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  • By Sam Harris

    The following is part of a speech that I think Hillary Clinton should deliver between now and November. Its purpose is to prevent a swing toward Trump by voters who find Clinton’s political c […]

    • Ah, Sam, Hilary is not going to say anything like that as many of her base progressives, would not tolerate any variance from the narrative about islam that is now being promulgated. If she even intimated 0.005% of what you have laid out as her putative speech the screeching from the progressive wing of her party would drown out all other conversation on the subject.

      Hilary is a politician bent on winning and the truth is not always the ally of political victory.

    • Its purpose is to prevent a swing toward Trump by voters who find Clinton’s political correctness on the topic of Islam and jihadism a cause for concern…

      Unfortunately, a speech such as this might work to reassure some who are “on the fence”, but, as the previous reply claims, it would probably backfire by alienating many more.

      If these are Clinton’s views on the subject, it would probably be best to save sharing them with the public for some time after the election, perhaps following the first (inevitable) terrorist attack during her tenure.

    • Excellent speech, Hillary. Oh, no, wait, it wasn’t Hillary, was it? But it should be.

    • No, it’s not the right time for that, Harris, you monomaniac. We’re facing an election in November. Hello? She can’t afford to run the risk at this moment of being misunderstood on this issue, and perceived as “Islamophobic”; that’s her opponent’s job; he’s the bigot, remember? You’re a great guy, but you’d make a lousy campaign manager. 🙂

    • @dan

      OK, maybe now’s not the time. But I hope she’s able to make a speech like that after Jan 2017.

    • Western Christians used to murder people they believed were witches.

      In passing she might also mention the millions of Christians who killed each other in the Reformation, the Christians who were killed and colonised in the Islamic expansion through the Middle East, North Africa and Spain, and the similar reaction of Christendom during the Crusades. Also the internecine wars which have sprung up in both faiths over their respective histories, not to mention the murdering, mutilation and burning of heretics and apostates. The story of religion is written in blood.

    • and perceived as “Islamophobic”

      Is there anybody on this site who isn’t?
      This is just a sub-division of being “Religion-phobic” surely?
      Just like any other pile of steaming horseshit? who wants it anywhere within an open secular society?
      21st century Schizoid man…..(I do love early Crimson!)

    • This country, Ireland, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, and in the next few years will be remembering the heroic, tragic, violent and perhaps inevitable events which led to independence and followed from it. It has been a time of self examination for all Irish people, including the Loyalist population in the north. The triumphalism has largely disappeared, and nearly all sections of society, except perhaps the Loyalist community, have re-evaluated what happened and the values which drove the events.
      Actually, “celebration” is the wrong word to use, commemoration is more accurate. Arising out of the national ruminations is a good deal of thought about what people want their Republic to be like, and what role it can play in Europe and the world. For the Irish people it’s not about burying history, but trying to understand it in order to make a better country. They are calling into question the worth of the founding myths of their State.
      It is strange that Christianity, particularly American Christianity, which always occupies the moral high ground, is reluctant to enter into such a self examination, or to confront the ghastliness of its own history. Even if it blew the election for her….oh well, there’s no point in even thinking about that.

    • I don’t think this would work as a political speech. It is too vague, too wishy washy, too much hedging. It does not get to the point fast enough. Her audience would have snoozed off by the end of the first paragraph.

    • I think Dr. Harris’ real hope is that Mrs. Clinton (or, more likely, one of her advisors or speech writers) will read his piece and take some notice of it.

      With people’s attention span shrinking to the vanishing point, no politician would ever give a speech with a sentence this long:

      …This way of speaking has been guided by the belief that if we said anything that could be spun as confirming the narrative of groups like ISIS—suggesting that the West is hostile to the religion of Islam, if only to its most radical strands—we would drive more Muslims into the arms of the jihadists and the theocrats, preventing the very cooperation we need to win a war of ideas against radical Islam…

    • @9

      It is strange that Christianity, particularly American Christianity, which always occupies the moral high ground, is reluctant to enter into such a self examination, or to confront the ghastliness of its own history.

      Strange yes… I would say schizophrenic. This explains a lot, however. Christians are not supposed to be all that rich; Christ never tired of excoriating the wealthy; and that is precisely why we hated communism so much; it is probably closer, in theory at least, to what Christ actually taught, than American capitalism; so instead of facing this contradiction, this inconsistency, which would have force people to consider the fact that they were in fact not really good Christians after all, but were in fact steeped in “sin”, Americans had to engage in self-repression, and in the process find an enemy, someone “worse than us” who we could demonize as the Other. This is collective pathology.

