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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Guess I am Different

When I read other Jewish blogs I see that sometimes, not frequently, I am on the list of recent posts they have read. Of course, I appreciate that because it makes more people come here. However, I noticed that I am very different from other blogs. Other blogs tend to talk a lot about Judaism and this one does not talk so much about Judaism and embracing a rational secular life over religion. I tried to be like other blogs but I cannot do it. If you read what I wrote in my first one and a half months here I tried to be like other blogs but it is too hard for me. It is hard for me to discuss religion because I find the whole issue too trivial. No one ever writes about why Zeus and Greek mythology is a bunch of non-sense. No one makes parodies about the Greek arguments in favor of mythology. We all understand that mythology is too simple of a concept to even by discussed. In a similar manner I do not have much of an interest to discuss religion and atheism because it is just way too easy and too trivial, there is no challenge in arguing against religion.

I do not mean to condemn other blogs. I realize that what they do is a lot more important than what I do. We need people to engage in a discussion with Jewish believers. If we want a better world where people think for themselves and do not reject science then such blogs are important. They constantly challenge Jewish believers. We need blogs that bring out important issues. Like homosexuality. So we need Jewish people who write topics about homosexuality and its relevance in the Jewish world. We need people who discuss current events in Judaism on their blogs and parody the silliness of the religious. All these people are important to fight the tyranny of religion.

But it is not for me. I am not that kind of person. I do not follow the news. I never read the newspaper. I am not a social person so I do not know what is going on in my community. I find religion a trivial issue so I do not even want to discuss it seriously because such a discussion makes me feel as if religion gets respect. I cannot discuss homosexuality because it is another really trivial and simple issue for me. I like to discuss things that are new. Things that are challenging. I hate repeating the same arguments of other people over and over again to argue against the religion people. So that is why I tend to stay away from religion on this blog. However, I do recognize the importance, much more important over what I write, of Jewish commentators for the Jewish world of religion. So I will continue to stay the way that I stay and focus on philosophy instead.


  1. You'll notice that what's missing among skeptic blogs is skepticism about government. Many who lose religion need something else to grab onto, and so they grab onto the state. Your voice is needed.

  2. "You'll notice that what's missing among skeptic blogs is skepticism about government. Many who lose religion need something else to grab onto, and so they grab onto the state.":

    There is an interesting question to ask. Who are people who are more supportive of strong government power? If you asked me that question a year ago I would have picked religious people for being more authoratarian. But now I realize this is not an easy question to answer.

    Religious people see themselves as slaves of God and so it is a natural projection for them to be anti-freedom. However, at the same time they care more about religion and God than the state. Which is precisely why Stalin and communism attacked religion because it saw religion as a counter against powerful statism.

    Also do not forget that the birth of religion lead to the birth of the initial states. Statism was founded on religion. This is why the separation of church and state was just a recent accomplishment.

    There is also a good video here that argues that being anti-religion is actually also more anti-state here: .

    I know that Murray Rothbard, I believe, took the approach religion is opposed to statism. So I do not know. It is a hard question to answer. I am really interested in discussing this question further but at this point in my life I cannot come to a conclusion on it one way or another.

    I have my own explanation about the corellation between atheism and liberalism here: .

    "Your voice is needed.":

    This is not so much of an economics or anti-statism blog. It is a blog of my collection of ideas that I really write for myself so that I have then organized. It is true that I spend a lot of time thinking about economics and anti-statism. But I also spend a lot of time thinking about mathematics and nihilism. So there are several themes on this blog. Anti-statism is one of them but not the only one. And besides I do not think I do such a good job. I believe there are other people who do a far superior job. My favorite economist was Milton Friedman. He inspired me very much. His son, David Friedman, who is actually an anarchist, is great too. There are many people online who do a wonderful job at arguing against the state. So I am just a follower of their ideas. I do not see my voice as being so important here but I do what I can to get other people interested in liberty.

