Arguments on the left side of the spectrum

WEDNESDAY, 23 DECEMBER 2015

For a while now I have been following the fiery verbal battles amongst leftist/liberal writers and other intellectuals on social media, in interviews on talk shows and in articles on the internet. To make it easier for myself to distinguish what differentiates one from the other, even though all these people can broadly be sorted on the more progressive side of the political spectrum, I have come up with very elementary descriptions.

Note that the descriptions are not comprehensive. For example, just because I say one person is pro-freedom of speech and it is not mentioned in the description of another person, is not to say that it is not also important to that person. What I tried to do is to basically point out a person’s primary focus areas.

Sam Harris, Bill Maher, Christopher Hitchens: anti-religion; pro-science; non-religious ethics and morality; pro-government action against Islamism

Richard Dawkins: anti-religion; pro-science; pro-common sense; non-religious ethics and morality

Noam Chomsky: freedom of the individual; against aggressive, imperialistic American foreign policy; in favour of people against power (whether own government or foreign invader)

Glenn Greenwald, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden: pro-freedom of speech (Greenwald with caveats, he was critical of some Charlie Hebdo cartoons, for example, calling them “offensive and bigoted”); individual liberty, especially against “Big Brother” government

Michael Moore: against aggressive, imperialistic American foreign policy; in favour of people against power (whether own government or foreign invader); anti-discrimination based on race, gender, sexual preference; pro-equality on health care, education, and so on.

In case you haven’t been following the action, here is a sample:

Sam Harris & Noam Chomsky

The Limits of Discourse – As Demonstrated by Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky

Scoring the Noam Chomsky/Sam Harris debate: How the professor knocked out the atheist

Sam Harris & Glenn Greenwald

Sam Harris vs. Glenn Greenwald on Islam

Christopher Hitchens & Noam Chomsky

A Rejoinder to Noam Chomsky

Reply to Hitchens

Ben Affleck & Bill Maher, Sam Harris

Real Time with Bill Maher: Ben Affleck, Sam Harris and Bill Maher Debate Radical Islam (HBO)

Can Liberalism Be Saved From Itself?

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