You'll pardon me; I've already made one long response on the subject of political activity by atheists, so I'm doing this as a blog post instead.
I am responding to the post outlining the difficulties with organizing intellectuals and the statement:
"Can we overcome and find a way to remain relevant in the political arena without compromising our minds and conforming to the “majority rules” mentality?"
First, this is not an option. If we don't do this, we don't survive. It's that simple.
Ever see the Kevin Costner movie "The Postman"? Probably not, it's on everyone's hate list. Pacifist movies never fare well at the box office in a warrior society. The storyline is simple enough, an actor surviving by his wits in a post-apocalyptic world and finds a bag of mail and uses it to get a free ride by delivering it to the local people in the survivalist communities. The moral is simple: society is held together by the personal relationships between people, not by the force of arms imposed by tyrants.
The whole thing gets out of hand and the con man finds himself running a real postal service in the communities of the northwestern states. Real pony express with young people doing the riding through territories controlled by a copier salesman turned dictatorial madmen using the teachings of a cheesy and creepy how to succeed in business book from the old days.
An old Vietnam vet attaches himself to this Recreated US Postal Service and the whole fantasy that back in the eastern states the country is being reformed. He knows it's bullshit, but he knows it takes a lot of bullshit to make things grow. The con man is hesitant to take him on wondering what he can offer the operation. He rattles down the list of things he can do any man can boast who's lived life on the streets and in the shelters so long that when the rest of the world gets knocked down to his level he's waiting there to show them the ropes.
Then he adds, referring to his military unit, "And other stuff."
Comes a moment when the con man's children that he set off on a lie and a promise start getting killed by the copier salesman and his army.
He hears about it and immediately goes to the old Vet and says:
"Tell me about the other stuff."
The movie, as I said, is pacifist and the 'other stuff' only escalates the situation.
I'm not advocating violence. I am suggesting that we are facing the greatest threat to the union since the Civil War and that one very real possibility is the splitting of the Union along theocratic lines. This would drastically reduce the power of both the Renewed Confederate States of America the Disunited States of American on the world front and be the end of Empire Amerika.
I am saying these people have been stockpiling weapons for years and have pledged themselves to take up arms against the duly elected government of the US if the representatives of the people pass a law requiring all weapons to be confiscated for the public safety. Taking up arms against the US government is the bottom line of Tea Party Theocracy. There's a word for people who take up arms against the government and it isn't patriot. It's traitor.
Two years as a Marxist Socialist during the Sixties. Got an A in a graduate level course at West Virginia University even though I was an undergraduate at the time. The class was supposedly in existential writers but the first day he said: "We will not be studying existential writers, that's just what I tell the dean so I can use the room. We will be studying the work of Karl Marx. If this is not what you want, I'll sign your withdrawal slips." We had Black Panthers as guest speakers to teach us street tactics. Our final was on the same day the National Guard killed four students in Kent Ohio and colleges across the country went on strike in protest to these home invasion murders. I was sitting in the room waiting for the professor to arrive and give us the test. He came bustling in ten minutes late look around at all of us good little students and said, "What the hell are you doing here? Your final is in the street, go out and earn your grade where it counts."
I've been a lot of places and done a lot of things. One way or another, I've spent most of my life on the fringes of society. You learn a lot that way.
One thing I know is nothing changes until people get angry and stay angry.
I learned from Fiddlin' Sid Harkreader on a gig at a local high school hoe down/dance back in the Sixties in Nashville, Tennessee. Fiddlin' Sid was a fiddler on the Grand Ole Opry back when it first started out. He could play 'Whispering Hope' on that fiddle and each pure sweet note was laced with the sharpness of an onion drawing unbidden tears from your eyes. Between sets he hung out backstage with us booted and jeaned young fools pontificating on what he has learned in life just as I am doing now and Sid said to us:
"I'll tell you all you need to know about the music business," long pause. so long we started looking to see if he was still breathing, then, "if you're gonna give up, then you might as well quit."
In order to fight a fanatic you have to be just as committed as they are. Not just as fanatical, but sometimes it will seem that way to others...how often have you heard some asshole say "These radical atheist are just as bad as the fundamentalists."
As if there were some middle ground between sanity and madness and, if such a place were found, we could all sit down over a cup of tea and discuss it like professor and artistes and the intelligentsia. That's all well and good, but that attitude has lost this country to the forces of ignorance and violence.
We need more than intellectual assent to the ideal of free thought. We need people who are willing to leave behind their own lives, their comforts, their fortune, and their reputation and fight for the light against the encroaching darkness.
We need riots, not rhethoric. Protests, not prose. Action, not reaction.
We need people who will take it to the streets.
The other comment I'd like to add is to the statement about:
"...compromising our minds and conforming to the “majority rules” mentality?"
I do hope you are speaking metaphorically of our minds in the social milieu. Of course, there is a difference between an experienced, what at one time we would have called "sophisticated", educated and skeptical mind and the common rabble. Alas, we intellectuals are hoisted on our own petard. All of our brilliant, insightful and impressive (at least to our fellow sophisticates) ideas and manifestos are useless without the sheer bulk of the lower classes to bring them to fruition in the real world. Marx was a brilliant man for his time but his time was the dying of the single person changing history era. Like Darwin he is a dinosaur. As is Einstein. It's a toss up whether he or Freud should be looked at as the last of the breed, not to mention Jung, but whoever the last man was he forgot to turn the lights out when he left.
As far as 'majority rules mentality' on the political side I would only comment that the state exists at the consent of the governed...all of the governed, one man/one vote...and the only way to discover what the people want is through voting. Hitler, Lenin, Castro, Stalin, Bush, Rand (Ayn or Paul), Palin all failed or will fail not because they endorse the wrong system...Socialism, Nazism, Libertarianism...but because they did or would take the vote from the common man and give power over to those who know better than the people do what is best for them.
The war in this country that has been going on for the last century, the war I've been fighting for over thirty years now, the war that atheists are just now beginning to discuss and form committees and write books about...
...the war we have already lost.
Make no mistake. We haven't a chance in hell of getting political influence in this country. Any politician who would dare touch us with a ten-foot pole would be committing political suicide. They know it, we know it. Our politicians are all cowards as is the media...the vaunted Free Press...of this country.
We are the outcasts, the antichrists, the sacrificial class, the enemy, the monster that all men loathe and all women tremble before, we are the Walking Dead, we are the resistance.
We are the insurgency.