Beware of Godless Socialist Liberals!!!

By Joshua Welch of Eugene, Oregon. Joshua is a licensed Oregon middle and secondary social studies teacher, former progressive talk-radio personality, political writer, and Colbert Nation Senior Advisor.

Religious leaders warn that without faith humankind would plunge into darkness and despair. This assertion is true as long as you disregard everything former Oregon Duck, Dr. Phil Zuckerman, has documented in excruciating detail in his book: Society without God. This academinazi claims that the planet’s most irreligious democracies, “Have been able to create the most civil, just, safe, equitable, humane, and prosperous societies.” That’s liberal code for tree-hugging, gay-loving, dope-smokers!

Zuckerman uses lots of fancy-pants facts and statistics to confuse readers. He claims irreligious democracies score highest in trivial categories such as: life expectancy, economic competitiveness, and rate of college/university enrollment. In the same categories, nearly all of the top twenty are nations with “weak religion.”

In the categories of lowest infant mortality, GDP per capita, economic equality, environmental protection, aid to poor nations, establishment of social justice, and quality of life, it is again the most irreligious nations which make up most of the top twenty. Not surprisingly, Zuckerman cherry-picked liberally-biased categories and conveniently left out vital categories which America dominates like rich bankers per capita and rate of weekly church attendance.

Zuckerman boasts about their highly organized workforce and strong social safety net systems like universal health care, which provide “security” for the citizenry. He drones on about their fantastic public school system and common sense drug policies. The professor would just love to end marijuana prohibition so he and his hippie buddies can smoke their bongs out in the open. While on the subject of Portland’s favorite herb, shouldn’t this site be called GreenOregon?

Zuckerman doesn’t forget the always-reliable communist class warfare rhetoric. You’ve heard the spiel: small gap between the rich and poor, lower CEO pay, living wages, mandatory paid parental leave, more paid sick days, more paid vacation, more family time, blah, blah, blah. Of course he doesn’t tell you that economy-killing policies like paid parental leave and mandatory paid vacation will crush America’s daycare and anti-depressant industry.

Zuckerman also exposed the Scandinavian’s penchant for special rights. They’ve been allowing the gays to marry each other for years, while at the same time denying businesses their God-given right to fire employees for engaging in the homosexual lifestyle. I’m still peeved that Oregon Democrats followed suit and revoked that right from Oregon businesses. Damn you Vicki Walker!

America-haters like Zuckerman are gaining ground. Nearly 20% of Americans identify as “non-religious.” Obviously they don’t understand that they’re going to burn in hell for eternity. That said, it’s reassuring that in America, an open non-believer can’t get elected to dog catcher, regardless of the fact that these heathens are some of the best and brightest this nation has to offer.

Don’t let the Oregon Democratic majority take advantage during these difficult times. They’re trying to transform our great Christian nation into a European-style secular socialist welfare state filled with godless vegans, cyclists, and gardeners. Why tax the wealthy to pay for education when education always ends up coming back to bite you in the ass?

Stand your ground against these tofu-eating, “progressive,” evidence-based thinkers! Let the invisible hand of the free-market work. I know it’s gotten bad, but other than less violence, less poverty, healthcare for everyone, better public schools, better wages, better benefits, better government and a cleaner environment, you never know what America would look like without religion and unfettered capitalism.

  • Old Ducker (unverified)

    Exactly. Human rights have blossomed under enlightened, godless and progressive leaders such as Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Castro. Keep up the good work, comrade!

  • Joshua Welch (unverified)

    Old Ducker, like other "believers" always likes to point to secular totalitarian regimes instead of looking at democracies where people have basic rights, free will etc. and you can truly judge the effect of a particular ideology. And when you do this, there is no comparison. The least religious nations have created the healthiest societies on Earth. Nice try Old Ducker.

  • rw (unverified)

    Be still my heart! Ducker has read me loud and clear. He did NOT say HITLER! He named my most favorite fascists in the entire world, plus some. Pol POt: pant, pant, pant. Stalin: gasp.... But what's he got against the Shah? Couldn't we have included him in there? It gets so lonely out in the corridors waiting for someone to not-say HITLER.

