A little late in getting caught up on Sam Harris’ podcasts. Just listened to the Scott Adams podcast about Donald Trump. I’m a big fan of Sam and respect his intelligence, knowledge, and the courage it takes to (sometimes) go against the grain of the liberal echo chamber. But he did not represent himself well in this podcast. In Sam’s opening preamble, which was recorded after the actual podcast, Sam mentioned that at times he gave up on some topics with Scott and just moved on. Since I’ve never listened to Scott in a podcast before, I assumed that Sam’s comment meant that Scott ended up being a basic wingnut. That was an incorrect assumption.
Scott got under Sam’s skin once they started really debating some of the issues about Trump, and Sam didn’t react well. I’m used to hearing Sam get frustrated when discussing some issues and I love the passion, but this was different. I got the impression that Sam wasn’t really ready for what Scott had to say. I don’t think he did enough homework on Scott (even though he said he was reading one of his books), and I think he underestimated how smart Scott was how prepared he would be for the podcast.
Here are some examples:
- Sam was very passionate explaining how much damage Trump’s lies have done to the country, but when pressed by Scott, couldn’t initially come up with even one example. I think highly of Sam and was surprised that he hadn’t thought out the basic left-of-center talking points about the awfulness of Trump. A few minutes later however, Same did bring up a specific example that is worth discussing. Sam very passionately talked about Trump University, specifically about how it was a huge scam that apparently provided little to no benefit to students (but took their money). Sam thought it was outrageous that Trump lent his name to this endeavor and should have admitted long ago that it was scam and provided everyone refunds. Great example of the harm Trump has done to the country, at least to students at Trump University. I agree with every word he said; it was a scam and harm was done. My issues are twofold. Sam blanked initially when asked by Scott to name a specific harm Trump’s lies have done to the country. This tells me he probably just hates Trump and didn’t ever need to think through the details, end of discussion. Second, it’s a slippery slope and a losing argument to talk about harm to the country by any one President, politician, or political party. We have harm coming from all directions, all the time. Do liberals ever apologize to inner city students for their loyalty to teachers’ unions over the students?
- Scott asked Sam which would be better for the country; if those on the right came to the center or if those on the left came to the center. Sam mentioned that the left (or certain elements of it) have gone too far and could benefit from moving away from the extreme. Then Sam followed that up a bit later with a Nazi analogy when talking about Trump and his supporters. The Nazi analogy is the number one give away of Trump Derangement Syndrome, and a sad thing to hear from Sam. Side note: those on the left who use the Nazi/Hitler analogy never compare anyone to Stalin or Mao. Remember, no matter how many people suffer and die at the hands of communist dictators, communism isn’t actually that bad (and socialism is pretty good), but the line gets drawn with the Nazi’s. I lump them all together and say “never again”.
- Sam and Scott got into a pretty heated argument about climate change. Sam compared climate change science to oncology science (at least I think it was oncology). The gist of it was that if nearly all oncologists agree on the causes and solutions to a particular cancer, we wouldn’t think twice about supporting them. However, whatever the level of politics in the oncology field, it couldn’t possibly compare to the politics and idealogues in climate science. I don’t want to be on the wrong side of this issue, but being skeptical seems the best route to take given the religious fervor of the climate change community.