« Making Sense with Sam Harris

#47 — The Frontiers of Political Correctness

2016-10-06 | 🔗

In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Gad Saad about political correctness, academic taboos, Islam, immigration, Donald Trump, and other topics.

SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast at samharris.org/subscribe.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Today's guest is GAD. Sad many of you know gap from his video blog, the sad truth. That's Saad Ann If you know GAD, you know that he's been fighting some of the same battles online against the regressive left. Gad is a professor of marketing at CAN. Cordia university in Montreal he's also taught at Cornell, Ellen Dartmouth and Uc Irvine and he's he's pine with the use of evolutionary psychology in marketing and consumer behavior. His books include the consuming instinct, the evolutionary bases of consumption and evolutionary psychology in the business Sciences he's published many scientific papers and again he regularly podcasts at the sad
truth s a a d on Youtube. As you hear again, and I get into some controversial areas and we spend a fair amount of time talking about the attendant risks of doing so. Apologies for my voice throughout I've just been recovering from a cold, but hopefully I still made some sense and now I give you GAD said I'm here with GAD sad GAD, thanks for coming on the podcast so great to be with you, SAM. Obviously, we have many fans in common and and many people listening will know who you are, but for those who don't just tell us something about you background, and how do you describe what you do at this point? after a professor of marketing is my official title and I also hold the can. Go to university research, chair and evolute
Alright behavioral sciences in darwinian consumption, it said I know it's a mouthful which would basically that means, as I try to marry evolutionary theory in the context of consumer behavior so in in generally in the behavioral sciences, but in particular, since some house- and it is that's cool, I'm a marketing department. I tried to look at what are some of the biological and evolutionary underpinning that make us who we are as consumers to focus on consumer, so consumer behavior side than an mba and where you know my curiosity with this field have been to the and although I had a background, a very technical background in mathematics and computer science and some operations research, but I had always been interested in behavioral sciences, and so it seemed like consumer behavior would need a nice place for me to marry my technical background cuz. I was originally thinking of being a mathematical modeler of consumer choice
and then, when I went to pursue my Phd at Cornell General began, my eventual doctoral supervisor suggested that I take some psych courses and in one of those courses, advance social psychology. Halfway through the semester, the professor assigned a book called aside, which was written by two canadian evolutionary psychologists where they explain criminality from biological, an evolutionary perspective, and so that was the genesis of my interest in evolution. Psychology and since I want to study, concert here, that's what I had the idea. Okay. Well, since no one has looked at the biological roots of consumer b, that's what I will focus on for those who don't know, and they can discover your podcast on on Youtube. On the sad truth, you are a very committed enemy of political correctness and moral relativism post what is a identity politics and all of these other intellectual and ethical trends that seem to be going in the wrong direction. But
you are a professor at the university. Do you ever regret getting into this swamp and and dealing with these issues? You know it's it's funny, because you probably heard the term, of course, having skin in the game right it's difficult to have more skin in the game than somebody who is sort of in the cesspool of all of these ideas that you mentioned a few minutes ago, and yet try to you know could take them from within look the reality is I think that my unique personhood is such that I sort of couldn't live with myself. If I don't tackle wherever I see some enemies of truth or reason manifesting themselves, and so in a sense, I can't be anything then what I am so I regret in the sense that if I were a bit more of a careerist, I were a bit more strategic in my thinking. Then I would have taken a slightly different road, but I simply
can't do and I always tried to be polite. I always try to be, as kind as I can be always have the Koran, but I can't sit idly while. You know the you manatees season. Some of the Social Sciences are being infected with moving that are genuinely grotesque to human reason there in the front to human decency. If I dare say that's why I speak out against it and so and and that, if you like, shapes lots of what I do. I mean, of course, when you, when you are an academic, when your signed this you're trying to pursue some area of truth or try to get closer to understanding some phenomenon, but I think that more academics need to using their training to weigh in on topics outside of their very limited scope of sort of official training and expertise. I I'm quite astonished there aren't more people who lend their voices. I mean. I realize that it takes a particular type of personality to
your ideas out there in front of you know a large audience and most people probably feel more comfortable being in their lab speaking only to their colleagues in the ivory tower. But it's a shame, as these are all important issues that you mention, and there has to be many people who are combating the which of these issues or which, among the many things on the menu that people are inclined not to talk about which do you think, is most radioactive. Do you have a a set of what gets you into the most trouble this point? So it depends, if you mean in the general campus or in science. So let's, let's do both. So if we're talking about science, there was a paper, it was published. I think in two thousand and five either in nature and science, and I think the title was full- the knowledge. What are some research questions or research topics that you should stay away from and probably the top two ones that are to use your term the most radioactive
would be racial differences, any research on racial differences and then probably second, would be different sex differences. And, of course that's that's definitely where I come in, because a lot of the research that I do, but at least expected recognizes that we that human beings are sexually dimorphic. By definition, I mean that's how we define the species and so to have a debate as to whether you know they are sex. Differences are innate, is preposterous to most people who are biologically inclined, but yet much of the Social Sciences have you know,
build edifices of your theories and empirical edifices completely rejecting this possibility, and so on a scientific perspective, I would say, probably sex and racial differences, but in the general campus. Anybody who attacks not so much postmodernism at but political correctness, so anybody who ruffles the feathers of the Fox police at is in trouble. So it could be if you attack affirmative action, if you're against it. Well that's wrong. Thank and therefore you being the troubles. I think there are two distinct things: there's a general discourse on campus and then there is the specific scientific fields that are radio. Are there any topics that you have just decided you won't touch. Obviously, there topics that don't interest you or you think to touch them would just be you just have no motive to touch them or or they would.
You have to have some negative motive in order to want to go there, but is there any topic that you think that is valid and should be productive to talk about, but it's just too damn hard to do it, so you just avoid it uh. So I've never consciously thought I an interesting problem to pursue and then using the calculus that you just mentioned, decided against it. If I've not tackle the problem. Typically, the criterion that I've used is that I don't find that problem sufficiently intra and for me to spend some time on it and so really that's that's the key driving metric as a great paper that I think all doctoral students should read and their dog training is a paper from the early seventies titled, that's interesting with an exclamation point it was written by a sociologist whereby he was offering a framework for trying to understand how do we determine whether a research question is
worthy of pursuit and often times one of the things that we forget is weather at the end of the journey of your research journey, whether people would scream out and excitement. That's interest right and so really what drives me to a fault? I think and I'll explain in a second, when I say to a fault, is what I call cerebral hedonism. I just like to pursue intellectual lance tips for no other reason than because they're interesting so for SAM Harris comes to me today and says hey. This is really in that's on all right. I thought I study that I'm thinking of working on and I think your expertise would be great and if you convince me that- and it's an interesting problem on board now the reason why I think that that's a bit of a fault is because, as you may know- and I say this with regret and academia what's more from said is for you to be very, very narrow and to go very deep. So if you study, emotions then spend the next forty years studying and
oceans and fill in the blank right, adult foray into different lands, and I find that life is too short, really I'm somebody was interdisciplinary, and so I just go wherever the Spirit moves me so to speak, yeah well, so reality- is interdisciplinary. You know you, we don't find actual boundaries on our intellectual landscape. Apart from those we are racked based on just methodological concerns and bureaucratic concerns and how you know the fact you have to physically go to, one building to learn about medicine and another building about biology on a university campus, but obviously the boundary between as in biology, is nonexistent once you look closely at it. Obviously, I'm very sympathetic with this appetite to
go wherever your interest takes you. I guess I'm also sympathetic, and this is where these taboos, I think, creepin for even well intentioned and not especially thin skin people. I'm sympathetic with the feeling that there are certain questions upon which any kind of significant interest suggests that there's something wrong with you. You know so no one, not a missing that you personally get that. So you know I, I see these people who seem extremely interested in say a racial differences in intelligence, and they want to study this
their outrage that it's you know, it's a no go area for science. It's a completely legitimate question to pose biologically, but one wonders what is the purpose of seeking out information and what would you do with it? If you had it, I can propose a possible right here in a balance for the exact issue Let me just mention so if you were, if you're an evolutionist, you study, what are the selection pressures that would have resulted in the evolution of a wide range of traits right I mean why is it that some people are doctors can then then others and so from a strictly theoretical perspective? One and I'm glad you said that it's so it's certainly a valid question to study. One could argue: are there selection pressures that have faced
groups of individuals in our evolutionary history that would have resulted in the evolution of you know various if you like intelligence ability. Is at the group level now. The reason why that's, of course, very very toxic, is because it's one thing to argue: You know for the evolution of a morphological feature like your melanin level. It's another thing to say: group a at the group level is somehow less creative or has lower iq than group B, but from a strictly conceptual theoretical reason. It's perfectly reasonable to ask that question, and, incidentally, that's exactly what Philippe Rushton was. Probably the most. Known he recently passed away a few years ago. So he's a guy who spent his career studying racial differences, and his argument was roughly what I just said, which is look. It's an interesting question to study for reasons AB and C. I don't have a racist bone in my body, but I follow wherever the data takes it and then, of course people argued no. There is no way that you could study this question,
If you don't have ulterior motives, and so then they would concoct these associations, you know he's he got money from the Heritage Foundation Institutes and there in the furious so you must be a NEO Nazi and I don't know the answer. I don't truly know whether he was a racist or not, but at the conceptual le Well, there's no reason why that should be a taboo topic. I mean: do you agree, but it you just see that all the topics in the universe to spend weeks and months and years fixated on it's easy to see how people or who would fix it for the wrong reasons would be interested there and you can see them seize upon the data such as they are with glee. But the irony, of course, is that both sides of this issue are taboo, so, for instance, if you wanted to talk about given community and why they may not be driving to the degree that some other is and you're going.
