#185- February 7, 2020 A Conversation with Paul Bloom

 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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07 February 2020 13:33
 

In this episode of the podcast, Sam Harris and Paul Bloom speak about “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” inequality, the relationship between wealth and happiness, the downside of fame, psychological impediments to noticing progress, and other topics.

#185- February 7, 2020 A Conversation with Paul Bloom


This thread is for listeners’ comments.

 
 
DEGENERATEON
 
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DEGENERATEON
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07 February 2020 21:40
 

Wow - Sam Harris despises Trump more than Bin Laden.  I had to pause this episode after 10 minutes.  I’m starting to believe TDS is not only real, it has infected someone I admire as a clear and nonpartisan thinker.  I’m really amazed at what Sam said.  No matter how despicable you think Trump is, do you think he’s comparable to a mass murderer of innocent people?

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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08 February 2020 04:21
 

Maybe he is right - think about that before you attribute a mental deficiency to someone you otherwise tend to agree with.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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08 February 2020 05:53
 

In the first 10 minutes, Sam contrasted Bin Laden with Trump, not said that they were comparable.  What’s more is he was doing it in the context of acknowledging that his sense of moral outrage about Trump may not be fully rational. 

Sam: “He’s [Trump] not actually evil ... or he’s not as scary or he might be.”  Where the ellipsis elides Sam backtracking so that the second claim is a refinement or clarification of the first. (About 08:00)

And later says that Bin Laden “is prototypically evil when viewed from my game”. (09:30)

[ Edited: 08 February 2020 05:57 by mapadofu]
 
DEGENERATEON
 
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08 February 2020 07:50
 
mapadofu - 08 February 2020 05:53 AM

In the first 10 minutes, Sam contrasted Bin Laden with Trump, not said that they were comparable.  What’s more is he was doing it in the context of acknowledging that his sense of moral outrage about Trump may not be fully rational. 

Sam: “He’s [Trump] not actually evil ... or he’s not as scary or he might be.”  Where the ellipsis elides Sam backtracking so that the second claim is a refinement or clarification of the first. (About 08:00)

And later says that Bin Laden “is prototypically evil when viewed from my game”. (09:30)

Bin Laden is “a person of actual substance- he’s just committed to the wrong ends” according to Sam.  So you could replace Bin Laden with some fundamentalist Christian that bombs an abortion clinic or maybe Ted Kazinski or possibly Hitler.  What I get from Sam’s contrast is that Trump has no values, no consistency in what he pursues from an ethical or moral standpoint.  He has no vision or religious doctrine to follow. 
In essence, the argument is “Bin Laden is evil from my point of view, but at least he was committed to his misguided religious doctrine.  Trump has no moral substance, he has no commitment to any ideas.”

So what is more despicable?  The person who is convinced that immoral behavior is not only moral but has been commanded by their god, or the person who doesn’t follow a moral blueprint that you can make sense out of?

 

 
mapadofu
 
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mapadofu
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08 February 2020 09:34
 

They’re incommensurable. Each bad their own ways.

“Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it.” is the biblical version of “each happy family is the same, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” applied to moral rectitude.

[ Edited: 08 February 2020 11:17 by mapadofu]
 
BarfootSage
 
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08 February 2020 18:42
 

Now there must be some podcaster in Afghanistan depicting Trump in a similar light as Sam did Bin Laden…??  I have to admit.  I often find myself thinking in lines with what Sam describes Trump’s thinking.

 
 
John V. Linton
 
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14 February 2020 11:36
 

Harris continues to process Trump purely on a psychological and emotional level—“more despicable than I found Osama bin Laden”.  Harris is an absurd hysteric whenever he goes near Trump as a subject.

Any seriously intelligent person approaches Trump from the standpoint of the efficacy of his policies, not the histrionics of his Twitter feed.  This is so obvious that it’s embarrassing to have to point out.

Why on earth wouldn’t the average citizen process/weight the Trump impeachment through the lens of whether the prior administration’s abuse of FISA spying powers and counter-intelligence investigations into the Trump campaign is normative for Democrats when they are in power—and that Trump’s inquiry into Biden/Ukraine is not remotely in the same league as an ethical/legal lapse?  Half the country looks at the morass/nightmare coming out about Comey/Brennan/Clapper and the machinations of using DNC/Clinton-paid for oppo research to spy as FAR worse than what Trump did.  Yet Harris, for all his intelligence, is so purblind by his partisanship, he cannot even fathom this very obvious angle.

