It’s the asymmetry stupid

Sam Harris has added an update to his attack on Ezra Klein / email dump, to explain how sad it is that everyone did such a crap job of reading his attack / email dump, it’s enough to make a person lose faith in the power of shy-racist thought-making.

NOTE (3/28/18)

Judging from the response to this post on social media, my decision to publish these emails appears to have backfired. I was relying on readers to follow the plot and notice Ezra’s evasiveness and gaslighting (e.g. his denial of misrepresentations and slurs that are in the very article he published). Many people seem to have judged from his politeness that Ezra was the one behaving honestly and ethically. This is frustrating, to say the least.

That’s some impressive self-knowledge right there. (Isn’t it funny how narcissists are always thinking about themselves and yet know less about the subject than anyone who talks to them for ten minutes?) He was relying on readers to see it the way he sees it instead of drawing their own conclusions – the nerve of some people! How can they not “follow the plot” and notice what Sam Harris thinks is obvious? How can they think that the polite person of two people is the one being polite? It’s so frustrating.

Many readers seem mystified by the anger I expressed in this email exchange. Why care so much about “criticism” or even “insults”? But this has nothing to do with criticism and insults. What has been accomplished in Murray’s case, and is being attempted in mine, is nothing less the total destruction of a person’s reputation for the crime of honestly discussing scientific data.

What total destruction? Again: Murray has a very comfortable berth at the AEI. I’m pretty sure they pay their house intellectuals fairly lavishly, by way of demonstrating that right-wing think tanks are much better for intellectual types than cash-strapped universities. Harris has those best-seller royalties. Furthermore the reputations can’t be totally destroyed no matter what, because if everyone who backs away from WHITES ARE BEST AND SMARTEST scholars then their opposites rush in to fill the gap. But also, again, Sam Harris’s reputation is actually not as important as the normalization of the WHITES SMARTEST bullshit.

Klein published fringe, ideologically-driven, and cherry-picked science as though it were the consensus of experts in the field and declined to publish a far more mainstream opinion in my and Murray’s defense—all to the purpose of tarring us as racists and enablers of racists. This comes at immense personal and social cost. It is also dishonest.

Oh yes? Mainstream science is all on Murray’s side? Really? That’s not the impression I get, but I’m not a scientist so I don’t know. At any rate, again, he’s worrying about the “immense personal and social cost” to him while not worrying a bit about the social, political, psychological, economic, vocational and related costs to all the people branded “dumber” by Murray’s “science.” In fact, what he is is “offended” – and aren’t we supposed to laugh and jeer at people who complain about being “offended”? Harris is worried about his fee-fees; cue all the anti-SJWs and mockers of the Control Left telling Harris to toughen up or get off Twitter or both.

Many readers also fail to see how asymmetrical any debate on this topic is.

Uhhhhhh…what? Asymmetrical? To the disadvantage of Harris? He’s the underdog here? Not the people he’s helping Murray stamp with the “Dumber” brand?

Whatever I say at this point, no matter how scientifically careful, appears to convey an interest in establishing the truth of racial differences (which I do not have and have criticized in others). Does it matter that Stephen J. Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man was debunked long ago, or that James Flynn now acknowledges that his eponymous effect cannot account for the race-IQ data? No, it doesn’t. This is a moral panic and a no-win situation (and Klein and my other “critics” know that). I did not have Charles Murray on my podcast because I was interested in intelligence differences across races. I had him on in an attempt to correct what I perceived to be a terrible injustice done to an honest scholar. Having attempted that, for better or worse, I will now move on to other topics.—SH

Stick the flounce, please.

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