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Christopher Hitchens: Reason in Revolt

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Posted on Dec 16, 2011
Illustration from an AP photo by Chad Rachman

By Robert Scheer

Hitch is dead. Not, obviously, his brilliant body of work, or the stunning examples of a grand and unfettered intellect that will forever survive him, as will the indelible record of his immense wit and passion. But, sadly, a life force that I had assumed as an indissoluble part of our political and literary landscape, as well as my own close circle of friends, has ended, and with it an indispensable element of our collective moral code.

Christopher Hitchens could be wrong; we had harsh public debates about the Iraq War, but I never doubted that, even then, he was coming from a good place of humane concern. In that instance, he allowed his great compassion for the Kurds and his justifiable loathing of Saddam Hussein to overwhelm a lifetime of opposition to the arrogant assumptions of America’s neocolonialism. Despite the vehemence of our debates, both public and personal, he and his saving grace and wife, Carol Blue, held a gathering at their home to discuss a book I wrote on the subject. This was a man unafraid of intellectual challenge and committed to pursuing the heart of the matter.

That was his driving force, a seeker of truth to the end, and a deservedly legendary witness against the hypocrisy of the ever-sanctimonious establishment. What zeal this man had to eviscerate the conceits of the powerful, whether their authority derived from wealth, the state or a claim to the ear of the divine.

Hitch was the opposite of the opportunistic pundits who competed with him for public space. He took immense risks, not the least in offering himself for waterboarding before concluding it was unmistakably torture, or challenging the greatness of God, knowing full well that he was exposing himself as an object of wildly irrational hate.

So it ever was with the Hitch I knew for decades, going back to the young ex-Trotskyite challenging ex-Communist and fellow Brit writer Jessica (Decca) Mitford through nights of lively debate about everything, and then joining that equally grand and kindred spirit in several drunken and rousingly heartfelt renditions of “The Internationale.” Much like Mitford, Hitchens became world famous and well rewarded and, like her, Hitch was to the end singing that worker’s anthem on behalf of the deluded and abused masses with whom, for all of his personal success, he most profoundly identified.

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He was a great man, perfect in his intellectual courage, but I am reminded more of the writer, profoundly dedicated to his craft and committed, for all of his sparkle and bouts of excess, to a prodigious workaday effort at making this a better world. In his memory I offer these lyrics from “The Internationale,” as I recall his somewhat inebriated and ever bemused, but no less heartfelt, rendering of these verses:

Arise ye workers from your slumbers

Arise ye prisoners of want

For reason in revolt now thunders

And at last ends the age of cant

Away with all your superstitions

Servile masses arise, arise

We’ll change henceforth the old tradition

And spurn the dust to win the prize.


That was him. A slayer of superstitions, thundering reason in revolt.

Lift a glass to comrade Hitch.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”


Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/robert_scheer.



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By Foucauldian, December 23, 2011 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

If I’m occasionally cankerous, Shenon, it’s because
of my intellectual exile.  As to my love-hate
relationship with America, I’m a betrayed lover. 

Nice lyrics, btw.  Thanks.

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By Shenonymous, December 22, 2011 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian – you do not aggravate me, maybe some others, I
find you pleasantly didactic.  A little more humor wouldn’t hurt.
Be that as it may, surely you have not exceeded your usefulness
and it would be a shame if you were to retire.  Sail on sail on…oh
ship of state.  Oh no…that won’t do for you…  Sail on!  Sail on… and
down with the ship of state! would be more like it.

(As an aside) Often an ingredient of American political discussion,
where government is viewed in the image of the state as a ship.  While
the original metaphor is traceable first to the lyric poet Alcaeus, and
then can be found in Aeschylus’s Seven Against Thebes poor
Oedipus, prior to Plato, it is most purely found in his Republic, Book
VI, where he compares the governance of a city-state to the command of
a naval vessel - and eventually argues that the only men fit to be captain
of this ship are philosopher kings, benevolent men with absolute power
who have access to the Form of the Good, thus building the perfect pro-
absolutistic city devoid of democracy. If you click here you will hear a nice Lou
Cohen song.  It is not New Age!

