Sam Harris seems to be trying to set the world record for choking on his own foot. In a screed in today's LA Times he writes:
"Let me put it plainly: If you want someone just like you to be president of the United States, or even vice president, you deserve whatever dysfunctional society you get. You deserve to be poor..."
Leaving aside the question of whether or not Harris is actually right (let us assume for the sake of argument that he is), what on earth does he think he will accomplish by writing this? Does he really think that the people who support Sarah Palin will read these words, slap themselves on the forehead, and say, "Wow, Harris is right. I really am stupid, and all my friends are stupid, and I really do deserve to be poor unless I entrust my fate to someone who has a law degree from Harvard." Or is it more likely that they will respond more like this:
Well, gee, Sam Harris, just who do you think *is* qualified to be president? Someone like *you*? What do you know about my life? When was the last time you had to work two shifts to feed your kids? When was the last time you worried about whether to spend your last dollar on food or medicine? When was the last time you humbled yourself before God? Politics is *not* like brain surgery, and the fact that you think it is just proves that you Don't Get It. I'll take Sarah Palin over the likes of you any day of the week precisely because she is like me.
If Sam Harris really thinks he's going to win hearts and minds by telling people that they are too stupid to govern themselves then he is manifestly stupider than they are. The whole enterprise of democracy is based on exactly the opposite premise. And if Harris doesn't really believe this then I am at a loss to understand what he is hoping to achieve.