No one talks about inferiority who’s actually having a dispassionate argument

Let’s do the Klein-Harris again.

Ezra Klein

I think you’ve had two African Americans as guests. I think you need to explore the experience of race in American more and not just see that as identity politics. See that as information that is important to talking about some of things you want to talk about, but also to hearing from some of the people who you’ve now written out of the conversation to hear.

Sam Harris

So this is the kind of thing that I would be tempted to score as bad faith —

Ezra Klein

I’m shocked!

Sam Harris

In someone else, but actually, I think this is a point of confusion, but it is, nonetheless, confusion here.

Your accusation that I’m reasoning on the basis of my tribe here is just false. I mean, I spend, this is the whole game I play, this is my main focus in just constructing my worldview and having conversations with other people. When I’m thinking about things, that are true that stand a chance of being universal, that stand a chance of scaling, these are the kinds of things that are not subordinate to a person’s identity. They’re not the things that will be true by accident of birth, because you happen to have been born in India and are Hindu, right? I mean, this is the problem I have with religious sectarianism. This is the problem I have with nationalism or any other kind of tribalism that can’t possibly scale to a global civilization that’s truly cosmopolitan, where when you’re reasoning among strangers, you have to converge on solutions to problems that work independent of who you happen to be.

Point so utterly missed. Seeing “I think you need to explore the experience of race in American more and not just see that as identity politics” as an “accusation that I’m reasoning on the basis of my tribe” is just so dense, so clueless, so…well, dumb, frankly. It’s just dumb to think that one’s experience doesn’t shape how one thinks and especially what one knows.

Then he says he defends Ayaan Hirsi Ali all the time so obviously he’s no racist god damn it. Oddly enough he doesn’t mention the time he had Maryam Namazie on his podcast and spent two hours trying to bully her into agreeing with him instead of listening to her and having a conversation with her.

Sam Harris

There are so many layers of confusion here. I mean, this is just a, again it’s not just yours, it’s everybody’s. It’s got to be a majority of both our audiences. I want to say something about this notion of what’s at stake here, because in your recent piece you talk about Murray’s focus on the inferiority of blacks.

Ezra Klein

Intellectual inferiority.

Sam Harris

But you also use just inferiority of blacks are inferior as well. Go back and look at the piece.

But this notion of inferiority, I mean, no one talks about inferiority who’s actually having a dispassionate argument on this topic of IQ testing. It absolutely does not map on, I can only, I’m not going to pretend to be a mind reader, but it certainly doesn’t map on to my view of this situation.

I mean, for instance, I would bet my life that my IQ is lower than John von Neumann’s was.

Oh god oh god oh god how does one even try to reason with someone who claims that insisting that black people have “lower IQs” on average is not at all calling them inferior?

Ezra Klein

Two things here. One, when I talk about what Murray says specifically I do use intellectual inferiority. I got the piece out in front of me.

I do think, 100 percent, without doubt, that when we have, in American life, over and over and over again, said that African Americans are intellectually less capable than whites, that has been — yes, that is a way of saying that they are inferior and it has been a way of treating them as if they are inferior. It has been a way of justifying social outcomes that are unbelievably unequal and unfair that have been going on until, I mean, they’re going on in the present day.

Of course it has, just as it has with women.

There’s a lot more after that but I think I’ve had enough.

All this conversation did is further convince me that Sam Harris is a blight on the intellectual landscape.

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