[ExI] 'Militant Atheists' (Was: Religion & transhumanism (not the usual!))

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Fri Sep 9 22:17:11 UTC 2011

On 9 September 2011 18:15, Tomasz Rola <rtomek at ceti.pl> wrote:
> On Fri, 9 Sep 2011, Stefano Vaj wrote:
>> I am a little confused about the exact nuance of the word "militant"
>> in (contemporary? US? UK?) English.
>> The Italian and French equivalent are a somewhat more emphatic to
>> indicate an activist of a given cause (activism sounding like a more
>> low-level and/or trivial or slightly disparaged form of militantism).
> I'd say the same goes with Polish - activists demonstrate and root for
> their cause, but are more or less benign. Militants shoot, burn and
> destroy whatever they think stands on their beloved ideal's way at the
> moment. There is a lot of place in between, and how one divides this place
> depends on ones agenda.

No, this is not what I mean!

An "activist" in Italian is basically somebody who  volunteers to do
cold phone calls or giving away leaflets in the street in an electoral
campaign for a given candidate.

A "militant" is somebody, perhaps an intellectual or a ringleader but
not necessarily, who fights for a (possibly noble) cause even if this
may cost him or her. Violence and breaches of legal systems in place
might be part of it (as, say, in the American or French or Russian
Revolutions, or the Polish one for that matter), but the emphasis is
on his one's engagement for one's ideas.

In English, however, I have the feeling that it might be the other way
around (even though I understand that there are people self-styling
as, eg, "feminist militants" or "atheist militants").

Stefano Vaj

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