Apr 242022


“How can you be good if you don’t have God?”

As a survivor of the Atheism Wars, I saw many minds ensnared by this. It was perhaps the most frequent common-sense objection to atheism. Religion had spent centuries entangling the concepts of “moral goodness” with “religion,” and it protected them like a nest of razorwire. To get anywhere, New Atheists first had to disentangle these two ideas, so that people could see they were separate things. This took emotionally-potent examples of Good Atheists, and of Evil Religionists, and logical demonstration of why this entanglement was invalid.


The Regressive Right is snapping right back into Crush Free Speech mode as soon as it benefits them.

To quote Grossman: “A state changing business regulations for the explicit purpose of harming a specific company that made political expressions the Governor doesn’t like, with the Lt. Gov. promising to restore the regs if the company adjusts its speech, should have every 1A defender’s hair on fire.”

And yes, this is straight-up government censorship. From the link “In 1996 the Supreme Court decided a case called O’Hare Truck Service v. City of Northlake that is deeply instructive in the present moment […] If the government could deny a benefit to a person because of his constitutionally protected speech or associations, his exercise of those freedoms would in effect be penalized and inhibited.”


For the past decade, the right wing in America has been painting itself as pro-free-speech. It is very easy for a group to pretend to be pro-free speech while it protects them. It’s entirely possible that the concepts of Freedom of Speech and Right Wing became entangled for some people. This sort of thing happened to me as well, although in my case it was the Left.

It can be a painful realization. A group fighting for something Good becomes equated with goodness in one’s worldview. When you find yourself opposed by that group, there is a deep confusion about what’s happened, and a fear that you are on the side of Evil. It can be a long and laborious process to figure out where the true value lies. Is virtue loved by God because it is good, or is virtue good because it is loved by God? Is Free Speech good because the Good Guys support it, or are these Guys good because they support Free Speech?

It is only after one has disentangled the principle one cares about (Free Speech) and identified is as the good thing, that one can judge whether a group is doing a good thing or not (by defending it, or suppressing it). At that point, you no longer need to know if a group is Good or Bad! You simply fight along side them when they are supporting a good thing, and fight against them when they are attacking the good thing.

Don’t be fooled into thinking a particular group are your allies just because you are both fighting on the same side of a particular battle. Your only true allies are those who care as much about what you are defending as you do.


I hate Disney as much as any other creative worker does. In large part due to how they’ve helped corrupt US copyright law. Nonetheless, the censorious attack by the Florida Republican party is a bad thing that should be opposed, even though it is targeting Disney. This doesn’t put me “on the side of Disney” any more than it puts me “on the side of Democrats.” I am on the side of Liberalism, as I always have been.

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