  • rw (unverified)

    The Kims of NoKo... mmmmmm yeah gooood.

  • Old Ducker (unverified)

    rw, I typed HI and thought, "what is that hand doing? Then I saw HITL and grabbed my typing hand with the other and yelled "HAND, NO!!" It got to HITLE before I was able to wrest it from the keyboard and backspace with my reasonable hand. :)

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)

    I'm a believer in the Santa Claus doctrine of being good for goodness sake. I like that better than the coercion I see in some religions: Be Good or We'll Punish the Shit Out of You!

     I saw the same thing one time with the lion trainer at the circus.

    Of course the language, "You better watch out, you better not cry" is scary and emotionally stifling.

    But I figure they had to put some standard religious stuff in just to get in the game...
     I also don't like the making of the list and checking it twice.
    Although as a Good American I was happy to turn over my freedoms after 9/11. I just hope the NSA will be good for goodness sake, but that bastard Dick Cheney sure wasn't.
      Oh well. At least the Santa Claus way doesn't require much of an offering: Some cookies and milk once a year. (Not that he really needs them.) So I should be able to deal with that.
      Okay. That's it from here. See you at the North Pole when this is all over....unless you pout. "You better not pout" is a huge part of it.
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    Of course Hitler, if not religious himself, encouraged religion: you know, kinder, küche, kirche as the prescription for women.

    So, Joshua, you really wanna trade your immortal soul for a mess of social justice?

    Where does democratic Germany fit on the religion irreligion spectrum?


    "it is again the most irreligious nations which make up most of the top twenty."

    How irreligious are they? What are the criteria?

    And how does he account for the more religious nations that do make the top 20? They're probably the ones we need to pay attention to here.

    For better or worse, it probably is going to be by figuring out what they are doing that we are not, or how they manage to do what we can't, that we are going to improve.

    This book may make the irreligious in the U.S. less anxious, or more smug, but it's probably not going to change the religiosity of the religious (ya think?) or help much in figuring out how to get more rational & humane policies in the actually existing USA. In its defense, however, the book apparently has the merit of occasionally causing funny blog posts.

    I would also be somewhat curious to know if the stats involved in some way controlled for confounders or identified effect modifiers (e.g. type of legislative system, strength of trade union movement).

    And there's also the causal direction question. Were these countries as irreligious when they created the systems producing better social outcomes? Or did improvement of conditions reduce the need of the people for their opiate? I might suggest a dialectical answer (godless social democrats get control of Norway for a while, change things, affecting the population, but still beginning with the godless), but then there's the pesky matter of Otto von Bismarck, founder of social insurance as state policy and noted atheistic leftist. (He had a kulturkampf a good century before Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and all of the anti-intellectual anti-p.c. crowd, too.)


  • mp97303 (unverified)

    I'm a believer in the Santa Claus doctrine of being good for goodness sake.

    I believe in Santa Claus!

  • rw (unverified)

    Well, Ducker, you can make up your near-lapse by making properly studied obiesance/useage of Our Dear Leader and His Majesty at some date soon in a thread coming to your neighborhood... level playing field.

    And Chris: good lord man, that was elegaic. Instead of writing poetry this night in the exciting rainstorm, you took flight on the wings of.... HITLER.

    Egad, men.

  • rw (unverified)

    Bill McD: Your ode to Santaism reminds me of a little ditty...

    I lived briefly in a Sikh Ashram. The Main Guy was named Siri Vedya Singh, a fellow of most dire countenance, voice and face. Whenever we answered the house phone, we said, "Sat Nam", roughly, God's Name is True/Truth.

    As I said, he was a grumpy person. He growled out "Sat Nam" most surly.

    I named him Surly Vedya Singh. I really always felt that he meant to say, "GOD IS PISSED" when he grumped out "SAT NAM"...

    Ok, well, you had to be there I guess. Or I'd have to TELL the story. But you and your Be Good Or We'll Punish The Shit Outa Ya really reminds me of some unavoidable misadventures of youth I suffered by dint of the chemical insanity betwixt natures of me and Surly Vedya Singh....

