Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bad History Revisited

The controversy over Kathy Shaidle's appearance on TVO's The Agenda has bubbled forth in various forms.

First, there was Warren Kinsella's campaign to have her appearance on the show cancelled. Then there's the aftermath -- allegations that Kinsella attempted to intimidate the show's host, Steve Paikin, into cancelling his appearance.

Left-wing blogger and known anti-Semite Robert McClelland edited an excerpt out of the video in which he insists that "Dr Robert Buckman slaps down the 'Stalin killed in the name of atheism' talking point favoured by right wing pundits like Kathy Shaidle".

Shaidle's adversaries have jumped all over the video, frantically pointing to it as evidence of Shaidle's alleged stupidity.

In the video, Shaidle confronts Buckman over the relationship between atheism and Joseph Stalin's murderous acts.

Clearly, Buckman hasn't read all the books about Joseph Stalin or the Soviet Union.

If he really had he would be aware of a Soviet organization known as the League of the Militant Godless, and what Joseph Stalin did in 1936 when he entrenched not merely atheism, but anti-religiosity in the Soviet constitution.

Historians credit the pressure applied by the League of the Militant Godless with allowing Stalin to make this move which allowed him to dispossess the Russian Orthodox Church of various Church properties, although Stalin softened his policy toward the Church when he needed them during WWII.

So if Buckman wants to admit that Stalin killed people "because they were religion" even as he entrenched anti-religion in the Russian Constitution, he can't honestly pretend that these two things weren't related.

On the other hand Buckman insists that suggesting that Stalin killed in the name of atheism is like suggesting that Adolph Hitler, a vegetarian, killed in the name of vegetarianism. Again, Buckman is overlooking the nuances of history in order to make this argument.

After all, vegetarianism was not entrenched in the Constitution of the Third Reich. (Nor, for that matter, was atheism.) The anti-religious cause, however, was entrenched in the Soviet constitution.

Anyone who has done their research on the relationship between the Soviet Union and religion knows about these things. If Buckman has really read the books, as he insists he has, then his performance on The Agenda isn't merely ignorance, it's willful ignorance.

Individuals such as Robert McClelland take this a step forward when they edit the video to make it seem as if it were Shaidle who brought the issue up in the first place. Quite the contrary, it was Buckman himself who brought up the question of how many people religion has allegedly killed.

As far as Joseph Stalin, his victims and atheism are concerned, Dr Buckman's assertion is not only bad history, but indeed atrocious history.

Unsurprisngly, people like McClelland, JJ and Lulu don't know the difference.


  1. Let us not forget the Chinese revolution during which over 80,000,000 people died for essentially the same ideals as those who died under Stalin. ANY sort of religious belief was ground into blood, gristle and bone under the hammer of atheism and communism. Communism and to a great extent Atheism cannot survive and thrive unless all other belief systems are squashed and destroyed before it. there can be left NO vestige of religion and therefore those who would cling to a belief in God as opposed to faith in the Governing parties edicts must be eradicated, thus removing the single biggest threat to the survival of the regime. Many have been killed in the name of religion but far more, in the past century have been slaughter in the name of atheism and therefore communism.Its interesting how this guy can conveniently forget what has been done to millions in the name of his ideology while at the same time condemning others and making the exact same accusations against those with whom he disagrees.

  2. And, not to mention the Chinese government's treatment of Buddhism, Falun Gong, Christianity...

    ...Although underground churches are abundant in Beijing, including Buddhist temples where they pay respects to the Dalai Lama.

  3. There's stupid and then there's anti-semite stupid. McClelland is the benchmark.

  4. "McClelland is the benchmark."

    Cheers to moral relativism and Pat's above effort to out-stupid 'em all.

  5. Wow, Audrey, thanks. I rather enjoyed that.

    Audrey's argument, it seems, is essentially that we should ignore historical facts so that individuals like herself can enjoy a disingenous triumpth.

    It is to laugh.

  6. I didn't say anything about "ignoring historical facts. I did say something about the conclusion that you're drawing from them. Either you don't understand the difference or you hope your audience doesn't. Neither reflects well on your ability to argue your position.

  7. I'm sure you'd certainly like to think so. But your rebuttal isn't very difficult to dismantle.

    You want to suggest that there's somehow a major difference between atheism and the anti-religious cause.

    Clearly, you've failed to consider what, precisely, is left should the anti-religious cause accomplish their goal.

  8. The anti-religious cause, however, was entrenched in the Soviet constitution.

    As was freedom to worship the God or gods of one's choice. Our Charter, alas, left out the atheist part.

    From the 1936 Soviet Constitution:

    ARTICLE 124. In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the state, and the school from the church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of antireligious propaganda is recognized for all citizens.

  9. Ah, yes, Dawgie.

    That's from the pre-revised Soviet Consitution. Please try to keep up.

  10. Upon further examination, Dawg, I'd advise you to check your dates. According to this site, this is not the Soviet consitution as of its 1936 ammendment, but actually as of its 1977 amendment.

    Leonid Brezhnev had promised the Soviet Union would respect relious freedom in order to get agreement on the Helsinki Accord.

    He never really lived up those promises, by the way. I hope you weren't putting too much stock into that.

  11. Dawg have faith? In anything?

  12. You know, I still think Dawg is alright most of the time.

    He'd just do himself a great service by distancing himself from certain wingnuts.

  13. Like the Lying Jackal;)

  14. "Clearly, you've failed to consider what, precisely, is left should the anti-religious cause accomplish their goal.

    Stalin made it quite clear what endshe hoped his religious eliminationism would pave the way for (it starts with "C" and ends with "ommunism"), which stands in stark contrast to the ends articulated by the last few millennium of religiously motivated mass-killing. Means aren't the same as ends, despite your-and-Shaidle's best efforts to conflate the two and your campaign to cast the recognition of the difference as "having it both ways". Dr. Buckman's comments reflect a degree intelligence capable of recognizing that difference. You, on the other hand, appear all to eager to ignore those differences in pursuit of supporting Shaidle's Sunday-School rhetoric.

    I do wish you luck with your ongoing "my conclusion = historical fact" argument. It's only slightly less disingenuous than the appeal to assertion angle that you've decided to also take. I'm not sure what audience you're hoping it appeals to, but I think that you ought to consider giving the people that follow these exchanges more intellectual credit than your arguments do.

  15. And yet, Audrey, you refuse to acknowledge two basic facts that eliminate your ability to argue that this is an ends & means issue.

    First off, Stalin considered atheism and communism to be inseparable. To Stalin, the fight for atheism was the fight for communism, and the fight for communism was the fight for atheism.

    Secondly, you're ignoring the fact that Stalin oppressed religion in the Soviet Union with the encouragement, support and applause of a large atheist group.

    Once again, you're ignoring the facts in order to try to cling to a hollow triumph -- one that proves all the more hollow once one considers Dr Buckman's extremely tenuous grasp on the facts.


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