Helen Pluckrose interviews Sam Harris

July 12, 2021 • 11:45 am

Here’s another in Helen Pluckrose’s series of interviews with humanists and rationalists, presumably intended to bring attention to her new site Counterweight, part of whose mission is to defend those unjustly accused or mobbed. This interview is 17 minutes long and Sam is, as usual, extremely eloquent. The guy speaks in publishable paragraphs.

You should listen to it; it will hearten you.

The discussion begins with free speech, which Sam defends along John Stuart Mill-ian lines: as a general principle, not just as adherence to the First Amendment. Free and untrammeled speech is, he says (as did Mill), the only way we have of winnowing truth from falsehood, though sometimes it can’t do the job.

Here are a few of Sam’s quotes I’ve transcribed from the interview.

“Apparently we now have a generation of people who think that their capacity for outrage, their capacity to feel offended, is itself evidence for the rightness or wrongness of any given principle or idea or a set of values. The “Ick Factor” is ruling our epistemology now, and it’s getting so finely calibrated that we terms like ‘microaggressions’ and ‘speech is violence’ and this reconception of harm that has made everyone as thin-skinned as they can possibly be, and as performative as they could possibly be. . . “

On the effect of social-justice “mobs” in quashing speech:

“Grownups should be able to talk about more or less everything with a cool head and not endlessly castigate one another for merely thinking out loud.”

“One of the things that’s so pernicious about this silencing effect is that it creates an illusion of consensus where you have the most voluble and hysterical activists taking up most of the oxygen and successfully cowing other people into silence for fear of the reputational damage that awaits them if they open their big mouths on any number of topics, race being only one.”

He further discusses the “asymmetric advantage” of woke activists: it’s far more costly to be accused of being racist and transphobic acts or statements than to say the sensible things that “run counter to this moral panic.”

At 9:34 the discussion gets into race. Sam of course admits the existence of racism, but argues that our goal should be to eventually make skin color equivalent to hair color: a trait that nobody cares about and that needn’t be the object of “equity.”  That day, I suspect, will be a long time coming.

Finally, there’s this quote:

“Racism exists in some places, but doesn’t exist everywhere, and it is being claimed to exist everywhere and is being found everywhere in what is clearly a mass hallucination. And this hallucination is being defended by people who are highly incentivized to defend it; and the level of dishonesty and callousness that surrounds this whole enterprise is just appalling. Genuinely good people, who everybody knows are not racist or sexist or transphobic, are being sacrificed to this new religion.”

In the end, he holds out the possibility that lawsuits against companies or institutions may be powerful ways to put the kibosh on the “mass hallucination” of the new religion.

After hearing this talk, I keep wondering why Sam is so demonized by a certain segment of the Left. Yes, I think he was wrong about objective morality, but he’s eminently sensible and surely does more good than harm. Yet he, and that other paragon of eloquence, Steve Pinker, are among the most demonized members of the anti-woke Left. Perhaps it’s just because they are anti-Woke, and won’t truckle to the mob.

h/t: Paul

62 thoughts on “Helen Pluckrose interviews Sam Harris

  1. Why is Sam demonized by some on the Left? I suspect it is his denial that racism is everywhere and that everyone is racist. This seems to be central to CRT and that is really what has the GOP up in arms and new laws. Perhaps this is not really being taught yet in many schools and they are really just going after more honest history when it comes to race. While I am against anti-CRT laws, isn’t it just a matter of time before this pan-racism theory becomes a key part of their curriculum?

    1. I would add that Sam’s demonization by progressives started many years ago in response to his withering criticism of Islam. This resulted in his being labelled an Islamophobe and racist by the far Left.

      1. Yes, it started well before this current rage of wokeness, during the earliest years of the so called Gnu Atheists when the Four Horseman published their books.

        Also prior to the current rage of wokeness there was a noticeable trend of some folks on the left demonizing Sam because of his views on guns. Not just criticism or disagreement, which is fine of course, but dismissal of any of his views based on the single issue of his views on guns and condemning him as ethically challenged for those view. I’m not sure it was entirely because of his actual views or the fact that because of his views on guns, and a couple of other issues, he gained some popularity among the right. After all, if the right likes you, you must be scum regardless of what you’ve actually said. Right?

