Addressing Unjust Hierarchies with The Radical Secular

Also Available On:

Listen on Spotify Badge

Our Guests: Hosts of The Radical Secular

Christophe Difo

Christophe Difo is an attorney and writer based in Jersey City, NJ. Christophe is a senior attorney-editor of labor and employment content at a major publishing corporation in New York City. Christophe began his legal career practicing public interest law at The Legal Aid Society of New York before practicing labor and employment law at a major law firm in Manhattan. Christophe graduated from Montclair State University with a BA in Political Science, and he earned his JD from Georgetown University Law Center. In his spare time, Christophe enjoys spending time with his wife and two cats as well as cycling, motorcycling, playing guitar, traveling, negronis, and being black.

Sean Prophet

Sean Prophet is a small business owner and writer based in Henderson, NV. He spent much of his career as a television editor and colorist in Los Angeles. He established the Black Sun Journal in 2001, where he chronicled his journey out of the religious cult his parents founded. He later hosted a weekly, live, call-in show on National Progressive Talk Radio. Sean attended Northwestern University, where he majored in electrical engineering and minored in political science. Sean’s interests include motorcycling, hiking, music, Star Trek, futurism, and evolutionary psychology.

Online Links

The Radical Secular

The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee

Transcript (also available for offline reading)

Doug Berger
Joining us today is Christoph Difo and Sean Prophet. They are the hosts of The Radical Secular, which is a podcast similar to mine. And so hopefully we’ll get some questions and answers going and discuss some secular issues and find out why they call themselves radical, radical secular. How are you two today?

Christophe Difo
I’m good. Yeah, man. We’re just happy to be here. Thanks for having us. I am feeling good. Ready to talk? Okay.

Doug Berger
Let’s, like I said, your podcast is called the radical secular. What does that mean? And how did you arrive at that title? And either one of you can answer it or you can talk over each other. That’s okay.

Christophe Difo
Well, so we we started out at like many pandemic era podcast started out, looking at each other and talking about how unbelievably crazy this entire situation was between and at the time, right, Trump was still in office.

Christophe Difo
We didn’t know there was no good we and the pandemic was, was raging. But it wasn’t clear that the pandemic would dis lodge Trump, right? Because that’s a lot of the reason why Trump is not with us right now is because of the pandemic, right? Because he just boggled it so badly. And so we were just talking one day, and we’re like, Look, this conversation is really interesting. We’re having a video chat, maybe we should record it. And so that is basically the genesis of it. Shawn and I have known each other for quite some time. But we became friends, we reconnected on Facebook, and I’ll hand it over to Shawn to sort of fill in some more details at that point.

Sean Prophet
Yeah, well, I would say that both of us, you know, came from a very strong religious background, grew up in what a lot of people would call a cult. And that really exposed and by the way, this cult was started by my parents in 1958. And it became very large predicted, a sort of an Armageddon scenario in the late 1980s, going into 1990, and we built a very large system of bomb shelters to survive this apocalypse. And since that whole thing happened, first of all, it gave really both of us a front row seat as to the dangers of theocracy and religious thinking. And we’ve seen apocalypticism become so much larger now. It’s, it’s a part of everything. I mean, if you look at q&a, if you look at Republican Party itself, you look at of angelical, Christianity, they are constantly talking about these Armageddon, these apocalypses that are going to happen, it’s going to change everything, and it’s going to remake the world, according to their worldview. And what I think we sort of realized from that is that groups who do this are very, very much they’ve they’ve experienced a, a loss, the culture has moved on the culture has had has rejected them. And so the apocalypse is supposed to put that right. And

Sean Prophet
so what that does, is that makes them continuously looking to try to increase their power, and through governance, and and so, so theocracy is what they want, they want God to be in charge, which really means whoever they choose as a representative of God, to be in charge, right. And it’s, it’s kind of the basis of all tyranny and hierarchy. And so that is why secularism is so important to us.

Doug Berger
And do you consider yourself atheists agnostics, or just believers who really support secular secularism?

Christophe Difo
atheists first, yeah, first, sure. Atheists, and, you know, I think and we really make this distinction, right, because there’s a lot of atheists that run around and, and yelling about why other people shouldn’t believe in God or, or whatever else. And really, I could speak for myself here. And I think I speak for Shawn as well. But I only speak for myself, um, that is by saying, you know,

Christophe Difo
I don’t claim to know whether or not there’s a god or there isn’t a god, I just know that it’s very that it seems to me very, very implausible, implausible and beyond that. That’s only incidental right? Like I did, right. Like, yes, I am an atheist, but only because I care about rationality and reason, right? Like, that’s just a natural outgrowth of believing in facts and science and things that are demonstrable, so and so we’re not around trying to yell at everybody, whether or not they wish they should be atheists. But But secularism and obviously, you know, that distinction very well, Doug, but that distinction matters to us as well because we think that freedom over

Christophe Difo
Is is really important, right? Like that is something that is a freedom that everyone in a free society should be able to choose to do.

