Sam Harris--The End of Liberalism?
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17-04-2013, 10:23 PM
Sam Harris--The End of Liberalism?
As I scan the topics in the politics thread, I thought I might add some variety by posting a thread that isn't a left wing conspiracy rant from I&I.

Sam Harris is prominent in his role as one of the new atheists, one of the 'four horsemen' in that list of Hitchens, Dennet, Dawkins, and Harris.

The whole essay is up for discussion on this thread, so be sure to read it:
http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/...iberalism/

This snippet gives you the gist of what Harris writes:

Quote:Perhaps I should establish my liberal bone fides at the outset. I’d like to see taxes raised on the wealthy, drugs decriminalized and homosexuals free to marry. I also think that the Bush administration deserves most of the criticism it has received in the last six years — especially with respect to its waging of the war in Iraq, its scuttling of science and its fiscal irresponsibility.

But my correspondence with liberals has convinced me that liberalism has grown dangerously out of touch with the realities of our world — specifically with what devout Muslims actually believe about the West, about paradise and about the ultimate ascendance of their faith.


Radical leftists are the targets of Harris in his essay. He describes what is a tendancy on the left towards knee-jerk self loathing of the West and its allies, and uncritical embrace of Islamists who fight against a stronger, Western allied power. Israel and Palestine is the perfect example. From Harris's essay:

Quote:In their analyses of U.S. and Israeli foreign policy, liberals can be relied on to overlook the most basic moral distinctions. For instance, they ignore the fact that Muslims intentionally murder noncombatants, while we and the Israelis (as a rule) seek to avoid doing so. Muslims routinely use human shields, and this accounts for much of the collateral damage we and the Israelis cause; the political discourse throughout much of the Muslim world, especially with respect to Jews, is explicitly and unabashedly genocidal.

Given these distinctions, there is no question that the Israelis now hold the moral high ground in their conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah. And yet liberals in the United States and Europe often speak as though the truth were otherwise.

Sam Harris in his recent public speeches would often recount speaking with an ethicist advising the Obama admin who, after giving a talk on the ethics of torture and use of force, had a conversation with Harris where she denied we were entitled to criticize or judge a hypothetical culture that for religious reasons blinded one third of of its children for religious reasons.

The essay that inspired this post was written in 2006, 3/4 of the way through the Bush administration. At that time, some liberals were as irrational and hate filled towards the president as some conservatives are now towards Obama. So the essay may seem a bit dated, but on reading this may in hindsight show how bizarre it was to consider Dick Cheney the focus of evil in the world while giving Islamic extremists a pass. The irrational hatred of some on the left is not as prevalent now simply because the left has more power with a President and Senate in their sway.

But one thing still hasn't changed. Although torture, bombings, and waging war no longer riles up the left like it did when their opponent was in power, some on the left still have a tendency to give the Islamists a pass on their theocratic governance. Republican opposition to abortion or gay marriage are cited as examples of the right forcing religion on the populace, but Hamas is just peachy with it's stated policy to execute homosexuals. They are considered comrades in arms, and their transgressions overlooked for the greater good. If there is any doubt to my assertion, just read the caricature of left wing extremism that is I&I on these threads.

There is much for Israel to answer for--their settlement policies are designed to push out and crowd out Palestinians. But many on the left cannot bring themselves to consider that the opposing side to the Israelis really is much worse. I bet you will find a fair number of left wingers who would they find Hamas more palatable than the GOP if they were asked the generic question, yet they would never come to that conclusion if they compared political policies without identifying the party name.


With that long windup, is Harris correct that the left is dangerously out of touch with the realities of the kind of threat posed by a devout Muslim faith.
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17-04-2013, 10:45 PM
RE: Sam Harris--The End of Liberalism?
(17-04-2013 10:23 PM)BryanS Wrote:  As I scan the topics in the politics thread, I thought I might add some variety by posting a thread that isn't a left wing conspiracy rant from I&I.

