Sam Harris is another atheist racist asshole. Who knew? Recently, on Bill Maher's show - I've known Maher to be a toad for a while now, pretty much the distilled essence of everything I loathe about liberalism in America - Harris got into it with Ben Affleck about Muslims. One of the things Harris said is that you can blame all Muslims, more or less, because they support the radicals who support the terrorist.
He said imagine a series of concentric circles. (He's used this "argument" a number of times.) In the innermost circle, you've got terrorists. In the second circle, you've got radicals who give intellectual, material and moral support to terrorists. In the third circle, you've got run of the mill Muslims who give intellectual, material and moral support to the radicals - and through them, to the terrorists. THEREFORE, it's okay to hate all Muslims.
Okay, I'm going to mention, first, that in that second circle you've got to include the US government. The US government gives tremendous, incredible support to the Wahabbist absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia. In turn, Wahabbists give tremendous support to terrorists (including the 9/11 terrorists, I should add). In turn, that puts American citizens in the third circle, since we give support (through taxes, if not ideologically) to the US government that supports the regime in Saudi Arabia! (Further, in the past, we have directly supported guys like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Really, the US government is in Harris's second circle and we are in the third!)
But put that aside for the next bit of reasoning, which is: it's possible to use this technique in a lot of different ways.
So, let's imagine those same three concentric circles. In the first circle are "people who engage in illegal military actions" - the US government. The second circle is, then, "people who give material, intellectual and moral support to those illegal military actions". Let's call them the politicians, businesses, writers and such who have supported illegal military action abroad. Sam Harris, for instance, falls in this group. The third circle is everyone who gives support by association to the second circle - which would be pretty much everyone in the United States as well as the citizens of countries like Great Britain and Denmark.
Some Americans who object to the war might also object to being in the third circle. They might go, "Hey, I'm against these illegal wars and bombing campaigns!" Absolutely, sure. But Harris's reasoning doesn't allow for that from Muslims, so why should anyone allow it for you? That you're an American of principled conscious is utterly irrelevant to why people should hate you!
Some people might also go, "Chris, those categories seem awful arbitrary and really broad." Again, true, but so what? If you accept Harris's reasoning, then you accept arbitrary creation of sweeping categories for the purpose of condemning people.
Another person might also go, "Why stop there? Draw more circles! In Harris's diagram, add a fourth circle where religious people support religious expression and say kill all religious people, too! Draw a fifth circle for agnostics and atheists who support Christmas give material support to religion and kill them, too!"
Harris's reasoning (insofar as one might call it that) is deeply, profoundly specious. I mean, from his tete-a-tete with Affleck, at one point he said that 78% percent of British Muslims thought that the guys in Denmark who published those racist cartoons should be prosecuted. Harris goes on, in the same breath, to suggest that 78% of British Muslims therefore support terrorism! I think it is important to point out, here, that both GB and Denmark have anti-hate speech laws. So in Harris's mind, British Muslims who objected to the racist caricature of Islam and considered it hate speech THEREFORE support terrorism. This is intensely silly reasoning. It's so silly that it baffles me how an intelligent person could say it in public, excepting racism. When you add in racism, it makes perfect fucking sense.
So then this same dude goes on to create these broad, ignorant categories as if they were some kind of PROOF, objective proof, that people should discriminate against Muslims. And this isn't racist because . . . he drew a chart?
(At one point, he also said Affleck didn't understand his reasoning. Well, duh. Ben's a bright, not racist, principled man. Harris's reasoning makes no fucking sense so of course Affleck didn't understand it! I'm sure it would have been much clearer if Affleck spoke racist.)
But this guy, who thinks that 78% of British Muslims support terrorism because they were offended by racist cartoons, is making these arbitrary categories, ignoring how he participates in the very categories he draws, for the purpose of further discrimination and military action against Muslims. He equally stops drawing those arbitrary circles when they might effect him is simply icing on his racist cake - they are drawn and interpreted to keep his own hands clean!
What I'm saying here is that Harris full of shit and a racist asshole.