Sean Prophet
Yeah, and it’s not it’s it’s freedom of conscience really. I mean, it extends way beyond religion. So you have to have freedom of conscience in a free society. And secularism is what makes sure the government doesn’t get involved in privileging one religion over the other, obviously, you know, the definition of the word. That’s what it means. But, but it’s super important because a lot of religious people think that secularism is anti religious, but it’s actually not it’s pro religious freedom. By seeing no privileging of one religion over the other, no official recognition, and no official oppression of religion. Yeah, that’s dead. Do you have like an overall viewpoint? For your show? Like, do you have like, what you have in mind that you’re going to talk about? Or is that is that pretty much whatever the current events are? I mean, are you trying to advance a certain viewpoint beyond the being secular? Go ahead, john, if that makes sense? I’ll be okay, I’ll take that one. Um, it comes down to what I was saying before about the hierarchy. Okay. And God being the top of the hierarchy, this is a huge focus for us. And we look at unjust hierarchies. I mean, obviously, society has to have certain hierarchies based on achievement, you know, a PhD, is going to get more respect than, you know, someone else who’s, who hasn’t worked that hard or whatever. But we see people who are privileged by wealth, by race, by gender, by sexual orientation, all of these things, and they believe somehow that they’re entitled to a certain superiority there. So I think we see, it’s not enough to just not believe in God, you have to tackle the results of how that works, right? Because we see religion has been involved in a lot of injustice throughout history. They, they didn’t lift a finger to end slavery, they were involved, you know, in the Holocaust, I mean, it just just go country to country, and religion has not

Sean Prophet
been on the side of good in many, many times in history. And so we’re looking at that. And we’re saying, This isn’t about God. This is about human behavior and human hierarchies. And so we want to challenge these earned and unjust hierarchies at every opportunity. And there’s a lot of places to do it. And we can talk about race, we can talk about economics, we can talk about corruption. I mean, sometimes we include current events, but most of the time, it is a we go in depth in a particular issue that one of us will do research on.

Christophe Difo
Yeah, I think that’s right. And and I think the the sort of thrust that is, or the thread that is woven into every single show that we do is justice, right? social justice, yes. But just as from the top to the bottom, right, whether that be an economic justice, and I think the bottom line is you cannot parse these things out from each other really, right. They really are all the same thing. Right. Martin Luther King is famous for saying, although perhaps not famous enough for his economic agenda, right? His whole thing was like, yeah, you can’t have real freedom of people. It’s like, it makes no sense. It makes no difference that people can if people can go into a particular store, because it’s not segregated anymore. If they can’t, don’t have the money to buy anything in that store, there is no real freedom without that, without, without that kind of justice across the board. So I think that we definitely, it’s something especially during the Trump years, because everything there is so much so many crazy things happening all the time and not crazy, like Haha, laugh crazy, like, terrifying thing. It’s like, wow, Is this it? Right? And so I think that during the Trump era, um, to the extent that it’s not, it’s not still the Trump era, which is a debate we could have, but

Christophe Difo
but I think that during the Trump era, we were more focused perhaps on sort of what was happening every day, but as that sort of receded, the end, and by the way, like a,

Christophe Difo
like a, like the tide coming back and revealing all the garbage below, I think that’s really what we’ve seen in the Trump era with the end of the Trump era, right, is that now that the EPA stepped up that the the tidal wave of Trump in office is gone, all the garbage that he brought to the fore has become abundantly clear to all of us. And so, these problems are still very, very serious. And then of course, the George Floyd thing happened last last year, right. So like, so these issues have been so so so so the answer your question, yes, we tackle topic topical issues, but we’re always looking at it through the theme through the lens of social justice of justice and like Sean said correctly, hierarchy honor and hierarchy, where is the unearned hierarchy in this situation, right, what is where is it in that situation, and I think that is what we tried to

Christophe Difo
do for our viewers and for our listeners.

Doug Berger
Okay, and the most recent episode I listened to was, I think the most recent one you posted them. You mark your first year as a show. How do you feel that your first year went?

Christophe Difo
I think

Sean Prophet
I think it was good. I mean it. We learned a lot. And I think that’s we learned a lot about about each other. We learned a lot about the production process, keeping to a schedule,

Sean Prophet
all of those things that you have, that you appreciate as a podcaster that you have to do, and it

Sean Prophet
I think it was it was it was a positive experience. Overall, I’m proud of it.

Christophe Difo
I absolutely agree on multiple levels, right, Shawn and I since because of the Church Universal and Triumphant background that we both had thought we knew each other.