Sam Harris is prominent in his role as one of the new atheists, one of the 'four horsemen' in that list of Hitchens, Dennet, Dawkins, and Harris.

The whole essay is up for discussion on this thread, so be sure to read it:
http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/...iberalism/

This snippet gives you the gist of what Harris writes:

Quote:Perhaps I should establish my liberal bone fides at the outset. I’d like to see taxes raised on the wealthy, drugs decriminalized and homosexuals free to marry. I also think that the Bush administration deserves most of the criticism it has received in the last six years — especially with respect to its waging of the war in Iraq, its scuttling of science and its fiscal irresponsibility.

But my correspondence with liberals has convinced me that liberalism has grown dangerously out of touch with the realities of our world — specifically with what devout Muslims actually believe about the West, about paradise and about the ultimate ascendance of their faith.


Radical leftists are the targets of Harris in his essay. He describes what is a tendancy on the left towards knee-jerk self loathing of the West and its allies, and uncritical embrace of Islamists who fight against a stronger, Western allied power. Israel and Palestine is the perfect example. From Harris's essay:

Quote:In their analyses of U.S. and Israeli foreign policy, liberals can be relied on to overlook the most basic moral distinctions. For instance, they ignore the fact that Muslims intentionally murder noncombatants, while we and the Israelis (as a rule) seek to avoid doing so. Muslims routinely use human shields, and this accounts for much of the collateral damage we and the Israelis cause; the political discourse throughout much of the Muslim world, especially with respect to Jews, is explicitly and unabashedly genocidal.

Given these distinctions, there is no question that the Israelis now hold the moral high ground in their conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah. And yet liberals in the United States and Europe often speak as though the truth were otherwise.

Sam Harris in his recent public speeches would often recount speaking with an ethicist advising the Obama admin who, after giving a talk on the ethics of torture and use of force, had a conversation with Harris where she denied we were entitled to criticize or judge a hypothetical culture that for religious reasons blinded one third of of its children for religious reasons.

The essay that inspired this post was written in 2006, 3/4 of the way through the Bush administration. At that time, some liberals were as irrational and hate filled towards the president as some conservatives are now towards Obama. So the essay may seem a bit dated, but on reading this may in hindsight show how bizarre it was to consider Dick Cheney the focus of evil in the world while giving Islamic extremists a pass. The irrational hatred of some on the left is not as prevalent now simply because the left has more power with a President and Senate in their sway.

But one thing still hasn't changed. Although torture, bombings, and waging war no longer riles up the left like it did when their opponent was in power, some on the left still have a tendency to give the Islamists a pass on their theocratic governance. Republican opposition to abortion or gay marriage are cited as examples of the right forcing religion on the populace, but Hamas is just peachy with it's stated policy to execute homosexuals. They are considered comrades in arms, and their transgressions overlooked for the greater good. If there is any doubt to my assertion, just read the caricature of left wing extremism that is I&I on these threads.

There is much for Israel to answer for--their settlement policies are designed to push out and crowd out Palestinians. But many on the left cannot bring themselves to consider that the opposing side to the Israelis really is much worse. I bet you will find a fair number of left wingers who would they find Hamas more palatable than the GOP if they were asked the generic question, yet they would never come to that conclusion if they compared political policies without identifying the party name.


With that long windup, is Harris correct that the left is dangerously out of touch with the realities of the kind of threat posed by a devout Muslim faith.


The extreme left is just as dangerous as the extreme right, just as blind, just as ideologically blinkered.

Both have 'ideals' higher than actual, practical human rights and will sacrifice people to their ideologies.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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17-04-2013, 11:21 PM
RE: Sam Harris--The End of Liberalism?
Oh god, is this another another defence of US invasions and occupations? First Hitchens, now this.

Did he honestly use the 'Yes, the Israeli government has murdered thousands of civilians, but that Hamas killed a person or two.. those monsters.' Oh Sammy, what are you doing...
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17-04-2013, 11:37 PM
RE: Sam Harris--The End of Liberalism?
Sam Harris is a typical war-hawk liberal.