That's the question: is there a genetic reason for this? Well, that's obviously taboo, but what's left for you to consider at that point is a cultural reason for this, but to say that there is something wrong with the given. Culture is also taboo, so you have just taken off the table. The only two facets of reality that science can deal with an so you can basically say nothing scientifically about differential degrees of thriving in various communities, and you know, that's obviously not a great situation to maintain for centuries in science. It's interesting
is taboo, really only works in one direction: cuz it you, if you're looking for good things about a culture if you're saying that Asians are showing some aptitude academically or you know, if you lost a quantitatively or you know, Ashkenazi Jews have shown a history of real literacy and and a contribution to intellectual life disproportionate to their numbers, as is undeniable to look into biological or cultural basis of that it may be taboo in some quarters, but it's certainly less taboo or what's interesting about I mean you're talking about nature, nurture and jeans and environment. I think on average people would construe the genetic explanation as more taboo than the cultural one, if only because it is perceived at times wrongly so that it is more immutable right. There's nothing supposedly that I can change about my jeans, but culture. We can change it, and I think that
and the reason why I say that that's incorrect. Incidentally, it's because much of who we are, as you know, is really an interaction between are jeans and our environment, and so so you know just sort of separate them, as though jeans can't be Tommy jeans are turned on or off as a function of environmental inputs. Right So people have the wrong idea of what's immutable or not, but I think that point is really at the root of I think of our common friend Steven Pinker, I mean when he took on the black slave and I've taken it on uh. On my own, from my own research and in the blanks play slate is, is really a pre created within the Social Sciences. Precisely for the reason that we mentioning right now, which is uh, you know it's nice to believe it's a very hopeful message. It's nice to believe that no one starts off and life with anything other than you know, equal potentiality right and that it's only you know the nefarious for
there's a lot of violent and socialize Asian, and so on that take us down the life trajectory that we go down. That's a nice message, so anybody can be the N l mesquite anybody can be. Einstein. Anybody could be Michael Jordan, so I think a lot of the the nonsense. That's been skewed and the Social Sciences over the past hundred years. It's not because you know, most social scientists are, you know walking the generates. Who don't understand anything about life is. I think it comes from a good place right so, for example, the cultural relativists you mentioned earlier cultural, moral relativism, so that started with France. Was the cultural anthropologist who sort of was aware that, having A biological explanation for things could could have a downstream effect. That's that's bad right, and we could. We know all the different reasons for that. Right and therefore, let's create a worldview that, while completely incorrect is at least more hopeful and and that to me is an affront to the truth and therefore I will attack it
again, I I'm a little torn on some of these issues, because I do see, some of them is just not being a direction worth going. I may actually it's interesting, because this is really not much bent at all. Intellectually. I just had to go where the facts lead, but I'm sympathetic with the idea that certain types of research, certain facts which can be as factual as any other, can be so reliably misunderstood or misappropriated that it's on some level knowledge not worth having. Well, there's nothing to do about it necessarily or if there is that's, not obvious, and the results could be reasonably expected to be bad or unproductive for society, and so I still think that this search for racial difference in specific error,
is like intelligence or, let's say aggression, there's no doubt they exist. It would be a miracle if populations that show significant phenotypic differences by dent of their distinct evolutionary paths showed exactly the same level of traits for every trait we value, I mean, there's just no way, that's true right. So if we could really- down in a fine grained way to the details here and scale, all these different populations on intelligence and empathy and aggression and everything else that is psychologically interesting to us. What then right- and this does come back to which you said about a misunderstanding of just what it means for something to be genetically determined or to have its basis in biology, because, obviously, as you said, ideas modify the regulation of our genes experience does the brain
he is not a closed system. The brain isn't dialogue with the world, so the laundry between nature and nurture- is not hard and fast, and if you look closely enough, it really doesn't exist. So when you talk about the ways that are left open to you, to use this knowledge, you're not talking about changing the genomes of people to improve them at least you're. Not talking about that yet, and also there's a misunderstanding that creeps in that the variance is likely to a significant enough that it would be rational to judge someone based on the population, I come from. Let's say it's: it's just a fact that Koreans are on average better at math than White Americans. You know that I'm just making this up but let's say something like that's true, yeah and use. You introduced me to a random Korean and I ran a random caucasian. It would not be rational for me to think
I knew anything about their mathematical ability based on their racial characteristics, but no one's going to follow that really, and people are just going to make these blanket judgments about populations based on the facts. Defined right and, incidentally, by the way what you just mentioned, I mean yes, you took the most toxic of the topics: racial differences, but almost verbatim what you just said has been used to to cast a negative light on anybody who does sex differences, research right and people say. Well, you know why can't you study something that unites us, something I remember I I received one say: a review reviewer's comments. I a paper to a top journal. You know why you still focused on sex differences. What's the point of that? Why not study something that unites us? Well, the reality was, I was studying sex differences in information search prior to choosing or rejecting amaze right. How much information do men need to acquire or women be.
Or they decided they seen enough information to either the a perspective shooter or to choose a suitor. So this was really at the intersection of information search and make choice and, by definition, the nature of that research question was about a sex difference right. I was using principles from biology to argue hi. I would expect a sex difference. Well, this particular reviewer. I mean in line with some of the language that you use said well, what's the point of that? Why not study something that transcends our sex that unites us, and that is a bit of a arbitrary point to take I mean I I could just try another example. I mean for MAX right that the french mathematician develop theories. Or proposed or prove theorems. You know several one hundred years ago, that collected dust for several one hundred years and then today many of these principles are used in cryptography Well, how did he use the benchmark, then, of I better do applied research that has clear, immediate aplicaci
and value. He would have never done this, so I think when it comes to the issue that we're discussing, I tend to be a purist, if, whatever I'm doing ads, this sort of greater pantheon of human knowledge in a way, that's valuable, then go for th that that's my benchmark, yeah well then you smuggled in value there at the end, you know. So the question is what is valuable, given that there is an infinite number of things we can study and there's not enough time to do it. I totally agree with you. Obviously my bias is in the same direction as the one you expressed so to some degree. What the noises Making now are kind of devil's advocate position. I think the idea that any of these kinds of questions are taboo is ultimately dangerous, because the reason why it's taboo is because we're living in a cultural landscape where people are defining themselves in terms of the
the narrow communities there are part of it is the problem of identity. Politics mean that there is no results. I can tell you. There is no results that could come out about Ashkenazi Jews that I would take personally right at the sky's. The limit I mean it could be. You know everything from penis size to acquisitiveness members to imagine what would offend people, but it's just there's nothing right and for me clearly that have to get to a time where, basically, everyone feels that way about that unity that they're in based on these superficial differences, with respect to skin, color and and all the rest. So I'm sympathetic with your bias here, but I do recognize that it's just those alone. The landscape is changing their different trends here and in some ways, is changing for the worse and and we have that use
say this commitment to political correctness, especially within academia, especially among the young, that is making it impossible to talk about things that are obviously hugely important to talk about not racial differences in intelligence, but things like the spread of political Islam. I worry that if you attach yourself to too many controversial things and an orange kind of cure rate in your your offense a little more carefully and again, I I speak not about you personally, but check all of us, you, you sort of, wear out your welcome. So that's the reason why I haven't gotten the offer from Stanford. Otherwise, there's no, national reason why it hasn't come yet right, right right and that's an obvious problem that people have to consider. It is what happens to your career when you touch any of these topics and when you think about someone like Charles Murray, right right- I don't know I've met him once briefly,
but the bulk are guy right. Yeah, so he wrote the Bell curve with his colleague who I think is passed away, and that was a hugely controversial book. Obviously, and and honestly, I I never even read it right and- and I haven't read the chapter- I think it was just one chapter that was that the epicenter of the controversy- and I don't You know frankly, know whether the what's in their justifies any of the opprobrium that has been heaped upon him, but there's no question that his life has been affected by this. You know right yeah, I'm sure everyone who collaborates with him or introduces him as a speaker has to on some level. I apologize in advance for him. History of controversy and some of it might be totally unwarranted. Again, I don't know, but whenever I have looked into one of these scandals like Larry Summers at Harvard at Harvard speculating about a different degree of variance in male and female populations, with respect to math ability and
