Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Does Atheism Plus want people to go to jail?

The last article was called out for perhaps being unfair.

Unfair is not good, so let's have a second look:

Unknown writes:
To be fair, in most of the instances, the A+ers in question never said someone should be arrested go to jail. (E.g., Watson never claimed elevator guy should be arrested or jailed, Richards never claimed that the guys behind her should be arrested or jailed.)

Being as charitable as possible, one could claim that that A+ers think that waving a dildo at someone is harassment that merits being expelled from a conference or event, but not something worthy of involving the police over.

That might be ascribing too much subtlety to their thoughts, though. I'd be more inclined to guess that they think waving dildos at NOMers is a hilarious snarky prank.

It's absolutely true - it hasn't been suggested that the elevator man was a criminal.

However the Richards case is a bit murkier. She seems rather ambivalent about one of men losing their jobs and already had put his face on the public shame wall of Twitter.

In some not-so-distant future, one imagines that getting one's face on Twitter could itself be a punishment by the state. Instead if a fine or jail time, the judge could simply snap your photo, paste it on Twitter with a few hashtags descriptive of your negligence or assholery.

On to waving a dildo at conferences - essentially what Atheism+ immediately would want enforced by police is a restraining order or sorts. If the ejected attendee returned to the event in the hotel he or she is staying, the cops would definitely be involved and 'real' charges would be on the table.

When a harassment policy is made, it is a mistake to think the wishes of the conference organizer is not backed by the full force of the law. The organizers will receive the support of the local authorities provided the organizers themselves are not breaking laws such as assaulting or detaining rule breakers.

This is an item that is entirely uncontroversial. Everyone from thin-skinned social justice warriors and die-hard libertarians can agree that a private event can do whatever they want with the property they've rented.

Taking the dildo issue to a public space, where it seems to have actually happened, leads to a few interesting questions.

Does Atheism+ think sexual harassment of a stranger should be subject to fines or community service?
On the books today, it's easy to find yourself in trouble for repeated harassment of a specific individual.

It is definitely more difficult to get in trouble by simply standing on a street corner while cat-calling and waving a fake penis around.

Eventually one runs afoul of some public conduct law. Maybe one goes to court and leaves with a fine or several hours of community service. Atheism+ does not seem to have a problem with this.

Does Atheism+ think waving a dildo in someone's face qualifies as sexual harassment?

It is difficult to imagine how social justice warriors would explain this act away.

Maybe they think waving a dildo at some social conservatives is OK because it does not involve actual sexual attraction.

Then they'd be in the ridiculous situation of explaining that people should only feel uncomfortable or intimidated by harassers that find them attractive.

Does Atheism+ think ignoring punishment should lead to more punishment?

Let's say someone does what Ian Murphy did, and skip the community service bit after deciding it was a load of crap.

Is it not just to find oneself in more trouble?

Of course, Watson may not have known Murphy skipped out on community service before she wrote her "Fuck the police" jab.

However PZ Myers had an opportunity to discover the relevant facts before writing an entirely sympathetic blog post. Luckily his commenters happened to do his work for him and brought up the true details of the situation.

It is not the first time that PZ Myers neglected to do any research before turning on the social justice rage machine. It happens on a fairly regular basis.

One instance that sticks out as particularly silly is his coverage of the increase in female breadwinners in American households. Instead of investigating the possibility that it may be a symptom of the implosion of the American economy (or at the very least, American manufacturing) Myers took the opportunity to claim a victory for feminism and attempt to troll social conservatives.

Back to the topic at hand...

Does Atheism+ believe people ought to be going to prison for their "harassing" actions?


Maybe they don't understand the situation, but ultimately they don't have a problem with the laws that put Murphy in jail. And for as often as they may say "Fuck the police", they rely on the authorities to be the final enforcement of their written rules at conferences.

The comment hit the nail on the head - the 'social justice' crowd are more interested in seeing more of these 'snarky prank' protests than think about what effect it may have to the core of its 'progressive' ideology.

Perhaps those that want to write the rules should understand the existing ones.


  1. Actually, it seems they would like to put their critics in jail. Unsubstantiated (fabricated for all we know) rape allegations against one of their critics. Instead of reporting to the police and letting due process handle it, lets blog about it instead and tarnish reputations and rile up the mob:


    PZ's newest low. Lower than the last. I wonder what's next?

  2. I'm the one who wrote the comment you were responding to (I'm going to have to sort out my Google account so it's something beter than "unknown" when I comment here, but I never get around to it). I'm a little late in responding to this, but I just wanted to say thanks for the response!

    1. You're welcome! thanks for the great comments!