He is completely out of touch with reality when it comes to politics...considering he confuses liberalsim with leftist ideology. Outside of america this confusion isn't made nearly as often in politics, many elections outside the U.S. have clear distinct parties and candidates that are liberal or leftist. Only in his small american world are the two used interchangebly by the opponents of the left.
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18-04-2013, 01:07 AM
RE: Sam Harris--The End of Liberalism?
(17-04-2013 11:21 PM)poolboyg88 Wrote:  Oh god, is this another another defence of US invasions and occupations? First Hitchens, now this.

Did he honestly use the 'Yes, the Israeli government has murdered thousands of civilians, but that Hamas killed a person or two.. those monsters.' Oh Sammy, what are you doing...

Where have you been? Sam has had is views well known on these issues for a long time. But you are being a bit too simplistic to think he is war mongering--he is not at all. He has written that he thinks 'collateral damage' in the recent wars is far more morally questionable than even torturing captured combatants. You are also missing his broader point--all of the repression of civil liberties put Hamas right up there with the most repressive of regimes, but they are considered best buds of the left.
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18-04-2013, 01:24 AM
RE: Sam Harris--The End of Liberalism?
(17-04-2013 11:37 PM)I and I Wrote:  Sam Harris is a typical war-hawk liberal.

He is completely out of touch with reality when it comes to politics...considering he confuses liberalsim with leftist ideology. Outside of america this confusion isn't made nearly as often in politics, many elections outside the U.S. have clear distinct parties and candidates that are liberal or leftist. Only in his small american world are the two used interchangebly by the opponents of the left.

It's not a confusion of terminology. You are proving yourself to be the uneducated one here. The term liberal has a different meaning in the US. This is not a confusion of terminology but a difference in the meaning of the words in different cultures--much like the Brits use different words than Americans for other more mundane things like elevators or french fries. Most Americans politicos will use the term 'classical liberal' to refer to the meaning of the word liberal as used throughout much of the rest of the world.

But there is one more thing that is just wrong about your post that makes your condescension misplaced and embarrassingly misdirected. It was your buddies on the left who intentionally bastardized the meaning of the word liberal in American politics during the new deal. Americans did not want to sign on to socialism, so the Roosevelt administration spun a more friendly sounding word 'liberal' to make left policies more palatable to a public not sold on the ideas. So you see, it was the American left who first used the words 'interchangeably'. However nobody but you seems bothered at the changed meaning of the word in the US.
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18-04-2013, 04:26 AM
RE: Sam Harris--The End of Liberalism?
(18-04-2013 01:24 AM)BryanS Wrote:  
(17-04-2013 11:37 PM)I and I Wrote:  Sam Harris is a typical war-hawk liberal.

He is completely out of touch with reality when it comes to politics...considering he confuses liberalsim with leftist ideology. Outside of america this confusion isn't made nearly as often in politics, many elections outside the U.S. have clear distinct parties and candidates that are liberal or leftist. Only in his small american world are the two used interchangebly by the opponents of the left.

It's not a confusion of terminology. You are proving yourself to be the uneducated one here. The term liberal has a different meaning in the US. This is not a confusion of terminology but a difference in the meaning of the words in different cultures--much like the Brits use different words than Americans for other more mundane things like elevators or french fries. Most Americans politicos will use the term 'classical liberal' to refer to the meaning of the word liberal as used throughout much of the rest of the world.

But there is one more thing that is just wrong about your post that makes your condescension misplaced and embarrassingly misdirected. It was your buddies on the left who intentionally bastardized the meaning of the word liberal in American politics during the new deal. Americans did not want to sign on to socialism, so the Roosevelt administration spun a more friendly sounding word 'liberal' to make left policies more palatable to a public not sold on the ideas. So you see, it was the American left who first used the words 'interchangeably'. However nobody but you seems bothered at the changed meaning of the word in the US.

