Soon after I implemented the member pages in the ACP I noticed something interesting. It seems that most people who are irreligious, atheist or generally freethinkers have a tendency to orientate to the left libertarian quadrant of the political compass. This was further solidified when Waldheri, who noticing the same trend, inquired on it at the Atheist Nexus fora.
The results were impressive. From out of the 20 people who took the test, 80% were in the left-libertarian quadrant, with a lot of them being on the far left/libertarian end, three were in the right and just one firmly in the middle. All of them were in the libertarian quadrant.
To me this is quite…invigorating (for lack of a better word). It means that most atheists are indeed free spirits and have an intense dislike for authority. I cannot claim to know the reasons but it seems to me that this is quite probably because we are always at odds with the authority of organised religion and have realised that authority is always at odds with freethought.
Even though libertarianism was a bit to be expected, the amount of socialist-leaning freethinkers is the real news in this case. I am immensely happy that most of us realise the inherent superiority of socialistic principles over the “free market” and that contrary to the Objectivist claims of growing popularity, the economic leanings of most Atheists are to the left[1. This also explains why the Libertarian party of the US is so weak. Many Atheist must be turned off by the far-right political leanings it has, even though it is libertarian].
I guess that is another reason for U.S. Atheists to be disheartened, since they are living in a country where there is no left & right but rather right & extreme right. 😛
So I’ve been thinking. If so many of us are in that quadrant, shouldn’t we have an appropriate name? Unfortunately “libertarian” has been hijacked by the right-libertarians and generally when one hears that, they immediately imagine laisez-faire capitalism.
We have the other terms for our disposal of course: Libertarian Socialist, Anarcho-Communist etc, but due to the McCarthyist propaganda the immediate negative connotations (especially for US Americans) are too large. Furthermore, these are all two-word descriptions and I’d really like to see a description that is distinguishable and easily digestable.
Personally, I believe that Communist is the most appropriate term but due to people being in the habit of confusing Communism with Stalinism or Maoism, that would probably do more harm than good (I’m also curious to see how many of the people who took the test realised how close they are to true Communism – No that’s not a “True Scotsman” fallacy).
I’m afraid that at this point I don’t have any suggestion for a better name but I’ll keep you posted if I think of anything.
Most importantly however, this is the first actual common point a majority of atheists seem to have. If indeed there are many of us like this, this could be a way to deal with the “Herding Cats” problem that seems to be plaguing us. An actual political focal point that is absolutely different than all the other political movements out there could be what we need to start having a common voice heard.
In any case, I’d love to hear what the rest of you opine on this subject? Do you think/believe/agree that most of the Freethinkers are leftist libertarian? Do you have a good idea for a left libertarian political label that rolls of the tongue? Finally, can we use this as a way to organise and form the political muscle that is needed?
4 thoughts on “Political Orientation of the Freethinker”
I think the problem with choosing a label like 'Communism' is that it feels like taking up an ideology that doesn't have a lot of room for movement in case there is something about it that doesn't really make sense.
I was a libertarian until I discovered game theory, and specifically, the prisoner's dilemma. Because of this new view, I think that there are many aspects of 'commerce' that would be better off socialized, but at the same time, the competitive nature of capitalism is extremely valuable in other areas. I don't know if there is a word for that or not.
The most balanced / well rounded individuals tend to be very eclectic and not beholden to any one idea or ideology.
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