      Horror of terrorists is legitimate, but I suspect that again, because we are unable to face our own violent history and morally indefensible collusions, and our own violence today (drone strikes, etc.), and our immoral policies (support of an Apartheid state, for example), we revel in the knowledge that there are others out there that are worse; so in a comparative sense, we can feel good about ourselves. Another lie.

      Finally, Christ – and I am not a Christian, but I am an American – despised inequality, love of power, and love of money (greed), and war. I don’t see how someone who reads the Bible and is not illiterate could think otherwise: all of that is clearly “unChristian.”

      You can and will find isolated passages that suggest otherwise. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34); you can always find what you’re looking for.

      All of these contradictions create tension, volcanic tension. (That tension needs an outlet or it will explode.) That may explain, in part, the love of flag and country. Whenever I see a flag I smell a rat, as Henry Miller said. I see violence bursting at the seems and disguised as love and loyalty…

    • No problem with anything Harris has written but it behooves Jews and Christians when writing such to also call out, each time and as forcefully, the dangers to world peace posed by their religious group. Failure to do so raises the question of their motivations and intellectual honesty.

    • I think Sam Harris has an alternative / fantasy HRC in mind. She is in cahoots with Soros, has a core disdain/hatred of the United States, its founding principles, and most of its citizens, and is by her own words, out to become the new Angela Merkel. Looking at the factual history of the islamic political system (yes, a la Dr. Bill Warner), the islamic culture is incompatible with all other belief or non-belief systems, and cannot retain its identity otherwise. Not happening, Sam Harris! Perhaps he must support her because he finds the alternative (Trump) unacceptable. I support Trump because I find the Progressive Democrats and their Saudi owners unacceptable. That’s what it boils down to.

    • Love ya Sam, but I have to agree with several of the other comments, that political speech writing Ain’t Yo Thang! Maybe the whole concept is a tad bit naïve as well.
      Too intellectual (albeit severely constrained compared to your usual prose) for the public. Also, you are misjudging your intended user. She and all like her are merely regurgitating a party line that has been dutifully crafted and honed by professional speech writers to be as vote-getting as possible. These speeches have little to do with her opinion, real future plans or educating the electorate. Our President is merely a spokesperson for the unacknowledged private interests who own the global debt system we call the “economy”. Religion is only on the radar insofar as it promotes military expenditures, creates opportunities to establish new markets and reduces nationalism. (too Chomskyish?) If she could control her actions and write her own speeches, I am sure she would value and possibly utilize some of your suggestions. Who knows if the Donald could even read it? If you doubt my reservations about presidential power, I would encourage you to recall all of the pre-inauguration speeches, promises and goals issued by our current “leader”. If he were king, we would have pulled out of the middle-east, gone back to the moon, created transparency in the Government and reduced the national debt. Remember? Oh my, how post-inauguration performance has strayed from the Hope and Change! Those speeches got him elected though. I will make this bet with you Sam- If Donald gets elected, his actual policies and actions will be surprisingly familiar and mainstream compared to his current rhetoric, or else he will not be in office for very long. The tail seldom wags the dog.

    • Today, I want to talk about one of the most important and divisive
      issues of our time—the link between the religion of Islam and
      terrorism.

      Yes, Hillary. There is a link between Islam and terrorism, however the link(s) are many and they are complex and difficult to understand. The problem seems to be that no one understands just how complex the situation is. People want simple answers to very complex issues. First of all, most religious faiths demand that couples have many children, and that sex for pleasure is evil. So the ignorant and gullible believe that sort of nonsense. The result is overpopulation, that is too many people for the available resources. The people become poverty stricken but that kind of situation relentlessly becomes worse and worse. As the population increases, education becomes more and more difficult to attain so the people become more and more susceptible to the rantings of religious leaders. And so it goes until a society explodes.

      The populace wants simple answers to complex things and religious leaders tell them they have those simple answers….their God. As sexual frustration builds and poverty becomes worse, sexually frustrated men will become more violent and look for religious answers. Those religious answers lead them in the wrong direction. People who are vulnerable don’t dare to blame their own religion for their tragic situation, so they find scape goats….the infidels of course.

      The problem is not terrorism per se, it is any religion. It is especially critical for a secular candidate to run for president of the United States, and to run as a declared atheist. Then we would not be simply critical of any one religion but of all religions for their beliefs in delusionary gods and ignoring science.

    • @#15

      She…has a core disdain/hatred of the United States, its founding
      principles, and most of its citizens,

      Um, er, evidence please! This is just a silly, emotional statement. Obviously you don’t like her at all, which is fine, but at least list things that are true and that you’re able to substantiate. You are correct in saying that Harris considers the alternative unacceptable; he has stated as much. But he also isn’t ‘holding his nose’, as he has also stated repeatedly on his podcasts.

