TIA Tuesday: why they invented bibsSeptember 16, 2008 — Deacon Duncan
We’re up to Chapter 11 of TIA, which is going to go fairly quickly. If we limit ourselves to the essential substance of what Vox is saying in this chapter, we learn that
- Vox Day does not like Michel Onfray.
- Vox also does not like the French.
- He does like the Jews, and thinks that in general they are superior to virtually any other race or ethnic group, at least intellectually.
- He does not, however, like Michel Onfray.
- Hitler was an atheist no matter what he said about God, because he killed people and real theists don’t kill people.
- It’s not the Catholic’s fault that they didn’t do more to save the Jews, who after all were non-Catholics, and why should any Catholic care about the Holocaust?
- Vox is only too glad, however, to insinuate that guilt for various “atheist atrocities” ought to be associated with atheists in general and Michel Onfray in particular (whom Vox apparently doesn’t like).
- The Enlightenment was evil, and did only bad things, and is in some way Michel Onfray’s fault.
- Vox would like to blame the Enlightenment for sexual slavery, and thinks that Michel Onfray would enjoy forcing a woman to have sex with several men at the same time
- Michel Onfray wants to burn Western civilization to the ground and worship Satan.
- And oh yes, I almost forgot—Vox does not like Michel Onfray.
Vox has at last succeeded in writing a chapter that is difficult to respond to, not because of any sophisticated reasoning or indisputable evidence, but because he lets his invective run so far away with him that it borders on hysteria. Vox has been biased, and selective, and super-supercilious before, but this time he lays it on so thick that it’s almost impossible to believe that he honestly expected anyone to take him seriously. One wonders why he’s not calling for a halt on the hunt for bin Ladin, so as to devote more resources to the battle against Michel Onfray.
But let’s let Vox speak for himself:
Onfray’s spectacularly absurd assertion that all monotheism, including Judaism, is inherently anti-intelligence and anti-science fits well with this French tendency towards anti-Semitism, which has flared up periodically since the Dreyfus affair in 1894. Philosophy is not science, of course, but one has to wonder just how detached from reality Onfray must be to ignore the undeniable fact that Jews possess the strongest intellectual tradition in human history, have been repeatedly found to possess the highest average intelligence, and account for a much higher percentage of scientific advancements than would be statistically indicated by the small fraction of the global population they represent. I have already shown that it is absurd to claim that Christianity and Islam are intrinsically anti-science in light of the amount of evidence to the contrary, but until reading In Defence of Atheism, it never occurred to me that it might be necessary to defend Judaism from the charge as well…
Onfray’s hedonism is the explicit articulation of Harris’s fumbling towards a happiness-based ethic and the realization of Dennett’s moral democracy, but what the Frenchman makes clear in a distinctly Nietzschean manner is that he will brook no weak-minded influence of the enervating Judeo-Christian disease in tempering the illuminated way towards Enlightenment and the new secular utopia. Nothing is forbidden, no action is unthinkable, and needless to say, if an unpopular minority happens to be in the way of the greatest possible happiness of the greatest number, that minority will simply have to go…
He complains that the Vatican has demonstrated “a commitment, a militancy, and a vigor” criticizing Marxism and Communism that he believes would have been better spent discrediting the Third Reich. But how can the Catholic Church be held responsible for failing to defend those who reject its authority over them? And what government has ever failed to focus on its openly declared enemies instead of those enemies willing to declare truce?…
It would be interesting to ask Onfray if he sees any causal connection between the European post-Christianity he celebrates and the rise of sex-slavery throughout Europe. Of course, he might not take exception to the latter, after all, what is the abject misery of one woman who is bringing orgasmic delight to ten or more men every night?…
Onfray claims that democracy thrives on reason and the active use of communication. Economists have proven the former to be untrue, due to how the vast majority of voters in all democracies combine ignorance with irrationality…
Onfray complains of the apparent logical contradiction between the Fifth Commandment and the later commands in Deuteronomy to smite, destroy, burn, and dispossess. Setting aside the obvious fact that the Fifth Commandment is generally considered to be “Honor thy father and mother” and that neither burning nor dispossessing can be inherently equated with killing, he is obviously unaware of the consensus that the term “kill” in “Thou shalt not kill” is understood in the sense of a murderous killing… [Note: Vox mentions in a footnote that he knows Onfray is referring to the Roman Catholic version of the Ten Commandments, in which “Thou shalt not kill” is #5, but he still accuses Onfray of failing to recognize the “obvious fact” that “Honor thy mother and father” is the real Fifth Commandment.]
Like Hitchens, Onfray is bizarrely fascinated with the uncomfortable subjects of castration and male circumcision, to which he devotes a veritable torrent of text. The book all but shakes with his outrage at what he considers to be mutilation based on nothing more than the monotheistic fear of sexual pleasure. Onfray is the anti-Puritan; he is furious at the thought that someone, somewhere, might not be enjoying himself to the full extent possible. However, his fury is wasted here, as the loss of a thousand nerve endings and 250 feet of nerves that he cites don’t actually reduce male sensitivity in any way.
(Um, right. 9 out of 10 Jewish men surveyed say they do not remember experiencing greater sexual stimulation during the 8 days between birth and bris, therefore it’s ridiculous to use the term “mutilation” to refer to taking a knife to someone else’s genitals without their consent.)
And so it goes. The few times Vox can bring himself to quote actual snippets of text from Onfray’s writings, he uses them as mere subtitles for the section headings. His actual discussion of Onfray, by contrast, consists of Vox putting unflattering words in Onfray’s mouth, Vox making snide insinuations about how Onfray would “probably” enjoy various vile things, and Vox descending into such hysterical rants as this:
Michel Onfray demands nothing less than an atheological auto da fé, burning Western civilization on the fiery stake of a New Luciferian Enlightenment. This would not be worrisome if it were only more inane insanity on the part of a French philosopher, the problem is that Onfray’s proposed new order is not merely the logical extension of the secular utopia sought by Russell, Dawkins, and Harris, it is the stark, rational articulation of that which the New Atheists do not dare to admit, either to themselves or to the reading public.
Try as I might, I can think of no better rebuttal to such a rant than to simply quote it and let the reader see for himself what a spittle-flecked whackjob Vox can make of himself when he really puts his heart into it.