This week, John McWhorter and I are joined by the literary scholar Tyler Austin Harper and the historian Daniel Bessner. I’ve had Tyler and Daniel on in the past, and while our politics may not align all the time, I find them to be extremely intelligent, challenging interlocutors. Talking only to people on “your side”—even brilliant people—can lead to intellectual stagnation. All of us, whether on the left or the right, require principled, good-faith debate partners in order to sharpen our positions or adjust them if we find they don’t hold up under scrutiny. At a time when cynical brand management and self-righteous moralism are usurping reasoned argument, it’s vital that those of us who are interested in searching out truth talk to one another, whatever our politics.
I would like to hear Glenn comment on this behavior by the President of Brown University. I find it unconscionable, and am glad we already cut this school from my daughter’s application list.
No one discusses the implications of Jihadism and martyrdom. No one mentions the taping of the atrocities that took place on October 7th and the pure joy the terrorists expressed. The phone call "Mom I killed 10 Jews with my own hands" by a Hamas terrorist with a tone of extreme privilege and accomplishment. Forgetting your views on Israel, what about the mindset that death is a privilege? What about blowing up your own children? Why is no one addressing the real issue here? It is a war of ideas and whether it is the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, the taliban or boko haram.....these extremists are willing to blow themselves and innocent people up and celebrate. This is the real challenge. Civilization is steeped in valuing life and Jihadism values death. IT IS A MASSIVE PROBLEM not just for Jews, but for every person who values life and decency,
Deal with the contentions/analysis of Dr. Lindzen...........pa leeze.
Read Marc Morano --- Read the history of the politics of global warming. -- Sound and Fury book by Patrick Michaels.
I avoided listening to this podcast until after Thanksgiving because I didn't want to subject my gut to another dose of Daniel Besner. It's interesting that comments on Besner are pretty consistent even though about 75% of the commenters change from podcast to podcast. Glenn seems to have a soft spot for Danny that probably traces back to the 3 episodes on Patreon where Besner interviewed him about his role as a Public Intellectual.
The deep feelings associated with these hideous murders, rapes and mutilations of innocent people are too raw to enjoy engaging in the mental masturbation of what is and isn't a pogrom or what is really meant by from the river to the sea.
This discussion with Besner and Harper was the least enlightening podcast in Glenn's long admirable history of bringing great, even classic ideas to his listeners. I could not believe what I was hearing. The false moral equivalencies, the disgracefully tepid acknowledgements of Hamas's brutality followed by "but explicable', ... words fail me.
Here is Bessner's "reality", and in defining it, it is irrelevant to speak of the past 50 years of impossibly complex intervals of warfare and peace attempts between Israel and the Arab world. : What Hamas did on October 7 stands alone - it was a deliberate, obscenely criminal attack by a military organization on innocent unarmed civilians, not just killing them but perpetrating grotesque acts of torture, sexual rapaciousness, , humiliation, mutilation of children while forcing helpless parents to watch, degradation of living bodies while parading them through streets lined with Palestinians, forcible capture of hundreds of hostages,... and all of it done with no expectations or manifestations of, nor attempt to achieve , any rational goals toward either peace or military success that would benefit the Palestinians or advance their interests. "Terrorism" fits but it went far far beyond, to one of the worst sustained acts of pure evil this world has ever witnessed.
And some people were immediately demanding a "ceasefire"?? How is it possible to demand a proportional or a measured response to hours upon hours of sustained evil perpetrated by Hamas on a people that Hamas has openly admitted it wants to eradicate utterly - and on a people who have seen literally centuries if not millennia of similar attempts to wipe them off the earth?
No "ceasefire" is going to accomplish anything. The Palestinian people are suffering horribly from the effects of Israel's response, but ALL of this is on Hamas and only Hamas, which deliberately chose to use them as shields knowing that Israel could not retaliate without taking innocent lives. The suffering of the Palestinians is not a crime by Israel, it is part of the plan that Hamas has been carrying out from its beginning, a plan that actually counts on the basic decency toward innocent lives that Hamas itself does not possess. Hamas is pure evil, and the only solution is its eradication.
