Thursday, April 04, 2013

Glenn Greenwald vs. Sam Harris: Is "Islamophobia" Afoot?

In my view, both of these guys are bad news.

Greenwald is in typical form: barely-contained rage: check. Fawning over Chomsky: check. Cheap rhetorical tricks: check.

But he seems to rather have the goods on Harris, who has gone rather over the top about Islam. Opposing the ground zero mosque is pretty damn hard to excuse...

It seems to me that a rational person can believe that contemporary Islam is more worrisome than most contemporary religions. It may not be true, but you do not have to be bigoted against Islam to believe it. One might argue that full and objective appreciation of the evidence tends to disconfirm the claim--maybe so, maybe not. But the evidence that I have--and I have more than most people have--is consistent with the hypothesis that Islam represents more of a threat to liberal democracy than, say, Buddhism.

And that is something that Greenwald seems to deny. He does explicitly admit that criticism of Islam is permissible; though he seems unwilling to acknowledge that one might reasonably conclude that the problems with Islam are weightier than problems with most other religions. Again: maybe they are, maybe they aren't. But it isn't a crazy view, and one need not be a bigot to accept it.

One might reasonably argue that the burden of proof should be unusually high on claims like: "Islam represents more of a threat to the West than Christianity does." I think that's a reasonable view. But it's one that might also reasonably be rejected.

But I think I'll just ignore this dust-up


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