

February 21, 2017

To Move or to Stay and Fight

Moving Truck
No state is really safe for non-believers. You find creationist ideas in schools from Louisiana to New Jersey. You find efforts to send secular tax dollars to religious schools in Indiana and Florida. And, finally, you find polls done of all Americans demonstrating that plenty of families don't want their sons or daughters marrying atheists. There are many sad states of affairs.
- Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State

February 19, 2017

Not Being a "True Liberal" is Fine With Me

promoting Conservative Skeptic

I live in an age where it does not matter one bit that I have been a liberal for the past 25 years or so. All I have to do is promote a conservative blog or two on social media, and suddenly, I must be a conservative or even part of the dreaded "alt-right." Why must I be these things? Because the moment I promoted someone with a conservative viewpoint, I failed one of the many litmus tests used by some of the authoritarian left to demand ideological purity. I cannot possibly be a "true liberal" because such a person would never promote anyone with conservative views.

February 15, 2017

Facing the World as It Is

No sexism racism homophobia
No sexism racism homophobia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The world we have is different from the world I would like to have in more ways than I can count. If I could design my perfect world, it would bear little resemblance to this one. But of course, I cannot do this. And that is probably a good thing since my perfect world would almost certainly have little in common with your perfect world.

It has become increasingly clear to me that one of the ways in which I differ from many of the people I encounter on the political left is that I aim to face the world as it is rather than as I wish it would be. That is not to say that there aren't things I'd like to change and even things that I am willing to work to change. Facing the world as it is does not require me to abandon activism. In fact, I suspect it might be an essential prerequisite for effective activism. It is tough to come up with effective solutions to a problem when one does not understand the nature of the problem due to denial, wishful thinking, or whatever else.

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