If atheism were true, it would mean there was no God. If there were no God, then humanism would rule. If humanism ruled, then the best thing you could be is the best human. If the best thing you could be is the best human, then it would behoove you to get to the top of the human pile. Only the lazy and uneducated sheep would stay at the bottom.
If you know your ideas are the best (and who doesn't, except the sheep) you have a driving force for getting to the top: you can enlighten others once you're there.
Your ideas are the best, so you must lead. Some people may think you are mean and nasty, but you just want to help people.
Since the best human is the one with the best ideas and the best ideas are from the leaders at the top of the pile, a hidden logic is created: get to the top of the pile by any means necessary.
This is circular logic which fails continually and supports a terrible philosophy that the ends justify the means.
Remember, Machiavelli was a politician (diplomat and political philosopher).
Knock You Off The Top of the Pile
Even as you rise to the top there are always others who disagree with you; who are fighting to knock you off the top of the pile.
Crush the Dogs
This causes the ones at the top to overcompensate. Suddenly, political discussion that doesn't line up with your great ideas must be abolished. Quickly pass laws that support your power and crush the dogs that gnash at your heels.
Meanwhile, the opposition is building its machinery to place their leaders at the top of the pile. Surely their ideas are better, they assume. And they're right. They have to be right -- if they get to the top of the pile, it proves it doesn't it?
We of the Middle
Alas, the ultimate failure of humanism is that while the Great Leaders (intelligentsia) battle for supremacy we in the middle -- the people who work to support the nation, the world -- are trampled beneath the feet of the ruling class.
We go on working, supporting our families and each other, hoping that the ruling class will finally do the right thing.
However, they cannot do the right thing. Since they believe that the human is the highest thing, it is as if they see everything through bad lenses that put the world out of focus.
They can't get their mind off their own ideas. They can't get new ideas, because their guidance systems are out of focus. They can't see anything but themselves.
This is the failure of humanism that repeats itself around the world and throughout history. It is a strange atheism, which allows many of its adherents to argue they still believe in God.
Ultimately, the Politicians, the Kings, the Rulers never notice what they've done and how they've failed.
It is only us,
[ the tired, the poor,
the huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse of [the] teeming shore,
the homeless and tempest-tost ]*
*From the poem, The New Colossus, mounted in bronze inside the Statue of Liberty.
Keep on learning, keep on moving forward.