Sam Harris, The AltRight, and Difficult Facts
So, before I begin, I just want to make one thing clear about this post – Not only do I enjoy listening to Sam Harris, but I also find him to be incredibly likeable, friendly, well-spoken, and someone who very much goes where the evidence takes him. It is a positive thing in our society, and I wish more people took his example. So, this post is in no way meant to be an attack on Sam Harris. It is just me wondering if he is using his ordinarily good logical form for one argument, but then not applying it in a similar but different situation elsewhere. That is all I am exploring here.
So Salon recently ran a boring hit-piece on Sam Harris and other leading “new atheists” for their seeming flirtation with Alt-right views, and thought-leaders. It’s Salon, and the left has been “sliding into” regressivism for years now, so it was no surprise when the author decided to decry Harris’s interview with Charles Murray over the issue of race, and how psychologists and other scientists are seeing evidence emerge that suggest not only that IQ is real, but that there are discernable differences in IQ between races. It’s controversial on two fronts – it suggests that not only does IQ play a part, say in, the accumulation of wealth, or as a general indicator of how well someone will perform in life, or in work, or in school. But it also suggests that – gasp! – that race is a real thing. Granting all that, Sam Harris has also correctly pointed out that despite the differences in IQ we see between races, we see greater variations between individuals. Which…is kind of a non-statement, to me. That should be self-evident, I think. In any case, Sam Harris and Charles Murray agree that science is clear. And I am inclined to agree.
What I find interesting, however, is what Sam Harris tells Dave Rubin we should do with this knowledge. Watch this 3-minute video to see. After watching, keep it open, as we'll go back to it again in a minute.
Harris asks near the end “what are you going to do with this data?” In other words, what is the practical reason for not only exploring this question (he does concede that it is valid research and that he, as an Ashkenazi Jew himself, would be interested in knowing if there was, say, a gene that expressed an increased desire for material things, or hoarding), but then what do you do with the knowledge?
I think it is important to point out that the data seems to show that Ashkenazi Jews are, by and large, “the smartest race.” What that means, and how it breaks down, I don’t know. But as far as general IQ goes, Ashkenazi Jews are the top, followed closely by Asians and Whites.
But let’s go back to what Harris suggests might be the point to finding out why someone would want to find, or fund, or have access to said kinds of research. Speaking of finding out if there was a gene for materialism, listen to what Harris says there by placing the marker at the 2:05 mark and listen to about 2:23. What is Harris’ point of caution here?
Fair point, and I think he is right. With Sam Harris being Jewish, I can understand the concern. So while Harris concedes the information is legitimate, true, and perhaps even enlightening, his point seems to be one of caution in exposing it. He mentions how that if you went into academia wanting to find just such a gene that your career would effectively be “over” after dealing with all the claims of Anti-Semitism.
There are about 14-15 million Jews in the world, right? And based on that 14-15 million, a career could be finished if someone explored this. And data like this has no real purpose other than to, Harris seems to imply, create some kind of racial hatred, or stir up bigoted sentiments among people. Ok, interesting.
Now I would like you to listen to a slightly longer Sam Harris clip from one of his AMAs. The clip is 13 minutes, but you only need to listen up to the 8-minute mark or so because it starts repeating various bits after wards.
In this clip, Harris is effectively dismantling the myth of the “Islamic Golden Age.”
Harris begins by calling this so-called “golden age” a “pseudo-history,” with the goal to absolve islam of its gross misdeeds and genocidal tendencies throughout human history. What are those misdeeds? And what would be the point of illustrating, or bringing to light these facts?
As to what those misdeeds are, little explanation is needed. We all know about the 1400 year long conquests of the islamic world onto the non-islamic world. I think at this point, we’ve likely all seen Dr. Bill Turner’s 5-minute presentation on the purpose of the crusades, and how they pale in comparison to the crusades of islam. If you haven’t seen it, I linked it above.
And here are some facts that you likely don’t know. Did you know that modern historians place the massacres of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and other religious minorities by Islamic forces at anywhere between 10, and 800 million over the last 1,400 years? Going by the lowest number here, we’re talking 4 million more than the official story of Jews killed by Nazis. Going by any of the other numbers in between, and we are talking about a massively violent ideology hell-bent, it seems, on nothing less than world domination.
Ok, so those are the facts. Just like how we have the facts about IQ and race. So what is the issue?
My issue is that Sam Harris – and remember, I am a fan. I like Sam Harris. He has a mind for Western Values and principles that have made the west great – yet, thinks that facts that could hurt Jews, or some other race potentially, are harmful. Or at the least, serve no common good. The subject might be legitimately interesting, but he would question the motives of a researcher, say, who wanted to determine if there was a causal, genetic link between extreme materialism and Ashkenazi Jews, but has no problem pointing out the facts of the history of Islam, despite the fact that both sets of facts seem to carry with them more harm than good for modern, multicultural societies.