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By Foucauldian, December 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

Not true for this anarchist, Shenon.  If there’s
anything I’m not it’s not lukewarm.  I believe my
writing and thinking still displays the right kind
of vigor intermixed with acidity.  I can’t think of
a better combination in fact.  The moment I stop
being my antagonistic self and stop aggravating you
and all sundry, make certain to let me know, for
then I’ll know for certain that I’ve exceeded the
limits of my usefulness and that it’s time for me
to retire.  But by golly, not until then.

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By Shenonymous, December 22, 2011 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment

Foucauldian, Dec. 22 2:52 pm LOL - some new age tunes are
dreadful but it does seem to go with capitalists and anarchists
in motion.

Why I would never ever say you left me… or anyone else…
unprepared or flatfooted.  More laughs…  Tis the season.

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By Foucauldian, December 22, 2011 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

Can’t stand new age music. Shenon, and whatever
other ramifications.  It’s like a microwave dish
warmed over instead of nouvelle cuisine.

As regards my upcoming article on class and class
consciousness, let me refer you to Charles Taylor’s
article, “The Nature and Scope of Distributive
Justice,” in Philosophy and The Human Sciences
collection, Philosophical Papers 2.

Rather than my scanning it to you, which would be
cumbersome, I’m certain you can access the article
because of your academic credentials.

It’s a less than perfect paper in terms of
execution, but it does convey the general idea.  So
don’t say now I always leave you unprepared and
flatfooted.  Quite the contrary.

Merry X-mas!

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By Shenonymous, December 22, 2011 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

Aw, come on Foucauldian.  Music can tame the wild beasts,
whatever kind.  Certainly you have heard of Congreve’s, “Music
hath charms to soothe the savage breast.”  The nature of music’s
power over animals has long concerned humans- some as a
philosophical matter, others, like the snake charmers, as purely a
practical one.  In the history of musical aesthetics there are at least
three principal ideas about music’s influence over animals.  Some
theorists have put forth the idea that all music is saturated with a
divine power whose ethos affects the spirits of all creation, whether
man or beast, alike.  Responding to this conception, others who are
skeptical of anything called divine, have suggested that music is a
species of language and as such has meaning for man alone (though
I would argue that animals also have a system of language!).  And, as
the third suggestion, and I think with some amusement to imagine,
some philosophers, particularly in the modern age, have theorized a
theory of music as a human art, again, similar to language, but one that
nevertheless arose with the evolution of intelligence. In this view, music
appeals to rational processes, and since animals are links in the chain of
reasoning beings, they are capable to varying degrees of enjoying and
even judging music. In this final version of music’s power, animals have
not only the faculties but even the taste for certain types of music. 

Therefore I suggest that all those capitalists who are accused of being
beasts need to be calmed with music, particularly New Age.  Guess that
could go for anarchist beasts too.

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By Foucauldian, December 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm Link to this comment

Well, the message I got, vote the bad folks out and
vote the right ones in.  And even capitalism was
praised as long as it’s kept from being predatory.

Well, that’s just not possible since you can’t tame
the beast.

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By elisalouisa, December 22, 2011 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Yes of course Foucauldian, thank you. As to Mr. Scheer’s speech at LA OWS I was impressed, even more so with Mr. Reich. My opinion is that crowd response at the event was not what it could have been. Then again, had I been there rather than watch it on video I may have drawn another conclusion.

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By Foucauldian, December 22, 2011 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Robert Scheer, you mean.  Although he hasn’t exactly
endeared himself to me on account of his rather
conciliatory speech before LA OWS.

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By elisalouisa, December 22, 2011 at 7:35 am Link to this comment

“The Internationale” is a song of resistance to oppression, Michael, encouraging the downtrodden and subjugated to rise and overcome the powers-that-be, in other words, to defend themselves. The Iraq war was offensive, #1 motive being to gain control of the oil fields and other minerals in that country, all for the betterment of the power/elite. Justice was the central theme of my post, not violence. A person treated unjustly seeks restitution perhaps not finding peace until this has been accomplished.