        But definitely his criticisms of religion are what really brought on the hate from both the left, and the right too of course. Many folks on the left apparently feel that direct, confident criticism of religion is horribly mean to believers.

      2. Their smooching with Islam, including fundamentalist Islam, about the most regressive worldview we know, has been the most important reason, in combination of their ill conceived, but nasty condemnations, I turned my back on the regressive recursive left. Later also came their dumb science denial (esp re trans people), but that was later.

  2. I would not want to diminish in any way the importance of freedom of speech, but the issue is actually more than that. It is about freedom of BEING. The freedom to be a skeptical person who puts reason about just emotion. I have honestly come across the situation where, if read rationally a set of “safe space” rules enabled someone to be excluded on the grounds that they were Jewish, black or gay. People not being offended was so important that the ignoramuses writing them just said you could be excluded for making someone “feel uncomfortable” for any reason at all, without any of the usual protected categories. This meant that if someone was uncomfortable with someone being Jewish.black or gay they could have them thrown out because their state of being made someone uncomfortable!

    1. “The freedom to be a skeptical person who puts reason above just emotion.”


      The problem is that thinking is hard; while simply emoting/reacting is instinctive, easy and often comforting.

      A related issue is that people believe that WANTING something to be true is somehow evidence that it must be true. Conversely, they believe that NOT wanting something to be true is somehow evidence that it can’t be true.

  3. “Yet he, and that other paragon of eloquence, Steve Pinker, are among the most demonized members of the anti-woke Left.” Maybe the demonization of Harris and Pinker is a direct woke response to their
    manner of writing and speaking: eloquent, pointed, logical, and concise—all so alien to the woke style,
    which grew, remember, out of academic post-modernism.

    Then there is the matter of religion. Harris and Christopher Hitchens were both demonized from the “Left” (see Glenn Greenwald, Terry Eagleton) because when they demolished the pathological delusions of sky-god religiosity they included Islam, which has protected status in woke doctrine.

    1. I’m not convinced by your first paragraph. For example, PZ is nowadays as woke as one can get, and yet he also writes well (he used to be the No. 1 atheist blogger for a reason).

      Your second paragraph is spot on. Islam has “protected status” because it is mostly believed by brown people, and, in woke doctrine, people “of colour” cannot be at fault, all faults are to be attributed to “whiteness”.

  4. There is the more ‘dictionary’ definition of racism: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.” Although I would modify that dictionary version to include both negative and positive assumptions about a person based on their perceived race.

    Could someone please explain (without being derogatory) about how the woke left would define racism? I expect it would be much (much!) broader in some sense, but perhaps also very very narrow so that white people are the racist ones.

    1. They define it as a genetically inherent trait of the ‘White Race’.

      Of course inherent racial characteristics is utter garbage but there you go, most of what the Woke believe is nothing more than 19thC nonsense shoved in the microwave.

    2. Since, according to CRT, racism is systemic and pervasive *anything* that the woke left feel unhappy about (or see as an opportunity for increasing their status) is racist.

      Indeed seeking a definition of ‘racism’ is racist (or so they would have you believe).

  5. I think many here spend a lot of time talking about racism on the left and ignore the more serious problem of racism where it has always been front and center and that is the on the right. It is no longer disguised over there on the right and maybe that is why so many simply seem to ignore it. We all do so to our great destruction. The racist republican legislatures are currently doing plenty to remove democracy, fair and free election and our futures. At the current rate this will happen in next years election and the democrats are doing almost nothing to stop it. It is the difference between talking and taking action. The republicans have taken action and the democrats talk. Tomorrow or maybe it is today, Biden is suppose to talk about this but that is all it is — talk.

    1. Different replies. 1. As for here (WEIT), there is already plenty of talk and commentary about the perfidies of the right, and Jerry chooses to focus more on the perfidies from the recursive left (™) since criticism of the left needs to come from the left. 2. The Republican efforts to undermine democracy are enabled by who votes. Not much can be done, beyond mere talk, until the Democrats earn back seats in both federal and state elections.