Christophe Difo
But But through and then we became reconnected through Facebook, and also through some of Sean’s writings on his one of his journal. He had a blog, right yet a blog years ago called the Black son journal. And so and I read a lot of that stuff as I was making my transition from a very religious, fundamentalist, dogmatic worldview and mindset that I’ve that I was steeped in growing up, right. And so so I knew we got but we got to know each other way more and way better, and for the better over the last year, as we’ve gotten to know each other not as just sort of face characters on Facebook, but as individuals, right, and as people and with with, with all the things that come along with becoming a close friend with somebody, right, so I think that has been a really important journey and a really good one, in terms of the experience of putting the podcast together itself. What a challenge, and especially in the beginning, figuring out what we needed, investing in the equipment. But I think more than anything else, learning how to speak to each other in a way that was interesting, and also communicate ideas that are hard to, to to, to think about. All right, we’re talking about stuff we talked to Sean and I talked about this last night or the night before, or whatever it was. And we’re like, we’re talking about stuff that is hard to talk about stuff that you you mentioned earlier, Doug, that people getting people to come on the show is hard. Why? Right? Because like people don’t want to talk about the stuff that we’re talking about. But it’s so critical that we talk about the stuff that we’re talking about, right? Like literally democracy is on, on on the line. So I think for for me personally, it’s been this really great experience of

Christophe Difo
codifying. That’s the word I’m looking for. I’m a lawyer, right codifying. How else want to think about it, but putting it hardening, making making it official, the stuff that we were doing and talking about a lot for years, but making it something that can perhaps break out of our bubble and into the greater world. And so I think it has been a success. We still have a long way to go. And we will get there. But I but but but it absolutely has been a success and a lot of fun, for sure.

Sean Prophet
Yeah, I want to pick up on on what you’re saying there to Christoph, in that the job of a secular podcast, the job of a liberal podcast, or post liberal, as we like to call ourselves is telling unpleasant truths. And this is something that we discussed on our last sort of behind the scenes call. And it is that the other side has a huge advantage because they are kind of pushing the rock downhill in terms of they create these constant crises. And they literally make billions of dollars telling people the world is going to hell in a handbasket. That’s their whole table. That’s the whole thing. And and at the same time, we’re addressing liberals, we want to have a message of hope. But we’re also saying, Hey, you know, the fascists are destroying this country? And how many times can you repeat that before it becomes a bummer? People just want to tune out, they’ve you know, and so we’re trying to reach people at the same time, we have a very dire message.

Christophe Difo
Yeah. And so I think part of what we do is we laugh a lot on the show, right? Like, even though we’re talking about really heavy topics, and we’re talking about oh, my God, democracy is literally hanging in the balance. But at the same time, we’re like, we’re also just messing around and, and just laughing at first of all, maybe just the absurdity of the whole situation. We have our T shirt thing that we do, we laugh and joke about that we talked about Star Trek a great deal. So we do have fun, and we have a great time. And I think that is and I think that is it’s important. I think that we inject that in that kind of stuff into our content because it is heavy. And we are asking people to sit down and listen for an hour, an hour and a half, two hours to something that is that that can make them perhaps challenge some of their own assumptions. Um, and I think it also and we

Christophe Difo
learn a lot from each other too, I think and make it makes me challenge some of my own assumptions. Right. And so I think it ends up being a good symbiotic sort of relationship that we have. And, and challenging, definitely challenging.

Sean Prophet
Yeah, and likewise, I feel like I contend to, I learned from Christophe how presentation, you know, I think a lot of what we’re doing, I’m happy and content to talk about the problems that we have. And, and, and, and focus on them, because there’s a lot of detail that you have to get into. And sometimes I think that because I’m interested in the detail, I’m interested in, you know, policy, a little bit wonkish policy, you know, stuff that is that puts people to sleep and and yet I’m happy to talk about, you know, so we did an episode about money. I talked about money for two hours, you know, and it’s like,

Christophe Difo
it’s a good episode, everybody should go listen to it.

Sean Prophet
But But you have to be interested in that. And I think that that this is what this is the challenge that we have as a show and as as people who want to make a difference is to really make these topics attractive.

Doug Berger
It’s kind of kind of like the viewpoint I have kind of like the viewpoint you have is that you’re trying to offer solutions. Even if you don’t have all the answers, you know, you may have read a book or a magazine article, or, or whatever, to suggest a solution to some issue.

Doug Berger
And I just know, from my experience on social media, that it’s easy to point out the problem. It’s hard to suggest solutions.

Sean Prophet
And we can suggest them, but right. But the problem is, is that in terms of policy, the right wing has a lock. I mean, from the filibuster to the electoral college to the their majority in the Senate, that that is undemocratic. Based on population. I mean, it just goes on and on the constitution set us up for not really being able to,

Sean Prophet
for the will of the people not to prevail. And that’s something that we’re constantly railing against.

Christophe Difo
It’s an uphill battle for sure.

Doug Berger
And also, I wanted to bring us up and I said this to you in the email earlier today.

Doug Berger
You know, I listened to the episode. Oh, here’s the title, “The Vile Pseudoscience of Charles Murray”.

Christophe Difo
Oh, yes.