remarks they're, just as plain vanilla speculation, as you could imagine, and yet he was you know hurled out of Harvard for it any case a is that that's a landscape in which we are being asked to function, and I think you do have sort of pick your battles, although I I set of pick so many of them in our eyes is kind of strange. Coming from me. For you, you're, outside of academia. So in a sense it affords you a bit more leeway right, you're, not of the vipers, then so to speak, right, yeah, but obviously I still want to be taken seriously and g a fair hearing. When I decide to open my mouth and I have certainly paid the price for having touched so meh these topics, and even this conversation we're having now, will be readily spun against me and what happen
as you want to build in all these friction points where you, you have to start a conversation dealing with the thing that someone heard about you that into in fact, is not true and again. I I see that I I am contaminated by this with respect to other people. So you know, I see you someone says oh, you got to have, fine mall, the new one on your podcast right and, and so I take a look at what he's been saying. What's being said about him, and I think I don't have the time to figure out whether this guy is really a racist, crackpot and and to some degree everyone is dealing with this problem and and and certainly they're dealing with this problem with respect to people like ourselves. Well, you know all yeah. I mean your. Your point is one that I have had to deal with in my own choice of you know whom to invite on my show and as you were, trying to come up with some of these names and you came up with the Steven I could mention a few from my own show, Tommy Robinson Robert Robert Spencer,
Anne Marie Waters and a whole bunch of other guys, all of whom I mean really are young, probably in in the circle of sort of you know you're in a of land. They probably score much higher than you- and I was you know very, very minimally concerned about you know exactly the issue that you mentioned and then again my personhood kicked in, which said no, I will not be silenced. I will give these guys fair hearing and- and I'm here to report that you can't imagine how many people wrote to me SAM saying you know I had been. You know the wind into thinking that Tommy, you know Robinson is, is you know he's on is basically mangle. You know from the party right and then I heard him speak on your show and he struck me as very, very reasonable and very measured. I mean I mean he's not he's not the most eloquent guy in the world, if I may say, but he certainly bright, he's measured and their opinions
so it's a fine line on. On the one hand, I understand we don't live in vacuum and we don't want to be fighting the fight and, of course, you fight them, probably a hundred fold more than I do, but on the other hand, if we, if we succumb to that mob pressure, then they're, basically dictating whom we can speak to correct. Have you ever interviewed someone who you recall at interviewing for reasons of along these lines that you didn't actually appreciate? They were and they managed to for you and and pass for reasonable, but then you discover something heinous about them and now you feel solid yeah right, so I have to be a bit diplomatic, which is not easy for me. At there is one gentleman that I interviewed, who I think it will be pretty fair to say he is an islamic colleges on steroids, but I
is very common. You know very measured, so I don't have any stories similar to your. What do you call it the greatest cast at the best podcast ever yeah right, so I don't have a story like that now I do have the gentleman who coming on next week, who used to be I hope I'm not speaking, but I I think he used to be a terrorist and then eventually he reform and now he advises. You know, being Canadian Security Service says about you know called radical Islam and I think that may potentially be a difficult conversation all the light. Well, the on my end, but I sort of noticed he put out a couple of tweets where he started. Accusing me of also is this what I should expect your an Anti Moslem that they get type of guy, and I will him privately, I said: look if, if this is the kind of this course that we're going to and that having that, it's not really very fruitful. If, if, if you think that simply questioning,
on some issue. Shell of Islam is going to. You know, have this appellation thrown at me, then it's so this conversation and said no okay, brother, no problem we're good. So I do because I haven't had any that remotely match your level of you- know craziness on your podcast, but hey the future is long enough and all of that craziness is is of a different sorts, because what I'm picturing here is talking to someone who you, you really should challenge on specific points, because they they have said crazy, divisive, irrational things in the past but they're just not saying them on your show. So so you get them there and that you know they turned out this person's a grand dragon in the KKK, but you don't know that and you're talking about racial differences in iq or something in in a Good natured academic way- and you don't realize that this person's interest in this topic is just the tip of the iceberg and the iceberg is horrendous.
Look at the situation one could be, I mean. Obviously, I think that you could have an interesting, potentially interesting, convert with anyone. You know I would be willing to go into a prison and talk to a serial killer right, because I think that would be a fascinating conversation, though there many questions, I would want to ask someone who has killed many people, but it least in that situation. I would understand who I was talking to and what I worry about. With many of the people you name someone like Robert Spencer. He comes so fully stigmatized that, unless you've paid enough attention to the kinds of battles, he's fought to be confident that you To know that all of that a program is unwarranted. Well then, you just don't I actually know who you're talking to and one of the ways that I handled specific Robert Spencer cases as people started. Writing
they say hey. Why are you speaking to this Nazi and so on? I said: look uh. You know the comment section on my Youtube Channel is open. Why don't you share some manner Stations of you know some nefariously racist. You know horrible things that he's done and at least I could be educated, guess what I didn't see it so so I think that's one of the ways by which you could, I think, takes they're. Turn seriously right. You mean you're exhibiting that you're open to having the opinion they'd like you to have a him you're open to that possibility. The onus is on you to share that information. So so I won't accept that he's simply a vial Nazi Islamophobe at face value and then not bring him on and I've had this even with guys who are less toxic right people said the you know. Why are you speaking to Paul Joseph Watson on that? The Alex Jones network. You know how is kind of bombastic got. You know that is, I know, Jones. I don't know Paul Joseph Watson
well and the reality is that to me I was very proud, magic about it, a it's a forum, it's a large forum that would allow me to share ideas and probably a bunch of people who otherwise would have never heard of me now know of my work precisely 'cause I went on that show. So I think it's it's difficult to always run away from folks that come with a dangerous Appalachian, because and it'll be just you and I talked to one another, all their yeah, although from my perspective may be speaking to you. Is going to get a lot of hate on me now you never know so it was a let's get into these controversial water is with respect to Islam, because obviously ' you and I have both spent a lot of time here and we agree, I think we agree large- yeah. I think they're probably some interesting points of disagreement, though, but we certainly agree that the reflexive denial that the unique
problems. We're seeing in the muslim world have anything to do with religious doctrine that denial that we see everywhere is a real cause for concern, and it's intellectually and ethically unjustifiable, and you know what you and I both spend a lot of time, convincing people that there really is a connection between the way people behave and what they believe and they're telling us what they believe and we should believe them in most cases. So It's not you know. Jihadism is not merely political, the a and it's amazing that that's still a controversial point. I think we probably do have some different intuitions on on certain points. So tell me a little bit. I think what you and I once to dinner- and you were talking about how we in Montreal gave you a somewhat different picture on questions of immigration n. Whether Islam was amenable
to reform in the way that someone like magic now was suggests and give me give me your picture of. What's going on, and, incidentally, uh. When you mentioned earlier a conversation that uh you know would have been difficult to have it patents to be had I tried to have that conversation would magic. I reach out, and because I disagreed with some of his prescriptions and no. He he he blew me away, because apparently the final inerrant word had been written in a book that you have with him, so that would be a manifestation in my eyes of someone who wasn't willing to engage in a discussion notwithstanding the fact that I had started my clip by saying that I applaud his word. And this is the type of guy that we should be supporting, but there were specific details that I disagree with him. That said so to go to the to your Montreal question,
But the reality is that- and you said this a million times and very large forms. We have to differentiate between, of course, individual and it's in the ideology. Just let's say it like for the one millionth time- so individual Muslims might be lovely, but what happens to a soc when it becomes more islamized that, if you'd like is a question that we all have to ask- and there are really three actually actually get before you get into that, which is exactly where I want you to go. You might just tell listeners who aware of it that you have a background that gives a kind of a life experience here that that many of us don't have yeah. That's that's a that's a great point of so I was born in Lebanon. I I grew up in Lebanon and uh. So I know the tongue is arabic. Where are and all the places you have ways and some of the music we listen to on the foods and if you saw it
wouldn't know that we are anything but arabic. The only Asterix is that we are Lebanese Jews and when the civil war broke out, in Lebanon. In the mid 70s it became a about us precarious, as anything can be to be jewish and lemon, and so we had to leave under imminent threat of execution. So some of the things that people in the West now are used to seeing in terms of you know, ice and so on is stuff that I grew up with him living on right that is my reality, that's what I escape from and so I have first hand experience. I mean not that that means that whatever I say should be more trusted. But of course I am sure by my own unique experience and my own unique experience says that at any point something could be dormant and then it comes, alive and when it comes alive, look out right because people will point to all, but but you have an otherwise peaceful existence in Lebanon. Before that point,
Well, yes, or no I mean we were tolerated right to be tolerated in the context of the Middle EAST, is very different than to be. Oh right, uh, your tolerated. It means that we're not going around decapitating you well that to me is not the best benchmark of being an equal citizen under the all right, so they were Insta. Socialize laws that did not permit Jews to do certain thing, even in the most progressive of middle eastern countries, Lebanon right, my brother, who was the lebanese judoka, I think three years running had to leave Lebanon before the civil war, because there were there was there were three some him that he could no longer compete in Judo, because you know it wasn't good for due to constantly You know when the title, so these realities are things that we faced every day, even pre war. So that's really the background that I come from. My parents were subsequently after we