      So, let’s assume the complete truth in your statement that the progressive dems are owned by the Saudis. Again, I would of course ask for evidence for this statement (please don’t tell me how obvious it is because if that were so I wouldn’t pose the question), but assuming it were true I would simply ask why that was unacceptable. Because if progressive dems, including the likely next president are owned by Saudis, by extrapolation the Saudis own America and by extension the free world. Seems to me that freedom and Saudi culture doesn’t really jibe. Though I’m happy to be told by a posting expert exactly how they coexist.

      Ah, Trump. I know, I know, the election is “rigged”. Of course! Hmm, why doesn’t this multi BILLIONAIRE, who apparently has more money than both parties combined, rig it himself?! Because a) it’s not rigged, and b) he most likely wants no part of winning this election.

    • To ‘eejit’: Douglas Murray on Islam vs other religions, including the Crusades etc: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TChhWlM8LsE

    • As I see it, Atheophobia seems to outweigh all other phobias in today’s society. Look what Australia did to it’s first Atheist Prime Minister. She’s lucky she wasn’t burned at the stake.

    • @janice #15

      I support Trump because I find the Progressive Democrats and their Saudi owners unacceptable.

      Saudi also owns, or owned, the Bush regime in particular. And (to be fair) probably every other regime in the USA since oil was discovered there.

      But I suppose Trump, by not being a “real” Republican, can seem to distance himself from that.

      Basically, and correct me if I’m wrong, you’re pro-Trump because it sticks the finger to the existing political elites in the system of pseudo-choice between the 2 establishment parties. A vote for Trump is a giant “F*ck You”, a plague on both your houses. A very understandable sentiment, and something quite appropriate (as long as he doesn’t actually win — be careful what you wish for, look at Brexit.)

      Just a thought: would this be a suitable outcome: Trump wins, and is (almost) immediately impeached. Before he bankrupts the USA and sells it to Russia, or gets it nuked.

    • Dan, Eejit, Pinball and others ..

      The atrocities committed by the Christian church in times gone by were vile acts. That has precisely nothing to do with the story at hand – indeed, it’s a distraction, employed most often by apologists for Islam who say that because “our” church (whoever “we” happen to be) once committed mayhem we are not allowed, today, to criticize others. That’s a bit like saying because my forefathers once owned slaves I should not be able to condemn slavery today.

      In a world that has moved steadily towards liberalism over the past few decades, Islamic nations stand out as bastions of repression and intolerance. While we in the West debate trans-gendered access to bathrooms, many nations, all of them Islamic, still mandate the death penalty for homosexuality. In America and Europe we bemoan the under-representation of women in boardrooms while in many countries, (again, a depressing number of them Islamic), females are considered property with no rights of their own. Islam is a problem. It’s a serious problem in a way that Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism etc no longer are. It’s getting worse, not better, and, as the saying goes, the first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does in fact exist.

    • The argument seems to boil down to this: is islam the reason, or the excuse for the likes of daesh, boko haram and their ilk?

      And on the lone-nutcase violence, why are they “branding” their actions with “alla hackbar”? Seems to me to be a public declaration of support for the above death cults, but once again, is it a reason or an excuse?

      Unfortunately, the very existence of daesh et al gives encouragement to unstable sociopaths to act out what might otherwise be held back, suppressed by their “better angels”. So, this pretty girl doesn’t fancy me? Kill her and yell “alleyhackbar” and it makes it somehow justified?

      Certainly it’s a tainted phrase now, and nobody who isn’t on a homicidal rampage should ever use it again, in any context. Maybe google can translate it properly, as “kill me now for I am incurably deadly”.

    • OHooligan,

      Suppressed by their “better angels.”

      Not entirely sure if this is sarcasm. If it is it’s pretty good. Ha-ha! (An unpleasant issue you commented on, but that struck me as funny. Better angels. That was from a political speech. Lincoln was a cold, brilliant man; but Mike Huckabee could have used that phrase. I am wondering if you share my instinctive aversion to that book that everyone’s raving about. If you can judge a book by its title I would say: nonsense. Maybe you can let me know on the Pinker thread if you share my sentiments.)

    • OHooligan #26
      Aug 25, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      And on the lone-nutcase violence, why are they “branding” their actions with “alla hackbar”? Seems to me to be a public declaration of support for the above death cults, but once again, is it a reason or an excuse?

      The attention seeking psychologically inadequate rebels, usually want to project themselves as macho commanders of some notable organisation, while rebel organisations are happy to take credit for any rebellious acts which get supportive publicity.

      eg. The prominent members of organisations such as the IRA, are all “generals”, “commanders”, or lieutenants, in their “army”, with a notable lack of lance-corporals, privates or cadets!

