It’s finally happened! I woke up this morning (NZ time) and saw Sam Harris’ tweet linking to his conversation with Kyle Kulinski. Attached was a remark from Sam, “was I too angry here…you be the judge”. I actually responded before I listened to the exchange. I was comfortable doing so, because I felt I could re-create the exchange verbatim before I even clicked the link. The reason being, I have become accustomed to Sam spending an inordinate amount of time clarifying his views – that needn’t have been clarified – and defending his character against unscrupulous Regessive’s and their lackeys. In fact, the effort to combat these unethical, morally deranged – and sadly, widely read – assholes (hey if Sam can say it I can say it) now takes up the majority of his time and attention. Sam has endured this circus with a Zen like patience. But, alas, like the supermarket checkout boy that politely suffers repeated insult at the hands of people queuing at his register, Sam has finally snapped and gone ape shit.
I like to imagine Sam sitting in a quiet room practicing his mindfulness. In the next room his wife Annaka Harris sits listening to Kyle Kulinski’s interview with Glen Greenwald, to see what the Regressive’s were accusing her husband of this week. As the noise of that conversation wafts into Sam’s consciousness, an eyebrow begins to twitch and a lip begins to quiver. Then “tens of millions” echoes in Sam’s mind. His eyes open wide, bloodshot, bulging and swollen, at which point he hulks the fuck out, storming into the next room with pistol in hand, shooting the shit out of the monitor.
Of course, it wasn’t as dramatic as all that. But because Sam is usually so measured, to hear him curse so frequently with sharpness in his tone, coupled with the personal attacks. Well it was quite a shock. He referred to Greenwald et al. as “total assholes” and “cyber bullies”. He even claimed Greenwald “doesn’t have a journalistic bone in his body”, and compared him to serial plagiarist CJ Werleman, adding, the only difference between the two, was that Greenwald “won the lottery” after Edward Snowden chose him to expose his mass surveillance scandal. Once I got over being gobsmacked, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride, this has been a long time coming. And if you think Sam unfairly labelled Greenwald et al. – well tough shit – none of it comes close to the attacks aimed at him in recent years. Sam, like Greenwald is of Jewish descent, but wasn’t raised within Judaism. However he must feel as if he’s been repeatedly banging his head against a wailing wall of moral morons for the past few years and coming away with nothing but a splitting headache.
Comrades on Twitter and Facebook have alluded to the fact that Hitch would have reacted similarly. Except, Hitch wouldn’t have let things get this far. Hitch never suffered a fool, even for a second, especially in his presence. He would rebuke the person with a stinging wit that made even his critics burst into laughter. But that’s Hitch, there was no one like him, and never will be again. Sam’s strategy has been to discuss the issues openly and honestly hoping these people will see reason, or at the least play fair. Unfortunately, this strategy has failed him, because the Regressive Left isn’t interested in reason or fairness. It’s time to push back hard, and now is not a time to lose heart. The most concerning thing for me were the following comments “I’m at the end of my patience with this stuff”, and “someone like me will get out of the game because it’s too much of a fucking hassle”. Sam cannot give up this fight. If you take a look around, its easy to see the Regressive’s are winning, and have been for sometime. They’ve set back the war of ideas decades. Before we can even begin to challenge Islamism, we have to dehypnotise much of the world on this issue, and in all honesty I don’t know what’s harder to combat, Islamists or Regressive Leftists.
Now Kyle Kulinski wasn’t too bad. But here are some issues I had with the conversation bullet pointed below:
- Greenwald’s harsh interpretation of Sam’s work?
That’s not what Greenwald et al. are doing. They’re purposefully and gleefully distorting his views in an attempt to assassinate his character, thereby delegitimizing his voice, and the voices of the people he is attempting to champion. They’ve been doing this to Sam for a long time, and it is no mistake that they’re now doing this to Maajid Nawaz.
- Retweets don’t equal endorsements?
Retweets alone may not, but 140 characters are available to demonstrate your intention. As an atheist and critic of Islam, if I retweet an article from an atheist promoting the massacre of Muslim’s in his native country in order to purge the land of Islamic terrorists, am I endorsing that article? Of course not. But I would say “this article is disgusting & an example of real anti-Muslim bigotry that should be opposed”. What did Greenwald do, did he retweet the article with no qualifiers? No. What was his qualifier? “Read @MazMHussain on the bigotry of “New Atheists”, with a very revealing quote by Sam Harris”.
- [Sam Harris] No one clicks through to read the original source.
Actually Sam it’s worse than that. Click bait headlines are often the only thing people read. Plenty of people don’t read the article at all, let alone clicking on a link therein that contains your actual argument.
- Do you really think Greenwald is setting these tricks up beforehand?
That much is obvious and he’s not the only one who does it. Dean Obeidallah randomly threw the profiling distortion at Sam, and insinuated he was a racist likening him to Paula Deen, on live Television. Dean later tweeted “it was so much fun watching Sam get mad -Reza told me it would be and he was right!” Yes these people know exactly what they’re doing.
- People believe your original articles are suggestive of bigotry. Your follow ups are much clearer.
As Sam already pointed out, how many follow ups do they require before they retract or even apologise for labelling him a moral monster. In reality they haven’t done this, and no matter how many follow ups Sam writes, they never will.
- Your writings on torture don’t come across as thought-experiments.
This one is particularly annoying. In the end of faith, the 2005 article, and Sam’s many follow ups he invariably uses words like IMAGINE. In other words, here’s the topic, now let’s imagine X Y Z. SIMPLE.
- We should devote equal time and criticism to all religions.
Ok, can we get a division of labour on this? Forget security theatre that’s intellectual theatre. People seem to forget the issue of Islamism has real people behind it. People that are suffering. Yes Christianity is bullshit, and harmful things come from it. Should I really waste my time continuously pointing that out whilst people are dying under the yoke of Islamism on a much larger scale, just to appear fair. Give me a break! Also I suspect Greenwald doesn’t want us to critique ALL religions, just those he associates with the Imperialist West i.e. Christianity and Judaism (because he is obsessed with Imperialism). Is he really losing sleep over Sam not critiquing paganism, or the Sikhs?
- We should critique our government [United States] because we’re more responsible for our own government.
Ah you do! And they do, all the time, ALL THE TIME. So do most liberals. And frankly (as an outsider) that’s all the world does also. I can put on Facebook the inhumanity of Saudi Arabias regime, and Id barely get a like from Facebook friends. One post on a drone strike against a terrorist target going awry and Facebook lights up with like after like, comment after comment bashing the United States. I don’t know if American’s know this, but in the rest of the “West”, the United States is one of, if not the, most reviled nations on earth.
- Greenwald said context matters.
Yeah except in the case of Sam’s views. Got it.
- There is anti-Muslim bigotry in America, exhibit A B and C.
Granted, but why are we laying this at Sam’s or any atheists feet? As much as Sam would appreciate the cash, he’s not so widely read as to influence every bad actor against Muslims or that all those that read his material buy into his arguments. Its often the case they oppose his arguments. He has 333k followers on Twitter, even if you grant a million more from Facebook and another few million that aren’t on social media, this is a drop in the ocean. And I’m yet to see an argument laid out by him that has been streamlined by any administration.
I could go one, but I don’t have the – albeit waning – patience of Sam Harris