Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Of bigots and fools

Well, sure; who didn't see that coming?

Like the e-mails Jr. published, when the NYT was only going to publish summaries, not the actual content?  You know, that dog may hunt with your supporters, but your supporters are a vanishingly small percentage of the population.

And the most interesting part of this story now?

Meanwhile, the president has seemingly been in hiding. After an intense trip at the G-20 in which Trump was forced to let his daughter serve as a stand-in for him, Trump hasn’t surfaced to do anything other than Tweet. The White House has also refused to do any on-camera briefings.
The president leaves Wednesday evening for another international trip and won’t be seen publicly before the departure.
And as Trump withdraws from public view, another bigot arises to take his place:

On his program Waking Up, Harris echoed anti-refugee talking points and proposed figuring “out some way to keep the number of Muslims down in any society, whether we’re honest about this or whether we do this covertly. Clearly it’s rational to want to do this.”

“I think many people will feel, what is the f**king point of having more Muslims in your society?” he added. “It seems perfectly rational to say, we don’t want any more.”

I'm old enough to remember when Sam Harris won a Pen/Faulkner award for his first book (which I'm sure they wish they could take back now), and when people lauded him unstintingly for his intellectual courage and perspicacity.  Oh, and when being against Muslims could still be defended as not being bigotry.  So Sam Harris has done some good, after all; albeit in a very negative way.

“We should profile Muslims or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.”

The January episode of Harris’ podcast is not the first time he has flirted with racist talking points. It was soon followed by another episode in April, in which Harris advanced rhetoric that resembles the pseudoscientific “race realism” of white supremacists. Harris insisted that “average IQ differs across races and ethnic groups,” implying that people of African descent have lower IQs, while people of European descent are smarter.

No word there on Asians, who are the majority of the world's Muslims, but I'm sure he thinks they're IQ's are lower than white Europeans, too.

“If you take a community of Muslims from Syria or Iraq or any other country on Earth and place them in the heart of Europe, you are importing, by definition, some percentage, however small, of radicalized people, or people who will be prone to radicalism at some future date where they just decide to start watching too many Anwar al-Awlaki videos,” Harris said at 1:11:50. “And again, this only happens to Muslims or people who are likely to become Muslim.”

Again, what if we take "a community of Muslims from" Indonesia and place them in the "heart of Europe"?  What then?  I'd like to think "likely to become Muslim" is too racist even for many white supremacists; but probably not. It sounds a bit like "likely to become a communist" from my youth; but much uglier than that.  Becoming a communist was something you could be taught to forego, like flirting with Marxism in college. I'm also old enough to remember the language of white racism in America, and the insults hurled at those who sympathized with African-Americans.  Such people were never told they were "likely to become black," but they were treated as if they could, even as if they already had "turned."   It's certain "being Muslim" in Harris' formulation is a condition from which there is no recovery, and it makes you sub-human and therefore as disposable as any member of a "mongrel" race.

And don't get me started on Harris' use of the concept of "rational."  If ever there were a single example to prove no idea, no term, has only one meaning available to all. this would be it.  Interestingly, in his mind Harris is merely being open and transparent, and he is innocent of any charges of racism or "Islamophobia."

Amid his calls for fewer Muslims in the West, Sam Harris went out of his way to emphasize to listeners of his podcast that he opposes the term “Islamophobia,” insisting its very existence is mythical.
Sad!  Well, not really; more like "inescapable."  Just like the Trumps, Harris is hoist on his own petard.

1 comment:

  1. Just the other day I had occasion to go back and look at Alexander Cockburn's obit of Christopher Hitchens and he said his friends at Verso and New Left Review who adored Hitchens when he published his book slamming Mother Teresa were left wondering "wah happen" when he turned hard neo-con within a few years. Cockburn pointed out that nothing really happened as the same time he was thrilling the religion bashers he was already doing things like saying no one should shed a tear for the millions murdered in the European conquests of the Americas because the "backward" people who lived here were bound to get overrun by their superiors.

    What Sam Harris shows is that the atheist left is really not much different from the vulgar materialist right. I think that just as freedom can be perverted to mean something evil and destructive, so can secularism (well, religion can too but at least it's supposed to resist that temptation). I think mixing up the necessary secularism of a non-establishment government of a diverse population with the kind of putrid materialist secularism represented by Harris and Hitchens and, not really much differently, Dawkins and the rest of them has been a really terrible idea.

    The academic left, the left of the major journalistic voices of the supposed left have played an enormous part in that through their hostility to religion, the ones who take what Jesus, the Prophets and the Law say seriously as well as the hucksters and hypocrites. I don't much trust them anymore. Considering their role in this last election, from The Nation right down to more obscure magazines and blogs, enabling Trump, I pretty much figure they've got to go before things can really improve.