      1. You are surely right about the first half of your comment but do not have a clue concerning the second half. The actions taken at state level will mean the vote no longer means anything. Unless action can be taken at the federal level all the votes in the world are meaningless. If you pay attention to what is actually going on at the state level you should know this. And by the way, besides talk what can you do about some misguided on the left?

    2. I do hope we can find a reasonable compromise between the extreme positions on the “voting rights” issue. Somewhere between “automatically register everyone and mail them ballots, and if they’re not legally eligible to vote, just trust that they’ll know that and won’t use them” and “everyone has to vote in person, on election day, at a handful of voting stations, and nobody can distribute food or water to them while they wait in line”.

      I hope we can all agree that 1) every eligible voter should be able to vote and 2) no ineligible voter should be able to vote, and that where #1 and #2 are mutually exclusive we should privilege #1 but only as much as necessary to enable every legal voter to vote.

      People on the left focus on #1 and don’t seem to care at all about #2 (probably because it helps Democrats at the polls). People on the right focus on #2 (probably for the same reason). It seems to me that most people should be able to get behind a system that takes care of both.

      1. What you say here sounds reasonable but, IMHO, isn’t. We all agree that governments need to be able to distinguish between people that are legal to vote and those that aren’t, right? Nothing works if that’s not the case. If we assume that works, and fix it where it doesn’t, then registering them automatically and mailing them all ballots shouldn’t be a problem. Furthermore, it would maximize voting which, in a democracy, is supposed to be a good thing.

        1. I agree with you. If the government knows who is eligible, it would be very convenient to automatically mail ballots to all those people, and mail-in voting makes it easier for people to work it into their schedule.

          Some people propose sending ballots to everyone based on DMV, welfare, and/or other government databases, but think that’s overly broad. There’s a minor scandal in Georgia now where some 35,000 people voted illegally – apparently based on a technicality after having moved. I don’t think that was deliberate fraud. The government sent them ballots and they used them, but it was technically illegal because they had moved. It’s reasonable to presume that if the government sends you a ballot, you’re entitled to use it. It’s not reasonable to expect people to know the law well enough to know that they’re ineligible to use a ballot the government sends them, and to refrain… so the government must not send ballots en masse to people who aren’t eligible to use them. If they already don’t, then great. I hope that property is maintained, but it apparently isn’t everywhere.

      2. I really do not understand what you are attempting to say and it really is not aiming at the problem. There was nothing found during the last election, 2020 that indicates the slightest bit of voter fraud. The only fraud is from Trump and the right that there was fraud. There is no evidence. It is rubbish. However many states are already passing big voter restriction bills and they include giving election results to the republican legislatures and officials where they hold the majority with ability to change the results in their states. Right now there are 60 democratic legislators in Texas that are leaving the state today to go to Washington. They are leaving specifically to prevent the Texas legislature from passing restrictive voting bill now. Not next week or next month….now. They will likely have to stay out of the state for 30 days or until the Texas legislature adjourns. This is where we are today.

      3. People on the left focus on #1 [“every eligible voter should vote”] and don’t seem to care at all about #2 [“no ineligible voter should be able to vote”] (probably because it helps Democrats at the polls).

        Citation needed for your claim that Democrats probably benefit by ineligible voters voting. To date there has been zero evidence that Democrats have benefitted from voter fraud.

        Indeed, of the minuscule amount of voter fraud that has been shown to occur in the United States, more has been proven against Republicans than Democrats.

  6. As much as I enjoy listening to Sam Harris – and wish he would resume writing – he seems to have his own “taboos and blasphemy tests”. While he says we need to be able to talk to each other without fear of cancellation and demonization, he also says and implies, in this video and other podcasts, that we should continue to demonize and cancel and fire (or not hire) “Nazis” and “racists” and “white supremacist assholes”, for some private definitions of those terms that he never quite specifies – always simply saying it’s “obvious”. It’s not obvious to me, since those words are increasingly used as generic slurs for anyone with an unorthodox thought. After all, quite a lot of people say Sam is a Nazi and a racist.