Part of the problem is I’m starting to suspect that Trump is more intelligent than Harris, and this bothers Harris deeply at a subconscious level.  All of Harris’s ad nauseam about Trump’s hyperbole and sometimes-lies completely misses that Trump is using language in a different way than he does.  (Harris takes him “Literally not seriously”).  Yet for all Trump’s lies about crowd size, he’s more honest about crucial political realities than Sam Harris is—who is really subconsciously infuriated that Trump is successfully rolling back the progressive policy wins of the past decade.  (Memo to Sam: Trump is far more competent as an actor than as an honest speaker; get over the obvious.  His actions are highly measured and reasonable, the inverse of his Twitter hysterics—which are partly tactical, to throw people like Harris off all the time…)

What’s really going on is Paul Bloom and Sam Harris are terrified of not virtue-signaling on this subject.  When do they get past Trump’s speech/entertaining qualities to get to the policies that have turned our economy around, exposed spying abuses, restored international deterrence, etc.?  The reason it’s obvious that Bloom is also virtue-signaling is because after Harris’s self-indulgent tirade, Bloom never even touches on the policy front—the single most crucial evaluative framework.

On no subject does Harris sound so stupid as on anything he says about Trump.

(“I know exactly what he’s doing behind closed doors”?  Harris seriously says…  Just as Harris recently produced the “proof” of a non-existent racial epithet recording of Trump’s racism as Exhibit 1.)

[ Edited: 14 February 2020 11:54 by John V. Linton]
 
BarfootSage
 
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14 February 2020 14:45
 
John V. Linton - 14 February 2020 11:36 AM

Harris continues to process Trump purely on a psychological and emotional level—“more despicable than I found Osama bin Laden”.  Harris is an absurd hysteric whenever he goes near Trump as a subject.

Any seriously intelligent person approaches Trump from the standpoint of the efficacy of his policies, not the histrionics of his Twitter feed.  This is so obvious that it’s embarrassing to have to point out.

Why on earth wouldn’t the average citizen process/weight the Trump impeachment through the lens of whether the prior administration’s abuse of FISA spying powers and counter-intelligence investigations into the Trump campaign is normative for Democrats when they are in power—and that Trump’s inquiry into Biden/Ukraine is not remotely in the same league as an ethical/legal lapse?  Half the country looks at the morass/nightmare coming out about Comey/Brennan/Clapper and the machinations of using DNC/Clinton-paid for oppo research to spy as FAR worse than what Trump did.  Yet Harris, for all his intelligence, is so purblind by his partisanship, he cannot even fathom this very obvious angle.

Part of the problem is I’m starting to suspect that Trump is more intelligent than Harris, and this bothers Harris deeply at a subconscious level.  All of Harris’s ad nauseam about Trump’s hyperbole and sometimes-lies completely misses that Trump is using language in a different way than he does.  (Harris takes him “Literally not seriously”).  Yet for all Trump’s lies about crowd size, he’s more honest about crucial political realities than Sam Harris is—who is really subconsciously infuriated that Trump is successfully rolling back the progressive policy wins of the past decade.  (Memo to Sam: Trump is far more competent as an actor than as an honest speaker; get over the obvious.  His actions are highly measured and reasonable, the inverse of his Twitter hysterics—which are partly tactical, to throw people like Harris off all the time…)

What’s really going on is Paul Bloom and Sam Harris are terrified of not virtue-signaling on this subject.  When do they get past Trump’s speech/entertaining qualities to get to the policies that have turned our economy around, exposed spying abuses, restored international deterrence, etc.?  The reason it’s obvious that Bloom is also virtue-signaling is because after Harris’s self-indulgent tirade, Bloom never even touches on the policy front—the single most crucial evaluative framework.

On no subject does Harris sound so stupid as on anything he says about Trump.

(“I know exactly what he’s doing behind closed doors”?  Harris seriously says…  Just as Harris recently produced the “proof” of a non-existent racial epithet recording of Trump’s racism as Exhibit 1.)

John V. Linton nicely put.  And I agree with you.

When I joined the U.S. Army in 2003 as a peaceful loving world traveling massage therapist I had no support for the Iraq War what so ever.  And for me, the Commander in Chief at that time (G. Bush) was ‘Sam’s Trump’.  But the reality inside the Army was that liking him or disliking him was beside the point.  Either way you had to follow the chain of command onto the battlefield.  So it had me thinking about going to war differently as a non supporter and learning to do my “job” the best I possibly could.  So if we were to look at the Trump Presidency in this light it might have us evaluating it as if it were really about consequences rather than rational thinking.  (If Trump made a poor and irrational decision that seemed to threaten the National Security of the Country and for some reason another leader responded out of charecter because of it and things went some other direction the actual consequences in hindsight, years later could be evaluated as positive.)  As such it may be possible that much of what we see play out is from under the guise of the American President and Commander in Chief as citizens rather than scholar might view a generic world leader.  I think it is possible the results of the Trump Presidency have unintended (positive and negative) consequences that we might not clearly foresee at this time. 
My thoughts are that when things get worse before they get better it is often a sign of healing -the surfacing of deeply rooted inequitities making room for reconstituted justice, so long as people are willing to do the work and follow through on their values.  When I evaluate the Trump’s Presidency in the context of the history of American politics I look for what good is becoming of it first.  And I see him as the best at ‘turning the soil’ in a time sensitive framework.  Who else could have reworked the entire executive branch of the American gov. under the temperamental deadlock of polarization.  So I don’t like Trump just like Sam, but if this Presidency can be good for making way for what is to come, like Sanders winning and bringing about Socialism for the New Millennials to take their futures back then who is to say it doesn’t have some merit just as the Obama Presidency did??

