Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
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Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
06-21-2015, 11:40 AM (This post was last modified: 06-21-2015 12:00 PM by eye2i2hear.)
Post: #1
Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
Quote:Audio transcript:
Welcome to the Waking Up podcast. For today’s episode, I’ve decided to do an “Ask Me Anything” podcast. I solicited questions on Twitter, and got some hundreds of them, so I’ll do my best to answer as many as I can over the next hour or so.
>snip<

Q. I like you, but as an atheist, I find statism to be a dangerous form of religion and I won’t paint a billion people as barbarians.

S.H. Okay, well there are two axes to grind there.

This whole business about “statism” I find profoundly uninteresting. This is a separate conversation about the problems of U.S. foreign policy, the problems of bureaucracy, the problems of the tyranny of the majority, or the tyranny of empowered minorities (oligarchy)—these are all topics worth thinking about. But to compare a powerful state per se with the problem of religion is to make a hash of everything that’s important to talk about here. And the idea that we could do without a powerful state at this point is just preposterous.

If you’re an anarchist, you’re either fifty or a hundred years before your time (not withstanding what I just said about artificial intelligence), or you’re an imbecile. We need the police, we need the fire department, we need people to pave our roads, we can’t privatize all that stuff, and privatizing it would beget its own problems.

So, whenever I hear someone say, “You worship the religion of the State,” I know I’m in the presence of someone who isn’t ready for a conversation about religion, and isn’t ready to talk about the degree to which we rely, and are wise to rely, on the powers of a well-functioning government. In so far as our government doesn’t function well, then we have to change it. We have to resist its overreach into our lives. But behind this concern about statism is always some confusion about the problem of religion.

This person ends his almost-question with “I won’t’ paint a billion people as barbarians.” Well, neither will I. Again, when I criticize Islam, I’m criticizing the doctrine of Islam—and in so far as people adhere to it to the letter, then I get worried.

There will be much more on this topic when I publish my book with Maajid Nawaz. I originally said that was happening in June, but that’s unfortunately been pushed back to October, as it’s still hard to publish a physical book, apparently. You’ll have your fill of our thoughts about how to reform Islam when that comes out.
--excerpted from here


mye2cents worth? i see a response, but not much of an answer by Harris; sadly (if not religiously) enuff.

Is it voluntary? (because if it isn't, what inherently is it?)
And can it be voluntary, if there's indoctrination, intimidation, coercion, threats & initiation of violence?
[not to be confused with asking: can it be said to be "voluntary" even when such is present.?]
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06-21-2015, 04:46 PM
Post: #2
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
"And the idea that we could do without a powerful state at this point is just preposterous." - argumentum frum idiocracydumb

- NonE the severely deluded Sister Sleazious .).

"I just don't understand how this happens." Undecided
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06-21-2015, 05:54 PM
Post: #3
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
As I see what Harris to be saying, we may not be ready for a stateless society yet.
A point that has be made or eluded too on this site. As for the imbecile statement, I find that a little harsh. Though, thinking of a world without religion could also be considered 50 to 100 years ahead of its time also.
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06-22-2015, 05:30 AM
Post: #4
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
(06-21-2015 05:54 PM)Freerangecanuck Wrote:  As I see what Harris to be saying, we may not be ready for a stateless society yet.
A point that has be made or eluded too on this site. As for the imbecile statement, I find that a little harsh. Though, thinking of a world without religion could also be considered 50 to 100 years ahead of its time also.


Yeah, and it was CERTAINLY way to early to free those black people who obviously were incapable of making their own decisions. Besides, who'd pick the cotton?

Don't you see how incredibly arrogant, condescending, and immoral it is to claim the right to direct other people's lives?!? All of the other arguments are totally irrelevant. Government is nothing less than slavery. There is NOTHING that can excuse it. Nothing.

- NonE the severely deluded Sister Sleazious .).

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06-22-2015, 06:27 AM
Post: #5
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
(06-22-2015 05:30 AM)NonEntity Wrote:  
(06-21-2015 05:54 PM)Freerangecanuck Wrote:  As I see what Harris to be saying, we may not be ready for a stateless society yet.
A point that has be made or eluded too on this site. As for the imbecile statement, I find that a little harsh. Though, thinking of a world without religion could also be considered 50 to 100 years ahead of its time also.