Robert Scheering has another excellent column this week where he doesn’t pull any punches, about Thomas Friedman.

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By Night-Gaunt, December 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

I’m glad that sometime in her life Ayn Rand liked the Internationale but it doesn’t absolve her from her callousness she displayed nor her worship at the foot of psychopathology as the direction for her new “superior Man” to take. Not at all.

Thank you Shenonymous for publishing it here.

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By truedigger3, December 21, 2011 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

Re: By elisalouisa, December 20 at 2:25 pm
Re: By elisalouisa, December 21 at 6:00 am

Two excellent posts. Thank you elisalouisa.

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By Shenonymous, December 21, 2011 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

I suppose some justice is in the eyes of the beholder, but for a
society justice is specifically spelled out in their laws, whether a
democratic one or a tyrannical structure.  The Law makes
responsibility for our action technical. Laws are not always moral.
 
Agreed, but while some laws have to do with morality, moral
responsibility is not the law. Whatever can be thought to be moral
laws mainly promote the personal morality of the authors of those
laws.  Furthermore, such laws are usually, but not always, grounded
in religious belief.  And historically, many of these ‘moral’ laws have
something to do with sex.  Some European laws take a moral character
against Holocaust denial and other forms of hate speech.

But as far as general morality, being or remaining moral is personal
creed not law.  The action of breaking the law is what is technical.  Laws
are made for lawbreakers, not those who are lawful.  Laws are made to
protect the citizens of a state.

Mainly laws are created under what is classically called the Harm
Principle, which are written to protect people from being harmed by
others, and also include laws written to prohibit self-harm. This has
come to be known as the Parental Principle laws and are against the
neglect of children (ala the Sandusky case and those against priests
of late history) as well as vulnerable adults, by the way, and laws
about possession of particular drugs. These laws are essential to
protect children and defenseless adults.  However, in those cases
even they can be oppressive if they are not carefully written and
sensibly enforced.  Laws against violent crime and property crime
fall into this category.  Without a basic Harm Principle laws, a society
ultimately degenerates into despotism—the rule of the strong and
violent over the weak and nonviolent.  It is obvious Harm Principle
laws are essential, and every government on Earth has them.

Another reason why laws exist than those moral or protective laws
mentioned can be identified as based on a donation principle.  This
means that all governments have laws granting goods or services of
some kind to its citizens. When these laws are used to control behavior,
however, they can give some people, groups, or organizations unfair
advantages over others. Laws promoting specific religious beliefs, for
example, are gifts that governments extend to religious groups in hopes
of gaining their support. Laws punishing certain corporate practices are
sometimes used to reward corporations that are in the government’s
good graces, and/or to punish corporations that are not. Some
conservatives argue that many social service initiatives are Donation
Principle laws intended to buy the support of low-income voters, who
tend to vote Democratic.

One final law, as I see it is the Statist Principle laws, where the most
dangerous laws are those intended to protect the government from
harm, or to increase its power for its own sake, such as when
communism descends to a central committee that acts tyrannically. 
Some Statist Principle laws are necessary, such as laws against treason,
espionage, and sedition are essential to the stability of government. But
Statist Principle laws can also be insidiously dangerous.  When laws
restricting criticism of the government, such as flag burning laws that
prohibit the desecration of symbols that remind people of the
government, this can easily lead to a politically oppressive society full of
imprisoned dissidents and frightened citizens who are afraid to speak
out.

With there being no such place as heaven, it is highly unlikely that
atheists would elevate Hitchens to sainthood.  It is a hoot to even
speculate such.  It is more doubtful that non-atheists would do so.