In the first video, Harris asks “what good is this information?” Well, what good is the information about historical islam in 21st century, progressive Europe? Harris knows that the migrant crisis, at the least, necessitates some kind of…program, whereby European and Western nations are able to properly vet the people coming in. Harris has even said in his interview with Douglass Murray that, if given the choice of Ben Carson or Noam Chomsky, the migrant crises would cause him to “vote for Ben Carson every time.” In other words, the situation is that critical. It is that serious. And these uncomfortable truths about Islam create a context from which to draw our subsequent uncomfortable conclusions. Those conclusions being that Islam, and the people from the areas that we commonly associate with Islam – North and Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East - are, generally, not suitable for the Western world. That’s what that information suggests.
And Harris sees no real, practical problem announcing the facts surrounding this conclusion (Sam Harris has not, to my knowledge, drawn this conclusion, however), despite the fact that Muslims outnumber Jews about 100-1. Despite the fact that radical Islamists are committing large scale terrorist attacks, beheading people in the streets, raping and pillaging across Europe, and so on – there is no “practical” concern that Harris expresses when describing these facts. But we need to be worried about the Jewish retaliation if we mention some facts that might hurt Jewish feelings? Hmm...
So the facts become problematic when one of the world’s smallest minorities are affected? He, being a part of that minority? Yet, the IQ question is just fine. Again, I want to point out that the IQ data put Ashkenazi Jews at the top, or at least tied for the top spot. But this data is dangerous, and not worth repeating in polite company.
Here is my overall point – I want to be consistent on this issue. Facts, by their very nature, are always useful, in some capacity. Whether they are useful at a given time, or in a given context or not is not the point. The facts are 1. IQ Exists. 2. Race exists. 3. Islam is a dangerous death-cult of an ideology that is far more lethal than any form of Socialism or Communism combined. And it has hundreds of years more experience in being lethal than those other failed ideologies do. We are talking about tens of hundreds of millions of deaths from the inception of the religion to now. Nothing has changed. And people who bring these facts to light in defense of Europe and the West are being shouted down, told they don’t have free speech rights, called xenophobes, racists, bigots, etc…in their own countries. This is context. It is all the relevant data surrounding a given issue. And given all of this information, it comes as no surprise then that people begin to question if we should allow these people into the West. The answer, of course, is no. We should not. But it goes further than that.
Let’s take this back to the Salon hit piece about Sam Harris supposedly expressing alt-right views. Firstly, that simply is not true. He has reported on the facts. He will get no condemnation from me, here. My only critique is when he chooses to apply those facts, and when he doesn’t. On the one hand, the facts above are relevant when discussing something like islam in the west. But on the other, when it comes to the alt-right, and some of their ideas surrounding immigration and race, Harris seems to believe these facts have no real purpose, certainly not for the good of civil society.
And that is where he is wrong.
We’ve all heard the numbers. African Americans make up around 13% of the American population, but commit 52% of all violent crimes in America. And those numbers go up, and for more offensives, when you look at large cities, like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
It should be noted that Sweden wasn’t always multicultural. It used to be homogenous, but since its country wide policy change, violent crime and rape have increased 400% and 1,472%, respectively.
Surely there is a purpose in these numbers.
Combine poverty, lack of cultural appropriation (yes, it is a good thing), lower IQs, on average and a general contempt for the ideals that built the West, and you get the kind of crime statistics we are talking about. Maybe not in as high percentages, but just as high in the shock factor, and the severity of the problem. And the solution for the one is the solution for the other.
Not all people are intellectually capable, or ready, for western ideals. Hard as that pill may be to swallow, I know you know it’s true. Some cultures and peoples are not ready to handle that kind of freedom. The real racism is in assuming that if we just allow this crime to continue, they’ll finally see that our way of thinking was right all along and far more enlightened, and then they will abandon hundreds of years of cultural identity and just join the Borg. That isn’t going to happen. And it is racist to assume that. That is what racism is, right? Before SJWs got a hold of it? Racism was the belief and practice that one’s own race was superior to others. Well, that is precisely what these actions indicate – that Western ideals are "one size fits all," and that they are better than whatever culture you are bringing to the table, and that, if given enough time, you’ll just adopt them, by forced integration, even. Because forcing people to be something they aren't has never had any unintended consequences, huh?
And this racism is killing people in the West. It is killing people in Sweden. It is killing people in England. And France. And Germany. And America. It is dangerous. It is naïve. And it very well may be evil to continue pushing this sort of failed multiculturalism on societies that have no inclination to be multicultural. Just look at the countries and continents these people come from, or the countries of the people pushing it. Ask yourselves, are they multicultural there? If not, why not? And why would we expect them to become so just by coming to Europe?
Further, the facts across both of these various contexts have some striking similarities. We see widespread unemployment. And not simply because the language is difficult, or people are not hiring. But because people don’t want to work. Across both contexts, there is a contempt for property rights, and the life and liberty of natives, or the very people who want to help. And in fact, a particularly frightening similarity across both contexts is an empowered and vocal leadership demanding money, reparations, or blood, of those whose culture they were brought into.
Crazy, isn’t it? We’ve all seen the videos. We all know that there is virtually no difference between a standard antifa book-burning and property destroying/looting event, or the islamic rampage that has been ruining Paris since at least the summer of 2015. Same facts. Same contexts. Same results.
And this is what Sam Harris isn’t admitting. This is why I am writing this. Because I want to be consistent. The facts are useful. They inform and create a context, especially as it relates to policy. And what is true for the one is true for the other, in this case.