Waking Up with Sam Harris #70 – Beauty and Terror (with Lawrence Krauss)

The Waking Up Podcat #70 – Beauty and Terror:

A Conversation with Lawrence Krauss

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with physicist Lawrence Krauss about the utility of public debates, the progress of science, confusion about the role of consciousness in quantum mechanics, the present danger of nuclear war, the Trump administration, the relative threats of Christian theocracy and Islamism, and realistic fears about terrorism.

Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist and the director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. He is the author of more than 300 scientific publications and nine books, including the international bestsellers, A Universe from Nothing and The Physics of Star Trek. The recipient of numerous awards, Krauss is a regular columnist for newspapers and magazines, including The New Yorker, and he appears frequently on radio, television, and in feature films. His most recent book is The Greatest Story Ever Told—So Far: Why Are We Here?


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Waking Up With Sam Harris #62 – What is True? (with Jordan B. Peterson)


In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with psychologist Jordan B. Peterson about freedom of speech and the nature of truth.

Jordan B. Peterson is a clinical psychologist and Professor at the University of Toronto. He formerly taught at Harvard University and has published numerous articles on drug abuse, alcoholism, and aggression. He is the author of Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief.

Waking Up With Sam Harris #57 – An Evening with Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris (1)


In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Richard Dawkins at a live event in Los Angeles (first of two). They cover religion, Jurassic Park, artificial intelligence, elitism, continuing human evolution, and other topics.

Waking Up with Sam Harris #61 – The Power of Belief (with Lawrence Wright)


In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with author Lawrence Wright about al-Qaeda & ISIS, Arab culture, 9/11 conspiracy theories, the migrant crisis in Europe, Scientology, parallels between L. Ron Hubbard and Donald Trump, the Satanic cult panic, and other topics.

Lawrence Wright is an author, screenwriter, playwright, and a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. His works of nonfiction include In the New World, Remembering Satan, The Looming Tower, Going Clear, and Thirteen Days in September. He has also written a novel, God’s Favorite. His books have received many prizes and honors, including a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower. His most recent book is The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State.

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Waking Up With Sam Harris #59 – Friend & Foe (with Maajid Nawaz)


In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Maajid Nawaz about the Southern Poverty Law Center, Robert Spencer, Keith Ellison, moderate Muslims, Shadi Hamid’s notion of “Islamic exceptionalism,” the migrant crisis in Europe, foreign interventions, Trump, Putin, Obama’s legacy, and other topics.

Maajid Nawaz is a counter-extremist, author, columnist, broadcaster and Founding Chairman of Quilliam – a globally active organization focusing on matters of integration, citizenship & identity, religious freedom, immigration, extremism, and terrorism. Maajid’s work is informed by years spent in his youth as a leadership member of a global Islamist group, and his gradual transformation towards liberal democratic values. Having served four years as an Amnesty International adopted “prisoner of conscience” in Egypt, Maajid is now a leading critic of Islamism, while remaining a secular liberal Muslim.

Maajid is an Honorary Associate of the UK’s National Secular Society, a weekly columnist for the Daily Beast, a monthly columnist for the liberal UK paper the ‘Jewish News’ and LBC radio’s weekend afternoon radio host. He also provides occasional columns for the London Times, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, among others. Maajid was the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate in London’s Hampstead & Kilburn for the May 2015 British General Election.

A British-Pakistani born in Essex, Maajid speaks English, Arabic, and Urdu, holds a BA (Hons) from SOAS in Arabic and Law and an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics (LSE).

Maajid relates his life story in his first book, Radical. He co-authored his second book, Islam and the Future of Tolerance, with Sam Harris.

Waking Up With Sam Harris #58 – The Putin Question (with Garry Kasparov)


In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Garry Kasparov about the problem of waning American power, the rise of Putin, the coming presidency of Donald Trump, computer chess, the future of artificial intelligence, and other topics.

Garry Kasparov spent twenty years as the world’s number one ranked chess player. In 2005, he retired from professional chess to lead the pro-democracy opposition against Vladimir Putin, from street protests to coalition building. In 2012, he was named chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, succeeding Václav Havel. He has been a contributing editor to the Wall Street Journal since 1991, and he is a senior visiting fellow at the Oxford Martin School. His 2007 book, How Life Imitates Chess, has been published in twenty-six languages. He lives in self-imposed exile in New York with his wife Dasha and their children. His most recent book is Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped.