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    All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

  • Assegai Up Jacksey (unverified)

    Hitler played the atheist card, but was heavily involved with the Catholic Church, as a boy, and, later, to secure conformance. My history prof used to say, "anybody with 'the great' after their name, is burning in hell", because, "empires aren't built by nice guys and gals". No great leader has believed that there is anything great and good beyond themselves. The only difference between Pol Pot and Bush Sr. was that Pol Pot was honest. Bush lied about his faith, for votes.

    This is a very good post. It's not exactly cutting edge thought, but it's definitely the most you can suggest, yet, in Amerika. Sure enough, dittoheads first out of the gate. You were very charitable, concentrating on the positive side of the ledger. You could easily have added to the balance all those religious types that are downright evil. The legacy of a mentality that tells one to ignore the suffering in front of your face for an hypothesized afterlife can be charged with MOST the abuses humans have wrought on one another.

    Which is all to say absolutely nothing about spirituality. Solstice this week-end. A good time to get inspired by this post and check out one of Portland's weird and wonderful wiccas!

    Posted by: Kari Chisholm | Jun 19, 2009 10:25:48 PM

    All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster! My favorite, from the man that 42nd Ave should be named after, is, The Jatravartid People of Viltvodle Six firmly believe that the entire universe was sneezed out of the nose of a being called The Great Green Arkleseizure. They live in perpetual fear of the time they call The Coming Of The Great White Handkerchief.

    If evangelicals were logical and actually believed their rhetoric, they'd be living in fear of the Coming of the Great Asswipe! If there is a God, they'll be mighty surprised when they die and she says, "who dat"?

  • Old Ducker (unverified)

    chris: I need a few bonghits to interpret that. rw: I imagine you're hot; please don't disappoint me. the rest: I miss the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh...except that bitch Sheela.

  • (Show?)

    Old Ducker,

    Well, I didn't need any to write it. You tell me what that means ;->. Still trying to figure out what our Monty Python fan means by "dittoheads".

    But here, have a guide to the perplexed.

    1) Read above line different from below (that's why there's a line.

    2) Read above the line as pieces of disconnected whimsy, mostly.

    3) If I hadn't been doped up on unsufficient sleep maybe I would have been clever enough to come up with say Francisco Franco (still dead) or General Rios Montt to mollify rw in trying to mess up the tidiness of your list a little, though for religious mass murderers there really isn't any getting around Herr Schickelgrüber. Still, in fairness I do have to admit that on the grand scale, your combined list of Leninist atheists is winning handily. The only hope I'd have of catching up would be to change the rules a little and consider say the makers and generals of World War I, and the religious governments of the Sudan since the 1980s, whose effects in the south combine aspects of Stalin's campaign against the "kulaks" in agricultural collectivization with U.S. air war in "free fire zones" in Viet Nam.

    4) The question about now-democratic Germany was a way of suggesting an apparent lack of historicity in the apparent use of statistics & characterizations of low-religiosity democracies. So maybe a transition from whimsy.

    Clear things up at all?

    Did you ever eat at Zorba the Buddha?

    (BTW, jumping wildly to a matter from another thread, I think you are right that new TypePad must have s length limit, as it has now happened to me. On possible workaround would be splitting to two consecutive posts, haven't tried it yet. If you'd care to send your comments on 1873 depression intended for Dan P.'s thread to me at clowe187 [at], I'd be interested. Cheers.)

  • (Show?)

    Like your writing style Joshua. Hope to see more from you in the future.......Possibly dressed in full pirate regalia.......

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    This is a pretty tasteless post. To lump all religious people together with fiscal conservatives and a certain ideological slant is both ill-conceived and pretty damn offensive to those with faith that are working their asses of for the utopia you envision.

    Ever hear of a group called Faithful Reform in Health Care? How about the Oregon Center for Christian Values?

    Looks like Eugene has its own Dick Dawkins, except he's straight-to-the-point without all that evolscience mumbo-jumbo.

  • rw (unverified)

    Chris has exposed me for the surface-feeding dilettante that I am. :(....yes yes... now we travel to the nether layers of authentic erudition. I plead too tired to go there. All the time I plead too weary to go.

    :).... good one boys. I vote we make this as the Solstice Edition of the Pie Thread. Only it's Who's Yer Fav'rit Fascist?