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By elisalouisa, December 21, 2011 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Of course “The Internationale” is about war. war for the people by whatever name. “We who have been nothing, let us be everything.” Hitchens was with “the people” during the early part of his life. That’s where the “in” crowd was. 
With the fall of the U.S.S.R., Socialism/Communism lost its glamor. Nary skipping a beat Hitchens latched on to the Neocons and the Conservative perspective, proving that he had no inner core of belief other looking out for himself. Such a change suited his persona, insuring continued headline status.  The Iraq war not “for the people.” It was one of a series of continual wars against the people where the contractors, CIA and yes, the U.S. government worked in unison at the call of the power/elite who own(ed) the corporations and Wall Street.

The Law makes responsibility for our action technical. Laws are not always moral.

As for justice,  it may well be in the eyes of the beholder as history is rewritten elevating Christopher Hitchens to the status of sainthood. Yes, he has almost replaced Mother Theresa. Robert Scheer’s beautifully written tribute to Hitchens is but one example of this.

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By Shenonymous, December 20, 2011 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment

This thread is getting closer to fulfilling Godwin’s Rule.

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By Shenonymous, December 20, 2011 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment

“Technically we are responsible for our own actions.”  Technically? 
We literally are morally responsible for our own actions. 

Odd it should come up.  They don’t call for guns, the rail against those
who are using guns and bullets against them.  Sounds so recently
familiar in the Middle East.  The Internationale, for those who don’t
know, is the theme song of the Socialist/Communist/Anarchist
movement, usually “sung with the right hand raised in a clenched-fist
salute.”  here

Stand up, all victims of oppression
For the tyrants fear your might
Don’t cling so hard to your possessions
For you have nothing, if you have no rights
Let racist ignorance be ended
For respect makes the empires fall
Freedom is merely privilege extended
Unless enjoyed by one and all.

So come brothers and sisters
For the struggle carries on
The Internationale
Unites the world in song
So comrades come rally
For this is the time and place
The international ideal
Unites the human race.

Let no one build walls to divide us
Walls of hatred nor walls of stone
Come greet the dawn and stand beside us
We’ll live together or we’ll die alone
In our world poisoned by exploitation
Those who have taken, now they must give
And end the vanity of nations
We’ve one but one Earth on which to live.

So come brothers and sisters
For the struggle carries on
The Internationale
Unites the world in song
So comrades come rally
For this is the time and place
The international ideal
Unites the human race.

And so begins the final drama
In the streets and in the fields
We stand unbowed before their armour
We defy their guns and shields
When we fight, provoked by their aggression
Let us be inspired by life and love
For though they offer us concessions
Change will not come from above.

Arise, the damned of the earth,
Arise, prisoners of hunger,
For reason thunders in its crater,
It is the last eruption!
Let us discard the past,
Army of slaves, arise, arise!
The world is changing at the base,
We who have been nothing, let’s be everything!
It is the final struggle
Let us gather, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be mankind!

Ayn Rand’s own perspective character in We the Living called the
song “the only beautiful thing to come out of the Revolution.”  So much
for her sociopathic sentiments.  Some like it some don’t.  Composed in
1870 and set to music in 1888, the original is in French.  It was sung,
not only by communists, but by socialists and social democrats.  Surely it
is recalled that the Chinese student protesters sang it in Tienanmin
Square in 1989, before their “nominally” communist overlords murdered
them.

With just a little tweaking it could become the rally song for the
Wisconsin protesters, and the Occupy Movement as well.  Maybe some
one should teach it to the Egyptians.

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By Foucauldian, December 20, 2011 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

I wasn’t referring to the rule of law.  Speaking
more along the lines of “the people’s justice” as
recompense for sins past, though even that is a
misnomer, because it comes closer to vengeance.

Restitution comes closer perhaps.  I don’t think
we’re quite ready yet for the Socratic ideal.

Just trying to make sense of the distinction
between our wars and the people’s rebellion.

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By Night-Gaunt, December 20, 2011 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

These days justice through established laws based upon the Bill of Rights is rapidly fading. So I’d say not for much longer.Once the President can have anyone arrested, anywhere for any reason that ends justice. With the addition of a waver the so-called “protection” for US citizens is as good as null-and-void. The road to fascism has been going in little steps to take us to this point. Not many more and we will be a full empire without a shot being fired.