Sam Harris Vs Noam Chomsky

00:00:00,000 –> 00:00:05,016
Recently Sam Harris was answering some
questions from his fans and he spoke a

00:00:05,016 –> 00:00:10,020
bit about his disagreements with noam
chomsky can you comment on your spat

00:00:10,002 –> 00:00:13,068
with noam chomsky your initial critique
of him in the end of faith you stand by

00:00:13,086 –> 00:00:15,275
it i’m a big fan but I just don’t get

00:00:16,049 –> 00:00:20,880
well i’m not aware of having a spat with
him I he’s actually taking a few shots

00:00:20,088 –> 00:00:25,143
at me online and but I we’ve never met
and i’m not aware of him having read the

00:00:26,043 –> 00:00:29,130
end of faith or having notice what I’ve
said about his politics so to some

00:00:30,003 –> 00:00:34,352
degree we could just be talking on
parallel channels here but i just think

00:00:34,649 –> 00:00:38,820
there is a kind of moral confusion
expressed in his political writing which

00:00:38,082 –> 00:00:44,157
ignores intention as a basis upon which
to evaluate certain human behavior at

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the end of the day he’s he simply wants
to use body count as the only metric to

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discuss the moral stature of two sides
in a conflict

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so if we kill a dozen children
unintentionally well that’s every bit as

00:00:57,096 –> 00:01:01,104
bad as doing it intentionally to that i
think is a bad way to look at human

00:01:02,076 –> 00:01:02,175

00:01:03,075 –> 00:01:07,080
I think the people who are intending to
kill children are different than the

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people who are intending to kill the
people who are killing children and our

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accidentally killing children in the

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it’s a huge difference you have to ask
yourself what kind of world is any group

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or society want to create how do they
want the world to be what would they do

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if they had all the power and when you
ask that question you get very different

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answers for specific groups

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no matter how much misery and death is
happening on both sides of a conflict

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when you look at World War two

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he was just a horrific wastage of human
life but the difference between the

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Allies and the Nazis was absolutely
categorical what sort of world that the

00:01:45,096 –> 00:01:47,285
Third Reich want to create ok

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and what did we want to create on our
side we did horrible things the

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firebombing of dressed in the atomic
bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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absolutely grotesque acts of violence
where hundreds of thousands of people

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millions of people over the course of
the war died but what sort of world are

00:02:06,084 –> 00:02:07,119
we trying to build what

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and what were your intentions with
respect to the Germans and the Japanese

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really well you

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our intentions because after the war we
did not murder everyone

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we helped rebuild their societies so it
were not perfect but we were different

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from the Nazis

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so you can’t just look the body count
merely to judge the rightness or

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wrongness of human behavior and and
Chomsky seems to discount intentions

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across the board and only look at body

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and if you do that in any given instance
you come away with a perverse

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description of what’s happening in the
world and you come away believing the

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kinds of things that people influenced
by Chomsky tend to believe that your

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whether it’s glenn greenwald ER and the
other person who’s drunk this kool-aid

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and you can end up saying things like
the United States is the greatest

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terrorist state in human history right
or some other such nonsense

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there’s a difference between the dick
cheney’s of the world and the AL

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Baghdadi’s of the world and it is
crucial that people on the Left

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understand that

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and as far as i can tell Chomsky has
been a source of pure moral confusion on

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this point

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alright so as often happens when we
discuss these issues

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I’m in the unfortunate position of being
a fan of harris and Dawkins and the new

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atheists as well as a fan of Chomsky and
Greenwald and Scahill and people like

00:03:27,056 –> 00:03:27,125

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so inevitably when I talk about these
issues are yet people lash lashing out

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at me from both camps where they say I’m
too much of an apologist for Harrison

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the new atheists are people say I’m too
much of an apologist for Greenwald

00:03:43,001 –> 00:03:44,018

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so that’s definitely going to happen
I’ve accepted that at this point it is

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what it is no matter what I can’t please
everybody when I talk about these things

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I’m just breaking it down as i see it

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so first of all let’s go directly to his
main criticism is that a legitimate

00:03:58,129 –> 00:04:06,500
criticism of Noam Chomsky that noam
chomsky of focuses more on quantitative

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issues than qualitative issues

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I’d say yes I think that’s a fair
criticism of Noam Chomsky

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I mean I also have other disagreements
with Chomsky I think he’s way to the

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left of me on domestic and economic
policy but on the idea that he focuses

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too much on the quantitative and not
enough on the qualitative

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I think that’s a fair point but the
thing that frustrates me about Paris is

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that he seems unaware that the criticism
of him is the polar opposite

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and I think that’s also merited so I do
think it’s a legitimate criticism of

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Chomsky that he focuses too much on the
quantitative and qualitative but Harris

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focuses too much on the qualitative and
not the quantitative so up here – let’s

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back up Paris for a second so harris is
. is basically yes if you tally up the

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body count

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it’s true that America has killed more
people than Isis but does that mean that

