Sam Harris, Joe Rogan, Islam And The Future Of Liberalism

Sam Harris writes about the fallout from a recent visit with Joe Rogan on his blog:

I recently had a very enjoyable three-hour conversation with Joe Rogan on his podcast, where the topics ranged from jihad to probability theory to psychedelics. But I subsequently received a fair amount of abuse online for a few things I said about Islam and our adventures in the war on terror.

For instance, I appear to have left many viewers with the impression that I believe we invaded Afghanistan for the purpose of rescuing its women from the Taliban. However, the points I was actually making were rather different: I think that abandoning these women to the Taliban is one of the things that make our inevitable retreat from Afghanistan ethically problematic. I also believe that wherever we can feasibly stop the abuse of women and girls, we should. An ability to do this in places like Afghanistan, and throughout the world, would be one of the benefits of having a global civil society and a genuine regime of international law. Needless to say, this is not the world we are living in (yet).

The ferocious response to my discussion with Rogan about the war on terror has, once again, caused me to worry about the future of liberalism. It is one thing to think that the war in Afghanistan has been an excruciating failure (which I believe), but it is another to think that we had no moral right to attack al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the first place. A significant percentage of liberals seem to hold the latter view, and consider President Obama to be nothing more than a neocon stooge and Islam to be an unfairly maligned religion of peace. I regularly hear from such people, and their beliefs genuinely trouble me. It doesn’t take many emails containing sentences like “The United States and Israel are the greatest terrorist states on earth” to make me feel that liberalism is simply doomed…

[continues at the Sam Harris blog]

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  • Smiley Smile

    Sam Harris is spot on in this article.  The self-loathing of the West within the alternative media is emotionally infantile.  Who’s going to work harder trying to save their country: the person who spends all their time loathing their country and their culture, or the person who loves their country, and is grown up enough not to blame it for all the ills of the world?  At the root of it, that blame complex shows an unwillingness to really face other cultures and histories.  Two examples: 1) Rogan’s listeners blame the US and Israel for all the trouble and see them as sinister.  For Harris to suggest that many of our problems in middle east are because of oppressive and despotic religious structures gets him accused of working for the Man.  For him to mention that there is no moral difference between the West and the East ruins the juvenile mystique the audience have built up around a foreign culture they know little about. 2) The same thing happens whenever the ancient Mayans and 2012 are discussed on shows like this They build them up as some sort of ascended culture in possession of New Age power, and completely forget about all those centuries of human sacrifice. 

    Thinking all evil comes from yourself blinds you to the evil in others. Has your fight against the local NWO made you a pawn for some other NWO?  ;)

    • Andrew

      And thinking all evil comes from others blinds you to the evil in yourself.  Now, which of the two is easier to change?

    • Jin The Ninja

       the problem with the MSM, is their INABILITY to deconstruct the esoteric myths of nationalism and american exceptionalism. and for americans and their gov’t to halt their practices of neo-imperialism in the world (not just the middle east). furthermore there is a greater inability to effectively disseminate the myths of capitalism and consumerism and expose the vice of powerlessness that grips the working, middle, poor, and 3rd world. what you are saying, ultimately, pays homage to those same myths, and focuses on “other cultures” when in anthropological terms, those cultures have every right to be sovereign and free. so in effect, you are telling us to respect the status quo, and failing to see beyond your own petty nationalism, and euro centrism.  there is no epistemological difference between east and west, but that particular myth is so pervasive because of european colonialism in asia, and CIA anti communism in the 1950s (where the CIA sponsored East Asian departments in universities) – which promoted an understanding of the culture and sociology in EA in order to divide and conquer it. what i mean by this is: that the myth was provided to us from establishment views, which is why so many (even `asians`) believe in this divide. so while you sit back and post snide remarks about the NWO, it`s frankly not so sinister (in that much of it is transparent), you`re acknowledging the powers that be to be, and not allowing a critical discourse to emerge, which would combat the effects of the existing establishment (which is, in effect, the New World Order aka the way things are).

    • Raytalan

      We’re only responsible for what we
      do not for what others do. We don’t have any moral responsibility for what
      other people do that we can’t affect. Talking about how awful the Arab despots
      are doesn’t change the fact that our own country is committing crimes, which
      we’re consciously supporting. If you’re concerned about human rights abuses you
      should advocate that your own country stops committing them.