Doug Berger
And I loved that, because I had done. I had done an essay about the, the Bell Curve 20 years ago, on my blog. And,

Doug Berger
and so, you know, I don’t

Doug Berger
I don’t think he’s, I don’t think he’s a good guy. I think he’s got crappy data. He cherry picks and, and ignores stuff that doesn’t fit his little agenda. And you pegged it just like I pegged it, that it’s like, okay, even if this is true, what does he want to do? That’s where you need to look

Christophe Difo
exactly, exactly. That’s where it gets scary. That’s where it gets scary, really fast. Cuz it’s like, okay, let’s assume for the sake of argument that everything you’re saying is true, Charles Murray, then what? Right? Just let them die? Is that your answer? Because that comes when it sounds like and there are plenty of people. And I know, I don’t tell the two of you this, because I know that don’t I know, I don’t know, Charlotte, because literally, you have been interacting with people on YouTube recently, based on noise on our episode. And it’s like, there’s a lot of people out there that I would be happy to hang their head to hang their hat on this Charles Murray stuff to justify horrible things. absolutely horrible things. And we know that is true, right?

Doug Berger
Yeah. And they go, they go, what are you going to do? It’s true. It’s like, yeah, it doesn’t matter.

Christophe Difo
What kind of answer is that? Doesn’t matter if it’s true, it doesn’t matter.

Sean Prophet
Yeah, it really comes down to

Sean Prophet
because the conclusion of social science is that if you want best outcomes, you have to give more help to people who are struggling, okay. And this is, I think, a lot of the sort of right libertarian, white guys, you know, are, are on this kick where it’s just like, it’s just science, bro. Like, I mean, it’s just you can’t you can’t argue with science. And I said to one guy who was getting on our case, I said, I said, Look, this guy is literally calling for ethnic cleansing of cities. He said in his book, that we need to replace the population through gentrification, okay. And the guy I was talking to, was like, that’s not what he means. It’s like, well, that’s what he said. You know, and this is this is the problem is that when you get into arguing with people who are dishonest

Sean Prophet
intellectually dishonest. They will literally tell you that what a person said is not what they meant, even if it’s in plain English. And I asked the question, if that’s not what he meant, where does he think those people are going to go? Yeah, where are they supposed to go?

Christophe Difo
Exactly. And ask this question in the head, we asked this exact we pose this exact question in our episode cycle, but then what it Where are these people gonna go? I mean, like you said, to your point, Sean, they just keep moving the goalposts, right. Because So, so there is no basis for argument, which is like fascism. 101, right, like, right, what the word means isn’t what the word means, right? Like, so then you get to an anecdote I, it reminds me of a conversation I had on Facebook, somebody, which I’m sorry, on Instagram, and I’m fond of saying Instagram is a hotbed for terrible, terrible ideas. And the problem with it is that you go to like a meme. And I like means memes are funny. But the problem with that, like everybody thinks memes are finally funny, including right wing lunatics. And so it puts me outside of my normal little bubble of just like progressives that I’ve seen on Facebook or whatever, so and so there was one episode about, there was a meme about Michelle Obama. And immediately the right wingers came, and they started calling her transphobic. Like, you know, she was she’s trans. She’s a guy that ended up and I made a couple of comments and reply. And the vitriol that I received Now usually don’t do this, because because of this, but the vitriol I received and the hate and then of course, it’s just like people were insulted if someone went into my direct messages, actually, to just berate me. And, and, and the guy was obviously racist. I could tell by the way he was talking. He didn’t say anything explicitly racist, because they rarely do. But it was clear that he was racist to me. And you know, and then he says, What are you talking about? Man? This is a joke, bro. It’s just a joke is just a joke, bro. And that’s been that. That’s why I’m bringing I’m bringing that up. Because that reminds me, Sean, of what you’re saying. We should just like know, what are you talking about? That’s not what I mean. That’s not what he means, right? It’s the it’s just a joke is a variation on that same idea. It’s like, No, no, no, what I’m saying is not what I mean. So you don’t you know what I mean? And again, it’s just moving the goalposts. It’s bad faith. And it’s infuriating,

Doug Berger
I get the sense in your show that generally, for these episodes, you to pretty much have the same viewpoint on things.

Doug Berger
But was there a time where you didn’t agree about a topic? And how did you deal with that disagreement? If you had one?

Doug Berger
If that makes sense.

Christophe Difo
Want to go?

Sean Prophet
I mean, I’d say I’d say that that

Sean Prophet
we have a very similar approach to justice. However, there have been some definite points of disagreement over the course of the last year over the course of as we were presenting these issues, and I think one of those was on how we deal with the topic of, for example, black people who seem to be betraying black people, the cause, and the well being of other black people. And I think that was there was a

Sean Prophet
issue that went back and forth about Senator Tim Scott and his response to Biden’s State of the Union speech. And I had called him some choice words. And we, we had a whole episode about that, and about kind of my evolution of starting to understand how, as a white man, me saying those words could could hurt

Sean Prophet
hurt black people. And that is exactly the opposite of what

Sean Prophet
my intent what’s right. And so it’s really kind of peeling back the layers of of the nuance of how we approach this. And I think that, um,

Sean Prophet
I think that that’s one of one of our strengths is that we can get through those sorts of disagreements that might tear people apart

Sean Prophet
with understanding and with humility. And I think that that’s, that’s gone both ways. I don’t know if you want to speak to that. Christoph, and

Christophe Difo
yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that yes, is the answer. The question is yes. And I think is because is that I think that any working relationship but beyond a work relationship, right, like Shawn and I are friends beyond just working or working relationship, right. So any relationship like that we do work closely together all the time, a conflict is as inevitable. And in particular, and I’ll just speak briefly to the Tim Scott issue, like what what the issue was was for me, and I talked about this a lot on the show over the course of the episodes, and is that my experience as a black man is is quite different than the typical black man’s experience. Right? So I grew up in a white suburb. I went to good schools, right? I did.