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America is worse than Isis course not
that’s ridiculous

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so I agree with him in that respect is
making a good point in that respect but

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the deeper idea here the harris is
getting at is the idea that America is

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basically altruistic

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so in his mind when we kill civilians

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it’s always an accident but what people
like myself and i would guess no chance

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you’re trying to get across to harris
and other people is that that’s not true

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that’s empirically not true we know that
that’s not true i mean we’ve covered

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stories on this show just to give one
example where we did drone strikes of a

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funeral when we knew that women and
children were at the funeral but we also

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knew the Taliban operatives wrap the
funeral and they just decided that

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fucking I mean we’ll get the Taliban
guys so there’s some collateral damage

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we know we’re going to kill the
civilians fucking let’s do it

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so the idea that like it’s always an
accident when we kill civilians

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that’s just not correct and those are
issues that Chomsky uh focuses on and

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issues that unfortunately I think Karis
doesn’t discuss nearly enough and also

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to again to attack the idea that it’s
like well we mean well so therefore it’s

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totally different

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it is different for sure but it’s not
totally different so for example the US

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has openly supported dozens of fascist
dictators during the cold war and after

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the Cold War and we didn’t do it because

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benevolent and we want a better system
of government for the people in South

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America for example know what we did it
because we wanted more geopolitical

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power and control and we wanted natural

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I mean the term banana republic comes
from the fact that we overthrew the

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government so that our banana
corporations can come in and take the

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fucking bananas

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so it’s not the case that were all were
altruistic and we mean well and then

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once we accidentally killed civilians

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no it’s more the case that our focus is
primarily on geo political power and

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control and maintaining a grasp on these
things and keeping the order as it is

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right now and it taking natural
resources for ourselves

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so when we support these fascist
dictators who did all these horrible

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things it wasn’t like we expected that
they were going to set up a better

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system in that all were helping the
people in these places because of that

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we knew that they were doing fucked up
shit and we often looked in the other

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direction because our main concern was
not humanitarian and also what Harris is

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getting at is the idea of murder vs
manslaughter and what he’s saying is

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Chomsky disregard the fact that there’s
a difference between murder and

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manslaughter he may Chomsky makes it
seem like America is the worst by far

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and away because we murder more people
that then you know regimes that were

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outwardly the terrible weather it’s the
Nazis or Isis Sergey other jihadist or

00:08:03,000 –> 00:08:06,087
whoever and like I get that Sam I
understand what you’re saying and there

00:08:06,087 –> 00:08:10,166
is a fair point there that sometimes
Chomsky might go too far in his

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criticism of america and he might not
make a distinction between intentions

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but my response to that is Sam both of
those things are crimes murder is a

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crime and manslaughter is a crime

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so when no charge he comes out and
speaks more about what we do in the

00:08:27,719 –> 00:08:28,590

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the reason he’s doing that he’s spoken
about this before he mentioned in his

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debate with William F Buckley a long
time ago

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the reason he’s doing that is because he
says we are responsible for our actions

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I’m paying for that i’m paying for it
when we do something fucked up

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that’s why I’m focusing on this because
i don’t want us to be involved in any

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way shape or form with anything like
that whether it’s murder manslaughter or

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anything else that might be negative and
affect people in

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in a in a bad way I just want Sam to
recognize that

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okay we’re good guys they’re bad guys is
not a sufficient explanation

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that’s not enough for an Iraqi mother
who lost his son her son or her daughter

00:09:11,082 –> 00:09:14,145
or some other family member that’s not
consoling you can’t just throw this

00:09:15,045 –> 00:09:20,088
giant blanket this generalization over
what the u.s. does as well we meant well

00:09:20,088 –> 00:09:21,114
so it’s okay

00:09:22,014 –> 00:09:27,051
no since its us doing it we are
responsible for those actions

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so we can at the same time as we slammed
the actions of Isis and al-qaeda and

00:09:32,094 –> 00:09:35,169
other jihadist and christian
fundamentalist in the KKK we could slam

00:09:36,069 –> 00:09:41,151
all those actions and then also at the
same time say hey the thing we did in

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Vietnam when we used Agent Orange and
napalm and killed civilians that was

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fucked up

00:09:47,001 –> 00:09:50,058
hey when we overthrew the Iranian
government that was fucked up hey when

00:09:50,067 –> 00:09:52,152
we support occupation israel-palestine
that’s fucked up

00:09:53,052 –> 00:09:56,091
hey what we did in South America that’s
fucked up were able to have this

00:09:56,091 –> 00:09:59,154
conversation in a more nuanced way where
it shouldn’t be just us versus them it

00:10:00,054 –> 00:10:00,060
should be

00:10:01,014 –> 00:10:05,040
these actions they did are fucked up and
these actions we did our fucked up and

00:10:05,004 –> 00:10:10,005
let’s just cut out all the areas where
we fucked out so i think what we need

00:10:10,005 –> 00:10:14,034
here is a more nuanced conversation and
not just a conversation about us versus

00:10:14,079 –> 00:10:19,086
them and intentions were good intentions
versus bad intentions and we shouldn’t

00:10:19,086 –> 00:10:23,154
boil it down to the most base-level
conversation because it doesn’t help

00:10:24,054 –> 00:10:24,093

Social justice warrior

Define: SJW

“Social justice warrior” (commonly abbreviated SJW) is a pejorative term for an individual promoting socially progressive views, including feminism, civil rights, multiculturalism, and identity politics. The accusation of being an SJW carries implications of pursuing personal validation rather than any deep-seated conviction and being engaged in disingenuous social justice arguments or activism to raise personal reputation, also known as virtue signaling.

The phrase originated in the late 20th century as a neutral or positive term for people engaged in social justice activism. In 2011 when the term first appeared on Twitter, it changed from a primarily positive term to an overwhelmingly negative one. During the Gamergate controversy, the negative connotation gained increased use and was particularly aimed at those espousing views adhering to social liberalism, cultural inclusiveness, or feminism, as well as views deemed to be politically correct.

The term has entered popular culture, including a parody role-playing video game released in 2014 titled Social Justice Warriors.

In Popular Culture

In May 2014, the concept was incorporated into a parody role-playing video game titled Social Justice Warriors. Developed by Nonadecimal Creative, Social Justice Warriors involved the concept of debating online against Internet trolls who make racist and other provocative comments by choosing from different responses such as “‘dismember their claims with your logic,’ rebroadcast their message to be attacked by others, or go for the personal attack.” Users were able to select a character class and gameplay involved changes to user meters of Sanity and Reputation. The game became available on the computer platform Steam in February 2015. Game creator Eric Ford explained that the game was designed to foster critical thinking and was not “intended to suggest that racist, sexist, or other offensive comments shouldn’t be confronted online. The goal is to encourage critical thinking on how it can be done more effectively, and at less cost to the real-world social justice warriors.” He commented: “Once you’ve embarked down the path of correcting every incorrect statement an anonymous stranger is making online, the only inevitable outcomes are that your patience is exhausted by frustration, your reputation is obliterated by the trolls’ defamation or your own actions, or you give up in disgust.”

Actress Caitlin Barlow described her character on the 2016 U.S. comedy television series Teachers as a social justice warrior. Barlow explained: “I play Cecilia Cannon, who is a super-crunchy hippie social justice warrior who is always trying to save the world, whether people care or not. And she’s always pushing her left-wing agenda on her students.”

The Hollywood Reporter journalists Lesley Goldberg and Kate Stanhope noted in March 2016 that actress Isabella Gomez was cast in the Netflix remake of One Day at a Time and portrayed Elena, a character content to self-identify as a social justice warrior. Goldberg and Stanhope wrote: “A proud nerd, idealist and social justice warrior, Elena is opinionated and not afraid to speak her mind.”

While promoting his film The Green Inferno, Eli Roth said “I wanted to write a movie that was about modern activism. I see that a lot of people want to care and want to help, but in general, I feel like people don’t really want to inconvenience their own lives. And I saw a lot of people just reacting to things on social media. These social justice warriors. ‘This is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong.’ And they’re just tweeting and retweeting. They’re not actually doing anything. Or you see people get involved in a cause that they don’t really know a lot about and they go crazy about it. I wanted to make a movie about kids like that.”

Examples of use in Youtube comments:

From YouTube comments

No. It’s because Sam Harris tries to explain social, economic, geopolitical issues by focusing on people’s beliefs and worldviews (their identity). He’s the ultimate “SJW”.

Harris comes across as more honest to me. Sam is always willing to put himself out there and be open to any environment of discussion. You’ll never see Chomsky do a four-hour podcast with Joe Rogan for example. Chomsky comes across as an arrogant SJW at times. Sam comes across as a guy you could have a beer with and enjoy the stimulating conversation of an honest thinker. Whereas Chomsky comes across as the guy who would snub you and any conversation you had with him would leave you with the impression that he was a biased thinker.

Despite what your average SJW or Black Matter Lives affiliate might argue, Muslim imperialism existed way before the birth of the US. They conquered half of the known world and ethnic cleansed it. They tried to push into Europe twice in the Middle Age and it’s for sheer luck that today Europe doesn’t speak Arabic. Had Islam conquered Europe, there wouldn’t be an America to speak of, and no ignorant arrogant assholes like the Chomskians to criticize it either.