Since my last post, I've had conversations with Greta Christina, Jen McCreight and a couple of others on the subject of Atheism Plus. These conversations took me through even-more-confused-about-it territory, but I think I've now grasped it enough to form my opinion on it.
There are two main problems with A+ as I see it; one I can overlook and one I can't.
The problem I can get over is an issue with communication. Richard Carrier's representation of A+ - linked in my last post - does seem to be genuinely a misrepresentation of the movement. What started as a move to more actively exclude sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and other nastinesses (which violates my value for free speech on the surface, but is necessary - as Greta points out - when the alternative is tacitly excluding the groups of people targeted by those nastinesses) seems to have been seized by Carrier as a pretext to exclude anyone he doesn't like. Worse, "people Carrier doesn't like" can apparently be defined as anyone not willing to gang up on and exclude non-A+ers even when they've done nothing objectionable.
It would be nice to see McCreight and others disavow Carrier's sentiments, because having seen the contrast between what he means by A+ and what everyone else seems to mean, they've got more reason to be furious with him than anyone else. However, even if they won't do that it is possible that he could simply be left behind by a more reasonable A+ movement - if that happened, it would be possible to get on board with it even given its inauspicious beginning.
However, I said there was a problem I couldn't get around, and that hasn't been shifted. After reading McCreight's clarification post (which can be found here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/blaghag/2012/08/responding-to-common-misconceptions-about-atheism/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+freethoughtblogs%2Fblaghag+%28FTB%3A+Blag+Hag%29) I tweeted her with what, to me, was the most important question: "Is it the label or the values that matter?"
The reply I received was "The values", which is in one way the better answer of the two options I offered. However, it did - finally! - help me to identify why I've been feeling so insulted by the whole A+ thing.
What it amounts to for me is this; I AM an A+, in values. I AM opposed to sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and all that stuff (in principle, at least; I don't claim to know everything, so I'm sure I fall short of perfection at times).
I resent the requirement that's been imposed on me by some random atheists on the internet to effectively adopt a label that - from my POV - says nothing more significant than "not a dick", which really shouldn't need saying. I resent the idea that these principles that I consider merely part of being "not a dick" are something novel, noteworthy, deserving of everybody's attention. I resent the implication that I needed some random atheist bloggers to teach me how to be "not a dick". And most of all, I resent the way I'm being emotionally blackmailed with it; according to the proponents of Atheism Plus, I can either identify myself as something that ought to go without saying OR be assumed to be a dick. What the A+ movement has given me is a choice between allying myself with them and crediting them with my being "not a dick", or losing the right to be assumed to be "not a dick", a right I had enjoyed for free until now.
Gee, thanks guys. I can see why THIS idea's been a big hit so far.