This will end in tears, mark my words. The tears will begin as soon as I make this sad announcement: Daniel Fincke is leaving us. I blame the Reason Rally for this tragic loss, and I’ll tell you why.
Dan emailed me afterward. He was walking on clouds. “Dana,” he gushed, “they talked about the Enlightenment! In public!!”
Well, I’m a fan of the Enlightenment. I think it’s one of the most interesting periods in human history, and I’m constantly amazed by the leap of understanding humanity made during that short period. But while Enlightenment values are under attack, I didn’t think speaking out about it in public warranted italics. I mean, it’s still a free country with free speech and we can talk about the Enlightenment if we want to. I began to worry about Dan’s emotional state.
“I came to an important realization,” Dan said after quite a lot of philosophical verbiage I won’t copy in here. “I’ve been preaching to the choir.”
“I also saw Jerry DeWitt preach, and things came together for me, almost in a flash,” Dan continued.
And for a second, I freaked out, until I realized he was talking about an atheist preaching. Sort-of preaching. Using the rhetorical tactics of a preacher, anyway, which I think is a good way to pump up the godless defenders of Enlightenment values.
“So I’ve decided I’m quitting FtB.”
“The truth made me free. That’s one of the only things the Bible got right, although it was talking about a truth that was not true. I know there must be many conservatives and evangelicals whose commitment to the truth is just as strong as mine was. And I believe this is the way we will bring them out of the darkness and into the Enlightenment. In case you don’t have time to read the whole post, this is the gist of what my thinking is on this matter: “In Nietzsche’s mind such moralistic attachment to truth, though inspired by a religious and moral injunction that none shall lie, leads to the discovery of truths that undermine religion and moralism themselves—partly by showing that many religious and moral beliefs are rooted in falsehoods and partly by exposing the truth about some of the immoral and dishonest ways that religions and moralities actually propagate themselves as real world systems of domination and control.” Isn’t the next logical step seeking out the people who haven’t yet made the leap from camel to lion? Shouldn’t I be speaking to them rather than to atheists, who have already done so? With the rhetorical techniques of an evangelical preacher and the power of the philosophers behind me, I know I can place hammers in some of these camels’ hands.”
I see no mention of eye protection here. This could go badly.
“This is why I’m quitting FtB. I still have my duty as a teacher to uphold, and there are so many people I must reach: commenters at Redstate, the Discovery Institute’s blog, Townhall, and many other places where Christians and conservatives gather. I hope you understand why I feel this is more important. I wanted to tell you because we are the only two people here who regularly mention hammers, and I thought you might feel I was abandoning you to carry the hammer alone. Wish me luck!”
Well, when your friend is talking about jumping into cesspools, you like to check to see if they’ve remembered to wear their waders. So I got on chat with Dan. After some chit-chat, we came to the meat of the matter:
Dhunterauthor [10:016 AM]: Dan, have you really thought this through? I mean, you’ve already got a reputation. You’re going to have to be sneaky. You cannot be Daniel Fincke. Otherwise, your atheist ass is just getting banned outright.
CamelsWithHammers [10:018 AM]: I’ve thought about that, and decided my commitment to the truth can’t possibly extend to my online handle. “Fritz” was Nietzsche’s nickname and since I’ll be trying to relate to conservatives maybe Fritz Kierkegaard would be a good alias for me.
Dhunterauthor [10:021 AM]: Dude, you are about to wade into a swamp of proud Amurikin xenophobes. They’ll think Fritz is fancy-pants French and Kierkegaard too foreign.
CamelsWithHammers [10:021 AM]: Oh. Crap.
Dhunterauthor [10:022 AM]: Look, Nietzsche’s first name was Friedrich, right? So Fred. Or Freddy. Now, did Kierkegaard have a nickname that can be Amurikinized?
CamelsWithHammers [10:023 AM]: Well, his full name is Søren Aabye Kierkegaard.
Dhunterauthor [10:024 AM]: There’s no fucking way that’ll ever work. Give me different philosophers you like.
CamelsWithHammers [10:025 AM]: Some of my favorites are Nietzsche, Christine Korsgaard, Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Spinoza, and Kant.
Dhunterauthor [10:025 AM]: Fuck.
CamelsWithHammers [10:026 AM]: Do you think any of them are Star Trek fans?
Dhunterauthor [10:026 AM]: ?
CamelsWithHammers [10:026 AM]: Because Kierkegaard could be Kirk. Freddy Kirk. Star Trek’s Amurikin, right?
Dhunterauthor [10:027 AM]: It’s liberal. These people have issues with gay people. Kirk slept with other species!
I won’t torment you with the rest of the conversation. Let’s just say that I tried to impress upon Dan the fact that he was walking into more than one lion’s den, and I’m terrified he’s gonna get mauled. Especially with a name like Freddy Kirk. But he’s determined, and so we have no choice but to say farewell. Please go over there and wish him well, my darlings. It may be the last time you ever see him.