Show 582: The ABCs of Anarchy/Atheism w. Brian Heagney and Judas Peters

The ABCs of Anarchy/Atheism w. Brian Heagney and Judas Peters

How can anarchists and/or atheists share with their children the ideas they hold dear? There are a variety of books for children on skepticism, science, humanism, ethics, etc. But there are very few books on atheism and almost none on anarchy.

Brian Heagney wrote a children’s book on anarchy some years ago, but we only discovered this year. He may eventually publish an updated version (or at least we hope he does).

Judas Peters is about to publish a children’s book on atheism which looks to be a great addition to the field. On this weeks show, we got to speak with both of them!

Audio can be found here!

Show 564: Economic Inequality & the Problem with Work

Economic Inequality & the Problem with Work w/Kathi Weeks and Michael D. Yates

Many secular humanists traditionally focused on the so-called hard sciences and religion in their analyses but this is clearly not enough. In time, many also address the social sciences and key political issues from Human Rights to Separation of Church and State to the crises of Climate Change. However, the willingness to apply the scientific method, healthy skepticism, and humanistic ethics to our more central political structures has been very lacking…even the willingness to take on the illusion of “free will” gets more traction with humanist in America. This is why we try to cover these issues when we can on this show. Today we will address our economic system and what it means to be a contributor within its boundaries…as well as what is at the core of one of our greatest problems today, massive inequality.

Capitalism can be, and has been, described in a great many ways. From the Austrian and Chicago Schools of economic thought to the Keynesian models to the Marxist and Anarchist analyses. Among those who do the academic work required to grapple with all of this, we will find sometimes complex, often contradictory, and always passionate points-of-view on what we should do about capitalism here in the 21st Century. Among the general populous in the United States, on the other hand, we find confusion, misapplied labels, dogmatism and not a little anger.

We’ve talked about this from different angles and tried to make sense of it all via political science, history, social science, and even evolutionary biology and neuroscience. After all, Capitalism didn’t spring up out of nowhere, and it doesn’t exist in vacuum – being value-neutral as some might want to believe. So today we are going to look at the capitalist condition from both overarching and under-arching perspectives…The former being the huge inequality problem we now face, and the latter being what is at the core of the capitalist system…Work. To do this, we will be speaking with two special guests: Kathi Weeks and Michael D. Yates.

Audio can be found here!

Show 318: The Authoritarian Specter

Two -Hour Fund Drive Special!

The Authoritarian Specter

Principle 8 of Humanist Manefesto II reads in part, “We must extend participatory democracy in its true sense to the economy, the school, the family, the workplace, and voluntary associations. Decision-making must be decentralized to include widespread involvement of people at all levels – social, political, and economic. All persons should have a voice in developing the values and goals that determine their lives … People are more important than decalogues, rules, proscriptions, or regulations.
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Show 292b: Humanism & the LGBT Community II

Humanism & the LGBT Community: The Origins and History of Homophobia and the Struggle for Freedom!

Pt. 2

We will begin this exploration first with a biblical scholar and member of the humanist/atheist community in America, Robert M. Price, who discussed with me the biblical and religious connections to homophobia which seems to some as having sparked the anti-gay movement we are now living through.  Then we will hear from a leader in the organized Freethought movement, DJ Grothe – himself a gay male – on his own experiences, his take on gay marriage and church/state considerations, and the humanist viewpoint on alternative sexual relationships.

Then, to go beyond the atheistic/religious horizon as regards the origins and history of homophobia and anti-gay sentiment in America, we will hear from two gay authors who have recent publications out on sexuality and the political left… Socialist Sherry Wolf and Anarchist Terence Kissack.

Show 292a: Humanism & the LGBT Community

Humanism & the LGBT Community: The Origins and History of Homophobia and the Struggle for Freedom!

We will begin this exploration first with a biblical scholar and member of the humanist/atheist community in America, Robert M. Price, who discussed with me the biblical and religious connections to homophobia which seems to some as having sparked the anti-gay movement we are now living through.  Then we will hear from a leader in the organized Freethought movement, DJ Grothe – himself a gay male – on his own experiences, his take on gay marriage and church/state considerations, and the humanist viewpoint on alternative sexual relationships.

Then, to go beyond the atheistic/religious horizon as regards the origins and history of homophobia and anti-gay sentiment in America, we will hear from two gay authors who have recent publications out on sexuality and the political left… Socialist Sherry Wolf and Anarchist Terence Kissack.

