Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson
By Jamie Palmer
In a recent post covering a discussion between Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz at the JW3 in London, I wrote the following regarding their critics:
Despite Sam’s sensible warning, I actually listened to the whole 3+ hours of this podcast. I was struck by how irrational Aziz was but couldn’t quite figure it out until I read this analysis. It’s a pity really because you would think Harris and Aziz had much in common and could make a difference together. Not Sam’s fault though – he tried.
It seems that the discussion was wrecked and isn’t worth listening to.
No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money. Samuel Johnson
I agree, but it doesn’t say much for the contributors to this (and other) sites!
@kdiamond6 – #1 – (Despite Sam’s sensible warning, I actually listened to the whole 3+ hours of this podcast.) – you have far more patience than me!
Clearly, from both the explanation provided here and the excruciating exchange between Harris and Aziz (which I could only endure for about 30 min total, hopping around and hoping for something compelling), Aziz was exposed as being surprisingly intellectually lazy. This laziness was compounded by his badgering persona in writing a follow-up column in Salon after Harris wisely opted (initially) not to broadcast the conversation as a podcast. I was surprised that Harris finally relented, but understand why based on his preamble to the podcast.
Though Harris did well in both situations, I prefer his far more succinct, well reasoned beat down of Ben Affleck on Maher.
Every attack of the person conceals a deficit in being able to attack their ideas.
Never attack the other’s motives. You simply do not know the origins of their behaviours or thoughts…unless you know they they have failed to take their meds.
I have a problem with current definitions of “Left” & “Right”. It reminds me of Orwell’s “Newspeak” or even more of the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, who defined a word to mean whatever she felt it should mean.
I’m more or less the same age as Christopher Hitchens, from an almost identical family and geographic background and like him defined myself as left wing. I never found myself apologising for Left-Wing dictators, the only dictatorship I might have voiced support for was that of “… The proletariat”.
It is now fashionable to define any supporter of an “unorthodox” or “different” persuasion as Left, but I would describe such individuals more as the sheep of “Animal Farm”, the “politically correct”.
I resent the attitude that the “Right” should get all the credit going for opposing religious or secular totalitarians and for the same Orwellian reason I gave above.
These labels are unhelpful to all but the intellectually lazy. I resent it when a particular opinion I may express is extrapolated to embrace an entire philosophy. Because I believe in basic tolerance should not lead others to imply that therefore, I approve of the right of psychopaths to to rape young girls (or boys) and force them into unfashionable dress codes – for example.
Darn. I have been hypocritical. My previous post was exactly failing to follow this advice of mine in #5.
I think this (#5) counts more than the self satisfaction of my post on the motives of the hyper pro-social left.
If your goal were the removal of Saddam, all you would have to do is accept his offered surrender just prior to the invasion. America was not interested in getting rid of Saddam. The war carried on long after he was toppled. They wanted the spoils of occupying Iraq. Obama announced the end of the invasion on the very day of the big auction where they sold off Iraq’s oil to American and European oil companies.
phil @ # 5.
I concur; at all costs avoid an ad hominem attack; it’s very tricky, but be Socratic and flush your opponent out into the open, that way they can sometimes be induced into destroying their own arguments. Hitchens did just that with Blair in their Ontario debate about religion, but the former was a master of the craft.
Incidentally, I always enjoy the Sam Harris podcasts.
I too made it through the full excruciating interview
Sam started the cussin’ and Omer continued it
Omer is slick, quick and a bit thick
The Controversial Poster Philoctetes #6
Mar 31, 2016 at 4:01 pm These labels are unhelpful to all but the intellectually lazy.
I totally agree with everything you say about sloppy use of vocabulary in discourse, obfuscation of meaning with misuse of terms, intellectual sloppiness etc, but I don’t agree that the labels are unhelpful. They are of great help to the hidden persuaders; Fox News, government spin doctors, PR departments of big business, fundamentalist religious apologists… These people in general are not stupid and certainly not lazy, its just that their goals are not truth and enlightenment, but power and money.