Christophe Difo
Had I had a lot more access and privilege than the than the run of the mill? Sure, you know, point a finger and point at a black person, right? The odds are low that this person went to

Christophe Difo
went to law school, right. And I know this, by the way, because black men are comically underrepresented in the legal profession like comically underrepresented black women are on the up and up and up, like all the time of black men or not. So and so from that experience, my experience is that I have been, I understand how white supremacy operates, and infects the minds even of black people. Right. And so and that’s the lens through which I was suggesting that we talk about Tim Scott, right, because Tim Scott is a victim of white supremacy in the same way that every other black person is now his response is beyond the pale, right, like, and we should absolutely criticize what he says we should criticize what he does, we like relentlessly. And what we shouldn’t fall into is to is is, is stereotyping or, or negative names or anything like that, because then we are just basically because again, at the end of the day, he is a black person, too, right? And he is oppressed by the white supremacist system. And by the way, we in this something john and i talked about extensively, and that is like, white supremacy infects us. All right, is a system that is woven into who we are as people and that is sort of what we’re up here to fight against. So So sometimes we come on these sort of these sort of issues, where we’re like, oh, we have different takes, but largely we agree on these things. I think I mean, I do think that Sean’s approach could be a little bit different the way he talks about things can be a little bit different than the way I talk about the things but at the in terms of the actual substance of what we’re talking about, and how our conclusions about what about about it? I think they tend to be pretty, pretty similar. And we we don’t want it to be like a crossfire type show. Right? Like that is not that is not what we’re what we’re trying to achieve.

Doug Berger
I hate I hate those kind of Yeah, it’s just like, come on, you know, just that’s why that’s why I don’t that’s why I don’t watch those football pregame shows anymore. Oh, just

Doug Berger
I don’t care. I don’t care what you think you haven’t played the game in 12 years. I don’t care what you think. Give me the game. Give me a score. Show me a highlight. That’s right.

Christophe Difo
Yeah. Because what they’re doing is like ginning up conflict. You know, like, what, like, when you when my wife likes to watch some of those I reality she likes like chop to the reality TV show. Yeah. And they’re just making up conflict for the sake of making up conflict. And it’s like, you know, if you come on

Christophe Difo
to safety, like those pregame shows for football, you like, Come on guys with your big fat ties, and you’re like, outrageous outfits, and you guys are just yelling and screaming. Yeah.

Sean Prophet
And a lot of those types of conflict shows also, first of all, they are theater and the guys making they’ll have a beer together afterwards, I’m sure for sure. But the other side of it is is that the arguments they’re putting forward a lot of times are not in good faith, you know, or run side the right the right wing is not are ever arguing in good faith. Right. Like the head member hannity and Colmes. Remember hannity was back early 2000s or whatever. Yeah, at least they had a left viewpoint on there, though. I mean, that is why went down Hill

Doug Berger
Liberals complained about combs constantly, constantly, constantly, because he never went after hannity. Nope, never. He was always submissive, always and this submissive

Sean Prophet
it’s the tone conversation, right? You know that liberals have to be have to always be nice and never go for the juggler. And it’s like, I think that’s a mistake. Yeah. Yeah.

Doug Berger
But I was gonna mention you brought up Tim Scott. He’s a senator correct.

Christophe Difo
From senator from South Carolina here mine Oh, juniors, Jr, sub South Carolina.

Doug Berger
And what you’re saying I was watching a documentary. Was it just last night about

Doug Berger
black actors and actresses in Hollywood and how they were treated. And they were talking about Lena Horne? Hmm. And she was the first African American actress to sign a long term contract with a studio in the 40s 1940s.

Christophe Difo
Wow, I can’t even imagine.

Doug Berger
Yeah, and then people like, people like Hattie McDowell, who played mammy in Gone with the Wind and some other black actors complained. Because they were afraid that because she got apart and she didn’t have to play a maid that they were going to lose job, their job. Wow. You know, so it’s like that. It’s it’s like, you know, she’s doing something good for the community, to get out of that stereotype. But you have people that are like,

Doug Berger
Hey, wait a minute.