    I know his fans often ask him to interview various people, but he draws the line at “racists”. I remember he once refused to speak with Stefan Molyneux because Stefan once interviewed a “racist”, in a strange kind of guilt by association. I get the sense he just wants to avoid that whole topic. Of course Sam is free to choose who he speaks with, and given how mightily he’s complained about being tarred and feathered over his stance on Islam – even to the point where he said if he could go back in time he’d censor himself – it’s understandable that he may not want to open another can of worms.

    But he doesn’t merely not speak about it. His objection to cancellation, demonization, and the use of force (rather than persuasion) doesn’t extend to “racists” and “Nazis”, and when someone says it’s okay to demonize some people, I think they should be very explicit about who and why. It’s not enough to say “it’s obvious”. And for someone who says we should be able to talk and reason about anything rather than having taboos and blasphemy tests, it strikes me as a bit hypocritical.

    1. It’s perfectly reasonable for Sam Harris not to want to lend his platform to racists or Nazis. It is also reasonable to speak out against their bad ideas. But when has he called for them to be cancelled or fired?

      By the way, “not hired” is not equivalent to “fired” in this context. Suggesting that someone should be fired implies that they were adequate to their job or else they wouldn’t have been hired in the first place and that they are only being fired because of their opinions, perhaps expressed many years ago. Recommending someone not be hired because of their racist or Nazi opinions sounds wise, especially if those opinions are currently held. They show poor judgement. It is usually the case that the hirer can find another equally qualified candidate for the position.

      1. But when has he called for them to be cancelled or fired?

        Here’s what Sam said in the interview:

        “The arguments against Nazism are fairly clear at this point, and the reasons not to hire Nazis are just as clear as those arguments, so no, we are not powerless in the face of real evil if we expand the Overton Window back to some reasonable scope and find ourselves willing to talk about things that make people uncomfortable.”

        By the way, “not hired” is not equivalent to “fired” in this context. Suggesting that someone should be fired implies that they were adequate to their job or else they wouldn’t have been hired in the first place and that they are only being fired because of their opinions, perhaps expressed many years ago.

        This sounds like a legalism. The only difference between your “not hired” and “fired” examples is that in the “not hired” case it isn’t obvious that the belief the person holds is the actual reason, but the fact is that he’s not being hired even if he is otherwise acceptable.

        I agree with Sam that I would not hire an open and avowed Nazi. Nor would I patronize a restaurant staffed by such people. For both of us such beliefs are repugnant and beyond the Overton Window. However, I would hire a person who, for religious or other reasons, believes that homosexual acts are immoral. Such people also typically believe that fornication is immoral and that also wouldn’t stop me from hiring him, as long as he has a live-and-let-live philosophy, does not try to harm such people, and will not be a disruptive employee. I assume that the ‘woke’ would find such a person (and likely me as well) to be as abhorrent as the Nazi. Are we just criticizing where other people draw their Overton Window, but otherwise we’re all OK with the “demonize and cancel” approach? Another variable is that the ‘woke’ are on a crusade, which I am not on. It is their goal to take people down and spread terror, thus furthering their cause.

        1. So Sam Harris suggests people not hire Nazis. I’m not sure exactly what position he’s talking about here but, regardless, that’s not firing or cancelling them. You say here that you wouldn’t hire a Nazi, either so I guess you’re agreeing with Harris on this. Cancelling is something entirely different. Although you wouldn’t hire a Nazi, would you call for the firing of a Nazi working at some other company assuming their opinions didn’t interfere with the performance of their job? Would you threaten their family? I doubt it.

          1. would you call for the firing of a Nazi working at some other company assuming their opinions didn’t interfere with the performance of their job?

            No. That’s what I meant by saying that the activist ‘woke’ are on a crusade and trying to spread terror, which I am not. But the criterion would be whether I saw the person as a threat to others, not whether he could do his job. If I had reason to believe that on the weekends he was harming the objects of his hate, then I would take active steps against him.

            Cancelling is something entirely different.

