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The Brian Ferguson Interview

I talked with Rutgers University professor of anthropology R. Brian Ferguson about Steven Pinker, Napoleon Chagnon, Marvin Harris, anthropo...

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Steven Pinker: The World's Most Annoying Man

I generally like the work of Nathan J. Robinson, the author of the article in Current Affairs, The World's Most Annoying Man, although I was disappointed I didn't learn anything new about Pinker. I already knew he is full of himself, is fairly empathy-deficient, is a phony liberal and yes, supremely annoying.

The fact that I have devoted a blog to critiquing Pinker, albeit focusing on his support for race science, might account for my already knowing much of what Robinson reports.

However, Robinson does get credit for making me laugh out loud at the end of this passage:
Now, for me, it is trivializing, even downright insouciant, to talk about the depth of anguish and despair that millions of people endure daily in this country as a “modicum of anxiety.” And it is dismissing the urgency of the problem to say it might just be a price we have to pay. 40,000 people, measured in the official American mass death unit, is over 13 annual 9/11s. It does not matter if this was worse long ago. It doesn’t follow that it’s not a “crisis,” merely that the crisis is a recurring one and we have never done what we ought to do in order to try to fix it. It is trivially true that “not every problem” is a “crisis.” But surely, if you do not see 40,000 people taking their lives each year as urgent, you are the most insouciant of insouciant assholes.
Robinson wrote pieces about Sam Harris and Ben Shapiro too. I'd love it if Robinson wrote a piece about each member of the IDW.

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