Is Atheism a chiefly liberal or conservative philosophy?

I know this may seem like a bit of an odd question but I’ve been wondering about it for the past few days and for some reason I can’t escape the feeling that it (atheism) would be a rather ‘conservative’ point of view (that is, at least in title), and yet I’m constantly being called a liberal because of my social and political leanings. I'm just wondering what your views are on this.

 

PS: I’ll be gone for a few days but I will catch up with this thread when I return.

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 I used to say this all the time as well, and with much self righteousness. But I have come to see that only time well tell. History will be the judge long after we are gone.
The only thing Atheism tells you about a person is that they reject the claims made by people about god. It is erroneous to assert that it tells anyone what political ideology to follow.  It's like asking what the predominant political ideology is associated with people who don't believe in Santa Clause.
First of all, as others have pointed out, we do not claim that there is a perfect correlation, only that there is a statistically significant relationship between the two. And secondly, the reason is this: Religious people are more likely to see themselves as responsible only for their own in-group, i.e. their own religion. Atheists tend to be humanists, who by definition care about humanity in general, and society in general (that's pointed at you, MT), and actually give a shit about what happens to people they don't know personally. This means that atheists are more likely to understand that we are all in it together, whether we like it or not, and that we need means to cooperate with each other and to organize with each other for mutual benefit.
Atheism is apolitical.
Yep
Yep.  Is our "live and let live" philosophy liberal or conservative?  Both, I'd say, and, ultimately, apolitical.  Is humanism political?
Yep! Humanism, as I just pointed out in a separate response, means caring about all of humanity, and by extension, all of society, as opposed to just caring about our own personal little in-group. So humanists (who are generally atheists, but not exclusively) are more likely to land on the left end of the political spectrum, the end which aims for social responsibility.
Well I have no idea how to find the latest responses, I only know they've been made and their content sent to my email. Anyway, this is in response to David Maxwell's latest point, that atheism is political because there are no tea party candidates/members who are atheist. Good point! Certainly this indicates something, if it doesn't prove anything. The idea that Christians ally themselves with the right is at first difficult to understand - don't they believe in helping others? And isn't the right - the further you go, the more so - about everyone being out for themselves? How can they let themselves get duped into supporting the party of big business and the banking sector? Which also begs the point - don't they believe in helping the poor? But they vote for the rich... The answer is that they are not out to help others, and the poor, but out to help themselves. What becomes more disturbing is that you find atheists who have to go EVEN FURTHER to the right, way past even what the Repubs are for, towards the Libertarian type tea partiers and anarchists because they refuse to see any virtue in bringing us along together as any semblance of a society. So while there is no necessary connection between atheism and politics, there is at least a common thread and a relationship worth exploring. And thanks again for this wonderfully provocative post, David!

Completely agree with wanderer....

Thanks Joel! And I wrote that terribly and in haste, but... glad you got the point. I think what I left out there was that these atheist Libertarians find themselves going even beyond the run-of-the-mill conservatives because they are not just looking for a philosophy which keeps a united front of the type the tea partiers do, when they unite against all the things David mentioned - anti-gov't, anti-secular (well, anti-anti-Christian anyways). So the tea party at least has a sense of common unity with each other and even with a good portion of what before was simply the further edges of conservative Christianity, aka the Republicans. But the Ayn Rand Libertarians unite under the flag of, well, Ayn Rand and her Objectivist philosophy. They proudly bear the mantra of "greed is good", "selfishness is a virtue", etc., and instead of getting why they are reviled, they lash out by accusing the rest of us of acting like some unthinking mob. The funny twist is here - they say to us, if we don't like the conditions imposed on us at our place of business, we can simply leave and go somewhere else, but they don't apply that thinking to themselves when they feel imposed upon with taxes, i.e. social responsibilities. Private individuals and companies are supposed to be "free" to do what they see fit, but the people can't come together as a single organization to do what they want. This is the basic one-sidedness of Libertarianism. Too bad they don't get that its not some slippery slope to communism, but rather a balance between individual and social responsibilities, a balance which needs to be struck and struck well for a society to work as a society, not as a hodgepodge of unrelated and disorganized individuals, some with and, to those without, a big "go fuck yourselves".