    And Kari, I'm sorry, but that Flying Spagg Monster thing... I never really felt it was all that clever. Too damned popular and not enough genuine wit thrown against the wall, eh... Nothing personal.

    Monty Python, now, when they did brilliant, they did it up good. And when they did mediocre, they still did that up good too, mm?

  • (Show?)

    Know what? I went back and read your post again and the second time, it pissed me off enough to write a second column.

    As a vegan, cyclist and gardener, as well as a man of faith, I would like to point out that a large portion of that surveyed 20% of the population are 18-30 year-olds that work (maybe) minimum wage jobs, smoke a ton of weed and supported Ron Paul for president. How do they fit into Zuckerman's Euro-socialist utopia?

    I can't believe this got published. Even on a blog.

  • Joshua Welch (unverified)


    You bring up a number of good points.

    1. “Where does democratic Germany fit on the religion irreligion spectrum? I’m fairly sure Germany is in the top 10.

    2. “How irreligious are they? What are the criteria?” Every religion has its story. The most important characteristic used is percentage of the population buy the basic story. Belief in supernatural Gods, a particular book holds the words of the creator of the Universe, good people go to heaven, etc. I think about 65% of America buy into the Christian superstition and we of course have a small Jewish and Muslim population. For the most part the rest choose reason. America is by far the most religious western democracy. Just about 20% of Danes claim to believe in a Christian God. Denmark is the least religious democracy. However it seems that their most devout are more like our “moderates.” Religiosity loses elections in Denmark.

    3. “And how does he account for the more religious nations that do make the top 20? They're probably the ones we need to pay attention to here.” The fact is that irreligious democratic societies are doing much better than any of their devout counterparts. We should pay attention to a few things:

    a. Regardless of the religiosity, we should be pointing to these societal models as evidence that it is progressive values, progressive public policy which creates the healthiest and happiest societies on Earth. I warn anyone who reads this book, Denmark seems like a progressive paradise. Sort of like Portland with a lot less religion, far fewer Republicans, and better bike paths. I was checking citizenship requirements part way through the book. b. However just as important, this should spur discussion about the effect of religion on politics, on society. The data is clear on how well the religious democracies stack up to the least religious. We also know the more formal education one has; the more likely they are to reject faith/superstition. The same correlation applies w/ IQ. The National Academy of Sciences, arguably the highest concentrations of brainpower in the universe has around a 95% rate of atheism. The answer for religion is education.

    Currently faith-based ideologies are shielded from criticism in America in many cases whether it is in the classroom or in the media. It is taboo to openly disparage religion itself. This must change. No idea, particularly those without evidence to support them must be given shelter from critical debate. This rule is at the heart of a healthy democracy.

    Have a citizenry filled with superstition has consequences. Voters who believe in imaginary deities and believe all the answers are in one book have consequences. Having millions of citizens and thousands of politicians who think that being gay is immoral and that stem-cell research is murder has consequences.

    1. “This book may make the irreligious in the U.S. less anxious, or more smug, but it's probably not going to change the religiosity of the religious (ya think?) or help much in figuring out how to get more rational & humane policies in the actually existing USA.”

    Certainly facts and statistics don’t matter to many religious people, no evidence will shake them, no matter how credible or how much. They are not interested in evidence, which does not support their fantasies. However there are plenty of religious people willing to reconsider their faith-based ideas in light of new evidence.

    I don’t understand why you wouldn’t think that a book about the most humane societies in the world would not help us figure out how to create a more humane society? We should be learning more about their progressive governments and use the information to help us reform America.

    1. “And there's also the causal direction question. Were these countries as irreligious when they created the systems producing better social outcomes? Or did improvement of conditions reduce the need of the people for their opiate?”

    Chris, I definitely suggest reading the book. Zuckerman explores this question a bit. Every nation has it’s own unique history. It’s hard to say how much the presence of religion or lack there of, influenced the direction of these societies. What we do know is that ideas about imaginary Gods don’t stand up to critical thought. We know that it is the democratic societies with the least religious influence, which are creating the best places to live. We need to bring these discussions to the mainstream and let the best ideas win.

    A good article along these same lines.