a great it's a kind of that again, you may or may not know this, I'm not sure if we discussed it and I lost the get together, but my parents got going back to Lebanon after we immigrated to Canada. And in one thousand nine hundred and eighty there were kidnapped by father and some really nasty things happened but plug. We were able to get them out. So you know I have in the same. And some of the other people who are in this space. Have personal history with this real? lucky I mean I have it all right I mean I've lived I've escape that you know for about twenty or twenty five years after we escape club, I used to have a recurring nightmare where you know they're coming to kill us and I have a gun that either malfunction or I run out of ammunition. So this is, all right. This is part of my if you like my memory dna, so that's that's my background and its shape. Is what I'm now seeing in Montreal, which is that Montreal is becoming increasingly islamized. So if we compare
you know the number of people that we will see in Islamic Garden, Montreal twelve one thousand three hundred and fourteen years ago today I mean it's just breathtaking does that mean that we started to Yemen? Of course not, but we can sort of guess what the trajectory is with more Islam there are more pieces there, more tolerance. Is there more freedom of speech or less? I mean it's a it's a very simple: Michael, is right in the same way that, at the end of every day, we can determine whether update I've put on weight, nothing is changing. My way, or I've lost weight. We could ask the very same question when Islam becomes majority in a particular soc. Is it for the better and by better I mean by all the tenants that we hold dear in the west? Does it is an unchangeable, or does it get worse and so that's what we really have to look at, not so much whether you know how many terrorists we let n, if we let in immigrants is, does Islam once
becomes dominant change, the fabric of our societies and regretted? The answer is yes, yeah yeah. So this is one of these topics. It's very fraught and you know, I have a position here with respect to muslim immigration in the current context of the election, because I've been struggling to figure out what someone like Hillary Clinton could say. That would make sense, given the realities were talking about. That wouldn't be just the sanctimonious drivel that you hear from unfortunately from the current president and from really all Democrats, which is that this has nothing to do with this mom and to even think about paying attention to somebody's religious background when you're deciding whether to admit them into the country. That is synonymous by definition with the worst forms of bigotry. So as listeners to this podcast. No
I'm not a fan of Donald Trump's, and yet, if you catch him in the midst of a single sentence or something that purports to be a sentence, you will he we're a more honest notes truck here, where it will be something like listen. This is coming from one religion, it's Islam and we know this and we can't lie about it and therefore the fact that someone has a muscle
background tells us something about the possibility of one that their jihadist and two that they harbor opinions now I'm starting to speak in a way that Trump wouldn't, but that they may in fact, harbor opinions that are deeply inimical to everything we value culturally free speech and the rights of women and the rights of gays and all the rest. And so it is just a fact that if you're going to let in one hundred thousand Muslims from a country like Syria, even with the best of intent, and even with some process of screening, you will let in some percentage of that one hundred thousand- and you know at that percentage- is by the way. Some do you wanna take a guess what that number is well when this all turns on how good your screen
his rights, have it with no screening, then then you're sampling, the whole society, but want one hopes that there's some process of vetting here that weeds out people who are obviously solomos sore, obviously sympathetic with ISIS, were all the rest. So Douglas Murray was talking about this on the podcast. In some probably a year ago now, when the migrant crisis was really kicking off, no matter how good your screening is, you have to honestly acknowledge that no screening paradigm is perfect and that there's so much political correctness on our side that one you know has good, because
I doubt whether any screening procedure would be of the sort that you and I would support right so like are they? Are they really going to ask intrusive questions about a person's religious convictions and are such questions sufficient to tease out attitudes, the middle? What let's see? Let's say you could screen out all the jihadists by adding a magically asking the right questions. Are you going to be committed to screening out people who really down to that? You know the the soles of their feet despise freedom of speech right people, who you know it would take a ten years for them to figure out that they want to live in a sub Heidi, where cartoonists can draw the prophet right, because right now, they think that those people should be hurled from rooftops. The numbers of people who believe that in the muslim world is far where in excess of anyone who would say they support Isas or even jihadism. And so that's the situation. You're left with you to let in great numbers of
Muslims is different than letting in great numbers of Christians even from the same societies or use from from Iraq. Because of specific facts about the doctrine, and- and this is what is refreshing about the juggernaut of narcissism and illusion that is Donald Trump. Most people are in denial about this reality and it's something we just have to honest talk about not now. I say all this believing that the prescription of not letting in Muslims or not, let and anyone who could be muslim from any of these societies is not workable and and in fact, not wise for the reason that many sanctimonious liberals a spouse, but obviously they espouse it. In the text have not actually acknowledging the nature of the problem. I mean the buffer against muslim extremism and the only prospects for reform in the muslim world
is muslim moderation on some level, so it it's got to be at minimum. Is the ex Muslims right? Is that the it's s? It's someone like you know, you know Serra Hater right right who do who can who just get hooked into the at ten thousand Serra Haters. Given huge platforms, that's what the world needs and if you keep Serra Hater out, because she came from RON Country or you keep Faisal Saif Al Matar out, because he came from Iraq and he was muslim. Those are the people who have to be empowered and those of people have to have to be given all the resources we can muster in those that the people who we need here and then we need people who are just like them in their commitment to liberalism and pluralism and tolerance and rationality, but who, for whatever reason, are still identified as Muslims like imagine, Ella's unique people
that at the mosque in Montreal or New York or Houston or LOS Angeles, and those are the people who who are you know are early warning system against and really our immune system against the spread of quote islamic extremism. So if we just followed, the Trump trumpian line of saying, okay, no more Muslims, I don't see how we have taken the step to empower the reformers, so I completely agree that somewhere between Trump's prescription of no more entry of Muslims and the open door policy of the you know, Ostridge Brigade lies the sweet spot. The problem is, or, or maybe a problem or not, or we may or may not. Disagree is where that point is. From my perspective, I struggle with this issue all the time, because no one probably knows
more nice and decent laws, and probably no one has more muslim friends than I do by virtue of my background right. So obviously the individual level, there is no discussion to be hard, there are very nice. Muslims are very bad. Muslims were talking here about statistical regularity's right, our brains have evolved to detect statistical regularity's. I mean that's a central feature the architecture of the human, the reason why we don't go down a dark alley. I Yeah satirized uh an argument that Lawrence Krauss had made about. How, statistically, is insignia? I can't like ahead of you dying from a terror. Simply don't worry about it. By using the phone analogy right, I took the data from all murders for because here in Canada, which is very small. Your chance of dying of murder in Canada is unbelievably small. If you get the number of murders in Canada that were committed,
dark alley, which is a subset of that. It's a it's Donna, Shively, smaller yeah, most of us when faced with the choice of walking in on a public street or in a dark alley. We refused to walk, but that a dark alley, and so then, of course I satirize it as you know, we're being dark alley or phobic right the reality. Yes, that is it's a numbers game and the reality is. If let in one hundred thousand people from those countries where in Many many surveys show that the rate of genocidal Anti Semitism is. You know ninety five percent. Ninety eight percent. Ninety nine percent- so that's a real small minority of ninety nine percent of people right now, if I as a Jew, say you know what I'm not really comfortable with ninety five percent of a huh. One hundred thousand new people coming in who I know hate me and my children- is that irrational position for me to take now, if you keep those values at the door them in
that you come in if there is a magic way by which we can decontaminate you from that hatred, then come in my brother, I don't care if you're brown or white, or blue or muslim or not, but to the extent that we don't have that magic machine. Then the numbers that we let n has to be such that it doesn't have any capacity to irrevocably change the carrot sort of our society right when you're letting in one million people to Germany, it doesn't take. Have a demographer by looking at the differences and fertility rates to say look. I can predict that in forty years you guys are going to have trouble. Why? Well, because when Islam becomes in the majority, chances are Well, you don't get John Lennon singing. Imagine while holding hands with the Jews. We know that we've got one thousand four hundred years of history of that. So you know we just have to be honest about it now, in the case of Trump, this is where you and I quote, Havadis.
I agree with everything that you say about Trump. I mean I, I love your analogy about him being a balloon that goes in different directions. Is that was that? Can you can you remind us what that an lg was of his mind, or at least the way? I see minus if you hold up a balloon without tying at the end and release it and just watch it fly. K Klay around the room. That's that's how I view the quality of his of his mind and attention right so now, let's so that's the Trump resist Clinton. As relating to a song yeah. There are different decision rules that we can use in making a choice. So, for example, we could take all of their attributes that define them, and then we choose that candidate who scores higher around the greater number of attributes and then maybe, if we use that decision rule well, then Clinton wins.