 
 
John V. Linton
 
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14 February 2020 16:41
 

Your arguments are well said, and respectfully so.

Lol laying aside whether Bernie is the best continuation, I really think the terms of the debate should be far more on policy and far less on Trump’s psyche, with which he is obsessed.  We have seen Trump as CIC for 3 solid years now, and he has been measured in deciding when and when not to respond militarily—clearly a strong executive function is in charge of his cortex—and he has done so sparingly, turning down certain provocations, with the aim to maximizing U.S. deterrence with a minimal loss of human life or ground troop commitments.

Similarly every judicial reversal or nation-wide injunction, no matter how absurd, has been patiently abided by through an upward chain of appeals.  Not exactly a dictator on the make.

The economy is humming, with record low unemployment across all the left’s favorite marginalized groups.  There is, additionally, no rational grounds for the oft-heard implication that Trump is a homophobe, though he has said racially inflammatory things.  (So have Biden, and a host of other mainstream politicians.  The governor of VA comes to mind for even worse…)

Increasingly, the debate should turn on ideal tax rates, ideal entitlement rates, a better vision for healthcare, etc.—the actual policy disputes—and not on the phantasmagoria of Harris’s overactive child-conditioned Democratic mind.  (One only note how irrational Harris’s jesuitical parsing of Kavanaugh’s yearbook was to understand what a blinkered partisan he can be.)

The truly mature thinkers of the IDW—Gad Saad, Camille Paglia, at times Peterson—would never talk in such stupid blanket terms about Trump, but rather take a hard-nosed appraisal of each separate situation.

 
BarfootSage
 
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14 February 2020 16:58
 

Sam Harris is Human in this regard.  He falls prey to the patterns of his heritage, that is all.  Emotionalism has its guise in us all.  I’ll agree with you again, John, that the debate should indeed turn toward taxes, in particular tax reform.  (How in God’s name we might be able to manage this one is beyond me.). But in the State of Montana the issue of taxes is so outdated that it seems like we might be reasoning with an old rancher or mountain man the. value of learning how house a smart phone let alone actually use it to help get business done.  All jokes aside, the State laws seem archaic sitting next to WA. State which seem to be the polar opposite anchored as an international hub for the country.  And Seattle is light years ahead of Missoula or Helena (the Capital) in terms of progressive tax reform.  Why not follow in their footstep and be schooled by the big boy on the block.  It would be worth its weight in gold, no pun intended.  More power to States gov. seems like a sensible course post Trump to me, granted that they are able to learn and grow from each other. 

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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14 February 2020 21:41
 

I disagree with Sam about quite a few issues but he’s right on the money in regards to Trump.

The derangement, on balance isn’t with a strident objection to the Presidents behavior. Rather its with the motive to cartwheel and dance and rationalize completely indefensible behavior. Worse than that, it’s the ability to justly castigate bad behavior and bad faith in every circumstance except when its done by the supreme leader. If this isn’t a failure to learn from history nothing is.

I’m simply out of patience with people who wave away the issue of abusive and deceitful language as if it weren’t important. That was true when Trump ran a reality tv show. It isn’t true now. He is commander in chief. He is first diplomat. He the forward guard of our collective political capital abroad. When he publicly mocks a woman for her period it isn’t simply disgusting. It’s expensive for every citizen of this nation. It destroys opportunities in the world community. How are you not understanding that?

 
BarfootSage
 
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15 February 2020 00:24
 

The impeachment of Donald Trump wasn’t about the President so much as it was about American becoming accountable for its coercive foreign policies.  If we had been willingly to be accountable for that which is, like Brick says, a failure to learn from history, the impeachment proceeding might have gone differently.  In reality, it isn’t so much about the President as it is about the Country.  After all checks and balances are the Truth for America, not the word or duties of office of the job of the American President.

 
 
Twissel
 
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15 February 2020 01:24
 

The Impeachment was framed by Republicans as being about coercive foreign policy because, as Pompeo said, Americans don’t give a fuck about Ukraine.

But it was actually all about US Election integrity and fairness, something that Schiff articulated very well.