Saturday, November 21, 2020

Sam Harris is a mindless automaton

Sam Harris has posted another podcast rant on how much he hates Donald Trump. He has done this dozens of times.

The funny thing is that these rants have no substantive criticism of Trump's performance in office or his policies. They are just name-calling, based on an emotional reaction to Trump's personality. Harris has an extreme case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Harris denies it in the podcast, but obviously his friends have told him that he has it.

Harris is a leftist atheist Jew, who preaches his own brand of Buddhism. He would never vote Republican, but he actually agrees with Trump on guns, foreign policy, Islam, Atifa, free speech, cancel culture, and many other topics.

I am beginning to think that the key to understanding Harris, and others like him, is the issue of free will. Harris argues against free will, and wrote a whole book on it.

After listening to many of his podcasts, I believe that he does not have free will. He would vote for Trump if he did. He is working for a broad leftist consensus on many issues, and then he is happy for others and himself to go along with the consensus, without any voluntary choice.

When Harris attacks Trump, it is based on elaborate theories about hypothetical mental processes going on inside Trump's head. In short, mindreading.

I used to think Harris's religion was Buddhism, because he promoted meditation a lot. But really it is his theory of mind. He has a faith-based set of beliefs that guide everything he says.

Harris is smart enough to realize that he is a slave if he has no free will and Trump does. Trump's ability to do as he pleases, without following the Leftist consensus, drives Harris nuts.

This attitude is common among Jews. They hate it when anyone goes against the Leftist consensus.

Listening to Harris is like listening to a preacher ranting about how Trump is going to Hell. It is just a religious belief that has no bearing on whether he is a good President. The preacher does not know who is really going to Hell, and Harris has no mindreading skills.

The free will question extends to a lot of other political issues. A right-winger might think that it is fair to punish a criminal, because he chose crime. A leftist free will denier might say that the criminal deserves to be treated the same as every other human.

A right-winger might prefer low taxes so that people can spend their own money as they choose. A leftist might think choice is impossible, and so it is better for the state to control everyone's finances.

I used to think that it is obvious that everyone believes in free will, because everyone talks about making choices. Listening to Harris has convinced me otherwise. He does not have free will, and very much resents those who do.

Nobody talks about free will as a political issue. It sounds crazy to say that Harris is a mindless automaton. But it explains his philosophy perfectly, and he himself has written and lectured extensively on how he does not have free will. It is quite obviously at the core of his deepest beliefs.

Here is another example. Why would Democrats favor mask mandates, and Republicans not?

Democrats claim to be following the science, but that is plainly not true:

A large-scale study in Denmark that sought to determine if masks help stop the spread of Covid-19 has been rejected by several prestigious journals. The authors hinted that their findings were inconvenient to the status quo.

The Lancet, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the American Medical Association Journal all turned down the paper, Danish media reported on Thursday.

The study, which began in late April, involved 6,000 Danes, half of whom were asked to wear masks at all times in public places. The other half were selected as a control group and were instructed not to cover their faces. After a month, participants were tested for Covid-19 as well as for antibodies against the virus.

The study’s researchers have remained tight-lipped about their findings, but they’ve dropped plenty of clues that suggest it was the paper’s conclusion, not its methodology, that led to the journals’ rejections.

The paper has now been published, and showed that Danes who were randomly assigned to wear masks were just about as likely to get COVID-19 as those who did not.

The difference is that those who believe in free will also believe in the personal autonomy to carry out those choices. Others believe in conforming to a Leftist consensus, whether it makes any sense or not.

Even a Jewish NY Times columnist complains:

What, today, is leftism, at least when it comes to intellectual life? Not what it used to be. Once it was predominantly liberal, albeit with radical fringes. Now it is predominantly progressive, or woke, with centrist liberals in dissent. Once it was irreverent. Now it is pious. Once it believed that truth was best discovered by engaging opposing points of view. Now it believes that truth can be established by eliminating them. Once it cared about process. Now it is obsessed with outcomes. Once it understood, with Walt Whitman, that we contain multitudes. Now it is into dualities: We are privileged or powerless, white or of color, racist or anti-racist, oppressor or oppressed.

The list goes on. But the central difference is this: The old liberal left paid attention to complexity, ambiguity, the gray areas. A sense of complexity induced a measure of doubt, including self-doubt. The new left typically seeks to reduce things to elements such as race, class and gender, in ways that erase ambiguity and doubt. The new left is a factory of certitudes.

The Left has been taken over by groupthink. I think that free will denial is at the root of it.

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