On the other hand, there is another rule called the lexicographical, which basically says look at the most important attributes. For you I mean, if you're choosing to face the most important attribute might be price, so I choose the toothpaste that has the lowest price. That would be called the lexicographical well, if we, if this long or in the gratien is the most important issue to you and you are somebody who is willing to choose a president based on the lexical rule, then, to the extent that you- and I would probably agree that Donald Trump has a better handle on this issue, that Clinton, then you would choose Trump and it would not make you a rational so all I'm saying, is that we have to be a bit more nuanced and I'm not I'm not attacking you here, I'm just in a general discourse, yeah to be more nuanced than to say you know, she's, presidential and polish, and you know he's a dick eight a chicken without a head to just others, random nonsense. The truth lies somewhere
between in my case. I know for a fact- and I hope I'm not being presumptuous- that, irrespective of whether Trump or Hillary and come in at the end of four years, very little is going to change in terms of the economy and all the other things. The sky is still going be the same color so to speak, and the sun is still going to rising the same way. But if we have a person who is going to go down Angela Merkel's policies and has promised to bring in five hundred thousand new immigrants from that region. I know that downstream there will be irrevocable changes that will have an effect on our societies and I'm not american right. So people can listen to. Position and know that I don't have a dog in this fight. I don't care, I'm not voting. I know what happens when Islam becomes dominant, notwithstanding
Most Muslims are perfectly lovely. So therefore I look at the issue that I think matters most to my children and yours and I say which of these two candidates. Scores better on that and then maybe I'll go with the one scores better and that's it. What do you think of that logic? Yeah? Well, I just don't. I wish our our situation was that Rosie, but I just think, given the nature of Trump's mind and given the kinds of things he has said, you just can't be a single issue voter with with respect This because I mean said sufficiently crazy and world destabilizing things that, if taken series play in and they were, they were uttered earnestly they just they're. They suddenly pose bigger problems than Islam, arguably, for him to say that maybe we wanted to fault on our national debt or basically renegotiate it like it's having a failing, casino you're talking about Destroy in America's standing in the world and maybe be kicking off a global recession, you know it's just it's insanity and
global warming being a chinese hoax and all the kinds of things that come out of his mouth, our new honestly important and just so we'll considered as to be just. I can't believe that were in the situation of you know where his proximity to power is something we're actually having to to contemplate and Spahn too. The only thing standing between him and more responsibility than any person has arguably had in human history is the deeply flawed candidates of Hillary Clinton. You know I mean it's just it's a terrible situation. I agree that this is a it's a huge issue. I it's not. I don't know that it's the most important issue, given just the other things in play, we've got, ten nuclear armed Russia actively hacking our election. We got one candidate celebrating it there's
so many things going on. It had nothing to do with Islam. That are huge, so you're thinking. If I could summarize what you're saying to put in sort of the season making terms and his a superior position. Whatever that means on Islam at does not sufficiently sway you at in comparison to all the multitude of other ways on which scores in an inferior way to Hillary Clinton, so that when you look at the total package, you simply have to go with Clinton. Is that a fair sort of summary of what you're saying e S, because in his position on Islam is only superior superficially. It's not it's not based on him and actually understanding what's going on in the world, he clearly doesn't he quite famously mistook the codes for Kurds? You know I I will. I would bet my life. He couldn't utter more than a single sentence about the difference between Sunni and Shia Islam and could certainly could not tell us it's a huge difference and a big
hey. Could you exactly- and he couldn't tell us where you know on the map, you would place the the the Sudanese and the and the Shia there's no reason to believe he understand what's going on in the Middle EAST or anywhere else with respect Islam, he just knows there's some there's a problem with his mom and there's not a problem with Mormonism of the same sort, and so we were right to be worried about it so that much he understands. But there's no question that Clinton understands that too and argue really the thing to worry about, at least if you're, a liberal with her, is that if anything, she's too hawkish with respect Islam, it's not that she doesn't understand that only one religious community on earth is reliably producing this death cult. Behavior know she understands it and she's happy fly predator drones all day long and kill these people, you know, is somewhat indiscriminately if yuri on the left and and you're. Judging that practice, she's already shown a commitment to killing jihadists
that means she knows where the jihadists are coming from she's, not oblivious to the problem. Now, when you talk about somebody like Angela Merkel, who has led in what seems to be a crazy number of refugees and economic migrants with, I haven't, really thought it through. I just don't see that as something that is at all likely to happen in the US s me one where we can absorb more people but to we're not going to lead in nearly the same numbers. I think. Well, I've heard I've heard the numbers, and I and- and I I guess, we'll have to check the veracity of those numbers, but I seem to have read somewhere that she's coming. Redtube letting n up to half a million increasing whatever Barack Obama has done five fault. I don't think that's I mean that's not the number that is as bad as whatever is happening in Germany, if only because their number is bigger with a smaller population. I get that, but five huh thousand. I mean, if you're, seeing the
number of increase daily terror acts that are happy attacks that are happening in the US now can You just say that, statistically speaking by letting in five hundred thousand, that number will increase. However much it will increase by, we don't know, but it will increase. So then, why play that game right from a strictly from a very cold, perhaps callous perspective? Why is it that we have to assume that cost? I mean I'll, give you a very small personal example. If you a month ago, so all want my son. We have. We have a few left. Two children and one of our son was taken. Out of care because it was a suspicious package somewhere and you know they have to make sure and so on. It turned out to be a false alarm. This was something that wouldn't happens you years ago, this was a repeat of what I saw in Lebanon and what I would see if I go visit family in Israel right now. Is this reality going to increase
to increase immigration from those countries? Of course it is so then the question becomes so what is the moral calculus by which we should justify to ourselves and to our children that it is worthy to take that risk? An I don't, I'm not sure if I You come up with it I mean. Can you see I? Actually I do have an answer to that. You can consider it from two sides. So One side is, I am very in touch with the likelihood, in fact the certainty that many of the people we would be letting in our people, one we don't have to worry about into just has a ethical obligation.
The more we can learn about them, the more we would want to let them in right. So it's just you know our our hearts would break for their the the actual details of of their story. I mean you have forget about the Muslims for a second users of Christians and use it is and and others who have been victimized in the in the starkest possible way by sheer bad luck. You know they had the bad luck to be born into these societies and their Scapin ISIS, and we you know we should we should let the men started for you. What's your French, I think, then, why is it that out of I don't know what the that number is, I don't. Let's say, a hundred people that are not yet in less than one percent from the Middle EAST are not muslim, are use easy and the matter and the Greek Orthodox, and so on. It's not the where that we hear quoted from people are, are being let in from Obama, in other words it that the current entry policy is not the one that you're it's, not that the Yazidis are getting preferential street
to. It is still the case that ninety nine percent of them, who are being left in our precisely belonging our core religionists on the ones that the ones that are truly in trying to escape, are not being let in so what's the logic there I'd heard that, but I I'd heard that from sources that I I don't feel that I can trust. So I didn't do. Do you have good information on that, because I need to hear it I mean I could look up to see where I got it, so I can't vouch for its veracity. But those are the numbers that scene, but it certainly is worth checking the grassy but
Okay. So yes, I in my view that would be a total mistake, both morally and and politically. I don't know what they the percentages are, but will it let's say: ten percent of of Syria is non Muslim and we should be let in and at least ten percent right, non Muslims and and probably much more. You know, because these are arguably the people who have an extra reason to fear persecution and to be escaping. You know, legitimate problems will be Kris, Jenner use it here, were probably fifteen Jews who who got out a last minute. So yes, so that that would be mistaken and obviously a religious test for her injury would make a lot of sense in the sense that you to find out that someone is christian, coming from one the societies is to learn a lot about the likelihood that they will become a jihadist spontaneously, five years from now once there.
Driving a cab in New York, and you know not having such a good time right if they're, actually Christian, the the and the the likelihood is vanishingly small. So that's relevant information. The fact is taboo to even talk. This way is a real problem, but I am just aware of the fact that when you look at someone like Aaron again, a people, the people We have interviewed and people who I consider friends and colleagues like Faisal or Sarah, or I don't actually recall, of Sarah immigrated from anywhere. I don't think she did. She bought in the states she she's a fucking starting this, and I can't remember if she came to the states we certainly can when she was very young so anyway, but you can imagine someone just like her right with all of her potential to do good in the world and her level of commitment. To rationality and and all the values that we want to defend, and that person is just
languishing in in a refugee camp in Jordan, say right, that's the most important person in the world. From my point of view, given perfect information, that's the first person on my list to bring into the country. So that's one side of it. The the other side is, we routinely make decisions for which the the the actual price- you know the undeniable price is is the loss of innocent human life, so my go to example. Here is always the speed limit right. So if we were asked you know, do you want to reduce the speed limit in your society too? save the maximum number of innocent human lives. What kind of monster would you have to be not to want to do that? So what would that actually entail? So you know the speed limit lists. They use sixty five miles an hour on your highways. If you reduce that by half we're going to save what a net ten thousand lives in the US, I miss something. Like that's gotta be true, I mean. Certainly it would be thousands or you could go further. It could just
The five miles an hour you know, and then it would take you would just wouldn't be. Able to commute anywhere really realistically and society would have to proceed along different lines. Well, when you actually look at why people don't want to reduce the speed limit- and it did the reasons, aren't even the good reasons of well listen, the the the economic cost of doing this would then also tally in losses of life. Right you to be the you, you would just be destroyed, so much human wealth. You would just need need only calculate the mortality points you earn doing that forget about that people just like to drive fast. It's just fun right, so it so. If you give people a choice, listen you! You got a new car and Stan, you love it, but we're now going to put a governor on it so that you cannot speed. So we're not going to reduce the speed limit, we're just going to ensure sure that no one can drive over it. People will recoil from that because they want the freedom to break the law
they have a nice new car? They want to be able to drive seventy five miles an hour. Even though there's no's place, they ever go where that's the speed limit or eighty five miles an hour or whatever it is, and so there are these free, list attachments. We have that we know translate into spilled blood. On the pavement I mean literally, this is true. So what should the price be for texting while driving right? There are people who still can't figure out that they shouldn't be texting or reading their email while driving their cars, and some number of these people is just a matter of statistical fact. Some number of these people we're going to be driving over other peoples. Children in a crosswalk today right is probably exceeds drunk driving as a a reason for needless human death, an injury on our roads at this point. So what should we do to people who are caught texting while driving? Well, we could get very draconian about this and
change the behavior and save a lot of lives really quickly you actually, we could take these people and just drop them into ISIS held territory in Syria and not let them immigrate right. We could. We could put them in the refugee camp so that we can put this on television right. We could have a pay per view. Special, where you take you know, she'd be the thirty p no matter who they are, who were caught texting while driving in Beverly Hills today and just airlift them to see Maria and say: okay, you guys do. Could one of those people be Ben Affleck? He might do very well over there. The claims of death and suffering fungible here, and we can go to sort of move these pieces around and then decide you know which lives we want to save, and so I and I don't view the lives lost to terrorism as fundamentally different from the lives lost to car accidents and anything else. Obviously that happens. Your kid is the worst thing