While the discussion was interesting, I find it missed the key point that Jews are complaining about. Jews see this in transactional terms. A matter of allyship. The allyship in question arises from the historic treatment of Jews by Christian and Arab populations, and from Jews playing an important role in the various civil rights movements around the world. Jews feel that they deserve an accommodation based on these historical facts. Not in every instance, but clearly in an instance where heinous acts of barbarism were committed against Jewish civilians. The Jewish community expects that given these circumstances, even people who would ordinarily support the Palestinian cause would say that in this instance, we cannot condone the way the Palestinians acted. That there is not universal condemnation of Palestinian behavior is seen by Jews as an extension of historic antisemitism. Jewish history tells us that the distance between being called slurs on college campuses, and being expelled from our homes or murdered, is a very short one. As Glenn said during the episode when describing his discussion with one of his Jewish students, for Jews this is existential. And If you can't parse the Palestinian issue from the Jewish issue in this particular instance, given these specific details, Jews will feel, and I suspect history will show, that you fell on the side of the antisemites. The same way that those who supported Stalin;s purges ended up on the wrong side of history.
I have read over 50ish of these comments below. I have not seen anyone talk about actual experiences working in the Middle East (ME) or in Palestine. I personally worked in the ME through multiple deployments and worked side by side with individuals and groups. The cultures, religions and ways of thinking is very different than what we do in the Western World (WW).
I think the two guests are subject to the Ivory Tower fallacy, working and researching within the safety of the WW. Along with all the privileges accompanying WW citizens at home and abroad. My guess is they have never been told to their face "It is my duty as a descendent of Mohammad to kill you and all Americans" while in conversation during a routine patrol in Southern Iraq. For further context I knew others who loved me like a brother and would die or kill for me but if it was any other American they would kill them without a second thought just because they were American. This is a cultural complexity we in the WW have a extremally difficult time understanding.
On the grandest scale this is a fight of ideas, of a way of life, of how societies should function and on the Palestinian/Hamas verses Jew/Israelis front the right for the Israelis to exist in the ME.
The act of October 7, 2023 was not a political act, a terrorist act, it was an act of genocide. A violent political act/terrorist act is one in which the aggressor is wanting to make a societal change not the eradication of a whole people denying their right to exist at all no matter the location. Which is what Hamas has stated many times as their perfect end state.
genocide /jĕn′ə-sīd″/ noun
1. The systematic and widespread extermination or attempted extermination of a national, racial, religious, or ethnic group.
2. The systematic killing of a racial or cultural group.
"the Nazi genocide of Jews left few in Germany or Poland after World War II"
Similar: race murderracial extermination
3. The systematic killing of substantial numbers of people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political opinion, social status, or other particularity.
4. Acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or a significant portion of, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.
5. Systematic killing of a racial or cultural group.
I have placed the definition of genocide in this comment to show the guests of this episode because it seems they have forgotten what the word is, means or blindly look the other way feigning ignorance of the difference between the two groups currently in conflict. I suggest they go back to their respective colleges where they received their degrees and ask for a refund.
Actions speak louder than words. In this conflict Hamas/Palestinian people have almost always killed indiscriminately both military and civilian targets and done so in the most barbaric way possible. Doing it with glee and malas. The Israeli Défense Forces (IDF) have not. Granted the IDF have made mistakes but as a whole they do at least try to look like trying not to kill civilians. Yes, I know some of the IDF Commanders and the Prim Minister have said some very horrible things but I would say look at the actions. If the IDF wanted to truly kill all Palestinians they could do so but they do not.
Whether you want to believe it or not the Palestinian people and Islam in the ME in general, is a culture of never questioning the teachings of their religious leaders, political leaders and local leaders. To do so would be blasphemy on many levels. Hamas has done nothing to make the Palestinian peoples lives better, but I can guarantee within the school system and workforce Hamas beats it into their heads all their suffering is not because Hamas is not trying its because of the Israelis. A prime example of this brain washing can be seen/heard in the recording of one Palestinians communication with his parents during the Oct 7th attack. Sam Harris describes the communication verbatim in one of his podcasts and so do many others who have confirmed the communication is legitimate.
This got very longwinded.
I could do more but at the end of the day in my opinion (IMO) and experience these so called experts are missing a vast majority of the information to make a real opinion on this conflict and should have more dialectics with people they do not agree with and have more knowledge than them.
There is a good and bad side of this conflict.