So you are saying that Sam Harris wrote his book and consciously chose terminology that would limit his readers to mainly just one country? You believe that is more likely than one just confusing the terms and being ignorant of how a term is considered by most people on the planet? He isn't the only one that confuses the terms btw, conservatives do it too.

Neo-liberal is the term used by most people around the world, it describes the typical clinton/obama and other world leader types who are liberal at home but abroad militarily and economy are hegemonic and serve to increase and maintain a capitalist style domination over other people. See: Euro and Greece

FDR wasn't a leftist by any means, FDR like most dead presidents get the historical revision treatment where there flaws are omitted to make them seem like god like figures. You can see the right wing doing this to Reagan right now. FDR was no leftist. How in the hell was anything about FDR socialist? The moderate social groups for fear of being prosecuted and spied on began to kick out all leftist members of their groups eventually weakening the U.S. labor movement. The labor unions capitulated with papa gov and got rid of it's leftist elements over the early to mid decades of the 20th century.
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18-04-2013, 11:34 AM (This post was last modified: 18-04-2013 12:23 PM by TrulyX.)
RE: Sam Harris--The End of Liberalism?
This should be a 'reason to give a fuck about Sam Harris' thread.

When Hitchens was going on rants about Iraq, he seemed to be trying to make a larger point or points, and maybe implying that certain people were being hypocrites.

With Harris, I think I get more and more confused every time I hear, or see, his positions (on any thing); maybe it's simply because I don't like him and/or am not very interested in his views. With this, it seems as if he is implying that certain people should be more hypocritical. If not, I really don't know to what in the hell he is referring.

Liberal and left-wing are different things, just to add. I guess, in a way, they can describe similar things, but they can overlap (e.g. the US, you can describe as there being a lot of liberals, basically the majority of mainstream politics, right-wing and liberal); so, I don't see it as being okay to say left=liberal, unless you want to intentionally avoid being specific and accurate.

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18-04-2013, 12:02 PM
RE: Sam Harris--The End of Liberalism?
(18-04-2013 11:34 AM)TrulyX Wrote:  This should be a 'reason to give a fuck about Sam Harris' thread.

When Hitchens was going on rants about Iraq, he seemed to be trying to make a larger point or points, and maybe implying that certain people were being hypocrites.

With Harris, I think I get more and more confused every time I hear, or see, his positions (on any thing); maybe it's simply because I don't like him and/or am not very interested in his views. With this, it seems as if he is implying that certain people should be more hypocritical. If not, I really don't know to what in the hell he is referring.

Liberal and left-wing are different things, just to add. I guess, in a way, they can describe similar things, but they can overlap (e.g. the US, you can describe as there being a lot of liberals, basically the majority of mainstream politics, right-wing and liberal); so, I don't seeing at being okay to say left=liberal, unless you want to intentionally avoid being specific and accurate.

I think I am with you on this one. I just have never been a fan of Sam Harris his writing style is somewhat off putting and he is not very convincing. I prefer Hitchens and Dawkins from the horsemen (not very familiar with Dennett's work so don't have an opinion one way or the other on him).

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18-04-2013, 01:04 PM
RE: Sam Harris--The End of Liberalism?
(17-04-2013 10:23 PM)BryanS Wrote:  As I scan the topics in the politics thread, I thought I might add some variety by posting a thread that isn't a left wing conspiracy rant from I&I.

Sam Harris is prominent in his role as one of the new atheists, one of the 'four horsemen' in that list of Hitchens, Dennet, Dawkins, and Harris.

The whole essay is up for discussion on this thread, so be sure to read it:
http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/...iberalism/

This snippet gives you the gist of what Harris writes:

Quote:Perhaps I should establish my liberal bone fides at the outset. I’d like to see taxes raised on the wealthy, drugs decriminalized and homosexuals free to marry. I also think that the Bush administration deserves most of the criticism it has received in the last six years — especially with respect to its waging of the war in Iraq, its scuttling of science and its fiscal irresponsibility.