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By Foucauldian, December 20, 2011 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

Indeed, great posts the three of you.

Has justice got anything to do with it, or is it just
in the eye of the beholder?

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By Night-Gaunt, December 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm Link to this comment

“One objection: you speak as though singing “the Internationale” contrasts with writers who glorify war. Aside from the peace between the workers, “the Internationale” is not about peace at all. It embraces violent conflict, anticipates using bullets etc.”-Ozark Michael

Well it was true wasn’t it? They expected bullets because that is what they go. The question is did it promote violence or simply understood that the powers that be would use it to discourage them?

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By OzarkMichael, December 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa said:

So it is with writers who glorify war knowing full well that the power of the pen is not to be taken lightly. How exhilarating to be so courted and in demand by the power/elite and how uncharacteristic of one who once bellowed lyrics from “The Internationale.”

One objection: you speak as though singing “the Internationale” contrasts with writers who glorify war. Aside from the peace between the workers, “the Internationale” is not about peace at all. It embraces violent conflict, anticipates using bullets etc.

This is not to say that your post fails. That was a good post. Your points are clear and you take a clear stand in a powerfully concise manner. It was good poetically also, one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time.

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By elisalouisa, December 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

Technically we are responsible for our own actions; that is the politically correct view, particularly of the far right. Personally, I take exception to that. Should the homeless take full responsibility for their situation? Are all prisoners incorrigible
and solely responsible for their circumstances? I think not. Is it criminal for corporations to leave people in the lurch as to employment and move their factories where slave labor is accepted? In my book it is criminal.

Young people can be seduced. Military recruiters do it every day. Ask Rupert Murdock about seduction and the role msm plays in the thoughts and actions of people. One cannot help but be influenced by what one reads, hears and sees. Why else would the Catholic Church ban certain books and advise/demand Catholics read only books that have the Pope’s Imprimatur?

So it is with writers who glorify war knowing full well that the power of the pen is not to be taken lightly. How exhilarating to be so courted and in demand by the power/elite and how uncharacteristic of one who once bellowed lyrics from “The Internationale.”

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By Leefeller, December 20, 2011 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Pointing of fingers seems to go hand and hand with pointy heads! Several months past, we spent some time on a Hedges Article where Hedges accused Harris and Hitchens for instigating the Norwegian Tragedy. It seems the same kind of mental manics took this up with mob ‘Ox Bow Incident’ hanging mentality!  Looking at Congress right now there is plenty of finger pointing going on and not one thing seems to be working, I think finger pointing has become common place like scratching ones arse!

For some reason if someone dost not like what another person states and they actually already despise this person for any reason, it appears the classic option of ignorance is to add other things to their selective list of displeasure’s.  It seems to me the simpler smaller usually empty ignorant mind will make shit up, then go on to believe it; absent of facts; hence the the birther thing about Obama,....as extreme case in point, Hitchens smoking or drinking ....as stupid case in point!

So it is said Hitchens caused the war, escalated the war, thus Hitchens is accused responsible for the actions by other people because of what he commented on and this is likely to come from the same people for the most part who just happen to find Hitchens “God Is Not Great” writings extremely offensive to their beliefs.

Now I may not have agreed with every thing Hitchens commented on, I respected his right to have differing opinions than my own, because Hitchens seemed so sincere and he articulated his opinons so damn well, any disagreement to Hitchns needed to have lots of free board or as what usually happend they got swamped. What I do not understand is the same kind of myopic thought processes which permanent these threads with the regularity of ExLax, really substantiates Hitchens basic premise on ignorance.

For the life of me, the only person I agree with all the time on every single topic, issue and idea would be the person I see in the mirror and that would be until I had doubt or changed me mind! Just because I support and agree with Hitchens on Athiesm dost not mean I found myself in 100 percent agreement with his every utterance,(though I really enjoyed his dissertations)  the difference I see the appearance most people do not know how to discriminant their thoughts, use reason and decide on things different from their blind belief about things, unfortunately this is called blind faith the staple food of fanatics!