If Hamas were to lay down its arms and profess peace, there would be peace. If the Israelis were to lay down its arms and profess peace, their would not be a Israeli state nor would there be a Jew between the "River to the Sea". Ultimately, its all any lay person needs to understand. IMO
Humanitarian crisis: Gaza could surrender. The Gazan military / Hamas could lay down their arms. Those responsibile for October 7 could turn themselves over to the Israeli's. If the rulers of Gaza cared, that's what they could do.
They don't. Why should Israel care more about Gazan lives than Gazan leaders?
Oh, but "Netanyahu was funding Hamas" So? Sometimes you don't have good choices. And sometimes you make bad choices. That it makes it Israel's fault? Because Israel is the adult in the room? Really? That's the argument?
Free speech: I'm going to play (in the game theoretic sense) Tit-For-Tat. John, Glenn, and Tyler all got it right: "All Lives Matter". "Lock and Load." "The South shall rise again". When the Left agrees to fully defend that speech (note, I'm NOT specifically making any of those statements), I'll defend theirs. Until then, no, I'm not going to defend their speech. "Free speech" defended by one side is not a winning strategy.
"From the River to the Sea..." If people chanting that got their wish, in what world would human rights in the region increase? Show me the nation in the region with a better human rights record than Israel. To imagine a new Palestinian state -- even in a fantasy world where it wasn't Israel's sworn enemy -- is to image a state where human rights do not flourish.
Finally, Glenn, even though I've often disagreed with your guests, I've always found them interesting and thought provoking. But not Daniel. It's only a slight exageration to say I completely disagreed with him. When he talks about "reality" and then suggests that Israel (a nuclear-armed Israel, no less) is trying to "annihilate a population" -- just WOW. He might want to look at the population growth in Gaza over the past 20 years, and consider what Israel's military could do if they wanted to just kill as many Gazans as possible. Worst job of "annihilation" I can remember.
And don't even get me started on his apparent love of poverty or communism over capitalism. "Consumption is destroying the planet." Would he prefer to not consume? Where does that end?
Regarding this “ceasefire” letter that you signed onto, Glenn: why do you think you’re more qualified to suggest this course of action than the IDF and the higher ups in the Israeli government? Is there something you know that they don’t? If so, what? If not, why weigh in on a matter for which you may not be as well-informed as those who have to make the decision? Your action here appears to be a departure from the spirit of epistemic humility which I so often admire about you. Indeed, I find it quite disappointing.
Tough to sit through that podcast. I kept looking to Glenn and John for some sanity. Sounds like Taiwan is already gone - and should be. But there is really no difference between China and the U.S. because they both use too many resources. I like how the guests say that you shouldn’t blame Academia for the views of college students. I don’t think you could attend one of Bessner’s classes and come out unscathed. You have to wonder if their entire world view revolves around climate change? I think yes.
[Time 11:00] Free speech vs. crackdown on Columbia pro-Hamas students and the professor whose new upcoming job was canceled. Your guest reports having observed silence from Weinstein brothers and others. I want to respond that Weinstein silence doesn’t necessarily mean approval. I discovered the cancellations via this podcast. Probably because of my behavioral science background that I disapprove of cancelling on left and right. Since you have been on the receiving end of YouTube censorship, I want to add that my friend had his YouTube account frozen because he commented angrily against a pro-Palestinian comment a few days ago. Part of me thinks that universities’ crackdown on anti-Israel hate is motivated by self-interest and anticipated scrutiny of DEI programs.
Please don’t ask us to sit through any more amateurish and bombastic speakers as part of your show, which is one of the high points of my internet viewing every week. Daniel Bessner is an immature and intolerable speaker, full of himself and high-falutin’ abstractions that seem to me callous and ill-thought-out. His wild hand signals and bloviating were childish and overwrought, and his co-guest Tyler Austin Harper seemed to spend most of his time, as he stated at least three or four times, “agreeing completely with everything” Daniel said. I think one of the worst examples among many was their cynical attempt to paint the response of Jewish students to the huge recent increase in hatred and harassment as Haidt/Lukianoff “coddling.” Are ANY students supposed to be locked in a library while protestors pound on the doors to get at them? And that was only one incident of way too many. The upstanding Jewish support organization Stand With Us has received more than 450 pleas for help since October 7. If black students had faced even one incident of that kind of intimidation, universities and the general public would be in a frenzy—and rightfully so. It’s a complete abandonment of our country’s rule of law and our moral values.
