• Beyond the Bounds of Reasoned Debate

    By now you’ve probably already heard about the fourth annual Mythinformation Conference in Milwaukee, an event which “showcases the many different formats there are to engage in the secular community” according to their promotional material.

    Their current speakers list on Lanyrd is a bit out of date, in part because of a few high-profile cancellations (following something much like a no-platforming campaign from the fine folks over at Freethought Blogs) but it appears they were in the process of putting together a well-balanced lineup featuring authors, bloggers, and vloggers from all over the ideological spectrum, including some who hold highly objectionable views, from my perspective.

    To be totally clear on that last point, I need to show you a handful of images of flags. Stay with me on this, I promise it is going somewhere.

    Nazi Battle Flag
    Global Crusaders of the KKK
    Flag of Kekistan

    You don’t need to be a practicing vexillologist to see what’s going on here: The second flag is clearly derivative of the first, the final flag derivative of at least one of the first two. Which brings us back to the upcoming conference and their revised lineup:

    Imagine, then, you are given the opportunity to share the stage with someone who proudly flies the most recent of these three flags. What are you to do? Seeing that Nazis, Klansmen, and Kekistanis were all invited to participate in the Unite the Right rally, it makes sense to conclude that their affinity may be ideological and not merely visual. Furthermore, it makes sense to assume you run the risk of being tarred as sympathetic to white nationalism (or worse) if you do anything to facilitate platforming someone who promotes a Kekistanist agenda, whatever that turns out to mean.

    (As a personal aside, you may well be tarred as sympathetic merely for arguing that it might well be worthwhile to host/broadcast any given speaker, rather than wholeheartedly supporting the efforts of those who prefer to deplatform objectionable speakers. You may even be blocked from discussions on the topic for daring to argue against deplatforming. At worst, you may be forced to invest in multiple replacement fuses for your irony meters.)

    I’m not going to get into the argument over how toxic the Kekistanis actually are right now, because it doesn’t really matter for the sake of my argument. The more toxic they are, the more they need to be publicly refuted. The more popular they are, the more they need to be publicly refuted. When faced with an opportunity to debate or cross-examine a highly toxic, highly popular speaker, the only real question is whether you are up to the task. Nothing should be considered beyond the bounds of reasoned debate if you have a reasonable shot at freeing minds from the pernicious ideas by which they are currently bound.

    Category: Atheism Plus

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.
    • By way of a “shower thoughts” addendum, it occurs to me now that atheists should already be fairly used to the idea of sharing a stage with someone they find ethically deplorable. Many (if not most) atheist/theist debates feature a speaker on one side who literally believes it would be perfect justice if his interlocutor was tortured by fire, forever.

      • true believer’s minds are never changed by rational discourse.

      • I’ve known several dozen former fundamentalists who would likely disagree.

    • “Fine folks”? Are you on drugs?

    • Toad

      When I did a Google image search for the second flag to try and find the source, I could only come up with a DeviantArt page with the exact image above, and a similar (but not the exact same) image on a wordpress blog with no real content. Admittedly I din’t dig very deep, but this was all that I could find on the first couple pages as far as a source for the “Global Crusaders of the KKK Flag.”