Show 268: A Prescription for Real Social Change

1-Hour Special: A Prescription for Real Social Change

In this previously aired (albeit with poor sound quality), political philosopher Takis Fotopoulos presented his case for an alternative libratory model for reaching a healthier, happier, freer, and more humanistic future society. Fotopoulos’ model is called Inclusive Democracy, which according to him, “is derived from a synthesis of two major historical traditions: the classical democratic, and the socialist.  It also encompasses radical green, feminist, indigenous and liberation movements in the South.”

The crux of Fotopoulos’ ideas amount to, “communities run on the basis of direct political democracy, as well as economic democracy (beyond the confines of the market economy and statist planning), democracy in the social realm, and ecological democracy.”  Accordingly, in an inclusive democracy, “politics is no longer a technique for holding and exercising power, but the self-management of society by its members.”

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Show 253b: A Victory for Vengeance?: America’s Methods of Domination; Part Two

A Victory for Vengeance?: America’s Methods of Domination; Part Two

For more than 30 years now, the United States has taken a turn to the Right in how we organize our society. Prison populations have skyrocketed, prison sentences and anti-crime laws have become more and more draconian, torture has been used at home and abroad in the name of security, and the state has tightened its noose around those of us not in the upper classes… especially non-whites and the poor. Why has this occurred? What role has the rise in political Christianity played in the push for far right policies? Are there underlying reasons for this sad state of affairs beyond religion and the conservative politics of the Reagan/Bush era that are not even being talked about? And what can we do to make America more democratic, egalitarian and humanistic?

These are the questions we asked of journalists’ Sasha Abramsky, author of American Furies: Crime, Punishment and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment and Kristian Williams, author of American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination and Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America.

Show 217: “ParEcon, ParPolity & the Future of the Left” with Robin Hahnel and Steven Shalom

“ParEcon, ParPolity & the Future of the Left” with Robin Hahnel and Steven Shalom”

What is ParEcon?

Participatory economics is a proposed economic system that uses participatory decision making as an economic mechanism to guide the production, consumption and allocation of resources in a given society. Proposed as an alternative to contemporary capitalist market economies and also an alternative to centrally planned socialism or coordinatorism, it is described as “an anarchistic economic vision.” It emerged from the work of activist and political theorist Michael Albert and that of radical economist Robin Hahnel, beginning in the 1980s and 1990s.

Albert and Hahnel stress that parecon is only meant to address an alternative economic theory and that it must be accompanied by equally important alternative visions in the fields of politics, culture and kinship.

What is ParPolity?

Stephen R. Shalom has begun work on a participatory political vision he calls “parpolity”. Elements of anarchism in the field of politics, polyculturalism in the field of culture, and feminism in the field of family and gender relations are also discussed by the authors as being possible foundations for future alternative visions in these other spheres of society.

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Show 216: Michael Albert – “Introduction to ParEcon”

Over the last few months, we have been airing an interview series on Equal Time for Freethought unofficially called the “Economics of Humanism.” The purpose of these programs is to address what I personally think ought to be the center of focus for 21st Century humanism; that is, humanism ought to redirect its primary focus away from atheism, secularism and religious critique and toward the sociopolitical and economic aspects of human culture.

Humanism, as promoted and defended in the Humanist Manifestos (which serve as modern humanism’s defining documents), is a philosophy or world-view about an ethical, moral system of thought, derived from scientific method, naturalism and reason, and must be applied to the real world. If we want – as is argued in these documents and elsewhere in myriad humanist literature – a cooperative, tolerant, peaceful society where everyone has equal opportunity to live “the good life,” where people are not held back by racism, class-ism, sexism and nationalism, and where we can control or even eliminate the more dangerous sides of human nature such as violence, crime and the actions born from religious fundamentalism, we have to be serious, focused, and even strident about our mission.

The crux of our humanity can be found in our relationships with one another in what we have come to call societies or cultures. The way in which we interact on the large scale as we need to with 6 billion of us on the planet and growing, falls within those areas of study sociologists are interested in – which of course, includes how we govern ourselves (politics) and how we share human made and natural resources (economics). And, If we want to apply humanist ethics and morals to creating a very real planetary humanism, the means must be equal – ethically and morally – to the ends.

The means modern humankind has endeavored at over the last 200 years or so – capitalism, hierarchal democracy, state socialism and Party Communism – have all failed to bring us close enough to the ethical and moral sensibilities of humanism. In fact, too often, they have taken us further away. Therefore, we interviewed for the “Economics of Humanism” series Annalee Newitz on how capitalism’s evils have been represented in horror films in March, Joel Kovel on ecosocialism in April, and Noam Chomsky and Michael Perelman on, in part, the problem of capitalism and old forms of socialism, and what do to about it, in June and July respectively.

And now, for this week and next, we will explore one possible alternative to both capitalism and our current form of democracy.
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