Ezra Klein's Entire Debate Strategy in Three Words

[TLDR: Pivot and Gaslight]

I listened to Waking Up Podcast #123 — Identity & Honesty | Sam Harris and I can't recommend it unless you want to hear two people talking past one another.

I did not know Ezra Klein very well head of listening to this podcast but I found him to be smug and evasive... and also well-rehearsed.  He barely answered anything directly but was really quick pivot and make his own tangentially related point.  And I was impressed with how little it costs for him to say how he “…just talked to so-and-so just a couple days ago…” any time a name was mentioned. 

Instant credibility!

Overall, I was bothered on a subconscious level by his manner of engagement and it took me a while understand the nature of the crime... to fully grasp that his entire tactic can be analogized to the following:

"I'm not an alcoholic! If anything, you're the alcoholic!"

(me: but I don't even drink!)

Sam says Klein is operating from a notion of identity politics?  Klein says Sam is also operating on identity politics.

And... It's a pretty slick maneuver to be able to smear Murray as a racist and then to tell Sam Harris that he has a blind spot because he's an "Anti-Anti-Racist".  Seriously... WTF is that?  A false dichotomy, I think.

gas·light

/ˈɡaslīt/

verb

manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

Harris would do well not to invite gaslighters like Klein onto the show and I fully support him choosing not to talk to T. Coates for exactly the same reasons.  You can only hope to talk past a gaslighter because playing by their rules is a no-win situation.  (Heads, racist... Tails anti-anti-racist).

Joe Rogan Experience #877 - Jordan Peterson

I've only checked out the episodes of Rogan that friends have said I have to listen to except for this one, which I have listened to with no recommendation.

Rogan has proven himself to be a really smart and knowledgable host who can hang with nearly anyone, at their level. This one has an amalgam of philsophy, psychology, and mythology and it's pretty dense at times but it's a great discussion about the cancerous effects of Postmodernist philosophy and its war against clear thinking and elevation of feeling over fact.

Peterson has decided to take a vocal stand against recent legislation in Toronto in regards to gender pronouns and I first became aware of him from Sam Harris's podcast but this conversation flows a lot better than the ones between Harris and Peterson.

This is a 3-hour chat. It is profound and worth your time.

Don't Let Anyone Smuggle In The Bathwater With The Baby

You've done the hard work of making sure you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater: discarding sensible things associated with negative ones. Good!

Gotta also make sure you don't accept nonsense because it's hanging out with something sensible.

For example: kindness is a good state in which to be. But I've heard recently that political correctness is just another word for kindness/consideration from a person who was being rather unkind about it.

Well, with all due respect to reality, if it were merely kindness or consideration with no differentiating features, there wouldn't be a need for a separate term for it. You heard it here first, folks: Every new term entails some new differentiae from the genus. And if you don't think so, stop arguing for Gay Marriage and just accept "Civil Unions".

Different word? Different Concept.

Political correctness is an exploitation of an implicit moral gradient... one direction is uphill and the other benefits from gravity because we have, perhaps unknowingly, accepted some premise. It is usually meant to compel or prohibit certain behavior but the overarching goal is to make you doubt your own mind.


Self-doubt? Fuck that noise. We ain't got time for that.

I'm not saying we should go out of our way to be offensive. We're not Trampeteers or Alt-Right Supremacists. But we need to understand Political Correctness as what it is: Guerilla Warfare against the way your mind sees reality.

Well... Your mind is all that you have. And the extent to which you trust your mind is the extent to which you have self-esteem.

Don't smuggle in the bathwater with the baby. And don't let anyone else do that for you either.

Moral Trickery Files: Ancestral Guilt

Here's an opportunity to practice philosophical detection. Consider the headline and main quotes of this article:

African Union criticises US for ‘taking many of our people as slaves’ and not taking refugees | The Independent

“The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the transatlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The statements of politicians worldwide are loaded with moral trickery... fallacies intended to confuse you so that you simply concede the point.

I wrote the following as a comment to this article on a friend's wall.


I must reject the person quoted as a person who panders to the notion of Ancestral Guilt. His assertion deems Americans today to be as equally guilty of slavery as the ones who actually perpetrated it in the past.

Effectively, one could abstract this and say that the speaker believes that You and I assume moral guilt for the actions of those who came before us. This is a mess, because where does it stop. Could the same tactical maneuver be used to re-assign the blame earned by Muslims that kill onto the ones that do not?

Further, what of the African collaborators involved in the slave trade?

"The historians John Thornton and Linda Heywood of Boston University estimate that 90 percent of those shipped to the New World were enslaved by Africans and then sold to European traders. The sad truth is that without complex business partnerships between African elites and European traders and commercial agents, the slave trade to the New World would have been impossible, at least on the scale it occurred."

"...The African role in the slave trade was fully understood and openly acknowledged by many African-Americans even before the Civil War. For Frederick Douglass, it was an argument against repatriation schemes for the freed slaves. 'The savage chiefs of the western coasts of Africa, who for ages have been accustomed to selling their captives into bondage and pocketing the ready cash for them, will not more readily accept our moral and economical ideas than the slave traders of Maryland and Virginia,' he warned. 'We are, therefore, less inclined to go to Africa to work against the slave trade than to stay here to work against it.'"

Perhaps history forgives the villany of African slavers because there is no political gain in flogging it.

Much as I agree that Trump's order is an immoral clusterfuck, this article's premise is objectionable due to the moral shell game described above.