I can safely agree with Hitchens on his sentiments regarding something which seems quite prominent….....stupidity!

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By Shenonymous, December 20, 2011 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Clearly, any rational person knows we are responsible for our own
actions.  The Vanity Fair article was written by Christopher Hitchens. 
It is sad that Second Lieutenant Mark Daily was killed, but the facts
of his death was not the result of his being influenced by Hitchens’
argument in favor of the war.  Those facts would have to be described
in the military report of it: “Lieutenant Daily crossed from Kuwait to
Iraq in November 2006, where he would be deployed with the “C,” or
“Comanche,” Company of the Second Battalion of the Seventh Cavalry
Regiment—General Custer’s old outfit—in Mosul. On the 15th of January
last, he was on patrol and noticed that the Humvee in front of him was
not properly “up-armored” against I.E.D.‘s. He insisted on changing
places and taking a lead position in his own Humvee, and was shortly
afterward hit by an enormous buried mine that packed a charge of some
1,500 pounds of high explosive. Yes, that’s right.  He, and the three
other American soldiers and Iraqi interpreter who perished with him,
went to war with the army we had.”

Reading The Second Lieutenant’s own statement on page 2 of the
article, one can easily see he was pre-primed to join in the war,
He may have been convinced that the war was justified, but to say his
death is accountable to something another could say, (his being a self-
avowed agnostic who well understood the value of truthful knowledge)
shows a lack of understanding what it means to be self-accountable. 
But then, those who accept the cloak of religion yielding their minds to
the dictates of how their lives are to be lived and mandate their thinking
would easily attribute the death of this one individual to another. 
Hitchens himself also realized this, “...in the last analysis, it was quite
clear, Mark had made up his mind that the United States was a force for
good in the world, and that it had a duty to the freedom of others.”

“...their son had signed up with his eyes wide open and had “assured us
that if he knew the possible outcome might be this, he would still go
rather than have the option of living to age 50 and never having served
his country. Trust us when we tell you that he was quite convincing and
persuasive on this point, so that by the end of the conversation we were
practically packing his bags and waving him off.” This made me relax
fractionally, but then [his parents] went on to write: “Prior to his
deployment he told us he was going to try to contact you from Iraq. He
had the idea of being a correspondent from the front-lines through you,
and wanted to get your opinion about his journalistic potential. He told
us that he had tried to contact you from either Kuwait or Iraq. He
thought maybe his e-mail had not reached you … ” That was a gash in
my hide all right: I think of all the junk e-mail I read every day, and then
reflect that his precious one never got to me.” 

Rightfully, for whatever the notion of right can be, Hitchens rightfully
asked “was Mark Daily killed by the Ba’thist and bin Ladenist riffraff
who place bombs where they will do the most harm? Or by the
Rumsfeld doctrine, which sent American soldiers to Iraq in insufficient
numbers and with inadequate equipment? Or by the Bush administration,
which thought Iraq would be easily pacified? Or by the previous Bush
administration, which left Saddam Hussein in power in 1991 and fatally
postponed the time of reckoning?” 

This morass is typical of seeking truth.  Whatever many of us feel that it
was an unjustified war, Hitchens and Second Lt. Daily both did think it
was worthwhile.  Each have given their reasons and so have we who did
not, and that is all we can really ask for.

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By Leefeller, December 20, 2011 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt

Antagonizing the right is so damn easy, they set themselves up with a huge target on their bulbous selfish Newt or Trump sized heads! Their unrestrained ignorance on what they hate is all encompassing for it seems the right wing hates everyone and everything not of them! Grabbing shit out of their arse is all part of their mantra! 

If one looks at the Red States, one finds the right believes winning an election means the so called elected majority is entitled to screw the rest of the populous! If one looks at the blue states we do not see the drama of huge protests and nor do we see the populus getting royalty screwed by the governors who act as dictators,  cronies for the wealthy or 1 percent?