Christophe Difo
Yep. Yeah, it’s like the point. I think I think that’s a great example. And I think it’s, this is complicated, right? It when we try to boil it down to like black or white yes or no when and sometimes things are really that simple. But when it comes to the intricacies of how white supremacy impacts and I will say this, I use this example on the show that we talked about this. And you’ve you’ve I know, you’ve heard it, Sean, you’ve probably heard it to Doug, and that is there a famous experiment, when a black child is asked to point to which doll is a black doll on a white doll in front of her, which one is bad, right? And black girls consistently point to the dark doll. And the point and my point is like, this stuff is really ingrained. And it’s hard for a lot of folks to wrap their mind around how that could be inside the mind of a black person, right? How could a black person think badly about another black person or think badly about themselves? But this just goes to how insidious This is. Right? And it’s, it’s very complicated. So when I look at Tim Scott, I’m like, I shake my head. I’m like, brother,

Christophe Difo
they got you, man, you you are sick. Like, that’s how I looked at it was like a drug addict. Like, you are sick, bro. Like, that’s how and like, and I think that is the correct approach from on that and, and black people. I mean, I, I used to be one of these one of these black people who would walk around and say, oh, black people need to take more care, take better care, take take things more seriously. And and be, you know, back in my old realm, rather conservative fundamentalist days, right, like, and so I understand. Tim Scott, my essay that I wrote on this was called, I am Tim Scott, I’m trying to comp it to, I was trying to communicate how easily this happens. It happens, especially if you grew up around all white people, which Tim Scott clearly did. Right. So, um, so anyway, so today, sort of, I think I just wanted to comment on that, I guess,

Sean Prophet
I wanted to bring, I want to also add something to that. And that that is that when we start thinking about racism in the United States, we see it as you know, two sides are either racist or not. You’re either either for justice or you’re against justice. And it tends to make both groups very monolithic. And I think that what a lot of people don’t appreciate is, like the example you brought up with Lena Horne. And this other actress intergroup conflict exists within the black community. Right? I mean, how could it not? Not? Right, right. Yeah, that’s a very good point.

Sean Prophet
And I think power is really the lens through which we see everything, there are so many.

Sean Prophet
So many liberals who want to look at everything in terms of ethics, like we have to be ethical we Yes. And and, and the fact is, is that a lot of times ethics are pretense, particularly religious ethics. And when when we think about why we’re secular, it’s because we want to, we want to be honest about our motivations. And it seems that the the, the most dishonest fronts are coming from religion, and then maybe next after that, like right wing politics, but it’s like it. It’s all ways of disguising that the true agenda is power of disarming people. And so we want to, we want to be honest about that. We want to get to the core of what is driving groups and people to do what they do.

Christophe Difo
Yeah. And ironically, not ironically, but interestingly, perhaps, is that, you know, trumpism, Trump and Trump ism has laid bare the right wing strategy, right, like any pretense of it being about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, any pretense of it being about about cutting government spending, any any pretense about it being about moral morality has gone completely out the window, like it’s always and we know that it’s always been this, but now there’s no pretense anymore. Now it is purely about achieving and defending honor and power. That’s it, whether it’s or whether it’s earned or not, frankly, just defending one’s position of power. Democracy be damned, right? This was the people were like, oh, we’re good. They were waxing poetic during the 90s. That, that, that Clinton was destroying the fabric of the nation. And then come on, come on, right. Like now it’s like, we know, that was all BS. It was Bs, that is BS. Now, we all know it now. You know.

Doug Berger
Yeah. And the I get a perverse chuckle with that recent news about the congressman that wants to identify who the Capitol Police officer was that killed that woman during the insurrection. Right? Yeah, like they’re worried about law and order.

Doug Berger
Right. You know,

Doug Berger
prosecute somebody for B for killing somebody during an insurrection.

Christophe Difo
Right, right. And by the way, I don’t care about the police officers that are killing people all the time, right? Like that’s a non issue. That’s

Sean Prophet
right. They wouldn’t vote to set up a commission to investigate. Don’t you think if they had if they had supported a commission to investigate the insurrection, don’t you think that that would have come out? Like, they’d be looking into all aspects of that? So on the one hand, they don’t want to look at it, but then they want to look at it when it’s, it’s, it’s like, and I compare it to Benghazi, okay.

Christophe Difo
Oh, God, Benghazi. Oh my god.

Christophe Difo
I forgot about Benghazi. That was what a sham two years millions and millions of dollars just complete witch hunt, right? A witch hunt. And this goes to show right like, it’s like, you know how Trump continues to say that it’s a witch hunt. It was a witch hunt with which shocked by this like, saying exactly what they’re doing that by blaming you for doing exactly what they’re doing. Right. Which is just like it you know, anyway, bad faith, bad faith all around.

Christophe Difo
Yeah, you got it. They’re good at it. I mean, they’re very good at it. They’re very good at it.

Christophe Difo
They want to be able to muddy the waters, just like you said, we talked Sean, you say this a lot on the show as well, which is just like, it’s why it’s so much easier to be on the right because all you have to do is destroy things, right? All you have to do is just obfuscate you don’t have to come up with anything new. So basically, all you have to do is make is put out there. I mean, the the idea the perfect example of the most like egregious example, this is the big lie, right? Like it doesn’t matter if there’s no evidence for it, it doesn’t matter all you do is put it out there on the airwaves and there’s enough people that are going to believe it mainly because they don’t believe what comes out of they don’t believe experts. They don’t believe they don’t believe facts. They don’t believe judges they think and they get to and they believe that they can believe whatever they want. You know, it’s like

Sean Prophet
it’s a life raft. Okay? All all the right wing has to do is throw a life raft to these people. And they grab they all grab onto it because true their their worldview is seeking the religious theocratic, fascist worldview. That is not fact based. I mean, they’re they’ve been wrong about everything. They’re wrong about climate change. They’re wrong about race, they’re wrong on everything. And so

Sean Prophet
they just need a life preserver and they’ll grab onto it. And that becomes the cause.

