Thursday, August 25, 2011

Egregious Solecisms and Sam Harris

I would often be tempted to address the actual abysmal content of the recent blog post by Sam Harris on the topic of wealth inequality and taxation of the rich, but it seems like his readership is inflamed enough, and having just recently addressed the same issue as brought up by Warren Buffet, I'll let this one pass.

However, I can not let the following grammatical faux pas pass without comment. While I'm far from a Grammar Nazi and am usually charitable enough to allow even fairly significant slip-ups by ideological opponents to slide without comment, my more uncharitable side can't help but draw attention to this double solecism. Not only does he repeat the mistake, but the two mistakes are made in extremely close proximity to one another:

Many of people apparently do. However, I think they are being far too cynical about the motivations of smart, creative people. 
Finally, many readers said something like the following:
If you or Warren Buffett want to pay more in taxes, go ahead. You are perfectly free to write the Treasury a check. And if you haven’t done this, you’re just a hypocrite
Few of people are eager to make large, solitary, and ineffectual sacrifices.
[Emphasis Added]

My motivation here is far from pure. Sam Harris is the most strident and offensive type of New Atheist, and in these recent posts he has also taken to task conservative economic orthodoxy, making him a double offender against the sacred.  Still, for any educated person that is a pretty remarkable error to make twice in such a small distance. 

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