SIO70: WTF Sam Harris

Sam once again had Douglas Murray on his show and they both said some incredibly ignorant things, in my opinion. The worst was Sam’s condemnation of Black Lives Matter. He provided absolutely no facts about it or insights into his reasoning, something I would think you’d want to do before making a claim like that. I play a few clips and try to get to the bottom of this “Identity Politics” bogeyman.

Identity Politics Interview; Douglas Murray – Gentrified Xenophobia; Criminal Justice Fact Sheet; WaPo on Incarceration; ACLU and Guns

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Kris
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Kris

The Sam Harris podcast featuring Glenn Lowry contains some discussion of BLM, if I recall correctly. I have mixed feelings about BLM. But it’s hard to take seriously your quoting of stats about black incarceration and the like when you don’t mention the statistically higher rate that black Americans commit crimes. One can accept that there is some level of racial bias towards blacks in the criminal justice system but also acknowledge that the overrepresentation of blacks in police shootings & incarceration is primarily due to a higher percentage of blacks choosing to commit crimes. More black suspects means more… Read more »

kyle
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kyle

Are you suggesting black people commit five times the amount of crime that white people commit (I mean… where do they find the time)? Black people are committing 6 times more drug-related crimes than white people (despite the statistics, and anecdotal evidence from any liberal arts campus, showing similar rates)? And how about sentencing disparities… (I’m not even sure how to hypothetically frame that as the result of black people choosing to be more of a danger to society for committing the same crimes, but fortunately for me, that’s not my side of the argument)? Or, more broadly, how about… Read more »

Theresa
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Theresa

“But it’s hard to take seriously your quoting of stats about black incarceration and the like when you don’t mention the statistically higher rate that black Americans commit crimes.” You’re an idiot. Yes, you try the “most black suspects mean more interactions with police”, but you’d think that you shooting your mouth off would mean more interaction with reality and you looking stuff up and reading articles and accounts and such. Or hell just listen to what BLM says. I follow police brutality and know the stats. The black community doesn’t know if a broken tail light will lead to… Read more »

Putt
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Putt

Is it really more ‘black suspects’ or is that Blacks are often targeted as suspects? When Whites were lynching Blacks did the police go around targeting Whites as suspects? It is a well-established fact that Blacks do not involve the use of illegal drugs any more than their white peers, yet Blacks are the ones being imprisoned and getting a bad wrap at a far higher rate than Whites. This fact is even more evident today with the ‘opioid crisis’. We do not see the authority going after Whites as criminals. The media and the government frame the situation as… Read more »

kyle
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kyle

I wrote a comment addressing some of the ACLU topic on the last show, but I spent some time thinking about your question this morning, so here’s a few thoughts. 1. I don’t really see any reason to doubt the ACLU when they say their decision was made to prevent them from inadvertently endorsing actions that ultimately suppress speech. Whether or not we accept that as a valid argument, it seems to me in line with their mission statement. Moreover, while I’m mostly basing this on inference, I don’t get the sense the ACLU is looking to shy away from… Read more »

Lannie on the Spot
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Lannie on the Spot

In addition to crime, the Bureau of Justice Statistics also keeps track of witness, victim, and report data and it’s not white people calling the police on black people. Overwhelmingly it is other black people who are the victims of those crimes and they happen to report those crimes at the same rate black people are arrested for those crimes.

But since you’re into wacky conspiracy theories, it could have been a masterful plan by Barack Obama to appoint Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch to manipulate and synchronize crime statistics for 8 years.

Derick Varn
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Derick Varn

I was mildly disappointed by the fact you conflated Mark Lilla, whom you really should now if you are going to seriously talk about politics and reactionarism–he literally wrote two books on it–with the reactionaries making equations because you seem to think that your answer is substantively different from Lilla’s point. You point is that you can’t talk about colorblind solutions to identity driven problems, and this is true. But that wasn’t Lilla’s point: “No, what you say is that every citizen should be equally protected by the law. Certain people shouldn’t get special protection, and other people shouldn’t have… Read more »

Jeffk
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Jeffk

Yes, I agree with this. I agree with your interpretation of Lilla. I have only recently become aware of him and haven’t read his books. I just read interviews and heard some short interviews. His major point is that liberals need a new vision to win more elections. The vision should be built upon citizenship with a focus on the idea that everyone is treated equally under the law (SJW are hyper sensitive to this) and solidarity (SJW are horrible at this). In one book review this was an exert “They [liberals] must offer a vision of our common destiny… Read more »

Putt
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Putt

Sam Harris has lost every shred of credibility by making such an irrational statement. It is clear he is no longer guided by the principle of truth but one of personal bias. Am I to believe the Civil Rights Movement was dangerous because they organized around race? Has Sam ever invited a BLM’s member and discuss with them their cause and motivation? The last time I checked, BLM came about out of the high number of UNARMED Blacks being killed by the police. But it appears Sam shares the sentiment that Blacks have a high crime rate so that gives… Read more »

Lannie on the Spot
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Lannie on the Spot

The difference between an experiential comment and identity politics is the same difference between the following statements:

“As the mother of a child with autism, I can tell you that finding an appropriate education program has not been easy for us.”

“As the mother of a child with autism, I have unique insight and expertise into the dangers of vaccines and complexities of childhood development.”

d137
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d137

I noticed Sam Harris’s jab at BLM (completely unsubstantiated) and it did trouble me. I thought maybe he was purposefully trying to be edgy, and show his ‘cred’ as someone willing to take a heterodox position. But the thought that he would carelessly condemn a movement with noble goals like BLM in such a way just to gain ‘cred’ troubled me even more.. He always talks about how a lot of his most fervant fans are Trump supporters, and while he has been adamantly against Trump I worry he is drifting in a bad direction. He has never (in my… Read more »