Letter to Sam Harris


Dear Sam,

Rather than inviting onto your podcast the kind of conservative who agrees with pretty much all of your views (David Frum), why not invite one who doesn’t? How about inviting John Derbyshire, Peter Brimelow or Steve Sailer? You could tell them precisely what is wrong with demographic stability, limiting immigration to what is beneficial to the host nation, enforcing existing immigration laws, trying to stop people from terrorist-exporting countries entering the USA, preventing legal and illegal immigrants taking American jobs and depressing wages, plus anything else you might like to say.

They in turn could tell you how social scientists have found that multiculturalism undermines trust in a society, how failure to integrate leads to ghettoisation, how integration erodes diversity (mix all the colours on your palette and you get a uniform brown sludge) and how all ethnic or religious groups are not equally productive, intelligent, industrious or peace-loving. They could tell you how silly it is to import large numbers of low-skilled people just when machines are taking over many low-skilled jobs, how some people find it refreshing that America now has a president who dares to mention the rather obvious link between Islam and terrorism, a president who doesn’t pander, as his immediate predecessors did, to race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Black Lives Matter activists.

Perhaps you don’t want to invite a real conservative onto your podcast because you and your interlocutor would have so little common ground. After all, your starting points are very different: while you want a progressive liberal country, they want a conservative country. How would you go about showing them that they are wrong to want what they want? And if you weren’t able to show them, where does that leave your idea of peaks and valleys on the moral landscape? Sure, both you and John Derbyshire could agree that ISIS represents an obvious valley. Only a fool, or a Muslim, thinks otherwise. But what could you tell John Derbyshire to convince him that his peak, even if not a valley, is lower than the one you are standing on?

I view this whole discussion as I view discussions about food, music and art. While we can all agree that cement, as a food, is a valley, as are poo, iron filings and carpet. Equally, my best friend’s singing and my own drawing are objectively rubbish attempts at music and art respectively. But can we really say that Spaghetti Bolognese is better than Shepherd’s Pie? That Mozart was better than Beethoven? That Leonardo di Vinci was better than Caravaggio? Similarly, can you really claim that your progressive liberalism is better than John Derbyshire’s conservatism? Surely once you get past the bleedingly obvious valleys of awfulness in politics you have entered the Land of Personal Taste. I see your own liking for progressive liberalism and distaste for Trump’s policies as just that, a matter of taste.


The Unrecorded Man