    • john.wb #25:
      The atrocities committed by the Christian church in times gone by …. it’s a distraction

      It’s certainly not a distraction, and neither I nor any of the others have used it as such. It’s not a “how about them, they did it too” argument. It’s all about the role of religion in fomenting violence, dogmatism etc. If you read my post at #6 I was most careful to be inclusive of our Islamic brethren, in including them in my blanket condemnatory rant. In fact I’d like to take it further; any belief system is likely to produce such catastrophic cruelty, witness Fascism, Communism, Neo Conservatism…add your own pet hates. Even Atheism … but we use the same excuse as the Christians and Muslims: that’s not real Atheism, it’s just the Communists etc, misusing it.

    • Thats true Olgun,

      It’s impossible to speak Arabic without the mention of Allah in every other sentence. Al-hem-do-lei-la or thanks to God is a useful catch-all phrase that can’t be avoided.

      Al-hem-do-li-la = Supercalifragilisticespialidocioius. When you have nothing to say in English, say Super…and when you have nothing to say in Arabic, say Alhemdolila!! Problem solved.

    • Olgun

      haha. Yes, that’s very aggravating. The medical “thank God” is the worst for me. Poor medical professionals who devote their entire adult lives to study and all of the hours of practice on the job. That’s real service to humanity and then along comes the pious devout ones and chalk it up to their invisible friend in the sky. How insulting. Like Dennett says in his essay on this subject, “Thank goodness” for our devoted medical professionals, not thank God.

    • Olgun / Laurie

      As the late great Terry Pratchett noted:

      ““Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that’s a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events — the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there — that must also be a miracle. Just because it’s not nice doesn’t mean it’s not miraculous.””

    • LaurieB #3

      I’ve heard that the word “chuffed” comes from the Arabic phrase “God sees us”, which was picked up by soldiers in the Eighth army, and wrongly interpreted as an expression of satisfaction when something goes right (which was rare enough in the Desert War). Do you happen to know the phrase?

    • eejit

      The verb to look or see is shoof. So Allah y’shoofna is Allah is watching us. Mind you, I only know North African Arabic as a second language so in the Mid East I’m rendered incommunicado. Could shoof be mutated to sound like chuff? Not sure.

    • Laurie B #37

      Yes, that’s the phrase I heard. I doubt very much that the average tommy would be able to distinguish yer actual palatal sound from yer uvelar.

    • As someone coming from northern England I regret to say chuff and chuffed is most often used and probably originated as back slang as this article articulates-

      http://www.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2011/09/frasers-phrases-chuffed

      Pronounce chuff backwards.

      Backslang, like yob, was quite a frequent occurrence in the last two hundred years especially amongst thespians and gay folk in England, talking covertly in “polari”.

    • War on terror? If Trump wins we will have terror right here at home. First things first. ( And we supported dictators and had a role to play in the rise of terrorism.)

      Right now Hillary must win this election.

      Hitler surrounded himself with thugs and criminals. I am watching a report on Trump’s people. They are pretty close to that.

      They are all sinister. One, a Bill Stepien, was involved with the horrible bridge scandal in Jersey and enjoyed it. (Proved by email.) Christie fired him and denounced him. He is working now for Trump. Christie praised him today. The Breitbart guy is a thug. Trump’s former campaign manager Manafort will be facing charges for his failure to disclose info about his activities in the Ukraine.The list goes on. Remember: it’s a different time now; thugs are not what they were.

      Trump had Nigel Farage at a Rally. All this emphasis on immigrants is classic; and that, along with fear-mongering (exploiting hate and xenophobia), and “law and order”, is the absolute mark of incipient fascism. I never thought this would happen in my lifetime. We are at fascism’s door. Hillary will win, but it is still a sorry state of affairs, one that Mailer and others tried to warn us about.

    • Jim Jeffries nails it so often.

    • Even though in some ways he is a horrible selfish piece of shit (by his own admission)

      I think that mostly an affectation. Goody two shoes is uncool. Besides its how a lot of his humour works and the humour needs to misdirect for the ethical punchlines to be more shockingly true.

    • “Is ISIS a US-created monster?”

