Pinkocrat

Notes on the National Atheist Party platform

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I don’t think an atheist political party is a good idea in the US for two reasons:

1) I don’t think any third party is a good idea.  First-past-the-post electoral systems strongly encourage two and only two parties, and neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are going to collapse soon.  If the NAP runs candidates (which they currently cannot, but eventually intend to), they will not win a single seat in anything.

2) Even if you like third-parties, it’s still a waste of time to make one that duplicates an existing party.  And someone who supports the NAP platform is basically a progressive Democrat who wants to tax churches.

Like any political platform, though, it has its interesting bits.  Dive in with me!

A) Economy

With a cognizance of our national security, an awareness of the scientific community’s research into global climate change, and a desire to create new jobs, we must as a nation bring to a halt our national dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil. To this end, we call for a “Manhattan Project” or “Apollo program” level of national commitment and research into green energy solutions.

I’ll try to avoid points on style and structure, but this platform needs an editor.  One who might suggest writing a snappier opening sentence, and removing duplicate points (like universal healthcare and church taxation), and not using the word “surcease”.

The phrase “foreign oil” is misleading, because oil is traded in a global market (and NAP opposes domestic oil regardless).

This party recognizes that the criminalization of drug use stems from a position grounded in religion.

Neither the stated reasons for drug prohibition (health, productivity, crime) nor the widely accepted unofficial reasons (competing economic interests, with a seasoning of racism) are primarily religious.

B) Jobs

 The traditional policy of “spend-down” – in which each department tries to spend its entire budget each fiscal segment, in order to justify receiving more money in the next – shall be halted.

How?

Jobs are created when innovation occurs. There is no argument or question that this is true.

This unusually dogmatic statement is false, especially in the short term.  Innovation makes certain activities and skills obsolete.  Innovation often increases a population’s net well-being, but it doesn’t always lead to more jobs.

All of our modern technological conveniences, from LCD and LED display technology to studless tires and athletic shoes, have been developed as spin-off technologies from NASA. The lesson is clear: investment in advanced technology reaps huge economic rewards. …

The NAP believes that the alternative energy industry, or “green energy”, is an untapped source of jobs. If a national mandate for alternative energy research and installation in existing homes and businesses would create jobs and revitalize the economy.

I’ll assume there’s a typo and NAP doesn’t actually credit NASA for the entirety of modern technology.  More seriously, it’s dangerous to justify green energy by promising jobs.   Green energy is good for the environment only to the extent that it replaces fossil fuels, which leaves fewer jobs in coal, oil, and gas.

E) Abortion

It is our position that legislation inhibiting a woman’s right to choose is based on religious concerns of morality and conception, and does not reflect the scientific community’s consensus of when a fetus can be said to be an independent organism.

What is that consensus, and how does wanting to ban abortion reject it?  Are they talking about the morning-after pill?

F) Gay Rights

We call for a Constitutional amendment recognizing the rights of the GLBT, alongside other distinguished characteristics like race, creed, and national origin.

We already have one.

H) Immigration

The U.S. is currently experiencing a large influx of documented and undocumented immigration from Mexico and other places. Many of these workers are paid “under the table,” and many more pay into a system from which they will never see a benefit. The National Atheist Party believes that the current system of Immigration policies is deeply flawed. We move for a relaxation of Citizenship Qualification Standards, and a liberal border policy allowing workers to come and go as they please.

This might be the most radical plank in the platform, and I suspect it’s here only because they didn’t really think through the consequences.

P) Foreign Policy

In order to move forward in a peaceful and responsible manner, the NAP believes that the U.S.’s role in U.N. Peacekeeping missions should be reduced and eliminated entirely when possible. The U.S. should modify its role to an advisory position and only field troops in a dire emergency of last resort. For too long, we have spent taxpayers’ money and the lives of our young men and women in support of conflicts that may have been diplomatically solved.

The whole point of peacekeeping missions is to prevent eruptions of violence so that they can be diplomatically solved.

The U.S. is in a deficit position with foreign economies like China and Japan. To combat this, we support a leveling of the playing field by de-incentivizing the movement of manufacturing overseas and imposing a fair tariff on imported goods. Our focus now should be on debt reduction.

Which imported goods?  All of them?  How is debt reduction involved?

Q) Faith/Religion

The National Atheist Party believes in the U.S. Constitution, and in the wisdom of the Founding Fathers who wrote it. These great men had the foresight to erect a wall of separation between church and state; a wall that has been eroding for many years.

I would take tax-supported churches and Jesus on our money in return for never hearing about the Wisdom of Our Founders ever again.

R) Organ Donation

Organ donation can save a life that would otherwise end in tragedy. Recognizing this, we believe that the parents of a recently deceased child should be given full authority to donate the remains and help others who are less fortunate.

Huh?  Is this not currently the case?

S) Constitutional Matters

Although today’s proliferation of media outlets, including the Internet and other electronic news sources virtually guarantees that any viewpoint can be heard, a cursory examination of primary national news outlets shows an increasingly biased and polarized reporting atmosphere. Reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, especially in a modified form that accounts for the growing number of independent and electronic media outlets, would restore the level playing field that has been missing from the post-911, hopelessly partisan news media.

Skeptics should demand more than a “cursory examination”.

* * * *

(Apologies for lack of comment on NAP’s signature policy, the tax-exempt status of churches.  I don’t know enough to have an opinion.)

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Written by pinkocrat

March 8, 2013 at 6:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

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