    A new non-profit to encourage reason "The Reason Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. The foundation draws on the talents of prominent and creative thinkers in a wide range of disciplines to encourage critical thinking and erode the influence of dogmatism, superstition, and bigotry in our world."

  • rw (unverified)

    Chris, my poli sci prof would beg to differ with your analysis of Der Schick. The fact is that Stalin allowed HIS anonymized mass graves to be blamed on Hitler, so it goes. That man was so freaking pathological he did not even crave credit - he just wanted to get the monstrous deeds all done.

    Reminds me, frankly, of the pathogenic thought streams my ex revealed to me after I'd naively done the deed and hitched my wagon to his. His family, a rather darkside thread of the Keetoowhah Vanns of Chewey HOller... gets his deep hit of hot MORE from the victim NOT knowing who did him, not in the actual act of the vengeance personalized and revealed. Ugh. So dark. Stalin seems possibly to have been the same species of rot.

    So I suppose we would have to compare what kinds of bad you are vetting, Christopher, to decide who was worst. Numerically you kinda have to work to beat Hitler. But in terms of pure, cool evil? Hmmm.

  • rw (unverified)

    Bill McD, now that I am old, fat and coyote silver, I am rereading your Doctrine of Santa with increased attention (between naps I take a run at it). That bit about the offering just caught my eye: hum. I'm seriously considering allowing myself to be evangelized to your religion. Mine is a lot of work, eh.

  • rw (unverified)

    Just as I thought Joshee Loshee had ducked out of this one, he comes back swinging, but seems reasonable. I feel very left out, however. Where is the responsa for point 3? Joshua (my son's dominant mainstream birth name before he was Named), remember to insert a little play with your seriousities. Keeps the dialogue sweet!

    In all seriousness, Joshua, you ignored a serious piece of Chris' offering, couched though it might have been, in affable play. Will you please speak to that?

    I think political blabbermouths sort things into meaningless categories. Speak to the human aspects of self-seeking vs. awareness and responsiveness to the interconnected fate of self and others (still self-referential) or, more purely, the awareness of others.

  • anon (unverified)

    Loved the post and the ensuing comments. Here are a few of my own:

    Bill: I'm a believer in the Santa Claus doctrine of being good for goodness sake. I like that better than the coercion I see in some religions: Be Good or We'll Punish the Shit Out of You!

    Well, Santa is rumored to put coal in the stockings of bad boys and girls, which, given the high cost of energy today may be a blessing...unless you fear sulfur dioxide and acid rain...unless you believe "clean coal" technology actually works. (I'm so confused!).

    Old Ducker: perhaps it was the Invisible Hand that was moving you...

    More seriously, I would be interested to see the list. I'm sure Finland was on it.
    90% of population of Finland are members of the Lutheran Church of Finland. However, many there would quip that they attend four times in their lives: christening, communion, marriage, and funeral. I think any statistics about the religiosity of a country must be really scrutinized.

  • rw (unverified)

    I hate this type pad. Operates like shit.

    Joshua: please address OUR lifeway. We are "religious" too, I suppose, or at least "spiritual". Mainstream Xians like to label us as "spiritists" and other ugly objectifications of what we try to embody... indigenous, ancient, currently-held. And if you were to dice and slice, we have threads that resonate with science, many religions... but are not made up by people deciding what they do and do not like.

    If you were my son's teacher, how would you treat OUR lifeway in your classroom? Curious.

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)

    Anon, Reports that Santa puts coal in the stockings of bad boys and girls are unfounded rumors. It never happened to me and I was far from perfect growing up.

      Where are these attacks on Santa's environmental record coming from? The guy drives a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer - how can you have a better carbon footprint than that?
      I also like that Santa doesn't have a fancy title like Supreme Leader. To me that just screams, "issues." Our guy's other name is St. Nick. How innocent is that? I mean if he had a purity ring, he'd sound like one of the Jonas Brothers.
  • Old Ducker (unverified)

    Chris - Ahh you bring up memories. I was booted from Zorba the Budda for uttering sarcastic remarks about the pink attire of the employees. I'm really not a homophobe but used to be capable of doing a fair impression after a half dozen pints of Weinhard's Ale (I don't drink that swill anymore, but it was about all we had in 1982).

