The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.
–Dr. Eldon Tyrell, Blade Runner
I have criticized Freethought Blogs often over the past month. In my opinion they were (and are) a group of intolerant leftist ideologues who tolerate no deviation from an overarching philosophy encompassing virtually every fact of modern “progressive” thought. If you have the temerity not to subscribe to the modern academic feminism found in Women’s Studies programs through North American universities, you are scum. You get an “F— U! I hope you die!” in their comments. If you don’t agree with them on how to combat sexual harassment at freethought/skeptics conferences, you are beneath contempt. You get called a rape-apologist, or a MRA (I kept seeing that term in the comments to Freethought Blogs and Skepchick and had no idea what it meant–thinking it had to do with some rebel group in Madagascar or something like that, but it is apparently an insult in those places to call someone a “men’s rights activist” or MRA for short. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and found this. Calling someone an MRA appears to be a rather infantile means of an ad hominim attack, or even poisoning the well, whenever anyone disagrees with their academic feminist ideology–you disagree with me, you are an MRA! Anything you say is bunk!). Everyone at FTB appeared either to think the same way on these issues, either by editorial selection or self-selection.
But then things changed. On June 21, 2012 Freethought Blogs announced their newest blogger, Thunderfoot. Thunderfoot was not afraid to think freely. He was not afraid to break the ideological straightjacket that hitherto had kept the writers marching in lockstep (I like mixed metaphors, thank you very much!). Thunderfoot put out post after post after post skewering the current FTB groupthink on issues of sexual harassment in the freethought/skeptics movement.
In his most recent post (today’s date as a I write this), he discussed the current crop of sexual harassment policies that have been released or modified in the past few weeks:
This I think highlights exactly why having incompetent PC doofuses attaching written documents to their conferences (that may have legal consequences) simply makes us all look like a bunch of second-raters.
Yup. When you have anyone other than a lawyer (one with professional liability insurance coverage) write one of these things, the chances are pretty good that you are going to come out looking like a moron when the shit hits the fan and a lawsuit is filed.
Thunderfoot even had the guts to take on PZ Myers in a couple of posts. PZ has been one of the most doctrinaire defenders of the current officially accepted thoughts at FTB, which, as I have said, are based on an unthinking adoption of academic feminist theory. Over in the little feifdom that is FTB, PZ has a lot of weight. He does not take dissenting views lightly. No. He’s not quite as bad as David Miscavige on the issue of tolerating dissent, but almost. And it did not take long for PZ to pull the trigger, trow his weight around, blow his whistle, and kick Thunderfoot out of the pool. And before you start saying that there must have been another reason, that it was not just disagreeing with PZ’s orthodoxy that did it, here’s some proof in the way of a comment PZ made this afternoon:
Outside. And. Opposing. Yes, to PZ Thunderfoot is a wicked heretic. And sure enough, PZ’s comment was followed by an official announcement from freethought blogs that Thunderfoot is out. Gone. Sayonara. Hasta la vista, baby!
Interestingly, blogger Greg Laden is also out, but that is apparently because he sent an inappropriate and threatening email to another FTB blogger.
Apparently the words “free” and “thought” as they are used together in the title of Freethought Blogs is a term of art. Because it certainly doesn’t mean what it says. It obviously doesn’t mean freedom of inquiry. Or thought. Or ideas. No, it means “a place for people who think exactly like us on every issue to write blogs.” Fair enough. I never had any doubt that was the case over at FTB, except for the glorious nine days where Thunderfoot had the opportunity to be the voice of reason. Now they can happily go back to their comfortable echo chamber.
Edit– (5 July 2012)
Thunderf00T has posted a video response to getting banned by FtB: