Noted atheist Sam Harris blamed the media for the “recent atrocities in Paris” in his most recent podcast.
“It’s astonishing the media can’t do the one thing to keep it and everyone else safe. It can’t do the one thing that would have kept the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists safe — which is to publish, en masse, all of these cartoons to present a united front against this creeping theocracy,” he began.
Harris claimed that he would have spoken up sooner, but “it’s become toxic for me to say over and over again that which should go without saying, then be vilified for it. It’s no fun working on this topic — although I am writing a short book with Maajid Nawaz, the working title of which is Islam and the Future of Tolerance.”
“The response of liberals — and it’s so depressing to have to use ‘liberal’ in a pejorative way, but liberalism has completely lost its moorings on the topic of Islam,” he continued. “Needless to say, we have all the usual suspects — Glenn Greewald, Reza Aslan, Chris Hedges, Karen Armstrong — and as unreadable as these people have become, you can’t help but notice the stupid things they say about Islam even in the aftermath of an atrocity like this.”
“As will come as no surprise, they will tell you this has nothing to do with Islam or heartfelt religious convictions, but that it has everything to do with capitalism and oppression and minorities and the racism of white people in Europe, and the racism of cartoonists at a magazine like Charlie Hebdo.”
“That is the cause of this behavior,” Harris said. “That is what will cause someone to pick up an AK-47 and murder 12 cartoonists and scream ‘Allahu Akbar!’ in the streets.”
“That is an absolutely insane analysis. If you grant everything that’s completely wrong with capitalism and the history of colonialism, you should not be able to deny that these religious maniacs are motivated by concerns about blasphemy and the depiction of Muhammad and consider their behavior entirely ethical in light of specific religious doctrines.”
Those “liberal” commentators are demonstrating the kind of “masochism, moral cowardice, and lack of intelligence at this point, that is allowing [them] to deny this fact.”
“Then there is the understandable matter of self-censorship, which is entirely based on fear. And the reason it’s ‘understandable’ is that it’s quite rational, if you’re the only news organization printing pictures of the prophet Muhammad.”
“This is why,” Harris said, “every news organization should have chosen to print the latest Charlie Hebdo cover immediately on the same day and spread the risk.”
“We hear everyday about this false trade-off between freedom of speech and freedom of religion, as if there’s some balance to be struck here,” he continued. “There is none — freedom of speech never infringes upon freedom of religion. There’s nothing I can say in this podcast about religion, generally, or Islam in particular, that would infringe upon someone’s freedom to practice his or her religion.”
“If your freedom of religion entails forcing those people who do not share it to conform to it, then that’s not freedom of religion — that’s theocracy.”
“This ‘respect’ we’re all urged to show for ‘religious sensitivity,’ is actually a demand that the blasphemy laws of Islam be followed by non-Muslims and secular liberals in the West are defending this thuggish ultimatum,” he said.
They are “putting the lives of cartoonists, journalists, free thinkers, and public intellectuals in jeopardy day after day. We’re only harming ourselves at this point. The Muslim world has simply got to get used to free speech winning, and we should make no apologies for this.”
“People have been murdered over cartoons,” he said, “end of moral analysis.”
Harris did add that he disagrees with laws in France and Germany criminalizing Holocaust denial. “A person should be absolutely free,” he said, “to deny the Holocaust and destroy his reputation. Others should be free to ridicule him and boycott his business. But there shouldn’t be a law against this kind of idiocy.”
Listen to the entire podcast via SoundCloud below.