Christophe Difo
It’s a great analogy. It’s a great analogy. Now that CRT, right credit, critical race theory, u u is another one. Yeah, listen to your show on that. Listen to your show on that Doug. I thought it was really good. I mean, it’s just it’s it’s, it’s it’s any Boogeyman any Boogeyman? And and, and we I think we talked about this Sean recently, like you CRT was something else before was that it was um, it was it was woke ism, I guess. And then there’s before woke is that they have a different way. Correct? Correct? That’s correct. That was what was before that. So it’s basically it’s all the name for the same thing. Progress basically, right? change anything. That’s justice, justice, change any of that, right.

Doug Berger
And see, and their whole point, when they bring up the this culture war stuff, is basically they’re upset because they can’t use the N word whenever they want to, and not suffer any consequences. Or, or the C word to women, right? Or pinching butts or grabbing pussies, or whatever. Mm hmm. You know, and I’m like, what kind of world do you want to live? Like, that’s no, no,

Sean Prophet
we know what kind of world they want to live in.

Christophe Difo
But that’s that’s a good point, Doug, though, because it gets back to the Charles Murray thing, which is like, I don’t think that because yes, there are folks that are like hardcore right wingers and just really just genuinely terrible people. But most people are just not thinking it through. Right. They haven’t thought through the logical consequences. I don’t think that if you went to most people’s door and they said, you think that your neighbors across the street, Middle Eastern black, whatever, deserve to literally die, because they can’t afford X, Y and Z and the answer their question would be no, but they don’t understand how, what they believe and vote for and support leads to that outcome. Right. And the and that’s where the authentication comes in. obfuscating, that is like what the entire GOP method message has been for at least 30 years, which is basically at least at least since Reagan,

Doug Berger
At least since go well, really since Goldwater right there you go. Yes, yes. Yes. Since Goldwater. Great point, at least, at least.

Sean Prophet
I want to pick something up about this. And that is that there’s a there’s a new book I’m reading and it’s called “The Sum of Us” and I think it’s we’re gonna take this up on a future episode at some point, but it’s by Heather McGee, and she is a black attorney who was the president of this organization called demos which is a

Sean Prophet
I don’t know exactly what they do they’re research.

Sean Prophet
Think Tank, liberal Think Tank, whatever. And they do a lot of demographic work, obviously by the by the title. But anyway, what she says is that white supremacy and racism has hurt white people more than they could possibly imagine. And she starts out the book with the example of the fact that most American cities used to have a swimming pool, public swimming pool that they were very proud of. They put a lot of money into building these things, the government paid for it. They were built by taxpayers, and they were public, but public, men, white people. And so when desegregation started and Civil Rights Act came in, and this was before 1964, this was this was going on in the 50s, in the late 40s, even where these pools I guess, some some some black people were suing under state civil rights law to be able to have access to these these pools before before the National Civil Rights Act happened. Anyway. The point is, is that these cities closed their pools rather than integrate. And they had the exact same kind of riots and insanity going on back then, where people with, you know, white people were showing up at these pools with clubs and knives,

Christophe Difo
Acid, pour acid into the pool. Yeah,

Sean Prophet
yeah. Stuff like that. And so the idea being that they wanted no one to have it rather than to share it. And that is what she goes through this analogy going through all different aspects from the housing situation, red lining, you know, going on and on and on through how white people who are hurts, the same subprime loans that were tested originally on black people. And then they were brought in, they were brought into, you know, to the larger society and white people have suffered enormously because of whites. And it has blinded us to the class, the real problem, which is class in this country. And so this is something that we are going to, going to take up a lot, you know, going forward onto, onto the show, because I think that’s something that, I mean, we’re suffering, we’re suffering now, the economy is suffering because of these policies and, and this is what, and even Republicans don’t like, if you poll Republicans, they want healthcare and their representatives won’t they won’t do it. And so it’s like, this is the real nub of, of, of what we need to be talking about.

Christophe Difo
That, that is such a great point, Sean, like really, really important. I think about this in terms of the roads and the infrastructure, right? Because it was like it’s, don’t tax us because the idea and the implication that’s been drawn is that taxes go to welfare, go to black people and brown people. Right. That’s that is the line that has been drawn and wealthy. People have done that very effectively. And so that like was drafted. Let’s drown a government in the bathtub make it so small that we can round it down at a bathtub, but that has consequences, right? What it has consequences is that the roads are falling apart. The bridges are falling apart. Condos are falling down on and on and on and on. People are dying. And by the way, the costs, the costs of, I think about this all the time, all we’re doing is pushing the costs of maintaining your car that blows out at that Benzer rim and blows out a tire on the pothole. That’s just getting pushed to the consumer, poor people. Right. Like now your car is falling apart and on and on and on and on. And again, there’s more white people in this country than there are anyone else. And that’s who’s being who that’s who’s by primarily being hurt by these policies. More than anything else, just in terms of sheer numbers anyway.

