Two years ago I was impressed by the crisp intellectual clarity exhibited by author, podcaster, blogger, philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris during his famous clash with Ben Affleck on Real Time with Bill Maher. That led to my flipping through “Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion,” and a realization that Harris isn’t an atheist as much as a spiritualist who’s unbound by religious dogma. The term “atheism” itself suggests negative naysaying when in fact many if not most atheists reside in a much broader and deeper spiritual realm than devout members of this or that religion.
This morning I watched a month-old video essay by Harris, which is a visualization of a portion of an 11.10 podcast (i.e., “The Most Powerful Clown“). It connected with my inner “yes!” button more profoundly and satisfyingly than any post-election assessment that I’ve heard or read — straight, plain, frank. Harris has thoroughly explained why he despises Trump with every fibre of his being, but neither does he hold back in explaining two of the factors (among many) behind Clinton’s loss.
Harris notes that revulsion against p.c. tyranny was a big factor, which is hardly an outlier position. He also argues that Clinton’s refusal to acknowledge the pernicious threat of Islamic jihad within the Islamic community was a significant error. Yes, Harris has written a respected book about Islam and so he notes that Clinton’s refusal to divert from the p.c. liberal line about Islam (i.e., the one espoused by Affleck during that Real Time debate) was a problem for her. I noted this in a November 2015 post in the wake of the Paris massacre, particularly Clinton’s remark that “Islam is not our adversary…Muslims are peaceful and tolerant and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”