  3. I've come closer over the years to David's position, from my Rothbardianism - not that I don't still revere Rothbard. I wasn't really talking about any correlation here, I was just looking over the big skeptic blogs, and so far, I've found 2 that are libertarian. I've seen most, at one point or another, feature "8 minutes hate" against one libertarian group or another, and almost all have done a number of reverence pieces on the state.

    Now, that doesn't prove that atheists are more statist than general, the whole world could be just as statist, or worse. I don't know, although I'm sure we can discuss that at some point. (Personally, I've come to the view that text-based religion is incompatible with libertarianism.) I'm just pointing to what I see in the blogosphere, and my suggestion as to the cause - atheism is scary, it's scary not to have some Big Old Man watching out for you, so you create one - even if you have to turn to a bunch of thugs and criminals to provide it.

  4. "I've come closer over the years to David's position.":

    Not sure if you know this but David Friedman has his own blog here: . I e-mailed Friedman once but sadly he never responded. There were some questions that I had and I was curious to know how Milton Friedman would answer them. So I figured that maybe, since Milty is not alive, David would know what his father would say.

    "And almost all have done a number of reverence pieces on the state.":

    I have seen one that really shocked me, it was so repulsive to read it. It was an atheist (of course) blog of an ex-Jew. The blogger was telling a story about how their religious Jewish grandparents that do not approve of their marriage with a non-Jew. So the blogger said that they told their grandparents, "the government considers us married". I was so repulsed by that statement and surprised.

    I know people like to compare statism to religion, but I have argued against that, because my definition of religion does not allow statism to be a religion. But I can certainly understand how philosophers confuse and call statism for religion, and my example above is a good illustration of that. See, if a person is arguing with his parents and his parents tell them that they do not consider him married because he married a non-Jew, then the person might say (if he converted to Christianity), "you do not consider us married, but Jesus does". That is common in religion. The ex-Jew substituted a higher power and used the higher power as influence that approves of the marriage. What happened with this blogger was so much more similar. Just except or God or gods, they used Gov as a higher power that approves of them. I was so surprised to see someone say that because that was reverence towards the state.

  5. Ok, so statism is not a religion, I agree. But, as you illustrate, it can be treated religiously by a specific individual. Here's where I'm coming from: if there is no God, why is there an idea of God? I would guess because it filled some psychological need. So take someone who has that need, and convince him there's no God. He needs something to fill that need.

    I've had a similar theory on the atheist tyrannies. God, in most religions, forgives. There are concepts like grace, teshuva, and so on. What happens if you have a code of conduct which is elevated to a religious level of demand, but without a Godhead to forgive? It starts to make sense to kill anyone who steps out of line when the state is God.

  6. Milton, on the other hand, I haven't come at all closer to. I don't like much of his work, and I despise the way it played out in politics, as essentially neo-liberalism. I hate that his ideas, which led to so much destruction, are identified as "free-market radical" when they are not. I don't hold he himself responsible for this, just the way his ideas played out. Moreover, I respect him for being the only person publicly speaking out as Keynes destroyed economics.

  7. "Milton, on the other hand, I haven't come at all closer to.":

    Milton was the first person to inspire me to give up the fantasy of a benevolent state. When I agreed with the philosophy of liberty, I thought that the state is necessary to provide for people. But at the same time I was against taxation because it is anti-liberty. So I supported forms of user fees and voting taxes (taxes imposed on people who agreed to be citizens) in order for that money to be used for benevolence to other people. In a way I retained my old liberal values but I saw the state for being anti-freedom. However, Milton was the first person which lead me to realize that necessities of the state, like welfare, should not be provided by it. And I started to give up the silly idea of a benevolent state.

    Milton is great for people who want to become defenders of freedom because he is one of the most moderate libertarians that there are. Ron Paul is more extreme than Friedman (Paul is a minarchist while Friedman was better described as a classical liberal). Because he is moderate he can appeal to newcomers to liberty. The problem a lot of newcomers have is that a lot of free market ideas are very radical to people so they look at minarchists and especially anarchists as crazy.