Yeah, and it was CERTAINLY way to early to free those black people who obviously were incapable of making their own decisions. Besides, who'd pick the cotton?

Don't you see how incredibly arrogant, condescending, and immoral it is to claim the right to direct other people's lives?!? All of the other arguments are totally irrelevant. Government is nothing less than slavery. There is NOTHING that can excuse it. Nothing.

I agree. Unfortunately I don't think I will see a stateless society in my lifetime. Closer to home for me would be the residential schools as an example. Or the coerced adoptions with unwed mothers. Or the the removal of a parent from a child's life through the divorce industry. Usually those type of things get left out of the picture by people with no experience dealing with those issues.

Like you said yourself. Things will probably have to get very bad before there is change.

My opinion on the constant use of slavery as an example is that it is so removed from modern society people will not relate. My 3 examples above affect people living today.
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06-22-2015, 09:58 AM
Post: #6
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
We need to kill people so we can have the police, we need to kill people so we can have the fire department, we need to kill people so we can pay people to pave our roads, we can’t allow people to freely choose to pay for all that stuff, and privatizing it would beget its own problems.

Fixed it for you Sam. And yes, I'm an imbecile because I don't believe in rulers, that forcing people to give you money makes you a criminal, not a government.

Yes, religious people are delusional idiots, but a neuroscientist who believes in states, citizens, governments, and that basic principals of right and wrong don't apply to certain people is not? Just goes to show that even highly educated people can believe silly things, even things that are demonstrably false.

Sam misses the argument, we say it's religious primarily because statism is a belief that a supernatural person (The State) exists, and basic principals of right and wrong do not apply to it, and it's henchmen.

If government services were valuable and the market wanted them, they wouldn't be provided on a compulsory basis.
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06-22-2015, 01:00 PM (This post was last modified: 06-22-2015 01:22 PM by eye2i2hear.)
Post: #7
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
(06-22-2015 09:58 AM)Marc Stevens Wrote:  Sam misses the argument, we say it's religious primarily because statism is a belief that a supernatural person (The State) exists, and basic principals of right and wrong do not apply to it, and it's henchmen.

i'd argue that it's more basic/fundamental than that. It's religious because it's the acceptance of what some "special" men say->write (or have said->written) without there being any evidence in support of it and being [sic] willing to live and or give one's life over it/for it. The infamous, ultimate "We say so. Take it or leave it." ("leave it" too often meaning one's life, or livelihood/lifestyle/living).

Where arguably, the religious nature gets confusing for many is with the manufacture of "evidence" aka symbology (e.g. "crosses" ✞, "badges" ✡ ✬, "crests" 卐 ☪, "banners/flags" ⚑, "cathedrals", "courts") of which "God" (the w-o-r-d = a symbol) is but an inclusion --again, because there isn't any (f)actual evidence otherwise-- used to reinforce/re-enforce the manipulated belief in what's written/Stated as being fact (like the symbols are physically), mistaking the making/having of the symbols --again, one of which is "God" the lettered word-- for what makes religion¹ in the first place.
Then there's the infantile fear factor(s) making for subliminal Parental Transference (belief in "Authority").?
[Image: wxp.gif] [Image: icon_cop.gif]
_________________________________________
1. where the term religion, much like the term anarchy, holds much more communication circa it's etymology; i.e. re-liege-on, re-liege-ing, re-liege-us e.g. all-liegance-> allegiance -and the Pledging thereof. Mentally moving away from the universals to "The Special". The Religious/Apostolic Creeds professed, etc; this being the essence of Marc's "specialness" when it comes to exceptionalism of "right and wrong", or as i lean towards, the ignoring of the logical inconsistencies, the ignorance aka religion
2. what is "God" but "The Authority" Ultimate --ultimately but the word(s) for the notion(s) of men/humans? "Authority" extended to "heaven" (the notion symbolized) as well as "earth"...

