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RS 227 - Sarah Haider on "Dissent and free speech"

Release date: February 17th, 2019

Sarah Haider

This episode features Sarah Haider, the president of Ex-Muslims of North America. Julia and Sarah discuss why it's important to talk about the challenges of leaving Islam, and why that makes people uncomfortable or angry. They also explore whether being intellectually honest helps or hurts your effectiveness as an activist; Sarah's concerns with the Intellectual Dark Web; and whether Sarah would draw any lines when it comes to giving offensive views a platform.


Sarah's Twitter

Ex-Muslims of North America

"Crises of The Republic" by Hannah Arendt

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

Full Transcripts 

Reader Comments (13)

This was a great episode, thank you!

For the record, I may be a nerd, but I do not work in engineering!
February 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEran
Great episode with a wonderful guest !!

Very sad that political progressives attack ex muslims, since ex muslims actual fulfill the very purpose of liberalism by challenging religious fundamentalism.

Have to say ppl who explore nuance on Twitter deserve some serious respect, given the hailstorm of partisan ideology usually expressed on that platform.

Quota Policy Affirmative Action has several negative effects: (1) The wrong ppl get admitted/hired, (2) It creates resentment towards an entire class of favored ppl by the ppl with better skills that lost their place to the favored ppl, and (3) It creates stigma against ppl who belong to the favored class due to a presumption that those ppl only gained their position due to a quota. Progressives should realize the folly of these policies, but since some Progressives strongly favor these policies, Progressives in general feel reluctant to criticize their fellow partisans. A similar problem occurs with the issue of school choice.

In 2007, prestigious Ivy League Columbia University allowed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak there. Ahmadinejad alleged the US government perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, denied the Holocaust, and implied he had killed all the gays in Iran. With a bar set that low, we must have already decided that hearing all points of view outweighs potentially giving credibility to abhorrent ideologies. Furthemore, hearing out these despots and lunatics does raise awareness of the threat they pose to human rights and global stability.
February 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJameson
- Social Media companies are deplatforming people who they've identified as breaking their terms of service. There's a distinction here between that and disagreement. It's probable that they aren't applying these terms equally, and that notorious political advocates are being targeted more than others. However, when you examine the motives for these actions from a corporate perspective, you can see there's legitimate business reasons for deplatforming that extend beyond political agendas. i.e. Under inaction, Twitter itself faces being the subject of derision in the scenario talked about near the beginning of the podcast, and that would lead to decreased revenue.

- College campus appearances are not the same as having a book on the shelf at the college library. There is a significant amount of funding and political motivation for stirring up trouble. There's an equal proportion of necessity for students living on that campus to be protected from this outside asymmetric attack. I agree that the solution isn't to drown people out, but perhaps there is a financial disincentive structure that can be applied...
February 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNerd in Engineering
On Jordan Peterson, I really appreciate that Sarah admits she has no real opinion on him. The truth is there is so much misinformation about him that unless you are interested there isn't any point trying to dig through it, and if you aren't ready to do due diligence then your opinion really has no value anyway. Too many people hold strong opinions on a lot of subjects without really knowing anything more than just a surface reading of them or worse taking someone else's opinion who knows very little themselves. In the same vein as "Not everything worth saying is worth saying by you." we should all remember Brett Wienstine's "You don't have to have an opinion on everything" (I think that's it :P ). I'd also go so far as to say that if your opinion is based on ignorance, your's or someone else's, you're doing more harm than good.

Thanks, this was a good podcast.
February 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFuriousGreg
Brains and beauty overload.
February 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax
Nuance is certainly hard to condense to a bumper sticker, protest sign, chant, punchline, sound bite, or tweet.

Everyone who says, "Think for yourself," means, "Believe what I tell you." If you're a "freethinker", how many of your thoughts did you really come up with yourself?

A "marketplace of ideas" doesn't necessarily suppress bad ideas like homeopathy any more than the free market suppresses bad products like homeopathy.
February 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax
One issue with deplatforming is that universities censor conservative and liberal moderates like Charles Murray and Alan Dershowitz while inviting and honoring leftist radicals and anti-Semites like Angela Davis, David Icke fan Alice Walker, and Farrakhan fan Tamika Mallory.

Jordan Peterson was interviewed on Channel 4 News, and the British feminist interviewer was so comically awful and annoying that the interview went viral and made Peterson more famous.
But when he debated Sam Harris about religion, he sounded downright postmodern like Deepak Chopra.
February 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax
@Max I concur with you three comments above.
February 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJameson
This just in. "YouTube said on Friday it was removing ads from running on some anti-vaccine videos, claiming that the videos violated its policies against 'harmful or dangerous' acts... YouTube does not prohibit anti-vaccination videos outright, but this month it said it would no longer recommend videos that come close to violating its community guidelines, such as videos that promote phony miracle cures or claim the earth is flat."
February 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax
Thanks for this useful information. Here is all the info that I am looking for! The <a href="">autism spectrum disorder</a> is a prevalent problem. This is a developmental disorder that affects language and social interaction. It might show other physical symptoms that might just profoundly affect a child's life.
March 6, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPierre Fontaine
Every view I see is correct, for you I think no matter what religion we need to respect each other or there will be conflicts, I want the world to be peaceful
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March 8, 2019 | Unregistered Commentercandy crush soda
Interesting talk on free speech. The right to free speech is not the right to be heard. Free speech is certainly not without limits, but for too many people, speech they don't like should be suppressed, at times through every measure possible, up to and including violence.

Deplatforming is a divisive topic. While everyone wants to veer straight into nazism, they forget Dawkins being deplaformed. And not every deplatforming is of a nazi. So, when people want the likes of holocaust deniers silenced, those one supports also becomes subject to the same measure. "I don't like what they have to say, therefore they must be silenced."

Unless there is actual real concern for safety, and proven harm, not the nebulous claim that someone's very presence and words will instantly drive people to violence, then deplatforming is a means of controlling speech, not public safety. There isn't a one-size-fits all solution. Except ban everyone, which is a totalitarian solution.

Ultimately, if you can't defend the free speech of those you disagree with, then you don't support free speech. There are some lines that should not be crossed, but that line is different for everyone. Sadly in today's universities, the line is often as conservative as possible, forming a milktoast society.

It's not a simple topic, so there is no simple solution.

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.” - Thomas Jefferson
March 12, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterskeptic42
i did not know what apostate is before you showed up . thnx
March 19, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterdawa

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