Read this first!

Why I am here.

Welcome to my Substack!

I’m assuming those reading this are generally familiar with me and my work, or perhaps you know me mainly through Twitter.

Why am I here?

Although I am pretty outspoken generally, I do feel constrained by other mediums. Let me briefly explain why.

This will not be a surprise to those who have been following me for some time, but I have not become popular due to my work on Islam. Better known, perhaps. Nevertheless, there is a certain degree of stigma now associated with me. 

As I venture into other delicate topics, the stigma compounds. Luckily, I’ve always been mostly unbothered with social sanction.

However, I am growing concerned about inadvertently harming my primary activism by bringing in toxicity from other realms. As a result, I feel guilty about speaking up on a number of issues.  

Additionally, the more I “toxify” myself, the more I risk future career prospects. As I do wish to lead a good life and provide for my family, this is a concern.

I hope Substack will allow me to address both of these issues: I can have some private posts/podcasts and some paying subscribers. I am hoping the privatization will allow me some breathing room, as I presume those who actively subscribe are less likely to try and twist my words or hurt me significantly due to a difference of opinion. Extra funds will make the financial risk easier as well.

You should consider supporting me because… 

I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a writer. Nor am I an academic with a deep reservoir of specific knowledge.

But I think I can provide food for thought that is useful because, due to my activism, I have a vantage point on modern cultural issues that is unique. Further, I think I have the personality to take on issues in a way others will not:

  • I am pragmatic (uncommon in activists), so I avoid futile grandstanding whenever possible. I don’t want to die on a hill for the sake of it, I want to be effective, I want to achieve things

  • I’ll take risks. Due to some bug in my wiring, I am unusually comfortable with social sanction, even outright stigma. This grants me freedom to be interesting and to cover interesting topics. 

  • Despite standing firmly and strongly on many issues, I am very suspicious of my own certainty (I can thank the shock of realizing I was so utterly wrong on religion for that). I am happy to change my mind, and I will admit to it without hesitation.

Much of my focus now is on the various ways social and psychological forces affect our ability to reason collectively. I am particularly fascinated by “religious thinking”, questions of meaning and fulfillment outside of faith, and the ways this intersects with the public discourse on social issues such as sex/gender/race. All of these fascinations are deeply connected to my desire for effective social change.

You should support me if you’d like to help a voice like mine thrive in what is (increasingly) a rather hostile climate. 

Finally, I plan to make some of my posts visible to the public, nearly all to newsletter subscribers, and some (more personal, less polished, more risky) only to paying subscribers. So even if you can’t patronize this Substack, considering signing up anyway to get the most content. :)

Thank you!