Ask Sam Anything link

 
Ola
 
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Ola
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02 June 2017 12:58
 

Look! A place to ask Sam all sorts of things, and a form to fill, and voting:
https://www.samharris.org/ask_me_anything


We should really have a forum thread to ask forumers anything.

 
Ola
 
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Ola
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02 June 2017 23:07
 

So those questions are all for Sam, I know that, but why shouldn’t we have a go too?

I’ve picked a question from the list for us to answer: Dear Forumers:

“Would it surprise you if you learned that Trump ordered a hit on a journalist?”

Yes. I think it’s not impossible that he would order a hit, but only if he had been raised in a different culture. He could have been a mafia don or an evil dictator, but he was raised in the American Dream culture. You might say that America saved him. His character is not murderous. He’s not a monster.

 
no_profundia
 
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no_profundia
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03 June 2017 15:55
 

I like the idea of asking some of the questions put to Sam to the forum members so I will answer this one. It would surprise me if Trump put out a hit on a journalist but not because I think Trump would have moral qualms with putting a hit out on someone.

I think you are right about it being a matter of a different culture. I noticed an interesting phenomenon when I was a kid: sometimes governments deny things even though everybody knows they are lying. It seemed strange to me to lie when the person you are lying to knows you are lying and you know they know you are lying.

If you are not fooling anyone, and you know you are not fooling anyone, what is the point of lying? I think it is because the denial gives the offended party an excuse not to act or escalate things.

If we got caught spying on China and we just came out and said “Yep, we were spying on you” then the Chinese government would be forced to take some retaliatory measure, and we would be forced to retaliate in turn, and things could get out of hand real quick.

But, if we say “No, we weren’t spying on you” even if everyone involved - U.S. citizens, the U.S. government, Chinese citizens, the Chinese government - knows it is a lie, then it gives China an excuse not to escalate things beyond perhaps filing some kind of protest.

It is better for everyone involved to pretend they don’t know the truth, and they couldn’t do that if we actually told the truth, so we lie even though we are not fooling anyone.

I am not sure if Putin has journalists assassinated or not, and I am no expert on modern Russia, but the sense I get is that a lot of people suspect that Putin has journalists assassinated, and there is kind of a tacit agreement that as long as he denies it we will all pretend that we don’t know for sure.

There are some people who speak out, of course, but if Putin were to come out and say “Yep, I have had journalists assassinated” I think some of the people who already believe that he does would feel forced to take action. The last hundred years have been rough for Russia and I suspect there are a lot of people who are willing to pretend they don’t know the truth about Putin rather than hazarding another revolution.

The point I am getting at (I will get there eventually) is: I don’t think there is any tacit agreement like that in the United States. We wouldn’t accept any form of plausible deniability from Trump. The mere suspicion that Trump might have had a journalist assassinated would cause a huge uproar, investigations, impeachment, criminal proceedings, etc..

There is no sense of “As long as he continues to deny it we will pretend we don’t know the truth.” I have a very low opinion of Trump’s moral fiber but I think the fact that he is operating in a different culture means he has to play by different rules. So it would surprise me a great deal if he put out a hit on a journalist for that reason.

 
 
brazen4
 
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brazen4
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30 November 2017 12:03
 

I think that if he thought he could get away with it he would do it in a heart beat. He is emotionally unstable when he spends too much time alone ( his tweet times) and if he feels disrespected all bets are off.