Welcome to Equestria

There’s an interview with Dinesh D’Souza up at “Salvo” Mag that quotes him as saying some remarkably silly things. For example, he trots out his incredibly lame “unicorn” argument, thusly:

I don’t believe in unicorns, so I just go about my life as if there are no unicorns. You’ll notice that I haven’t written any books called The End of the Unicorn, Unicorns Are Not Great, or The Unicorn Delusion, and I don’t spend my time obsessing about unicorns. What I’m getting at is that you have these people out there who don’t believe that God exists, but who are actively attempting to eliminate religion from society, setting up atheist video shows, and having atheist conferences. There has to be more going on here than mere unbelief.

I think Mr. D’Souza is suffering from a too-provincial worldview. He needs to get out more and experience the world as it exists outside of his parochial blinders. With that in mind, let’s borrow Mr. D’Souza for a while, and transport him to that wonderful, magical land of Equestria.

Welcome to Equestria, Mr. D’Souza! The first thing you’ll notice is that the money here is all emblazoned with the motto, “In Unicorns We Trust.” Equestria was founded by emigrés from the Unicornian nations of the world, and knew all too well the problems and corruptions that arise when the secular government mingles with ecclesiastical government, so the Equestrian constitution states in no uncertain terms that there is to be a separation of Stable and State. But, well, there was a non-Unicornian country that was hostile to Equestria, and the Unicornians had a majority in Congress, and hey, the constitution’s just a goddamn piece of paper, right?

This flagrant violation of national law does not bother you, of course. You just go about your life as if there were no unicorns. You soon find, however, that most of the people in Equestria are Unicornians. There’s different types of Unicornians, of course: High Unicornians (who believe the horn comes out as though it were an extension of the spine) and Mid Unicornians (who believe the horn comes out of the middle of the forehead, between the eyes), and of course the Palaminos, Pintos, Bays, Blacks, and others who have, shall we say, some rather strong opinions regarding what color unicorns are. And don’t let’s even get started on the riding styles (or whether you should ride at all)!

They disagree with each other on a lot of topics, but one thing that they all agree on is that you, the person who does not believe in unicorns, are morally inferior to Unicornians. You are more likely to steal, kill, rape, spread STD’s, do drugs, sell drugs, lie, cheat, mistreat your wife and children, and beat horses than your Unicornian neighbors, just because you do not believe in unicorns. Because of this, you have no hope, as an unbeliever in unicorns, of ever holding a major public office or of having a significant influence on public policy. But again, you don’t really care. You just go on living your life as if unicorns did not exist.

Sometimes it gets a little trying, though. Like when you turn on the TV and find entire channels devoted to telling people about unicorns, and about how important unicorns are, and how people need to send in their money to help feed and care for the unicorns. The fellow on TV seems remarkably well-fed and well-dressed, and travels around from city to city in his own private jet and a whole fleet of limousines, telling people how he speaks with unicorns every day, and even pets them sometimes. You see thousands of little old ladies on fixed incomes being bled dry as they send financial gifts they can’t really afford to people who you know are not spending the money on unicorns. But you don’t care. Unicorns don’t exist, and you look no farther than that.

Even the shows that aren’t explicitly Unicornian ministries tend to portray Unicornians in a positive light. The bad guy shows how evil he is by expressing disbelief in unicorns. The vulnerable heroine shows how desperate and distraught she is by voicing reluctant doubts about their existence. The good, kind folks provide both help and encouragement, reminding listeners of how their virtues, and indeed all good virtues, come from the unicorns. To be unicorn-less is to be morally suspect, if not downright reprobate.

And there are any number of people, in the news and in government, who are only too quick to remind everyone that unbelievers are the enemy, unbelievers are the bad guys. Just look at history: every infamous, reprehensible mass-murder, enslavement, oppression, and atrocity that was ever committed, was committed by people who did not believe in unicorns. How can anyone deny that lack of belief in unicorns causes men and women to become depraved? You don’t even try to deny it, though. You stick to simply living as though unicorns did not exist.