Robert Wright at least appeared to be thoughtful and well-informed about his opinion, though I found it generally irrelevant to reality of the current crisis.
Why can none of these guests, and so many others talking for hours about “context” and “nuance” and “past history,” simply read what is widely cited in the Hamas Charter, and in the Koran as interpreted by the Islamists? All Jews must be murdered and the world cleansed of them. Bessner and Harper say that Rash. Tlaib and the demonstrators may have meant “from the river to the sea” in a metaphoric sense? Give me a break. Americans and the world need to believe the hatred being spewed to all of us, and without an ounce of shame!
I regret that you chose to sign the call for a ceasefire. It was a warm-hearted thing to do, and one cannot help but feel sympathy for the Palestinian people. Israel makes herculean efforts to move them out of the way of what must be done, but Hamas states without embarrassment that they will rack up as many deaths as possible, painting those unfortunate victims as “martyrs.” It’s a tragedy that too many Palestinians have been brain-washed by a hatred that is pounded into them from birth. It’s a product of perverted religious fervor that has not been overcome despite years of effort and billions of dollars from the international community.
Dear Glenn, your work on the Glenn Show is a bright light in this world. Thank you for all your efforts and thoughtfulness in this and other venues, including the Manhattan Institute, Woodson Center, and others. Please continue to give us your best thoughts and guests (including John McWhorter) as we all struggle to navigate the difficult issues in this world.
On a lighter note, every time he's on the show the thumbnail is a glorious showcase of Daniel Bessner's S-tier RBF (resting bitch face).
Regarding Tyler Harper's dismissal of the "anxious Jewish student", let's flip the script. (I think Glenn may have tried to do this in another context.) Let's assume that Hamas was a group of white nationalist terrorists who conducted the unspeakable atrocities of October 7th (kidnapping black children and grandmothers, raping black women, beheading black babies, burning black families alive in their homes) in their long-standing grievance agaInst the neighboring region. Would Tyler dismiss the anxiety of the "black" student in the face of the blatant support for the "white" Hamas cause on our campuses? This is an admittedly crude example, but maybe it helps drive home the point that Jewish students have grounds to be "anxious."
The crucial error in this conversation is that it started from the wrong premise : that October 7 was an act of political violence. Not once was jihad mentioned in this conversation. In fact, the notion brought forward was that political Islam, is a leftist idea. While I have no interest in seeing the leftist idea come into fruition, at least not until the tragedy of the commons is solved, there were zero mentions of the fact that those acts occur time and time again by jihadist entities, which tracks back to the Prophet.
It is interesting how quick everyone is to identify the tension between identity politics and Zionism, while ignoring the connection between critical race theory and Palestinian victimization. It seems clear that there is a connection between American identity politics and support for Hamas - ie Hamas is the victim, the weaker military power, etc and therefore their actions are simply the predictable result of their victimization and an understandable response against their oppressor. Daniel seems quick to jump to this line of thinking, arguing that because Israel is the stronger military power, Hamas does not present an existential threat and the occasional slaughter of a thousand or so civilians is simply an acceptable cost.
It seems to ignore the past 18 years of history, where Israel left Gaza and billions of dollars of aid has poured in since. One would think if this victimization narrative had any credibility, there would be some progress in Gaza over these 18 years. Instead, the funding has gone toward developing terrorist infrastructure and weaponry. Furthermore, it presupposes that we should discount the intentions of Hamas because of their currently inferior military power - and removes all agency from Hamas given their "oppressed" status.
This bizarre line of logic, where you simply ignore Hamas and tolerate their terrorism because at the moment they are less powerful than Israel, allows Hamas to build their military power to the point that they could pose an existential threat to Israel, at which point it will be too late to point out that Daniel's logic and its conclusions set the stage for the outcome which he originally concluded was impossible. In his words, the "empirical reality on the ground" will shift to one where Hamas is truly an existential threat - conditions made possible by his "oppressor vs oppressed" framework. It seems utterly unreasonable to ask Israel to tolerate that risk given Hamas has been clear about their intentions - and the only obstacle to achieving their goal of Jewish genocide is physical capability.