But my correspondence with liberals has convinced me that liberalism has grown dangerously out of touch with the realities of our world — specifically with what devout Muslims actually believe about the West, about paradise and about the ultimate ascendance of their faith.


Radical leftists are the targets of Harris in his essay. He describes what is a tendancy on the left towards knee-jerk self loathing of the West and its allies, and uncritical embrace of Islamists who fight against a stronger, Western allied power. Israel and Palestine is the perfect example. From Harris's essay:

Quote:In their analyses of U.S. and Israeli foreign policy, liberals can be relied on to overlook the most basic moral distinctions. For instance, they ignore the fact that Muslims intentionally murder noncombatants, while we and the Israelis (as a rule) seek to avoid doing so. Muslims routinely use human shields, and this accounts for much of the collateral damage we and the Israelis cause; the political discourse throughout much of the Muslim world, especially with respect to Jews, is explicitly and unabashedly genocidal.

Given these distinctions, there is no question that the Israelis now hold the moral high ground in their conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah. And yet liberals in the United States and Europe often speak as though the truth were otherwise.

Sam Harris in his recent public speeches would often recount speaking with an ethicist advising the Obama admin who, after giving a talk on the ethics of torture and use of force, had a conversation with Harris where she denied we were entitled to criticize or judge a hypothetical culture that for religious reasons blinded one third of of its children for religious reasons.

The essay that inspired this post was written in 2006, 3/4 of the way through the Bush administration. At that time, some liberals were as irrational and hate filled towards the president as some conservatives are now towards Obama. So the essay may seem a bit dated, but on reading this may in hindsight show how bizarre it was to consider Dick Cheney the focus of evil in the world while giving Islamic extremists a pass. The irrational hatred of some on the left is not as prevalent now simply because the left has more power with a President and Senate in their sway.

But one thing still hasn't changed. Although torture, bombings, and waging war no longer riles up the left like it did when their opponent was in power, some on the left still have a tendency to give the Islamists a pass on their theocratic governance. Republican opposition to abortion or gay marriage are cited as examples of the right forcing religion on the populace, but Hamas is just peachy with it's stated policy to execute homosexuals. They are considered comrades in arms, and their transgressions overlooked for the greater good. If there is any doubt to my assertion, just read the caricature of left wing extremism that is I&I on these threads.

There is much for Israel to answer for--their settlement policies are designed to push out and crowd out Palestinians. But many on the left cannot bring themselves to consider that the opposing side to the Israelis really is much worse. I bet you will find a fair number of left wingers who would they find Hamas more palatable than the GOP if they were asked the generic question, yet they would never come to that conclusion if they compared political policies without identifying the party name.


With that long windup, is Harris correct that the left is dangerously out of touch with the realities of the kind of threat posed by a devout Muslim faith.


Sam Harris supports the U.S. and Israel on their policy of torture, but most americans by this point do also. Typical pro-war liberal.

Sam Harris also uses the same bullshit defense for killing civilians, he uses the "they use human shields" argument. Does he or anyone that uses this line ever go into defining what a human shield is? MOTHER FUCK NO When Israel invaded Lebanon and Hezbollah was in street to street combat with invading forces, WHERE THE FUCK DO YOU WANT THEM TO FIGHT YOU AT? You went into their country. Are they supposed to say "hey time out, lets go to an empty baseball field and settle this" Rolleyes The whole "human shield" argument to defend targetting civilians is total bullshit.

Sam Harris really is a dumb mother fucker when he says that the U.S. doesn't target civilians. It was just released recently that the targets killed by drones were mainly civilians and most of the targets were not even known to be people we were supposedly using them on. That means they knew they weren't dangerous targets or had no clue if they were and still targeted them for drone strikes. Sam Harris is a stupid mother fucker.
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