As often happens in discussions, the original topic is nothing more than a spring board for ideas and spontaneous sparks for other people’s imaginations. I hope that you are not too disappointed that your comment created quite a conversation that has little to do with your original post, and I hope you will post again.
My concern is with political intolerance. I frequent the Charlie Rose show message boards too. There and here I have found an unreasonable amount of hostility directed toward people of “other than” liberal leanings.
Too often someone will declare themselves of-neither-party only to later reveal themselves as militant leftist: and obviously Democrat.
In Sam Harris’ book he speaks of the evils of religious intolerance, so it is surprising (for me) to find political intolerance here.
No, I’m not disappointed that someone might take the conversation into a different direction, I’m concerned that the direction always tends towards political intolerance from the left. I thought the left was supposed to be the party of tolerance?
Why alienate moderate republicans, they might vote for your guy?
I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers. -Kahlil Gibran.
I just caught Sam Harris on Book-TV, and will stop by a bookstore tomorrow to pick up a copy (I promise). Since I am judging from the presentation rather than the actual book, my comment may be arguably somewhat invalid. But I am assuming that the author has made a pretty fair presentation of his own book. It seems to me that the fundamental flaw of his premise is that religion is somehow a problem, and secularism is somehow devoid of problems; that religion somehow makes people behave badly, and secularism will allow everyone to act decently.
Although religious fervor certainly has a long and dreadful legacy to answer for, I don’t think religion itself is a problem—it is just another tool which has been abused. The real problem is human nature. The advantage of religion, tempered with reason and a healthy fear of rigid dogma, is that it gives us a reason to move out of ourselves and be concerned about others beyond our immediate family and friends. The problem is when we decide we know what is best for everyone else and try to force our views on others.
I know some wonderful people who are self-avowed Atheists, others who are Agnostic, and still others who are moderate Christians and a few who are self-identified as born-again, fundamentalist Christians. I also know some terrible people who fit into each of these categories. The common element is that people who think of themselves (or their ideas) as being the chief good, with no real interest in the welfare of others, seem to be the terrible people. The wonderful people are those who believe what they believe, and are willing to discuss it reasonably even with people who disagree with them, but ultimately accept that what they believe is personal and that the only really uncompromising ideal is that other people are important too. Balance is always the key.
I see that this particular thread is primarily political in nature. My previous post would better serve in another context.
If we are questioning the tolerance of Sam Harris’s book for conservatives, are we also criticizing the more than slightly evident intolerance from GWB and his co-horts, who seem to consider all disention with their views as treason.