            Cancelling is like a boycott or a shunning. It punishes the person or organization but also is intended to arouse fear in all those who might be inclined to engage in like behavior. Actually, I think I would not be averse to such an approach taken toward a true Nazi actively involved in harming others. Let people know that this is not to be tolerated. Where would you stand on this? What approach would you take with the true Nazi? Would you hire the person who minds his own business but believes that homosexual acts are immoral?

            But does everybody have his own criteria for cancelling people? The difference is that some people cancelling others are utterly misguided. Take the CRT proponents. Their suggested course of action keeps the downtrodden down. Their philosophy demonizes “whiteness,” the definition of which includes the notion that self-reliance and objective and rational linear thinking should be prominent goals, that hard work should be considered a key to success, and that people should be polite, delay gratification and plan for the future. Their Overton Window mystifies me. It is like trying to understand insanity.

          2. I think we’re going beyond what I intended. Without getting into details, I agree with what you say about cancellation. My original point was that Sam Harris is not cancelling anyone or calling for others to cancel.

      2. Of course I agree that Sam Harris is free to speak with whomever he likes and said as much. I also believe employers should have the legal right to not hire people they don’t want to, for whatever reason.

        I’m only saying that it strikes me as a bit hypocritical to rail against taboos and blasphemy tests, to object to cancellation and demonization, and to say that persuasion is the only tool we have (because otherwise you’re left with force)… except for certain people whom he deems beyond the pale for reasons he won’t explain – you know, those ‘racist assholes’. Well, other people deem Sam a ‘racist asshole’ who’s beyond the pale, and you’d think he’d see the irony…

        And I was aggregating other podcasts over the years with the contents of this video. I know he said “not hired” in this interview, but he’s also said he’s okay with them being fired. He’s talked about using violence against “Nazis”. I’d be hard pressed to find a link to the timestamp within the right podcast, though… shame that they’re not searchable, so feel free to take my recollection with a grain of salt.

        (I’m not a complete pacifist myself, but I think one should make the case in detail before declaring a group of people so beyond the pale that we don’t need to use persuasion with them. And maybe he has. I haven’t listened to recent podcasts, but I’ve only ever heard him say the reasons they’re different are “obvious”.)

      3. I don’t see how you can make a distinction between “not hired” and “fired”. If someone would not hire a Nazi what would they do if they found that someone was a Nazi after they hired them?

    2. Sam has talked about his diminishing written output.

      It’s a cost/benefit issue. Publishing a book takes a hugely greater effort (time, intellectual energy) compared to producing a longish series of podcasts.

      I, too, was disappointed in his curtailed writing, until I figured out a way to work listening into my day. It’s a bit of an issue (connecting to a computer is more “work” for me compared to radio). But I appreciate what he does. Also Andrew Sullivan’s podcasts.

      He used to come out with a book every few years (and I buy all his books). That would earn him something like $10 (say) from me every few years.

      From my subscription, he earns many times that. And, I get the benefit of much more content and a much more widely-ranging conversation with interesting people I might not otherwise encounter.

      1. I agree that it makes sense for him, and I was referring more to his well-written and thought-provoking essays, which probably earned him nothing at all. I always enjoyed reading them, but he hasn’t written one in many years.

        1. Yes, I agree. But you identify the problem: “earned him nothing at all”.

          It all took a lot of work and no one that I know has excess time on their hands.

    3. when someone says it’s okay to demonize some people, I think they should be very explicit about who and why

      It is OK to demonize some people (e.g. Voldemort (POTUS 45), almost certainly the worst US President in history; I refuse to use his name). But I agree that one should be explicit about what one is accusing someone of. And we should stick to facts and provide references.

    4. You defend Stefan Molyneux and you claim the accusation is just some “guilty by association”.

      There are two options here: either you really don’t know about Molyneux’ views, then it’s strange why you would bring him up. Or you know (and care) about Molyneux, but then you would now.