It is unfair and immoral to try and force equality, which is impossible. Trying to fit people who identify and recognize the intellectual honesty of egoism and individual rights as religious or one-sided is just arbitrary lashing. An objectivist cannot be religious (which I am unsure if you, Wanderer, suggested, but many have). There is zero faith involved. Only reason. I do not speak for other people whose love for AR may overwhelm their reason. But I hold the principles of noncontradiction and causality as universal. This is a commitment to reality and the noncontradictory integration of perceptual evidence as the only path to knowledge. It cannot be religious. It cannot be one-sided, whatever that metaphor is meant to imply, other than having a 'closed' mind, which I think is stupid metaphor. Being right minded is where its at, not 'open' to just anything. I am not open to the idea of 2+2 equalling 17. I am not open to the idea of things burning and freezing at the same time or being all red and all blue simultaneously. I am not open to people taking my shit against my will.

 

A libertarian society is not a hodgepodge of disorganized people. They are organized around the right to your own life. Trade can still allow prosperity, just not at the point of a gun. Society could function better and without institutionalized immoral force of socialism.

 

The only reason to doubt knowledge is if there is the presence of contradictory information. Calling an objectivist, egoist or libertarian religious, closed-minded or mean does not address the issue of nonagression or immoral force that is necessary for any socialistic society. A socialistic society must first and foremost impinge on individual rights to redistribute wealth. Why would I not tell someone who wants my money and will take it against my will for others I do not wish to invest in, to fuck off? Because I have compassion for stangers? How do I know they deserve my money? I don't. And being appropriately judgemental, I am only willing to give my money to those that I believe deserve it, which is better done on a personal level. I won't willingly give money to a theif and a liar, but might to a hard-working person who is unfortunate. And I definately don't want the government or these people deciding themsleves where my money goes. I don't owe the starving child in Africa and I don't owe the 15th child of some 22 yo inner-city mommy. I am willing to pay for every single thing I use, but I am not willing to pay for other people to use these things. They can be built by those who are willing to pay for their use. Why am I an asshole, when all I want is to be free, not at the expense of anyone else? If someone agrees to work for a dollar and they get paid a dollar, they are not being exploited. You socialists are the ones with the aggression.

Individual rights necessitates taking responsibility and not pawning it off on others. 

Your free elections is mob rule. The majority should have no say what an individual does, as long as it does not impinge on the rights of another. 

Private enterprise can do everything you so childishly challenged me to do without socialism. Your emotions are clear. But your arguments do not follow logically.

As I said, I would gladly pay for any service I use. It is immoral to force me to pay for yours. That's fine if you wish to give money to a failing school in another state; I only wish to pay for the things I use and the government uses altruism as a smoke-screen to get your money and you feel that you are doing good when you give your money to them. The truth is that it is a horrible scam that breeds corruption and a needy welfare state.

The right to my life is impinged upon by you socialistic society. Property rights are not enforced. Property rights are a key component of the right to life. And socialism does not respect this. It holds the group as a value. You are just upset. You aren't thinking critically.

All socialism must take money away from individuals by force or they are libertarian. Voluntary taxation, paid citizenship, fee for service....cannot exist in a socialistic society. That would make it a libertarian, individual rights kind of place. For wealth redistribution to exist, you must have involuntary taxes. This is force. If I don't pay, I go to jail. There is no room here for me to make my own moral decision. If I don't make what you see as the moral choice, which I consider infantile, they will take me to jail against my will. How is this freedom?

So you see people being poor as immoral. You mean that suffering makes you upset and overwhelms your ability to reason and brings you to the tragically erroneous conclusion that it is the fault of people who are not suffering. If you wish to help them, great. Do it. But do it yourself. Don't get your buddies together and force someone else to do it. I have no problem with philanthropy or charity. Helping people is good. Forcing other people to do it isn't.

It is not the absence of government enforced support from other people that makes someone poor. It is their behavior.

A proper government offers freedom from coercion, not from the responsibility of self-sustenance. It protects people from thieves and killers, not from reality or the need to create one’s values from one’s own thoughts and labors.

Unfettered fair deals are not the cause of poverty. You are blaming a state of nature on the means of commerce. It makes no sense.

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