Sorry Off topic!

Your comment below is again wasted on the right wing conservative Christian Fundy, just like using reason directed at a drunk or a door knob!

“Atheism isn’t a political nor legal nor economic system. It is just leaving the fantasy out of the mix and things operate just fine. But it sticks in the craw of many Christians especially the ones who wish to control this country.”

From the comment above, I see this;

‘Atheism is like anarchy to religion?’

We constantly see morons who make stupidity seem intelligent, by grabbing crap out of the empty space between their ears proclaiming Atheism is a religion or they cannot tell the difference between a Christian Fundamentalist and Athisim?

Damn, I will miss Hitchens!

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By elisalouisa, December 20, 2011 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

Young men and women were influenced by Christopher Hitchens’ many essays, including his writings as to the Iraq war. He may have been responsible for many deaths, not just his own.

Just one “statistic” that is within the framework of this forum.

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/11/hitchens200711

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By Shenonymous, December 20, 2011 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

A death is a death is a death.  There have been 54,728,260 deaths
this year, so far and counting one every less than a half second. 
(Ref: Worldometers here).

Among the most notable, one was the cause of the murderer of
over a million people (Kim Jong Il here), another received the
Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in crafting democracy in
Czechoslovakia and central Europe as well (Vaclav Havel here),
and then there is the man racked with fatal cancer who never
repented or asked for pity nor forgave who he considered
transgressors, (Christopher Hitchens, here).

Was Hitchens a virtuous man?  Maybe not in many ways, but as an
intellectual no one on these threads could hold a candle.  Maybe that is
not saying much to some, but he will have the lines in the records of
humankind and not a one on these forums will.  He was not, at the least,
the cause of anyone else’s death but his own.

———————————————————————
truedigger3, Dec. 19 4:06 pm
Re: By Shenonymous, December 19 at 2:06 pm
Shenonymous wrote:?“truedigger3, Dec. 19 12:35 pm – Should anyone
except you care?”?
————————————————————?
Shenonymous,?I don’t care. Why do you enquire??!!
———————————————————————
Well truedigger3, you were so ostentatious about making the distinction,
it made me wonder.  Nothing more than that.

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By Sylvia Barksdale, December 20, 2011 at 6:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d really like to read a psychological analysis of Mr. Hitchens.  Seems to me that he thrived on hatred although to me his views on religion and politics were correct.  Prehaps he gained negative attention when first expressing his views publicly and he found that he liked it.

Tho schooled in psychology and philosophy, I couldn’t begin to unravel Hitchen’s personality.  I believe that the person he became must have begun in early childhood and progressed from there.  Robert Scheer has done a superb job with this essay.

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By sophrosyne, December 19, 2011 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hitch was a showman and one cut out of the narcissistic mold of William Buckly.  That said, he was better than the average Fox News entertainer.  He got the Iraq War and Bush wrong but so did Rice and Powell.  A lot of folks were duped.

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By Night-Gaunt, December 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Ozark Michael showing I do know that right wingers are generally ignorant of what they hate. Well Communism like from the big dictators Stalin & Mao came to their own conclusion that “communism” is Atheistic. Well did that come from Messers Engels & Marx? No they had no problem with religion unless it was used to help keep the people from revolting against onerous conditions. And it did. He wanted them to stop taking the abuse and fight back and gain control of their own works. But he didn’t promote atheism. A common myth. Also the big dictators didn’t want the proletariat to control their works either. None of them did. They were anti-Engels & Marx!

Atheism isn’t a political nor legal nor economic system. It is just leaving the fantasy out of the mix and things operate just fine. But it sticks in the craw of many Christians especially the ones who wish to control this country. May they never get their wish for it would be the death of many here with Atheists at the top of their liquidation lists. There is no democracy in a pure theocratic state. None in the Bible.

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By truedigger3, December 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Shenonymous, December 19 at 2:06 pm

Shenonymous wrote:
“truedigger3, Dec. 19 12:35 pm – Should anyone except you care?”
————————————————————
Shenonymous,

I don’t care. Why do you enquire??!!

