Class Warfare Blog

April 3, 2013

Are You an Islamophobe? No? Neither is Sam Harris

Filed under: Politics,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 8:24 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Recently Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, The Moral Landscape, and Free Will, was accused, once again, of Islamopobia. In his response, Dr. Harris stated that he didn’t believe there was such a thing. Sam Harris is not an Islamophobe by any stretch of the imagination, but there is such a thing as Islamophobia.

Islamophobia is the irrational fear of Islam. Examples of this are the idiots in this country going around passing state laws banning Sharia law, Sharia being the religion soaked justice of Islam. This is irrational because no one is proposing that we adopt any part of Sharia, nor is anyone saying Muslims have a right to use Sharia under the guise of religious freedom.

Sam Harris is not an Islamophobe as he has, for example, read the Koran (Quran?), have you? He has studied the effects of fundamentalism in Islamic countries and has pointed out that the goal of Islam is to extend Islam to cover the entire world. Also, Islam’s victims tend to be Islamic women and children, killed or mutilated by their male relatives for besmirching their honor or violating the teachings of Islam. These are the people who embrace female circumcision, because we wouldn’t want women to enjoy sex, now would we?

Sam Harris’s concerns about Islam are not irrational, they are quite rational, hence he is not an Islamophobe.

Which brings us to the quality of our political discourse. In this age of Fox (sic) News journalism (sic) the first response to any political pronouncement is name calling and label affixing. Now, I am not beyond calling a moron a moron, but this is not the first step in a useful, civilized discussion.

Sam Harris, as a prominent atheist, is often plastered with ridiculous labels such as Islamophobe, because it is a signal to others that “you do not have to take this person’s pronouncements seriously.” On the conservative right in this country, the word “liberal” was chosen to serve this purpose. If someone was branded a liberal by Fox (sic) News or Rush Limbaugh, then any good conservative knew that they didn’t need to pay attention to the thinking of that person. (“There is nothing to see here, move along.” I never pass on a good Start Wars reference.) Sam Harris also has concerns about the quality of liberalism in this country and has been quite critical of liberals himself, but in a thoughtful way, not in a knee jerk way.

But if I have learned anything in my many years in politics, is it is your harshest critic’s opinions that you have to pay the closest attention to. They are the ones that are taking apart your words and using the finest comb to find flaws in them. But when one’s critics resort to name calling, virtually admitting they have given up on fair criticism, one has lost any opportunity to benefit from that criticism. And the discourse suffers.

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8 Comments »

  1. I’m trying to devise a way to bait some Muslims. You know of any clever little anecdotes/memes/batshit craziness that would get their hairs up?

    Comment by john zande — April 3, 2013 @ 9:31 am | Reply

    • Really? Baiting Muslims? Isn’t that in the ‘too easy” category? Maybe a cartoon with Mohammed in it?

      Seriously, you are interested in death threats?

      Steve

      PS Sam Harris’s book The End of Faith is full of such things.

      Comment by stephenpruis — April 3, 2013 @ 9:34 am | Reply

      • Well, I’m starting to get some Muslim visitors, and they appear totally insane. Noel (Random Thoughts) puts this down to them not reading anything that isn’t authored by a fellow muslim, which seems pretty accurate. I had a guy try to tell me Mohammad was the first person who figured out the moon reflected the suns light. I pointed out to him that it was in fact Anaxagoras about 1,000 years earlier. He didn’t believe me and refused to look it up. Soooo, I want to do an experiment. Lure some in with a deliberately provocative post and then test the theory.

        Comment by john zande — April 3, 2013 @ 9:44 am | Reply

        • You are playing with fire, which I did as a boy, so what the hell! Go for it. But consider that your audience was a captive audience for most of their formative years. They were taught in religious schools and had strict religious upbringings (mostly). This is what college slapped out of those who went. The easiest cure for Christianity is to read the Bible. So, to for Islam, but in that case, one needs to know something about reality. And Muslims don’t often come to the US or UK for a liberal education. Those who do become way less extreme.

          Good luck!

          Comment by stephenpruis — April 3, 2013 @ 9:55 am | Reply

          • Cheers… Now i just have to find the right chum to throw out there.

            Comment by john zande — April 3, 2013 @ 9:59 am | Reply

            • Chumming for Muslims, a new sport! Soon to appear as a reality series on the Discovery Channel I am sure … or maybe the SyFy Channel.

              Comment by stephenpruis — April 3, 2013 @ 10:07 am | Reply

  2. Class warfare is not only being instituted by/against the super wealthy. Governor Brown in California is pursuing a policy that would redistribute school funds from affluent neighborhoods and give them to less affluent neighborhoods. Already the state rewards low performing schools by giving them about 20% more than high performing schools. This has not changed the performance of those schools yet he seeks to double down on this policy.

    What makes for successful students? Ask a teacher. You’ll hear that the major factor is parental involvement.

    Governor Brown is just pursuing a policy of class hatred and punitive actions against the people who are paying the bills. His goal? Since funding has had no correlation with school success I don’t know what his reasoning is., It is another push out of the state by those who are paying the bills.

    Comment by Stephen — April 4, 2013 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

    • I don’t know what this has to do with this post, but your revelation is old news. Educational funds have been adjusted this way for decades in California. This is no different from progressive tax structures. The poor are granted more aid than the rich, especially when it comes to education. Plus education is such a complex task, I don’t know how you can claim that “this has not changed the performance of those schools” unless you can run schools alongside (at the same time) with lower funding and compare the two groups.

      Comment by stephenpruis — April 5, 2013 @ 8:34 am | Reply


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