whatever happened, and it doesn't really matter that it was an IED, or somebody driving a minivan. So that's kind of a two part answer to your question. I think we do make decisions all the time that we know are going to put lives in jeopardy, and this just you know the the risks are such and the numbers are such that we we accept the burden of these decisions. I mean I'm I'm willing to accept this sort of cost benefit tradeoff. If I can summarize what you just said in in in this way in the symphonies distinct way, the problem, I think, is that the cost benefit analysis that you've mentioned, at least. If I understood it correctly, is relevant at any particular temporal point at time. T equals x that, let's let your calculus, the operative. The problem, though, with when we're talking about Islam is you have? take a longer view of this issue, and that is it's not just how many people
will die in the next year or today versus how many people like SIRI behavior will be saved and Faisal who are lovely people. The question is if the demographic realities are altered in a society as a function of greater incursion of Islam, what happens downstream? To that? society. Once you incorporate that longer sort of, Inter temporal view to your calculus, then I think you might change and again, I don't wanna come across here as I'm the hottest an Islam while SAM Harris is the gentle more moderate one. But what I'm basically saying is that look I'm call four having a very ethical and moral program for letting and whether there muslim or not, I don't care, but it has to be taken with two fun mental ideas number one, the people that we let n, we are entitled to say what did they bring us as benefits and uh
words you're, not obligated to to become friends with people that you otherwise don't share many values right and your personal life. You do make a decision, I'd like to be friends with people who hold these beliefs, and I don't want to be friends with people who hold these other beliefs. By the same token, at the aggregate level the Soc is allowed to say, I only wish to allow entry to those who exactly are willing to abide, support and force the ethos of the West Ann. If you hold views and values, irrespective of who you are, if the more there's a new religion called purple that is antithetical to those views, then I don't have a moral obligation to let you in because you are gonna wreck havoc to myself,
maybe tomorrow, maybe in one hundred years, but it will happen and we have tons of data to support that narrative. So why not speak openly of honesty about it? Donald Trump is wrong. He's extremist in his views and every austr which liberal idiot is wrong somewhere in the middle is where the truth lies, and I think you and I I think we both try to find that sweet spot. Correct yeah, I think we agree about. Certainly the structure of the right answer: right, actually, I think you know if you and I were doing the vetting. I think we would probably agree about each individual case too and I'll tell you how I could, if I can suggest again uh, there's a game that I satirize, but frankly, the satire is very accurate. It's called six degrees, kill the Jew and the game works as follows, and it comes from my personal Do you really need six degrees, I'm trying to be charitable here soon, so, basically, the
the game works as it comes to the room. I say hello to him. How many exchanges does it take before we converge, especially since I arabic and therefore he certainly doesn't know that I'm jewish before we both search on, let's go, kill the Jews right and the reality is. This is how it typically goes: hi Jack. How are you fine? Let's kill the Jews right at so you know what I don't want people who is here to that and until I have a magic machine that allows me to look into your heart honestly and know whether you hold those beliefs or not. Then I'm under no obligation to let you end so I don't know the answer is, and I realized that the discourse that I'm giving right now sounds as though, I'm being very harsh and I'm not because obviously, as I just said, after top one hundred
Muslims that I know every single one of them is a lovely guy that doesn't fit the kill, the Jew stereotype right, but that doesn't say anything about the greater issue right and I frankly it's a conundrum. I don't know how to solve it. Do you know anything at all about what the vetting procedure is like? I don't the only, I can say I mean in Canada. I think it was Ali Rizvi when we both know well, I think he had said. I hope I'm not MIS, attributing this story to him, but I think it was him who said that when he came to Canada, I think it was something like a twelve to eighteen months. You know vetting product. The whole process took that long. So if let's take that number, let's take the smaller end of that number, it's twelve months. So how could it be under prejudge and Trudeau if it took twelve months to clear Ali Rizvi. What is the new magical vetting process that has allowed us to bring in
twenty five to fifty thousand Syrians and vet them in a store Stanley quicker manner than that which Ali Rizvi faced face right, so I mean without knowing anything about the details. Some shortcuts must happening? No yeah and again We can only imagine that the role played here by political correctness in greasing the wheels has got to be a dangerous one. Given the kinds of conversations I've had with people who are close to the levers of power, I have no confidence that people are dispose. Is it to ask the source of questions that we would wish they would and certainly the id. But no one on the on the side of the vetters, could unabashedly say well, we are really looking for easy dies in Christians first, because
Is this solve so many of our problems? And we because we won, we know we're not going to take and everybody. This is no way we can do it. So if I, if I quota is five hundred thousand and and we know we have one hundred thousand years 80s who are struggling to come in well, let's just take those straight away. That would be a taboo thing to do right or certainly seems based on what people have said on this topic, and that's just just and sadness from my point of view that you would tie one of your hands behind your back in the vetting process and not take advantage of what the population statistics are guitar handing you right, which is we have these communities, which we know by definition, don't pose any of the problems, or at least the most grave problems were worried about, and one could expect would be doubly grateful
for having gotten out of the hell hole of sectarianism that you just now rescue them from, but it would be fascinating to actually talk to somebody who's was this: you know who's who's, actually there in the room and who could tell us the kinds of questions that get asked the kinds of documentation people have a me. I just I can't imagine how you can never be truly confident that you understand some one is apart from discovering something like they happen to be a Christian. It's easy to see would catch. Some number of people expressing the kinds of sympathy is that you, you would think, would link up with many other things that you would find dangerous, but if someone's committed to just to see menu, you know if, if, if it's true that ISIS is sending people who are committed, jihadists and they're coming in into the migration crisis, with the conscious intention of gaming, the system, so
to wage jihad in the west is hard to see how you would cash such a person. Let's see again, I think that maybe one of the differences between your discourse right now and the way I view the problem- and here I'm going to appear maybe more hawkish than you is that I really think that the catching that I had this is a small part of the bigger problem. I do agree with you, ok yeah, so, but but I think that most people, even those who would agree with much of what you are I say, don't take that additional leap. It's a question of what does it take before you irrevocably changed the character of your secular, liberal, modern society right if I walk downtown, Montreal fifteen years ago and every girls in mini skirt of every race and nationality and faith or non faith, that's the Montreal I know if now, half those women are in burqas and niqabs, and he job and so on it. You know it
he doesn't take Einstein and Newton to understand what will happen to our society, notwithstanding the fact that most problems will be here, will be lovely and kind and guys that I would want to have the booty with. But that's not the point. The point is what happens to the greater society so until our politicians are able to sort of an ounce, this position- and I think, frankly, right now the one who comes closest to it as much as you might despise him and as before. English as he is, is Donald Trump and in the european context, one who is perhaps much more eloquent is geared. Builders. Right, I mean short of, is to leave. There's there's really no one. Who is engaging in honest this course I mean. What is that? Does that sound accurate? I mean, do you know anybody else? I can I. I can't sign on to know No actually, I could sign- I mean he is talking about this problem at least Arctic.
Lately, and I know he knows what he's talking about now. He again he's one of these people who I had him on the podcast. I wouldn't quite know who I was talking to because he says many things that I agree with, but obviously also comes in this toxic nimbus of Right Ames about his own intolerance. That I would have to find some way of giving some proper shape to Yes, I I I don't actually know who builders and really is, but Can I totally agree that the larger issue is one of the norm? news and and other values that that any population shares or can be reasonably expected to share and makes a difference. Is how often do you see someone in a burqa or niqab? The cab is quite rare. I've seen it
a lot of facts close to my house. We tried to go to a you know at a children's park and saw two women in full burqa. My daughter got out felt a bit scared. We got back into the car and left so it's happened a few times not too often, but I guess, if you expand the your question to an islamic garb, which is Jerry, is versions of at least some version of a job or shuttle or or just relax, and it it is, I mean I could walk down at the wall. Out of my house and out of the first twenty women I see, eight are wearing islamic garb. Okay, I mean I just made up that number. I don't know Jack. I haven't actually done that number, but I mean what I'm saying is it. They are places Montreal where it has now become the norm, to see women and one form of veil or another. Whereas up to thirteen years ago I had seen one woman from nineteen seventy five. When we emigrated to Canada to two thousand
be when I return from California, when I was at Uc Irvine, I had seen one woman in my entire life wearing his job. Well from two thousand and three till today, you know, I can't tell you how many they are, it's just endless it's in numeral, and so the question then becomes does that alter the fabric of the society? Well, of course it does I mean I tomorrow they'll be public request. Are public prayers the next day it'll be like I mean Islam doesn't just sit quietly and it's a private expression of one's faith always say go into the public sphere. Now that doesn't mean that every Muslim does this, but it certainly is that Islam, as a set of ideas, doesn't sit quietly in the privacy of one's conscience, and so I know for a fee, like that tomorrow, they'll be somebody at school who say hey. I need to take a break 'cause. I need to to go and pray as my friend, I know that my university, someone registrar, told me confidentially a few years ago
that they now had Proctor's at the exams who specifically catered to muslim students if they have to stop during the exam to go off right now, that's at a secular university and a secular country. How do these things mesh together? I completely agree that you open the door to all of these changes which, because they are anchored to a deep religious bamboozle meant and not all temples. Women's are the same. Yes, open your society to all kinds of changes in values that you don't want that. I I think the commitment to secularism and this specific about
I use like freedom of speech, has to be defended at at really any cost. The line in the sand that has to be drawn is we don't give in to threats toward newspaper editors who publish cartoons and the fact that we have in the west caved in on those points we operate reliably fail to defend secularism and and freedom of speech when they're put under challenge. It does not suggest that we will be good at defending these things in the future. We need a total firmware upgrade of our commitment to these principles. Do you feel hopeful about that? Do you feel that there be some traders some
cataclysmic? You know point that will cause this sort of stifling suicidal political correctness to starts ringing in the other direction. Are we doing well, I do think the pendulum will swing and aid may maybe in the process of swinging, but unfortunately it's when in politically in the direction of very dries right wing nativist movements, both in the US and and and what Europe that I think is counterproductive and that that will set up a set up for a nother pendulum swing, but right. So so, what's really needed here are people who are obviously tolerant and cosmopolitan and committed to all the right things. Get it off the face. Of the islamic faith. No, no. I would not even open today, and even you know, people like ourselves here, Man disciple, who obviously are not bigots right. Who can honestly say
You know, I love the music. I love the buildings. I love the food. I've got friends who, from all these cultures, I would you know I what I want to cosmopolitan society, but I can talk honestly about the consequences of belief systems and different norms, and not all cultures represent equivalent software packages to be running on your brain when it comes time to collaborate peacefully strangers in a pluralistic civil society, and one of the things you have on your hard drive is a total commitment to the veracity everything in everything in the Koran and a commitment to defending that claim against all critics with violence if necessary. Well, then, we've got no place for you in our society, and so there is a deal breaker within the islamic world.