      “A recent interview with the prominent Middle East analyst Graham Fuller is headlined, “Former CIA officer says US policies helped create IS.” What Fuller says, correctly I think, is that, “I think the United States is one of the key creators of this organization. The United States did not plan the formation of ISIS, but its destructive interventions in the Middle East and the war in Iraq were the basic causes of the birth of ISIS. You will remember that that the starting point of this organization was to protest the US invasion of Iraq. In those days it was supported by many non-Islamist Sunnis as well because of their opposition to the Iraq’s occupation. I think even today ISIS [now the Islamic State] is supported by many Sunnis who feel isolated by the Shiite government in Baghdad.” Establishment of Shiite dominance was one direct consequence of the US invasion, a victory for Iran and one element of the remarkable US defeat in Iraq. So in answer to your question, US aggression was a factor in the rise of ISIS, but there is no merit to conspiracy theories circulating in the region that hold that the US planned the rise of this extraordinary monstrosity.” — Noam Chomsky

    • Just watched the Jeffries bit. He’s excellent. His remarks are almost in the the middle of serious and funny, but slightly more on the side of funny, which makes it funnier and more poignant. He walks that tightrope beautifully. Never heard of him before.

      (And I like Hillary. She is quite remarkable –and flawed; but on her worst day she is a million times better than Trump.)

    • Dan, #47

      One of the things to remember about ISIS is that from the near the start and certainly until recently their adminstrative backbone has been supplied by ex-Baathists, dispossessed and motivated by the Iraq defeat.

      The Secular Baathist Leadership of ISIS: Why ISIS has nothing to do with Islam (or even an interpretation of it) – An Exposé by Channel 4 (UK)

    • phil rimmer #39

      Not convinced Phil – I’ll stick with Monty and his men!

    • eejit

      Both are probably true. Its just that chuff was used before trains on its first usage peak in 1820 according to ngram viewer with a second peak slightly higher in 1940. Chuffed though grew from nothing about 1920 with a sharp first peak in 1942 when chuff was already declining. Now chuffing followed chuffed but with a sudden second peak around 1955, when chuffing hell became a thing

      I love ngram viewer. It can proove almost anything…

    • “And modern, reform-minded Muslims, most of all, want to uproot the causes of this needless misery and conflict.”

      But how many Muslims fall into that category? Muslims in western Europe come to perhaps one percent of the world’s Muslim population, 16 million, and in the US to about another 3 million or 0,2 percent. Not even all of those would consider themselves modern, reform-minded Muslims. There may be an unknown number fitting the description, mostly in countries with somewhat higher standards of living and a small middle class, probably mostly oil-derived. But the vast majority, whose standard of living puts them very far down the economic scale, and on the scale of education, would most probably not describe themselves as modern and reform-minded – if they have any concept of what that might mean at all. But these poor people are also those who suffer most from the jihadist terrorists. and long for an end to the violence. Those attacking targets in the West have mostly already lived here, often studied here, like the 9/11 attackers. Or think of the hundreds, perhaps thousands who have left from homes in Europe to join the IS. How and where are we to find the roots to uproot, and how to do the uprooting?

    • GrumpyKraut #54
      Aug 28, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      Or think of the hundreds, perhaps thousands who have left from homes in Europe to join the IS. How and where are we to find the roots to uproot, and how to do the uprooting?

      Clearly some are motivated by information on the intolerable conditions under which people from their shared cultures are living, as a result of foreign arming and funding of rival rebel groups, accompanied by earlier or on-going, foreign military attacks on the governments, police and military, who were previously maintaining law and order in their “homelands”!

      Western governments, Hell-bent on regime-change, have started civil wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, – “liberating” jihadists, from the “repressive laws” and governments, which kept them under control!
      That is before we even look at the historical earlier world-wide effects of colonialism on endemic cultures, or the corrupting influences of oil money!

    • Not that I would consider any of the Kurds fighting in Turkey, Syria, Iraq or Iran to be Immigrants useful to any country of “the west”. France and Britain totally screwed up any sensible (the in other senses brain-dead Ottoman Turks were much better at this) territorial borders, the Sykes–Picot Agreement may rank among the most idiotic agreements reached in Human history, causing us no end of troubles. The so-called (exclusively in “Great” Britain) Victorian age may even have been more moronic than the combination of Tricky Dick Nixon and Dirty Dick Cheney (Dubya is kinda irrelevant with DD around). But then there was Hitler and Stalin (a bit later Mao); and others mass murderers all over the place …

    • My #59 here: Dont’t ask me, my best guess is don’t go on posting when your tired brain has switched on the screen-saver … ramble ramble …

    • To #29:

      “….any belief system is likely to produce such catastrophic cruelty,
      witness Fascism, Communism, Neo Conservatism…add your own pet hates.
      Even Atheism …”

      Atheism is not a “belief” system. I am an atheist, NOT because I “believe” in atheism, but because there is simply no evidence for any god or gods. Again, atheism is NOT a “belief” system.