Sean Prophet
Yeah. What misery is, is the product of all of this, right? Yeah.

Doug Berger
I think there was a school district, or it might’ve even been the whole state of Virginia shut down their schools to prevent desegregation. It’s unbelievable. And then you saw schools getting shut down for a year at a pandemic and people were just losing their mind right?

Sean Prophet
That’s right. That’s right. As long as it furthers white supremacy, that’s the, almost anything you can think about in this country. It’s easy to get it done if it furthers white supremacy.

Christophe Difo
Yeah. Yeah.

Doug Berger
I wanted to do is I kind of want to wrap this up. And one of the things that I like to do is turn the mic over to the guest.
So you can work it out, how you want to work out and just tell us about, you know, give us a promo tell us what to expect when we watch your show and, and people that are watching this, you know, how, why should they watch your show? Put it that way?

Sean Prophet
I think the best reason for you to watch The Radical Secular is it really comes down to what kind of world you want to live in.
What, what are your priorities? And do you feel that justice is important? Do you feel that we can build a better world and that we should be doing that? We should be looking deeply into the issues that we’re facing as a society, as a civilization, existential issues. And I think the purpose of our show is to kind of on the one hand it’s to wake people up to the sort of threats that we’re facing and the dangerous, but it’s also to talk about how we got here and how we can, like how we can get ourselves out of this hole that we’ve dug for ourselves as a civilization and as humans. And I think that the real, the real issue is first do no harm. It’s the very beginning of the Hippocratic oath. And in order for us to, in order for us to, to change the way that things are going. We have to take a hard look at why they’re going that way and how that happened. And so that involves a lot of times us focusing on things that you might feel were negative or, or scary frustrating. But until we get that stuff all out of the way, we’re not going to be able to make progress. And so I think that’s our, that, that, that is our real goal is to, to speak to people who are sick of this shit and want to move forward and, and are willing to invest the time and effort to think deeply about these subjects so that I would, that’s my pitch. I’d encourage you to watch. And we won’t disappoint you.

Christophe Difo
Yeah, we sure won’t we sure will. Sean. And I think that anybody who wants to hear two guys talk about star Trek should definitely sign on.
We do a lot of that. But in all seriousness, we do talk about Sargent quite a bit, but only because we care about the ideals that are, that are embedded in there. Right. Which are a lot. Which was Sean just said, which are ideas of justice. And, and also, and I think what one of the old often overlooked ideas in star Trek is the idea.


Personal development, right? The idea of the individual becoming a better person growing expanding horizons, right? Like that is a lot of what we try to do for as individuals, as Sean and Christophe, like as individuals together. As a, as, as a, as a team and as friends, but also as individuals. And also, I hope that sort of bleeds through, into the show. And I think you know, there’s that one woman and she has, and she does the thing where she has she’s teaching a class and she has everybody raised their hand. Everybody who would like to be treated the way black people are treated in the United States to raise their hand and nobody raises their hand. Right. And I bring that up because. Everybody who is a thinking person and even people who don’t know that there’s something off here, right? We know that we don’t have enough money. We see the homeless people in the street. We see all these problems. We know they’re real. We know they’re there. Most of the time, most of the people who are able to listen to this.
Probably don’t have to deal with those issues personally, every single day. Right. We are here to tell you why you should, right. We’re here to tell you why why you should sign up for this project of moving our planet, our civilization towards something just, and if for no other reason, The pilot is on fire, right? So if there’s no other reason, we talk about climate change. Our third guest, our part-time host, his name is Joe Occhipinti and he does work and he is he really hits up a lot of the sort of environmental justice issues that we talk about as well. So look, if you’re interested in, in, in, I think an entertaining show, a show that is that’s sorta fun to listen to.
That is, and also we have we have a blog, we have a, we call it the trip. We have writings and we put those out every week, check those out theradicalsecular.com and you know, and so show up, listen to us. And one of these days we’re going to have Doug on. And so you’re definitely going to want to listen to that. So so I’m just really grateful, really grateful to be here, Doug.

Doug Berger
Well, Sean Christophe, thank you both for your time today. And it was a very lively discussion. I appreciate it. And we’ll have the links and everything to the show and in the show notes. And I, again, I appreciate you joining me today.

Christophe
Absolutely. It was pleasure.

Sean Prophet
Pleasure.

[Transcribed by https://otter.ai Transcript is approximate to what was recorded]

Additional links and information can be found in the show notes

If you would like to be informed about new episodes before they are public or want to read about the topics presented in our show, subscribe to the Secular Left Newsletter.

Send us your comments and complaints using the contact form on our website.

Credits

Produced, written, and edited by Doug Berger

Our theme music is “Dank Nasty” Composed using Ampify Studio