Sarah Palin, Brain Surgeon

I’d blogged a few days ago about Sarah Palin’s “arrogance born from ignorance”, and Sam Harris has a piece in Newsweek now on the same theme:

What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. Watching her deny to Gibson that she had ever harbored the slightest doubt about her readiness to take command of the world’s only superpower, one got the feeling that Palin would gladly assume any responsibility on earth:

“Governor Palin, are you ready at this moment to perform surgery on this child’s brain?”

“Of course, Charlie. I have several boys of my own, and I’m an avid hunter.”

“But governor, this is neurosurgery, and you have no training as a surgeon of any kind.”

“That’s just the point, Charlie. The American people want change in how we make medical decisions in this country. And when faced with a challenge, you cannot blink.”

Read Harris’s full piece. While he’s dead right about Palin, it’s equally true that John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden also have no experience of governance, and have had worrying bouts of sanctimonious self-righteousness. They have to cater to their markets, of course, as does Palin—perhaps her religion-fuelled bluster reflects positioning, not personality. Either way, it’s scary.

If you get the chance, do check out Harris’s excellent book, “The End of Faith.” Sadly, while America may get a black president or a female president soon enough, an atheist contender has no chance of getting the top job. Such it goes…

(Newsweek link via email from Salil Tripathi.)