  • Old Ducker (unverified)


    My comments regarding the 1870's economy were lifted from Murray Rothbard, who studied the period extensively. If you haven't read his analysis, I'll send it.

    I dunno what was up. I tried splitting it up, I tried eliminating paragraphs, I copied and pasted...all to no avail. Once it said it had been posted, but never appeared.

  • Joshua Welch (unverified)


  • Old Ducker (unverified)

    The view from the other side. Only a progressive could watch this and not shed one tear:

  • Joshua Welch (unverified)


  • rw (unverified)

    Ducker, dear, the manliest sweetheart man I ever had the pleasure to pick a fight with was a painter/athlete in SF. And he wore pink socks. His ankles only made him that much more enticing.

    What in the world, Duckies, is wrong with pink on a man? It's so much better than pink on a female, let me TELL you.

    I won't touch the rest of your post, as I trust that you took a peek at your characterizations and are grownup enough to counsel in your own self about what might have been rolled up in that? One argument with the Boats Troll is all I'm allowing myself today. It's off to the rainy pow wow, and I elect to believe you have figured out why you were doing that, and really WHAT you were doing, since humor serves us more than the obvious purposes...

  • david (unverified)

    This country has changed. Yes, we're still religious as ever but we've got a growing population of unbelievers that have changed original views of America. Obama knows that which is why he says we are not a Christian nation. Any person that does not identify with some sort of religious belief won't have a chance being elected to office of any sort which is unfair. Pink Laptops

  • Old Ducker (unverified)

    rw sweetie,

    I am quite the sensitive man, but I'm not very sensitive to other people's sensitivites. A character flaw perhaps...I assume a Lenny Bruce outlook towards ethnic and other humor.

    Why can't we all just hold hands and say insert N word here together?

  • Joe White (unverified)

    It always cracks me up to hear anti-religionists trash their foes, while at the same time appealing to an absolute standard of morality to which they (anti-religionists) expect us to adhere.

    Just what do you propose is the source of the moral standard that you demand of all? (Be sure, when you castigate your opponents for 'building an unjust society', you have appealed to moral absolutes to make your case.)

    Who decides what is right and what is wrong in your world, Josh? Moral absolutes, by definition, cannot derive from fickle public opinion. So where DO they come from?

  • Joshua Welch (unverified)


    "It always cracks me up to hear anti-religionists trash their foes, while at the same time appealing to an absolute standard of morality to which they (anti-religionists) expect us to adhere."

    What exactly is this "absolute standard of morality" that I am appealing to?

    It's always sad to hear the same old ridiculous responses to appeals for critical thinking. Atheist are not simply "anti-religionists" they are pro-critical thinking. Popular superstition doesn't stand up to critical thinking. You see now?

    "Just what do you propose is the source of the moral standard that you demand of all?

    The source of my moral standards come from the cumulative knowledge I have's called evidence. Get it?

    Are you a Christian? What is your "source" for right and wrong?

    Does it upset you to know that the most irreligious democracies have created the healthiest and happy societies?

  • Joshua Welch (unverified)


    1. It's satire get a sense of humor
    2. "People of faith" generally get offended when someone tells them they think following popular superstition is a bad idea, no matter how they say it. Particularly in America where religion is often shielded from criticism.
    3. I never made he inference that there are not religious people doing good things. However I do take the position that faith-based thinking is a very dangerous and destructive force. It obviously doesn't stand up to critical thought.
    4. My utopia doesn't include dogmatic superstition.
    5. This blog is about ideas, I think evidence-based ideas work better than faith-based ideas and have included evidence to support that position. As far as faith goes, what can be presented w/ out evidence can be dismissed w/ out evidence.

    If you would like to see a straightforward piece on the same subject see below.

    This is not a tasteless post. Your baseless claims are offensive and unwarranted.

  • rw (unverified)

    Duckz: insert what? Where?

  • Beepy (unverified)

    I find Joshua Welch's attack on the humor-impaired "Andrew" reprehensible.

    "Andrew" is obviously mentally retarded, and I am shocked that Blue Oregon would allow an attack on an intellectually disabled person (other than a Republican) to remain on this blog.

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