Is it voluntary? (because if it isn't, what inherently is it?)
And can it be voluntary, if there's indoctrination, intimidation, coercion, threats & initiation of violence?
[not to be confused with asking: can it be said to be "voluntary" even when such is present.?]
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06-23-2015, 03:32 PM
Post: #8
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
[Image: OHscU-T7LcyTH0qfRJRsfvdE80_P8oKZ92M1qo9G...bCHp8H4=s0]

Is it voluntary? (because if it isn't, what inherently is it?)
And can it be voluntary, if there's indoctrination, intimidation, coercion, threats & initiation of violence?
[not to be confused with asking: can it be said to be "voluntary" even when such is present.?]
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06-25-2015, 02:18 PM
Post: #9
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
[Image: 1386530205781.jpg]

Is it voluntary? (because if it isn't, what inherently is it?)
And can it be voluntary, if there's indoctrination, intimidation, coercion, threats & initiation of violence?
[not to be confused with asking: can it be said to be "voluntary" even when such is present.?]
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06-25-2015, 03:17 PM
Post: #10
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
(06-23-2015 03:32 PM)eye2i2hear Wrote:  [Image: OHscU-T7LcyTH0qfRJRsfvdE80_P8oKZ92M1qo9G...bCHp8H4=s0]

That is great, did you shop that? Also, I agree with what you suggested, though I think we're really talking about the same thing. People do accept the laws apply because some special people, called "government" said they do. Because they act on behalf of the supernatural entity (god) called the "State." When they act on behalf of this supernatural entity, the basic rules of behavior don't apply, topping that short list is: Do no harm.

If government services were valuable and the market wanted them, they wouldn't be provided on a compulsory basis.
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06-25-2015, 03:51 PM
Post: #11
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
(06-25-2015 03:17 PM)Marc Stevens Wrote:  
(06-23-2015 03:32 PM)eye2i2hear Wrote:  [Image: OHscU-T7LcyTH0qfRJRsfvdE80_P8oKZ92M1qo9G...bCHp8H4=s0]

That is great, did you shop that?

Nada, the guys of the Living In Modern Times group posted in on facebook.

Is it voluntary? (because if it isn't, what inherently is it?)
And can it be voluntary, if there's indoctrination, intimidation, coercion, threats & initiation of violence?
[not to be confused with asking: can it be said to be "voluntary" even when such is present.?]
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06-30-2015, 02:23 AM
Post: #12
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
(06-22-2015 09:58 AM)Marc Stevens Wrote:  We need to kill people so we can have the police, we need to kill people so we can have the fire department, we need to kill people so we can pay people to pave our roads, we can’t allow people to freely choose to pay for all that stuff, and privatizing it would beget its own problems.

Fixed it for you Sam. And yes, I'm an imbecile because I don't believe in rulers, that forcing people to give you money makes you a criminal, not a government.

Yes, religious people are delusional idiots, but a neuroscientist who believes in states, citizens, governments, and that basic principals of right and wrong don't apply to certain people is not? Just goes to show that even highly educated people can believe silly things, even things that are demonstrably false.

Sam misses the argument, we say it's religious primarily because statism is a belief that a supernatural person (The State) exists, and basic principals of right and wrong do not apply to it, and it's henchmen.

I greatly appreciate a lot of the writings and commentary of Sam Harris. I totally agree with him on the material nature of reality, on the destructiveness of religion, and on the idiocy of Islam. I agree that one needs to normalize debate to definitions used by "the greatest number of people," or one needs to clarify precisely where and how one differs from commonly-accepted definitions.

This was a good clarification from Harris, and it shows that he needs to read more libertarian writings if he wants to sound informed on the subject. I'm a minarchist because the minarchy I want looks identical to the anarchy that Marc Stevens wants.

I have to conclude, based on this writing that Sam is less educated on this debate topic than Marc is. Whereas Marc could rationally consider himself a descendant of Thoreau, Sam could not(given his above statements). I've said many times before that "anarchy v. minarchy" is a false debate. It's a false debate for the reason Sam notes above (we currently have a government, that government is seen as legitimate by most people for many reasons, both good and bad, and it's not going anywhere without a fight, since right now, it confers the unlimited ability to steal on those who obtain power positions within it). Sam then goes on to make a straw man of the voluntaryist anarchist position, when it's completely not necessary to do so, in order to argue a rational "is/ought" strategic approach in favor of minarchy.