      That’s why I think you are one of the typical Far Right denialist types, which became quite common a few years ago. No amount of high-fivin’, meetups, audience-sharing, posing for selfies, touring around, appearing on posters together with ACTUAL white supremacist, whilst also expressing similar views, but typically more carefully worded would convince such types. Somehow, everyone should listen more to what white supremacist, identitarians or outright Neo Nazis have to say, because #freedomofspeech.

      I don’t buy what you say. Make a simple search errant and report back. Maybe you really didn’t know, then you will find out easily.

      1. I never defended Stefan Molyneux and am not a fan of the guy. (He was interesting in the early days but seemed to go off the rails at some point.) I only thought it was weird for Sam Harris to refuse to talk to him not because of anything he said, but because he interviewed somebody that Sam didn’t like. He said that made Molyneux “dangerous”.

        I agree with Sam on almost everything, but when is having a conversation dangerous? I thought Sam Harris pretty much embodied the opposite of intellectual cowardice? Anyway, my only point was that Sam often rails against taboos and blasphemy tests but has taboos and blasphemy tests of his own. Maybe we all do, but it strikes me as incongruous. Maybe that’s just a flaw in my expectations.

        1. The difference is not in whether one has “taboos and blasphemy tests”. We all do. The difference is in the penalty we apply to those who fail the tests. Most of us don’t like Nazis. We will probably choose not to have them as friends and won’t hire them. Those who participate in Cancel Culture go much farther. They will attempt to get the Nazi fired from their job, prevent them from ever getting another job, threaten them and their family. Basically they would deny them the right to be part of society. They would also not accept that Nazi’s explanation that it was only something they did when they were 15 and that they don’t believe in that shit anymore.

        2. Alright. You are however writing that Harris ought to give Molyneux’ his attention, and share his platform, because Molyneux’ ideas merit discussion. Harris’ refusal to debate Molyneux is not because Harris curates his content and decides how to spend his time, but according to you, his refusal is best described as “cowardice”.

          That’s of course eccentric. Either they have enough in common, so that an audience sharing is beneficial for both sides, and that would be deplorable. Or their interest is that of anti-fans, like skeptics and psychic believers, or atheists and creationists — a big debate of opposing sides. I don’t see that, either.

          The open-mindedness or free debate talking point was shamelessly exploited by Dave Rubin and the likes. He opened the “intellectual dark web” to the far right (it already had a gate there, thanks to Bari Weiss, and Eric Weinstein). This should be seen with suspicion. Ostensibly, this audience share around Rubin Report was showing “diverse” ideas to an audience alienated by wokeness, but ended up as Charlottesville online, where intellectually honesty was run over as one of first things.

  7. There’s of course a tension between free speech as a controlling principle of a pluralist, open society and the fact that some in that society would like to return to a closed monoculture, whether religious, sexist, homophobic, white supremacist, whatever. Such ideologues will use their free speech platforms to argue *against* against pluralism, against free inquiry, against science and the academy, against the idea that the open exchange of ideas is the way toward truth. Their truth is revealed and doesn’t need discussion, only acceptance, sometimes at the point of a sword or at the hands of a populist mob. So it’s an open question whether an open society can survive it’s own freedoms, whether untrammeled free speech might be its own undoing, and therefore whether the promulgation of certain falsehoods, e.g., Holocaust denial, should be criminalized, as it is now in Germany. Should, for instance, elected officials and other public policy makers be allowed, on grounds of free speech, to deny the settled science of climate change, given the disastrous effects of doing so?

    That the woke left wants to shut down free speech on campus in the name of anti-racism social justice is an ironic twist in the quest for a society in which everyone has an equal right to freedom of expression. But it’s undeniable that some ideas, when promoted and actualized, have done and will do great harm, including the undoing of democracies and the sustaining of authoritarian, closed societies. How can that be prevented? The question is what balance between free expression on the one hand, and the selective criminalization (if any) of advocating patent falsehoods and sectarian prejudices on the other, best secures an open, sustainable society (and planet!). It’s like the social equivalent of the expression “Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.”

    1. I think this is a fascinating question. Although we take individual freedom very seriously in the West, the idea of individual freedom may collide with the reality of human nature in ways that undermine societies that are too free. The freedom to speak certain falsehoods is one, but there may even be certain truths that a society would be better off not knowing. After all, societies are built on a mythos and an ethos, and undermining them may be worse than propping up the myths that bind us together.