  • Jesus Borg

    “It is one thing to think that the war in Afghanistan has been an excruciating failure (which I believe), but it is another to think that we had no moral right to attack al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the first place”

    So being a Liberal means that We have a moral right to “attack al Qaeda and the Taliban”?

    Where to start unpacking all the myriad things wrong with that statement? The conflation of Al Qaeda and the Taliban?

    The problematic idea of Moral right to attack people through pre-emptive war? The Possiblity that these wars increase Islamic Miltancy? The number of female civilians killed in this war?

    What is he talking about Just War theory? Its self loathing to not want the US to engage in pertpetual warfare? I don’t know where to start.

  • Raytalan

    ” It is one thing to think that the war in Afghanistan
    has been an excruciating failure (which I believe), but it is another to think
    that we had no moral right to attack al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the first
    place.”

     I’m sure that these same people who say the US
    has the right to bomb Afghanistan for 9/11 would never suggest that either Cuba
    or Nicaragua has the right to attack the US for the numerous terrorist attacks
    carried out against them by American backed terrorists. Are American lives
    somehow worth more than Nicaraguan or Cuban lives?

     

    “Whether or not every Palestinian believes these things
    is not the point. The point is that many do, and their democratically
    elected government claims to. It is only rational, therefore, for Israel to
    behave as though it is confronted by a cult of religious sociopaths. ”

    I’m amazed that Sam Harris would even use this argument. Bin
    Laden has used the same argument to kill American civilians. They “elected
    their government and thus they’re responsible for any action they take.” Does
    Harris think every American should be held responsible for the hundreds of
    thousands of Iraqi children that died due to the sanctions against Iraq during
    the 1990s? Apparently he believes every Palestinian should be held responsible
    for their government.

    I could barely read this whole piece. Harris’ double
    standard for American actions and his ethnocentric view of the world gleamed
    through the words. Summed up in one sentence, “do as I say, not as I
    do.”

  • Camron Wiltshire

    Let’s dissect the sophistry.  Mr. Harris states, “I think that abandoning these women to the Taliban is one of the things that make our inevitable retreat from Afghanistan ethically problematic.”  
    What is more problematic is that the supposed “just” precedence for invading Afghanistan in the first place, the attacks of 9/11  could not have been conceivably carried out by those we have blamed for the crime.   We have never proven the  guilt of “Al Quaeda” aka “Al CIA DUH” (our Mujahadeen data base)  conclusively , in fact we have more than enough evidence from whistle blowers  and eye witnesses from all level of government, military, private and public sector to immediately reopen the investigation as the first was so obviously a cover up on par with the Warren report.

     “An ability to do this in places like Afghanistan, and throughout the world, would be one of the benefits of having a global civil society and a genuine regime of international law. Needless to say, this is not the world we are living in (yet)”

    I advise that if Mr. Harris is so interested in preventing human rights abuses towards women that he start at home with the immediate investigation of Dyncorp and the U.N  for their repeated and atrocious record of rape and torture which we of course as U.S. serfs/tax payers are expected to ignore because, “They did 9/11!”   http://news.change.org/stories/wikileaks-reveals-u-s-tax-dollars-fund-child-sex-slavery-in-afghanistan and http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/january2006/010106sexslavescandal.htm are just two articles Mr. Harris should study if he wants to presume to understand the situation well enough to actually offer advice that is relevant whatsoever.

    Here is to not letting someone else do our thinking for us.  

    Please visit Ae911truth.org and RememberBuilding7.org to educate yourself as to the reality of the 9/11 attacks and the impossibility of the “official” story.  All pro war, conclusions drawn from this completely discredited mirage are entirely fraudulent and are the contrivance of the master manipulators of the military/media industrial complex.

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    Harris is just so maddeningly confused on these issues.

    Poor guy.

    Good thing it’s not my job to sort it out for him. 

    [Edit] It is amazing what sort of moral and intellectual jams people get themselves into when they feel the need to categorically defend Israel or the actions of Zionists. Sort of brings to mind poor old Alan Dershowitz.

  • Sarcasmo

    This guy (Sam Harris) sounds like an establishment sympathizer, IMO of course.

  • Inside Job

    Sam Harris is a neo-con shill, one of the only bad Rogan podcasts, Harris is a piece of shit.

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