Science in Equestria is not what it used to be, because any time scientists start to explore topics or methods that “the unicorns don’t approve of,” some Unicornian in a position of power will either cut the funding, or issue a policy statement, or pass a law, or otherwise interfere with the research. Unicornians are also infiltrating the educational process from the very earliest elementary grades (which begin each day with a pledge of allegiance to “one nation under unicorns”).

History teachers are sneaking in extracurricular materials “proving” that Equestria’s founding fathers intended their nation to be a Unicornian nation, and science teachers are comparing and contrasting the “different theories” about horse anatomy in order to give kids—your kids—the chance to make up their own minds whether or not they believe in unicorns. School concerts feature music praising unicorns; school choirs have festivals every winter in which they sing carols about the First Unicorn being born in a stable, indoctrinating kids subliminally even without the overt proselytizing of the Unicornian teachers. But you don’t care what the schools are teaching your kids, even though you overhear them apologizing to their friends because “Dad has a problem with unicorns”—as though they were saying, “My dad’s a drug dealer, sorry, nothing I can do.”

Your kids might not be around too long though. Equestria is at war with a number of other countries, countries that believe in dragons, not unicorns. Members of some countries allied with Equestria did carry out an attack on Equestrian soil, and cause horrendous casualties, but Equestria invaded an entirely unrelated country because the president of Equestria is convinced that the unicorns are leading him to make the world safe for unicorns and their believers everywhere. (He originally said the other country was getting ready to attack, which turned out to be false, hence the new reason for the war). It’s an ongoing war that has seriously destabilized the region, so if your kids are suitable for military service, they may be going on a little trip soon. Not that this concerns you at all, of course.

Your wife would be a great support—if you had one. Unfortunately, the Equestrian constitution was recently amended, by the Unicornian majority, to define marriage as “a union of two people who believe in unicorns,” and to expressly forbid any other definition of marriage, or any institution functionally equivalent to marriage. You, as an unbeliever, are expected to remain celibate for your entire life. You may love a woman, but she won’t inherit your estate if you die, and you can’t give “family member’s consent” if she’s seriously ill and needs treatment. All your neighbors look askance at you and whisper behind your back if you even live together. But you don’t care. You don’t believe in unicorns, and all you care about is living as though unicorns don’t exist.

Where is Equestria? It’s not far. Just change a few names, re-label a few things, and voilà. It turns out we haven’t even taken you away from your home. It just looked different when you were on the other side.

 
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Posted in Unapologetics. 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Welcome to Equestria”

  1. InTheImageOfDNA Says:

    I have to wonder sometimes when I hear remarks such as that uttered by apologists… I think they know that they are faulty, fallacious, and disingenuous but that some portion of the viewer- or readership will think that they are convincing and so therefore they utter them. The same tactic gets utilized by creationists. Perhaps they know they can’t fool the informed and critical thinking set and so they just try to pander to the “base” by giving them sound bite “arguments.”

  2. jim Says:

    Ok, so I visited the link you posted, and after reading the first paragraph, I can only describe my state of mind as utter bafflement…

    “The first thing you notice about Dinesh D’Souza is an intellectual swagger that borders on cockiness without crossing over. Such confidence could be attributed to his Dartmouth education, to his position as policy advisor in the Reagan administration, to his near ubiquitous presence on television news shows, or to the library of critically acclaimed books that he has published on everything from racism to economic prosperity. But you get the feeling that it actually stems from the knowledge that, at any given moment, he is probably the smartest person in the room. Don’t get me wrong; he’s not arrogant in the least. It’s just that he knows, deep down, that he’s smarter than you; he’s smarter than me; and perhaps most importantly, he’s smarter than the New Atheists whom he routinely debates at universities across the nation.”