This leads me to think Harris is something of a dilettante in the realm of political science, political thinking, and philosophy. Has he even read Rand, Rothbard, Spooner, Thoreau? It seems unlikely, given his comments.

We now have a government, a state, whatever you want to call it. It's not a legitimate government or state, but it does exist. The allegiance to an illegitimate conception of state is not the same as religious credulity, but it is similar. Nonetheless, to call it the same is idiotic, as Harris notes.

Harris and Joe Rogan have had similar exchanges, where Harris adds one data point supporting my overall, general argument: the general public of the US will support libertarianism, but they are generally servile idiots who have no unifying, consistent philosophy.

Bryan Caplan recently resurrected this tired debate, and I go into more detail responding to him, because his statements are higher-level than Harris's:

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2015...ble_3.html

--My comment is the last comment on the page, as of today.

The long and short of it is this: if you aren't talking about violent rebellion (and I'm not), then you're talking about the necessity of getting large numbers of people on your side. (Or you're not talking about changing anything, since sociopaths will not willingly give up their ability to steal.) In order to get large numbers of people on your side, you need to access their currently existing beliefs. Most people are open to changing things incrementally "for the better," but, because they're surviving right now, they aren't open to abolishing the state/government entirely. They also disfavor formulations of "anarchy" where you need to explain how things would work without a "court of final appeal." This is something that even self-described "experts" cannot agree on, and even highly intelligent, quite libertarian people (Stanley Milgram, Henry David Thoreau, Ron Paul), cannot agree on. The average person is ill-equipped (given their wretched government school educations) to assess the concept of "anarchy" on its own merits. The number of people who agree with the Bill of Rights is large, the number of people who consistently agree with the Bill of Rights is small. The moral claims of the state can now be proven false (and are proven false repeatedly on this show). The ultimate moral claims of sincere minarchists cannot be proven false, but the minarchy must be far more radical than what is often currently espoused.

The prior leaves a clear position. We should advocate radical minarchy, centered around jury independence. That's if we wish to have any effect on society, other than rolling out a red carpet for strong synthetic intelligence, and hoping for its near arrival.

Peace.

Benevolence,

Jake Witmer
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"If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law."
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09-13-2015, 03:46 PM (This post was last modified: 09-13-2015 04:13 PM by RAD.)
Post: #13
RE: Sam Harris, briefly on Statism as not religious...
It's a red herring argument. Harris is using the statist appeal to consequence #1, the Hobbes-ian argument that we "need a state" to fallaciously leap over the is/ ought barrier. Whether the belief system is religious in nature has NOTHING to do with if it is good, or moral. To even engage him in this line of argument is missing the actual point. All religions posit themselves as good and moral, that has nothing to do with is it religious. All you need to ask is if it is a faith-based dogmatic belief system that has dogmas of supernatural entities and supernatural "powers". Whether those faith-based "entities"(the state, the city, zeus, xenu, etc) are good elves or bad elves - who cares - it's irrelevant to the question of "IS IT RELIGIOUS"?

@Jake Witmer:
Neither you nor Harris has actually made any argument for why you think it's not religious. Just calling the other side of the argument "idiotic" is not a rational argument. Even when you have a bunch of credentials.

The wrong(red herring/irrelevant to the issue of is it religious) questions:
1. Is statism good?
2. Are anarchists Imbeciles? Ad Hom/irrelevant
3. Is minarchy good?
4. Is anarchy good?

The right questions:
1. Is government based on an organized belief system?
2. Is that belief system based on faith, or facts/evidence?
3. Does the belief system posit the existence of "entities" and "powers" which cannot be proven but which are believed on faith? Invisible, imaginary "persons", etc. Or belief in powers like jurisdiction, authority, prophesy, magic, etc which are based on faith rather than evidence.
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