      It might also be the case that allowing women (and men) too much freedom undermines a society. See, for example, the plummeting fertility rates in Western and Westernized Asian countries. In the long term, a people can’t survive a fertility rate of 1.4, etc. In at least one country it’s even dropped below 0.9. There are duties that simply must be performed if a people is to survive. Child-raising is one of them, and the nature of it is such that it must be broadly performed. Giving people the freedom and incentives to shirk that duty may lead them to extinction, a century or two down the line. At the very least, it’s unsustainable. (Turning to mass immigration is no answer, either.)

      As a long-time individualist who’s only recently becoming more open to structuring societies around other units, like families, which may accord better with human nature, I have a strong resistance to intrusions on individual freedom. But focusing on individual freedom could end up being a fatal flaw, and we’d be remiss to ignore the possibility.

  8. I suppose I knew this was coming.

    I just received a notice that I will now be subject to some kind of reeducation at the hands of the DEI department at my work (which is a superb company). I dread this. I’m sure it will be dreadful.

    1. I hasten to add that I work with dozens of BIPOC (and LGBT, women) colleagues.

      To me, the racial group one was born into is probably the least interesting thing about you. I don’t give a sh!t.

      I do care about culture. And I want nothing whatever to do with US “urban” culture.

  9. Related topic: pretty much every recent NYT or WAPO article on CRT and the tussle between teaching it in school and laws against such, state that it’s the right that opposes it. No mention whatsoever about issues with CRT, at least in its extreme forms, as expressed by the liberal left.

    1. I think perhaps you are taking “everywhere” in a different sense. Racism probably exists in every human culture at every time but that doesn’t mean everyone is racist or that every thing about that culture is racist.

  10. Also it is rather strange that those who insist that speech cannot possibly be violence are also those who say that they feel oppressed and robbed of free speech by people calling them “racist” or “homophobic”.

    1. I don’t know exactly what you mean by “robbed of free speech” but feeling oppressed sounds like someone doesn’t like what the other person is saying. Nothing wrong with that. It has nothing to do with whether speech can be violence. “Violence” should be reserved for physical violence. To use it for speech that you don’t like cheapens the word.

      1. Generally speaking people say that they have been deprived of free speech when someone criticises them. Thus a person who has been called a homophobe will often claim that this is a tactic to shut them up. If you doubt this I am sure I can find the Miranda Devine article in which she compares calling someone a homophobe to being burned alive by ISIS. Certainly this is an extreme example of the tactic.

        1. They may not be deprived of free speech in the theoretical sense; but the woke left, all the time, tries to deprive people of their livelihood because they aren’t in alignment with the woke agenda. Depriving people of their livelihood (or the threat of that) is pretty effective way to shut down dissent — which is the whole point.

          The woke left forget that their position was once dissent (and will be again).

          I wonder that the left, even after 8-Nov-2016, believed, somehow, that they would be the arbiter of what speech is acceptable (the Decider; or in Frank Zappa’s words, the Central Scrutinizer).

          I am quite lefty on most things; but I don’t buy the woke agenda, or that equal outcomes are possible, or that All X people are Y (whatever non-trivial Y you propose; and X being a racial group).

        2. Some people say that for sure but not “generally speaking”. If someone criticizes you, they aren’t depriving you of anything by that act alone. Of course, if others hear the criticism and agree with it, your dignity and self-esteem may take a hit. That’s life.

  11. Also from about 6:15 onwards Pluckrose is describing Counterweight as a safe space for people feeling afraid. Wait – don’t the anti-woke crowd usually sneer at safe spaces?

  12. I so agree – it’s bizarre to me how demonized this guy is. And it’s always by people who clearly have no idea what they’re talking about. They just have a mob mentality – they can’t see their way around an opinion that so many others seem to share. He’s a bad guy because so many other people say he is. That’s all there is to it. I don’t know of anybody who makes more sense than Sam Harris.

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