    Holy Jupiter!!! I don’t mean to sound unnecessarily elitist or anything, but if this guy is truly “the smartest guy in the room”, then by some manner unbeknownst to me, the Jerry Springer studio audience has grown to encompass the whole world! Have you seen this guy’s debates? Have you read his articles? D’Souza is a FRAUD, pure and simple. His arguments, if you can even call them that, are laughable! He has no grasp of the scientific method whatsoever; he’s simply a panderer to the rah rah crowd, and seemingly has no qualms about misrepresenting his opponents, as well as the facts of whatever he happens to be talking about. The atrocious logic, which you’ve so elegantly pointed out, is par for the course for this pretender to intellectualism. I’ve never heard him utter a coherent sentence. The real shame is that, by having participated in debates with his intellectual superiors, he’s been able to adopt a mein of credibility which he in NO WAY deserves.

    Sorry for the rant, but this guy truly makes me sick to my stomach. I leave you with a little bit of comic relief, just to cleanse the palate…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5IllB80MEM

    Yeah, f*****g brilliant…

  3. Asylum Seeker Says:

    ……………what Jim said.

  4. John Morales Says:

    Very, very nice, Deacon.

    It’s every bit as good as the Planet of the Hats post in Pharyngula.

  5. John Morales Says:

    PS the link in the main post is malformed.

  6. Deacon Duncan Says:

    Doh. The great thing about proofreading is the way it draws attention to itself when you fail to do it.

    Fixed now.

  7. Deacon Duncan Says:

    And thanks, btw.

  8. Seerak Says:

    The first thing you notice about Dinesh D’Souza is an intellectual swagger that borders on cockiness without crossing over. Such confidence could be attributed to his Dartmouth education, to his position as policy advisor in the Reagan administration, to his near ubiquitous presence on television news shows, or to the library of critically acclaimed books that he has published on everything from racism to economic prosperity.

    I attribute it to the weakness of his opposition; he is convinced that no one out there can answer his arguments, in particular his claim that faith has forever been “rationally” validated by Immanuel Kant.

    He’s wrong, of course — such opposition does exist, but in small enough numbers for D’Souza to pretend that they don’t.

    For now.

  9. Klaus Nordby Says:

    Thank you for a most ingenious, witty and trenchant posting!

  10. Nemo Says:

    Seerak, honestly, I don’t know what you mean. It seems to me that D’Souza is not only trivially refutable, but has been handily bested in every debate I’ve seen him enter. He may be popular in certain circles, but intellectually, there’s nothing there.

    As for the description in Salvo, this is a magazine that bills itself as “Blasting holes in scientific naturalism”. They live in an alternate reality.

  11. Coins and Daggers » Link-O-Rama Says:

    […] Welcome to Equestria: A spot-on and damn funny response to Dinesh D’Souza’s stupid argument that athiests shouldn’t be concerned about the religious beliefs of other people if God doesn’t exist. […]

  12. Richard Watts Says:

    Awesome post, Deacon! Thank you.

    Seerak said:
    “I attribute it to the weakness of his opposition; he is convinced that no one out there can answer his arguments, in particular his claim that faith has forever been ‘rationally’ validated by Immanuel Kant.
    “He’s wrong, of course — such opposition does exist…”

    Yes. Objectivism has a lot of intellectual ammunition on this topic. I recommend Ayn Rand’s book “Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology” (heavy reading, but worth it), and her novel “Atlas Shrugged”.

  13. ssjessiechan Says:

    Spot on. I now no longer need bother endlessly re-phrasing that argument in my mind whenever I read such stupidity.

    I think you forgot about equestrianist businesses refusing to serve non-equestrianist customers, and advertising their equestrianist credentials as arguments to patronize their business over yours. And the funny looks when people say “Horn bless you” and you don’t return the favor–as if you’ve spit in their face by not lying and thus insulting them worse. That’s never a good feeling, having no socially acceptable options to not be a dick.

  14. Eshu Says:

    Thanks for this post, I’ll be adding it to my useful collection of posts to point people to when the need arises.

  15. jorgaba Says:

    This was a wonderful post….I also was reminded of PZ’s classic “Planet of the Hats”.

  16. pevo Says:

    lol, excellent.

    I would suggest the great Unicorn be born in a house, not a stable.

  17. Steven Carr Says:

    Christians don’t bother with unicorns?

    So why all the protests about those unicorn-including Harry Potter books?