Which just has to be spelled out and Muslims have to be encouraged. Could Joe old, enticed- and you know, when push comes to shove, CO, where Ste in to reform in that inner indigestible a bit of nonsense which is giving us, you know, Islamism, jihadism and a commitment to all of these, obviously destabilizing and and and divisive principles. Let me yeah, I'm glad you mentioned the word reform, because I think that's one of the is Choose where you know, give your work with nausea At what we might disagree see. I think that this piecemeal attempted module is trying with let's take this picture. How do you let's look at it in this way and, let's do the
gymnastics gets lost in the big gold medal for mental gymnastics to reinterpret what that means? That's going to ultimately fail because dot dot does type of reform at times. It's not as, though he's the first I've thought of that is that there is a history of not going back. You know on the line here right the question: if you really truly going to do something in the you know, landscape of reform, it has to be a cataclysmic reformation. You will discover a new revelation, I'm I'm being slightly facetious, I mean the point will still hold. You have to for a new revelation that aggregates all the passages, r violence, on the same way that you took the aggregation from being peaceful to now, the vice ones are relevant right. The Meccan verses Medina dichotomy. Now you come up with a single new revelation that would one swoop of the brush gets,
but this little minutia right. I mean in arabic letters how to fight you. Can you cannot a single hair? You cannot re enter a single header, the Quran, so one could argue doctrinally only speaking that which he is attempting is complete, non right. I mean we can debate that we can do the mental gymnastics, but the real he is it's not as though others haven't attempted that. So there has to be a much way and I mean you're the one who actually has said. Look this these people are hold very dangerous views with 21st century weapons, so we don't have the luxury to sit around and go through the authenticated he's on the non indicator and sort through them, and the which letter we're going to reinterpret. That's what I called the Holy three hundred apology. I misunderstood misinterpreted mistranslated, rather, if you're truly going to do
for, if you're not going to follow Sarah Haters Prescription, which is jump from Islam, to non belief. If you, if you think that people have to sort of do it in gradation, then frankly, I don't think that this piece meal line by line code of reformation is going to work. Do you do you agree at all with that? Or do you think I'm misguided? Well, I I just see an alternative. I don't see a as a new revelation being in the cards and then that wouldn't be accepted by anyone. It's hard to see how you know how it could ever be feline Klay credible. So when I view margins task as being as is finding some theologically defensible, is to stand where you can get a truly strong commitment to secularism and and one way one place he's found it which is really
an entail, find any of the hermeneutics. So you you can be you can be agnostic or or on interested with respect to any specific hair splitting of the tax right. You just have to admit that, because there's a radical plurality of views within Islam and there's no pope who can reconcile these disagreements certainly not in the Suni World, Plural some demands. Secularism, there's no other way to play this game. There's no one can win. It's not even a theological basis to claim. Unless you are the you're going to go all the way with a biker, Al Baghdadi and say I'm, the Kayla If there's no way to claim that your view of the matter supersedes anyone else's so you're left with pluralism, and then it is just one small self, preserving step to secularism there.
How? What how do you want to organize society when we can't agree about the ultimate nature of God and and his edicts? Well, we'll just keep all of that out of public policy, and you can be privately crazy as a solid a if, if you want to now, of course, that's an unstable situation, because The kinds of things that you know truly doctrinaire Muslims believe is that all of this is so important that you can't keep it out of public policy, because what what you're doing when you keep it out of public policy is your allowing people to go straight to Hell Fire for right and you're, allowing them to corrupt your children and this ambient levels. Anything going on around you in society is intolerable, given the requisite believes, that's police matter, and that's why it's it's important to to criticize bad ones in the end, because beliefs inevitably show up, which are really really believe when the stakes are high.
Inevitably shows up in your behavior and in the kinds of laws you wanna see written, and that is the legitimate fear you have expressed that when you bring in vast numbers of of generic Muslims into your otherwise plastic society, you are just by dint of numbers bringing in p who are very likely committed to something that is quite a bit more indigestible than even your run of the mill fundamentalist, Christian or Mormon, is going to be committed to, and that's you know it's something that we're allowed people are spending a lot of time lying to themselves about that. But it is just true, but I again I do. I just see Marge it as someone who is taking great risks to try to articulate a reformist starting point- and I think I've said this before- on the podcast one of the most depressing
Things that I've encountered since collaborating with him has been bearing witness to the evidence of how unpopular he is in that position is in the quote: moderate Muslim Commune, just hit his collaboration with me because they having a conversation with an atheist from the point of view, of normal Muslims were not talking about Salafis we're talking about just just the source source people. You know he has to interact with. That is more controversial than his talk into a jihadist, and so I mean the fact that that is even possible to say It shows you how far we are from getting to anything like normal and when I see how he's disparaged as a neo con nut case. From their point of view, it is very scary, and it's precisely why I'm arguing that it's not going to ultimately work but here's another possibility. You I'm curious to get you,
reaction to it and uh, and I should I should start with by prefacing it at in terms of, I'm not sure how I feel about this, but I I reached I had a conversation with Andrew Mccarthy, who is who was, I think, the lead prosecutor federal prosecute. On the original nine hundred and eleven a case, you know the nineteen. Ninety three one with the blind share comes on an of course, he's a lawyer, and he of course understands you, know the constitutional law. And so we towards, I think, the end of our conversation. We got into a discussion of whether it could ever would be conceivable to declare, if not all, of Islam, many tenants of Islam as seditious as not consistent and and and actually you said that there they are very clear legal pathways for that to happen so well first, I guess the question is: have you ever heard of this particular are
and if so, what are your views on it? No, I hadn't heard that, but it's you know this is much in harmony with the way I view religion, I mean the primacy we give religious views as opposed to any other sort of views, is just dysfunctional and in specific case, is suicidal. May all we have our ideas, you know we have. We have beliefs, and the way we talk about them and beliefs are You know our operating system for leaving in the world, everything we claim to know about the world. Everything that motivates us everything that really define Is our humanity can be on some level described as a belief and a subset of those beliefs are the beliefs. People claim are religious and they had, and this inconvenient property of one being the beliefs they consider most important most
defining of who they are and in fact, the beliefs that they would they're willing to live. Then dive for, in certain cases, have their children die for and to these. The belief that we are our most squeamish about criticizing and and holding people accountable, for that means a logical and behavioral consequences of. So yes, if someone says I've got this religious belief that causes me to want to follow all of these manifestly treasonous principles in my life. Well, yeah, then, let's just be honest about the fact that that that particular religious belief is an engine of treason and let's treat it the way, we would treat any other idea that was leading people to commit treason so yeah I I mean, I think,
if you could break the taboo around going after religious ideas, as opposed to any other sort of idea. Well, then, I think that would be a great development and let me give you two specific concrete examples of that. So, for example, if you look at sherry yeah, you know you you get some imam, who comes on CNN and says oh jeez, for sure yeah I mean ninety nine percent of it is perfectly consistent with the american constitution. I mean it's difficult to imagine what worlds you, a CNN moderate, are, can allow such a ridiculous. I mean to say that the earth is flat is less wrong than what this imam said. It is almost possible to come up with a legal code that is more antithetical to the american consulate. So let me give you just one example: crime
in sharia uh the punishment for crimes are specifically dependent on the identity, typically the religion of the perpetrator and victim boom. There goes the american concert. Right. So you you wish to adhere to Sharia. You are in violation of the most fundamental tenant of american Constitution, you're gone, it's illegal number one and it shouldn't take huge discussions. That's number one. Two geared builders is currently on trial. Again and in the Netherlands he was on trial a few years ago for pronouncing something that It's very likely true and the magistrate said that, even though something is truefitt insights. You know antipathy it was a group, then you shouldn't be allowed to say so. The truth is illegal. If it hurt somebody's feelings, I mean that's literally the legal position that there
so recently he's now on trial because he asked his constituents the guys who here presents, he's a politician. As you know, he might be the primary does the Netherlands at some point he asked him. Look. Do you want more Moroccans in the Netherlands or less. That question was perceived to be racist and and and likely to incite hate towards maracas. Well, if you are put in this politician on trial in the Netherlands for having uttered that sentence, because it's hateful then I will open up for you, the seer of Muhammad and I will open up, you, the hotties and I will open up through the car on and I will find hate speech in there, that is of an order of infinite magnitude, greater and it's hate speech. So if that's the case, if we're going to have hate speech, law then I know where to look for it and want to render illegal, so I actually think they
There is a strategic way by which we could attack the ideology while key keeping the individual completely integral and and that hopefully can help us navigate through the problem of not being bigoted to individuals but being very frontal. Is the ideology, I think that's probably the only way forward, yeah, except in this case, I'm against making hate speech or any other kind of speech illegal yeah. I think that's counter doctor, then you open the door to blasphemy laws and all the rest. So even if it incites violence, even if they hate speech, has immediate downstream effects towards violence towards a group well, the border. There is kind of fuzzy. I forget how it's legally defined in in the US, I think we we probably have the balance right most of the time, but I think yeah I mean you should be able to be pretty provocative and hateful and still be protected by the first amendment and in my view, because I actually
