Determinism Complements the Regressive Left

I have mentioned several times now that atheistic determinism and social justice ideology complement each other very well, leading me to wonder whether the embrace of determinism predisposes atheists to eventually and progressively embrace the Regressive Left.

I was reminded of this connection when Jerry Coyne once again promoted Raoul Martinez and his views.  

I previously highlighted some aspects of the SJW thinking that is inherent in Martinez’s views, but I want to draw your attention to a puff piece article about Martinez that Dhay linked to in the comments section of that thread.

According to the puff piece article:

What makes his arguments unusual is that they lead to some chastening conclusions. Here are a few: prisons need to be emptied of all but those who pose a threat to society. Elections must be exposed as a shabby trick on a deluded populace, a lie of democratic choice in a system controlled by money. The media must be revealed as what it is – a corporate capitalist machine to mass-produce stupidity (with the happy exception of this article). The planet needs to be conceptually reconfigured as something other than a resource to be despoiled to keep us in lifestyles that don’t make us happy or fulfilled. The pursuit of economic growth, profit and consumption must be shown up as a damaging value system that, as he puts it, “drives us to chase things that don’t matter and disconnect from things that do”.

Whoa.  Those are some serious Regressive Left vibes.  Yet there’s more:

The book comes at a timely moment. If Jeremy Corbyn is looking for philosophical underpinning to his manifesto for a more egalitarian Britain, he could do worse than Creating Freedom. Certainly, its author is a fan of the Labour leader: “We’re in desperate need of the politics advanced by Corbyn – anti-austerity, redistribution of wealth, a new approach to climate change rather than being at the behest of the short-term interest of corporations.”


Creating Freedom is, in part, a mashup of Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, James Lovelock’s The Revenge of Gaia, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Karl Marx’s Das Capital, David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years, Nick Davies’s Flat Earth News, Owen Jones’s The Establishment and Simon Baron-Cohen’s Zero Degrees of Empathy. It has already been translated into six languages and is published with dust-jacket encomia from Russell Brand, Susan Sarandon, Brian Eno, Helena Kennedy QC and Paul Mason.

Wow. A mashup of Marxism, apocalyptic thinking, and conspiracy theories.

So as we can see, Martinez’s determinism (the same as Coyne’s determinism) exists in the context of radical, extreme Leftist ideology.  This makes sense given that determinism is a way, perhaps the way,  to turn us all into victims in order to enhance the power of the Collective.

So let’s take a closer look at Martinez himself and his views.

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5 Responses to Determinism Complements the Regressive Left

  1. John Branyan says:

    I give some credit to anyone who actually articulates a point of view.
    So much atheist, humanist, and political writings are merely attempts to discredit opposing viewpoints (usually Christianity) that it brings me joy to see their ideas so clearly stated.

    When we get them to quit yammering about the age of the Earth and start explaining their plan to release everybody from prison, I call that a win.

  2. dph says:

    There is nothing more amusing than reading: in light of determinism we should choose to change aspects of our society.

  3. TFBW says:

    Yay, determinism. It lets you change things to the way they were always going to be.

  4. Dhay says:

    > So as we can see, [Raoul] Martinez’s determinism (the same as [Jerry] Coyne’s determinism) exists in the context of radical, extreme Leftist ideology. This makes sense given that determinism is a way, perhaps the way, to turn us all into victims in order to enhance the power of the Collective.

    The benefits Martinez envisages will follow from a determinist philosophy — lots of people won’t even look at a Marxist or Collectivist philosophy, but a determinism sounds scientific hence value-neutral, just the way things already are, so it’s ‘cool’ — arguably follow from following Jesus.

    Gosh, and that without a need for dodgy metaphysics, no free-will-denial, no Sam Harris style denial of any self (which Martinez and Coyne don’t make explicit, but seems to me to be implicit in free-will-denial and the reasons therefor), no need for a Collective.

    Jesus developed Ezekiel’s ‘Good Shepherd’ message to its fullness: just look at Ezekiel Chapter 34 and tick off the major themes which Martinez covers but which have been in Ezekiel with “Thus says the Lord God: …” prophetic authority since millennia.

