I'm not an American, but I was using liberalism (in the classic, Enlightenment sense) as an example of the type of quasi-religion that develops even among so-called secularists or atheists, because most of the latter aren't truly godless.

No, I wasn’t equating atheism with liberalism. Atheism is the rejection of theism—which still leaves open the possibility of nontheistic religions, as in the case of civil religions and various idols and mass secular frauds and delusions that fulfill spiritual longings for the hoi palloi.

There are a couple of problems with your quotation of Tyson. First, his point is consistent with what I’m saying. Yes, meaning in life may be subjective or self-created. So what happens collectively when individual created meanings tend to agree due to common fallacies, biases, experiences, and an ethos? Ideologies and social conventions can form even for secularists, and these conventions can harden and become de facto creeds or irrational faiths. As I say in the article, Soviet communism, Nazism, neoliberal consumerism, and Trumpism are startling examples.

So I’m fine with Tyson’s point. But then you seem to contradict Tyson when you say there are no meanings at all. That’s the second problem.

You mean to say that atheists need have no problem with spirituality or with finding godless meaning in life. If so, I disagree since I side with the existentialists who redefine spirituality as a more fundamental problem that’s neutral on the question of theism versus atheism. All human individuals face existential struggles, and most of us “solve” them by resorting to gods or to the functional equivalent of gods, as in the case of mass secular delusions (e.g. consumerism, the postindustrial worship of money that’s fueled by irrational trust that technology will solve all our problems and prevent environmental catastrophe).

If you want to say that atheists need have no existential struggle and can be happy or content with no delusions, I agree: enlightenment is possible. But what does that godless enlightenment look like? What type of person is truly enlightened and free of idols and delusions? Just the garden-variety, Tyson-like secular humanist, with friends and family? Nah, I doubt it.

Regarding liberalism and conservatism, I take a very dim view of the latter. I have a couple of articles coming out on this (sometime next month probably), including one on Burke’s skepticism about progressive reason. But you might see the link below for the start of my case that there’s really no such thing as conservative thought or philosophy. Many European conservatives are more like classic liberals than like American conservatives who are theocrats or neofeudalists (pro-plutocracy which replaces the old-fashioned monarchy).


Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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