Ralph Dumain has concluded that Sam Harris is an ignoramus. Be this a conclusion based on his own personal judgment, more power to him. But one wonders.

All of the "Four Horsemen" are steadily establishing themselves as independent thinkers, i.e., their ties to any ideology are tenuous at best. This is especially evident in Harris's lambasting of the left-wing ideology for its venomous lynching of anyone (in this case, Dutch politician Geert Wilders) who criticizes Islam. Daniel Dennett stated that a great deal of the criticism he receives is from left-wing ideologues, who feel he's being too strident and should capitulate and placate to religion like everyone else. And Christopher Hitchens may as well be the antichrist to the left for his support of the Iraq war. Hitch is labeled a right-wing lackey, despite that almost every other opinion of his aligns itself with liberalism. But that doesn't matter, does it? He dissented! *GASP* Blasphemy! I don't concur with Hitchens on the war myself, but that's one issue. ONE. Should he be cast out from the pantheon of rational thinkers because he has his own opinion?

While it's irrefutable that most atheists/secularists are liberal/left-wing, that fact tends to over shadow another: that most left-wing liberals are NOT atheists. Proposition 8 in California was passed by a demographic (minorities) that predominantly votes left-wing, and it isn't a stretch to conclude that bigotry toward homosexuals is rooted primarily in religion. The American-bashing Rev. Wright's political sympathies were obvious, and polls have shown most Americans (not conservatives, mind you, but most AMERICANS, which includes liberals) support the teaching of creationism in public schools.

The political left is just as infused with religion as is the right, rendering the "religious right" perception misleading. Alas, this is the state of social debate: ideological lemmings locked in a paradigm of polar politics (yeah, ok, the alliteration is a bit much).

Dumain's only tenable quibble is with Harris's lack of meticulous citation and his rather ineloquent approach, which anyone who reads Harris can already deduce. Dumain concedes, though, Harris's salient points (Islam as a totalitarian and destructive force, the dangers of leftist moral relativism in the face of Islam), if only reluctantly. So why the conflict?

Well, because Sam is being MEAN to leftists.

Like all ideologues, Dumain berates Harris for not utilizing the shield of euphemism. The same thing happens with right-wing dissenters, such as Kathleen Parker, who received scores of hate mail from her conservative readers when she dared to criticize McCain/Palin political strategy. To call a spade a spade (or what you in your conviction feel to be a spade), why, that's sacrilege. For me to point out the dangerously placatory intent behind our president's comment of "We're not at war with Islam" makes me a traitor, doesn't it? A right-wing sympathizer.

An ignoramus.

Shhhh, now, shhh. Not so loud. And don't look them directly in the eye, it's a sign of aggression. Doesn't matter that they've no respect for you, it's procedure that you kiss their asses. That's just the way it's done.



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Comment by greyfoot on April 20, 2009 at 12:53pm
Do I even need to respond?


Unfortunately, Ralph, your response, like the initial article that inspired the thread, is fueled by more of the relativism and pseudo-intellectual dissonance that plagues all ideologues. Your very own words contradict your purportion of objectivity. Your depiction of Hitchens as a "warmonger," and Churchill as a "right-wing bastard" are terribly loud echoes of left-wing platitudes, and the aforementioned article is what began slinging the "European right-wing hate groups" slogans around.

Liberals, Conservatives, left-wing, right-wing...all of these terms are "ill-defined," Ralph. This does not refute the fact that the majority of the world's citizens adhere to one or another of these ideologies, now matter how ambiguous (and subsequently pointless) the tenets. As for the secularist movement being "replete" with independent thinkers, you need to expand the scope of your observations beyond the university classroom. How many other left-wing dissenters besides Chris Hedges can you furnish? Do you honestly think Kathleen Parker, the conservative columnist I mentioned in my post, is anywhere near the norm? Independent rationalists are an extreme minority, and to deny this is simply obtuse.

"As for Hitchens, I've seen quite a bit of him since 9-11-01. He acts as if he has political multiple personality disorder, his older leftist self and his new warmonger self struggling for control of his brain at any given time." Ah, yes, Ralph. Hitchens cannot possibly apply his own personal judgment to each issue, can he? If his views mix what are traditionally right-wing and left-wing tenets, then we MUST conclude he has a dissociative disorder, right?

Conviction has always inspired hatred in the morally and rationally bereft, and the modern manifestation of this hatred hides itself in aloof "contextualizing" like yours, Ralph.

Sadly, this comes as no surprise. But it sure does make life interesting.

Comment by Ralph Dumain on April 20, 2009 at 10:42am
Greyfoot, your concept of left and right is kinda muddled. And I'm astounded by this:

"While it's irrefutable that most atheists/secularists are liberal/left-wing, that fact tends to over shadow another: that most left-wing liberals are NOT atheists."

Your assertion of irrefutability is preposterous. One should at least investigate the matter more thoroughly before claiming irrefutability. First, liberal is not left-wing. Secondly, both terms are too often ill-defined or their definitions contradict one another. Thirdly, and I note we assume for the sake of argument that we confine our assertions to the USA, the atheist/secularist contingent is replete with right-wing libertarians and non-theocratic Republicans.

As for not being tied to any ideology, you need to study the concept of "ideology" more thoroughly. You also assume a uniformity and orthodoxy of a postulated left-wing opinion that only knows how to complain about its dissenters. This is uninformed and plain silly.

As for the left, it is no more a consistent bloc than any other. For example, Chris Hedges, who belongs to the religious left, is on a defamation campaign against atheists. As reprehensible as this is, he's got something to work with, given Hitchens' disgusting shilling for Bush's wars, and one could add, his writing during the presidential campaign, and given Harris's politically illiterate take on Middle East politics and a billion Muslims.

As for Hitchens, I've seen quite a bit of him since 9-11-01. He acts as if he has political multiple personality disorder, his older leftist self and his new warmonger self struggling for control of his brain at any given time. He must have a hell of a time rationalizing his behavior, but I think I found the key when I saw him hawking his book on George Orwell. I got the impression that for Hitchens Bush was the new Churchill. Churchill was a right-wing bastard, by the way, but he saw the threat even to people like himself from Hitler and acted accordingly.

Your notions of the political landscape are sadly inadequate, hence you can only attribute subjective motivations to anyone who complains about the new atheists, while absolving them of accountability. In other words, there's no objective content to be considered, only the arbitrary, subjective egoism of a left you apparently no nothing of.
Comment by Angie Jackson on April 16, 2009 at 2:06pm
Half the fun of joining a group is being required to follow group norms ;)
This may be why pre-election registered voters were about 35% "none of the above " (aka Independent)



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