yeah I mean the appropriate response, is having your reputation destroyed. No one comes to your business people don't want to marry you and if you can find your own group of hateful lunatics to socialize with well, then that's just the price we pay tolerating unpopular opinions, so, for instance, forecast denial laws in Western Europe. I think are ridiculous. You should be able to deny the holocaust. You just I've argued the exact same thing. I'm glad we're on the same page here yeah and I think builders, if I'm not mistaken, he thing the Koran should be banned. Well, I think because his argument is that the Koran is actually a recipe book for exciting as the war and that he could name the specific groups. So that's his argument is not just sort of speaking and the hypothetical that that's bad, because we don't like that book. It's because of insights, violence right it will but at- and I I would I would agree- certainly will given the nature of
history. You could make that argument, but banning Mein Kampf in Germany also, I think, was counterproductive. I think it's just not the way to to go after ideas. Go after the ideas and you create this kind of perverse forbidden. Fruit fall, smarter, for syndrome happening once you ban these specific tracks or make it illegal to say certain things or have certain kinds of conversations that you push these things underground. Now they they become framed by another set of delusional ideas which is justified. Here is that we are now being victimized by the unbelievers or the or the people who aren't pure enough. Don't have enough a white pride or whatever it is, and is you know our prophecy You're being born out this like what happened to the branch davidians in the call at all but died in Waco. You know David indiscretion yeah, it's like a like. If you, if you become insular enough and you amass enough,
an armory, and you talk long enough but how the government's going to come in and try to take all your guns and it's going to have some last stand. Well, there's a kind of self fulfilling prophecy to these manias and I think the salt event that we should generally rely on is just more conversation, more light being shined on bad ideas and their consequences. So passing laws against ideas, I think is, is in general the wrong move, and this goes to also something like the burqa or- or the niqab, I you know, I think it's and here I'm a little torn, because I know people are being forced to wear these things and when you think of girls being forced to wear a veil by their crazy parents yeah, then you you want to figure out how to stop that. But I actually that, if, if, if your position is that no, that's not intrude on their right to quote shoes. I actually think that my right to be a
able to read your facial features since that's an evolved quality in my communication system, supersedes your right to be in a tent and if you want to in a tent, then you don't belong here, because I want to be when I walked to that school Ignace. We are deep that the play park and there were two I do- I'm guessing women, but they could have been anybody right. I can tell who they are. They were in black and we all froze- and I come from that land and my daughter got scared and we got back into that car. Then my rights Lostt and therefore uh, no, I don't. I don't think that we should allow uh that Russian, especially when we do know that it is actually seldom. I don't think many saying women when not force in one way or another forced by the way of course, doesn't have to be I'm going to be head. You, if you don't wear a burqa force, could be that this is the
within our system and you better buy to do it or else you'll be ostracized right, so that is forced also well. No, I don't want that in light streets. Well, I I certainly agree. I think the line drawn at the face. It makes sense. It's just. Are there other cases so like then, what do you do with someone who's wearing a Halloween mask in the park right it should that be illegal? if you're going to see if the law is, you have to have your face, exposed in public? That seems unenforceable too. I mean, but you know I can understand, that on private property you shouldn't be able to walk into a Mcdonald's. What we're in a hollow wind mask. They should be able to kick you out for wearing it if you, if you won't remove it, but as a general matter, it just seems like if you're gonna say that no one can cover their face. I mean that's. How, You have to do it. You can, because the all of these things can be defined and redefined in ways where suddenly it's religious garb and suddenly it's not, but it's actually the same thing so well, that's just
that's precisely by the way. Why that to go back to the legal, what I mean earlier, the states that are trying to pass effectively. They are Anti Sharia outlaws they've, now rewarded it to say no foreign laws precisely because they wanted to make it appear, as though they're not targeting any particular religion or any particular ideology, but rather it has to be integral to domestic law and no intrusion of foreign law when we all know that it's really about Sharia. So what what you're arguing doing something similar. You said. Look you you have to express the law in a way that does make it seem as though you're targeting a particular group- and I I guess I can sign off on that yeah- I I think with the with the burqa and and then the calm, particularly I I I I definitely do think prevail in the face is an important variable, their interests socially and and as a matter of the woman's experiences, certainly she's been forced to do this. It is also, I admit we we should just be able to talk on a
play about what these clothing choices mean? You know whether someone is making them for themselves or their being forced on them by others. Admit these. This illogical clothing, which conveys a set of ideas and a commitment to them. That is every bit as as salient or at least b be as seen. Someone with a you know, a a swastika tattooed on his forehead right. So if you feel a certain way about person is wearing openly wearing a swastika, you should feel a certain way about a guy who's happy to have his wife in a niqab demands that his wife being in a Cobb in Montreal, it's not cool easy to think. You know a lot about a person who decides to live that way, just in the same
it's not crazy. To think that you know a lot about what someone wearing a swastika believes about the Jews say or about black people. If you know white, skin white skinhead I've. I've made a very similar point on my last appearance on that they've show where I said look I used to live in an area in Montreal. That was full of you. You know very ultra ultra orthodox hasidic people and so you'd see all these as guys wearing all kinds of garbage, and you know as I'm driving on the street it all on the streets of my life, I often times kind of look at and say what did they just look ridiculous? I mean twenty first century, it's forty degrees celsius in the northeast, it's hot. It's ridiculous and they're dressed this way, but at the fact that I have that response, I don't I'm not a for myself, because I know that as Jews and myself as a Jew, that guard signals to me that there's a green light that I will survive that encounter
the person who is expressing similar religiosity but a different religion. Then I could come to the conclusion that if they were the burka or the niqab they're likely to probably not hold the most laudable of used towards the Jews right testicle game, I can't be sure that every single one of us to khalid- and it seems incredible to me that that point is a controversial one right. I mean it's frequencies right this. This is why, when we see the shadow of animal, we run away, even though once in awhile it's a false positive and it turns out to only be an ostrich. No pun intended right. So so so the fact that I come to the can and when I see a woman in burqa that all and that are associated with her are likely to hold views that are not going to be only to gays and Jews doesn't make one a it makes one. Someone will
the brain who can calculate statistical regularities now. Another for that is profiling. You know to talk about Contra is that one may or may not regret. Having is the whole of profiling, in my view, is just the dirty word for acknowledging and being cognizant of those statistical regularities that relate to various threats is that is your feeling that is of all the stuff that you've written. It's not the one that got you the most blowback the stuff. That gets me hello back, like the game theoretic concern about having a a jihadist regime armed with long range nuclear weapons and how that's not a recipe for a sustainable, cold war. Sam Harris wants to know the Middle EAST that one I mean that's the cuz. It has gotten me demonize more than any other, but that is just a frank, Miss standing of what I write my views about profiling. I think someone can understand them and
still based on an unwillingness to actually think clearly about the problem want to demonize me as a big it on the basis of those ideas that the people who are demonizing me for my secular jihad against the entire muslim world. You know by wanting to commit genocide with their weapons- that's just people, people a line about what I actually wrote in the interface there's, there's a very strong sense that we have to be blind to all of these differences, and that is to say, you know, as Donald Trump has said, that we need to focus on Islam. Obviously there's a problem here. I don't know what it is but does. Is it there's a problem here and we should we should be to pull the brakes and we figured out and that's basically what he said and again. I think he is a dangerous buffoon, who I am doing far more than many of my fans want to try to keep out of the oval office, because people find it obnoxious for me to be expressed in specific political opinions here, but you know he's clearly right in so far as you know that
sentence, goes right, there's something about Islam, that we have to figure out and that's profiling, and it is for the person on the left who doesn't want to think clearly about the world at this moment. That is, just as obnoxious and intolerable as saying that black people are inferior to white people, or I mean just just fill in. You are clearly bigoted racist trope and to not see the difference there and to not see the re in of acknowledging that there's a reason why we're not having this conversation about Mormonism right now, the more these are not blowing themselves up. You know for all the stupid things Mormons are doing, and there are many of them they're, not destabilizing whole societies with their commitment to sectarian violence. So any case you, I, I think you and I totally agree on on that topic and we've approached the two hour
mark and all yes working at the end of of of humanity, whether it's ours or or listeners. But it's really been a pleasure to talk to you. Likewise, that was great look forward to the next one. Yeah yeah, keep it up and and in closing here tell people where they can find you online. So if they want to check out my clips on Youtube. It's the sad truth as eight eighty, which is my last name. So the sad truth. If you just enter that and find me on Twitter, it's at GAD G, a d s eighty and I also have a public Facebook page, I don't know the exact url it should be easy to find out. Please don't send me a request to connect on my personal page. Please go to my public page. There you go once again a pleasure GAD and to be continued. Thank you so much SAM. Thank you. So if you find this podcast, Bible. There are many ways you can support it. You can review it
Itunes or Stitcher or wherever you happen to listen to it. You can share it on from media with your friends, you can block about or discuss it on your own podcast or you can support it directly and you can do this by subscribing to my website at SAM Harris, DOT, org and there you'll find subscriber only content which includes my ask me anything episodes he also get access to advanced tickets to my live events as well as streaming. Video of some of these events
Transcript generated on 2019-10-14.