Saturday, August 6, 2011

♫welcome back♪

As an atheist I say there is no god, but I do not deny that God is real.  He and his swishy kid are the most potent of historical forces; they are central to the whole history of Europe and the North American colonies; God is very real, even though he does not exist.  When, as an anarchist, I say that there is no America, there is no government, there is no state, I mean it in almost precisely the same way.  Its nonexistence has no bearing on its actuality.
-IOZ, for he is risen.


Michael said...

Great, so long as we don't have to swallow an assertion that this is different most or really any other atheists. We can all see the effects of religions on the world. Some say "new" atheists focus on them too much.

It doesn't make God any more or less "real," either. It just plays with the mesniong of the term "is real." People have done things and had effects on the world pursuant to tousands of different kinds of ideas. Yeah, I guess they're all "real" in that sense.

And that's fine; I don't have a problem with entertaining that meaning of the term "is real." It's just a separate, different meaning from the sense that an idea is "real" if it is a direct, somewhat accurate representation of something in the world.

Paul said...

Well, I've had about 24 hours to digest it at this point, & now I'm ready to pass, and share with you the post-wipe, pre-flush, over-the-shoulder evaluation.

Like a Twinkie, the thing is pretty much unchanged by the nutritional extraction process. Not much substance to what's written here. Look, if in the middle ages you acted on the principle that God didn't exist you'd be fine---you'd have an advantage, even---provided you kept in mind the existence of a certain vastly powerful orthodoxy regime. And why wouldn't you? The 2 ideas are completely distinct.

IOZ pretends it's a matter of verbally denying God's existence & sneaks in the question-begging from the get go. No one would have gone around loudly denying God's existence back then, for one reason only: fear of State power. NOT fear of being struck by lightening. (It's not as if the concept of atheism never occured to anyone. Every medieval theologian I've ever read had all kinds of proofs of God's existence at the ready. The human mind, then as now, worked in such a way as to necessitate them.)

So, say there's no God, the church'd kill you. But go around today saying there's no State, and you think the state will give a shit? As long as you pay your taxes, they're fine. But there's the point. Medieval man skips his prayers: nothing happens. Modern man neglects his taxes: you bet your ass the State does something. So in what capacity does "the State" not exist? I'm sure IOZ has plenty of romantic bubbles to burst, but he needs to specify what they are. A wise man said this:

"[W]hen people say that government rests on force they give an admirable instance of the foggy and muddled cynicism of modernity. Government does not rest on force. Government is force; it rests on consent or a conception of justice."

The state isn't too hard to find. I don't say "the representative state" or "the exceptional state" or whatever the fuck. The state. The legal power to seize your stuff & throw your ass in jail. (It might be worthwhile at this point to clarify that I am the furthest thing from a libertarian. Just a hunch.) IOZ confuses the issue from the get go and writes a pretty paragraph or two rooted in the confusion..

Dude can definitely write, though.

Paul said...

BTW, I apologize that most of my comments here sound like criticism. Your last couple things at Balloon Juice are TOTALLY kick ass.

Riggsveda said...

And speaking of Balloon Juice, I wanted to stop by and tell you that I appreciated your defense of liberal criticism of Obama today. Lost on most of them, because name-calling and stereotyping are major pastimes among commenters over there when it comes to those who disagree with Barack, but some of us are grateful for every voice in the wilderness we can hear. (And yes, I know some Obama critics can be just as obnoxious, but two wrongs, and all that.)