Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Extremist Views

Why Sam Harris and Noam Chomsky are Both Right:

Bringing the discussion full circle, Harris is correct in asserting that beliefs influence actions. In particular, apocalyptic beliefs can be used to excuse virtually any act of violence and treachery on the grounds that the present moment is one of cosmic significance and urgency. But beliefs don’t exist in a vacuum. The material conditions in which people find themselves can have a profound influence on the sort of worldview they adopt. And this is where Chomsky is correct. The West has an absolutely sordid history of aggressive, self-interested, and morally questionable meddling in the affairs of Middle Eastern countries. The debacle known as the Iraq War created a situation of widespread desperation that's seduced a whole generation of religiously-inclined people to latch onto extremist views they otherwise wouldn't have accepted. In turn, these views then modified their behavioral patterns in ideologically specific ways.

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