    There’s the bad shepherds, who feed themselves but not their sheep, who exploit them and do not protect and nurture them; there’s the fat sheep (“fat cats” is the equivalent in Britain) who barge aside the weak and deprive them that they may gorge themselves; there’s the wanton pollution and despoliation of the environment for gain; there’s the vision — did it ever come about, no — the mission, vision, values of how it should be for a Godly people.

    You’d almost think it was a Martinez-style Corbynista attack upon the current Tory government.

    Read the fullness for yourself:

    The Good News is often associated with conservative values, but I observe it is very radical, radical indeed.

    A lived Christianity will bring about most of what Martinez seeks to achieve; and by the good old traditional means of love of neighbour.


    In the “Steven Pinker Reaps What He Sows” thread a few days ago responder CT posed this question:

    Suppose Harold often drives drunk. Despite this, he goes his whole life without getting into a single accident or receiving a single traffic violation. Harold dies peacefully in his sleep at age 84. Is it reasonable to conclude that Harold’ relatives were wrong to scold him for driving drunk?

    For CT it was evidently a rhetorical question, which he answered without pause with a “No.”

    But what would the determinists and free-will-deniers Martinez, Coyne, Harris and Richard Dawkins have answered. Probably that Harold’s relatives were wrong to scold Harold — after all, Harold had no choice but to often drive drunk, his genes and environment made him a blameless free-will-less victim, and who in their right mind would scold a blameless victim?

    I guess that even applies if Harold were to crash and kill a blameless — everybody’s blameless in the view of Martinez & Co, but let’s take blameless in the ordinarily understood sense here — a blameless bystander, even if this were Harold’s third crash and tenth blameless victim killed or maimed … in a week.

    Someone on another blog I browsed past reckoned that if there is no free will, no blame (or blamability), no culpability, no moral responsibility because ‘genes and environment’ did it, because it’s just the whirlings of leptons and baryons, no guilt — if so, there’s no innocence either, so it’s OK to punish the innocent, the innocence being as much an illusion as the guilt. If determinism is ever adopted nationally and officially it could have interesting legal consequences.


    What of Steven Pinker, the subject of that other thread and an obvious New Atheist — does Pinker share the views of Martinez & Co:

    To start with, the Second Law implies that misfortune may be no one’s fault. The biggest breakthrough of the scientific revolution was to nullify the intuition that the universe is saturated with purpose: that everything happens for a reason. In this primitive understanding, when bad things happen—accidents, disease, famine—someone or something must have wanted them to happen. This in turn impels people to find a defendant, demon, scapegoat, or witch to punish. Galileo and Newton replaced this cosmic morality play with a clockwork universe in which events are caused by conditions in the present, not goals for the future. The Second Law deepens that discovery: Not only does the universe not care about our desires, but in the natural course of events it will appear to thwart them, because there are so many more ways for things to go wrong than to go right. Houses burn down, ships sink, battles are lost for the want of a horseshoe nail.

    Pinker omits to mention John’s paedophilia, murderers, Harold’s drunk driving, Harvey Weistein’s sexual misdemeanors, Donald Trump’s presidency etc, so he hasn’t made clear his thoughts on crime, but it seems clear enough there’s a substantial overlap between Pinker’s views on (no) culpability and Martinez’s; and his clockwork universe (made yet more inexorably valuelessly impersonal by the 2nd Law (of Thermodynamics — Social Darwinism has had its day, here comes Social Physics)) looks very similar to that of “& Co.”

  5. Dhay says:

    I get the impression that Raoul Martinez is first and foremost a socio-political activist; and that his Determinism, together with its consequences, is a rhetorical tool, a rhetorical tool useful, hence used, in order to persuade people towards those socio-political causes and ends which Martinez espouses.

    I am a cynic who thinks — and I think Martinez might think along the same lines — that in Britain we have the best government that rich people can buy themselves. I can share his cynicism, his sense of need for reform, his concern for the ‘common man’ or person.

    And I can ridicule his Determinism and its consequences, especially the consequences he and Jerry Coyne draw for the judicial system.

    Insofar, that is, as they do draw consequences: both (and “& Co.” likewise) leave it very vague, very much up to the imagination; especially as regards the legal reforms they might or would or do want.

    Time for another book by Coyne, in which he will no doubt demonstrate that his mastery of jurisprudence matches his, er, mastery of philosophy.

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