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By didi, December 19, 2011 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is a “part Jew”? A goy that is half-circumcised?

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By Shenonymous, December 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3, Dec. 19 12:35 pm – Should anyone except you care? 
Is there a poll being taken of who hated Hitchens and who not?

Now, yo’Christians, Islamists, and atheists who hated him
line up on the right side, and those who didn’t on the left so
a reliable count can be taken.  Now you Christians, Islamists,
and atheists, now…don’t you talk to each other, y’hear!  Jes
stand there in yo’hatin’ and yo’be feelin’ fahyne in no tahyme.

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By Shenonymous, December 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

For Hitch
From Robert Zimmerman from Hibbing, Minnesota,
and me. here

It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying.

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fools gold mouthpiece
The hollow horn plays wasted words
Proved to warn
That he not busy being born
Is busy dying.

Temptation’s page flies out the door
You follow, find yourself at war
Watch waterfalls of pity roar
You feel to moan but unlike before
You discover
That you’d just be
One more person crying.

So don’t fear if you hear
A foreign sound to you ear
It’s alright, Ma, I’m only sighing.

As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don’t hate nothing at all
Except hatred.

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their marks
Made everything from toy guns that sparks
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It’s easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.

While preachers preach of evil fates
Teachers teach that knowledge waits
Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
Goodness hides behind its gates
But even the President of the United States
Sometimes must have
To stand naked.

An’ though the rules of the road have been lodged
It’s only people’s games that you got to dodge
And it’s alright, Ma, I can make it.

Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you.

You loose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand without nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks
They really found you.

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
Insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not forget
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to.

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.

For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despite their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Cultivate their flowers to be
Nothing more than something
They invest in.

While some on principles baptized
To strict party platforms ties
Social clubs in drag disguise
Outsiders they can freely criticize
Tell nothing except who to idolize
And then say God Bless him.

While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he’s in.

But I mean no harm nor put fault
On anyone that lives in a vault
But it’s alright, Ma, if I can’t please him.

Old lady judges, watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony.

While them that defend what they cannot see
With a killer’s pride, security
It blows the minds most bitterly
For them that think death’s honesty
Won’t fall upon them naturally
Life sometimes
Must get lonely.

My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough
What else can you show me?

And if my thought-dreams could been seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only.

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By Leefeller, December 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

“Okay. I didn’t hate Christopher Hitchens. I just loathed and detested him!” .... I guess this means you have become a fan?

By the way Outrageous, thanks for your comments on Atheism, they explained very well which I was not going to for the simpletons out there!

As for the religion of Athisim, it would seem prudent to designate an alternative to the Alter boy once they develop an alter (Is this a sex change operation?) and maybe make someone be in charge of the numinous Atheist establishments world wide similar to the Pope and finally I demand Atheists honor the separation of church and state, by burning themselves at the stake!

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By Foucauldian, December 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

But Goethe’s Faust was an account of human
experience, in only couched in terms of allegory.

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By truedigger3, December 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

Okay. I didn’t hate Christopher Hitchens. I just loathed and detested him!

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By OzarkMichael, December 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

Mr Sheer closed with this as a eulogy:

In his memory I offer these lyrics from “The Internationale,”

That makes for a terrible eulogy. Communism, an ideology where atheism finally gets a turn at running things, has the worst human rights record in history. It accomplished more persecution and death sentences in one year than the entire Inquistion and the Crusades combined.

Please note: I waited until several indignant athiests had a chance to write several indignant posts with their usual greatly indignant complaints about what is wrong with As usual)other people. Yes, much was said, but the most important thing(reflection and introspection) was never accomplished. Atheists are not so indignant as they should be.

Amongst all that atheist verbage attacking this and not believing is that, you would think there would be a little indignation about “the Internationale”. Just a little protest, a little indignant rant from somebody? Yet not a peep from anyone about that eulogy. 

This is as telling as if a religious conservative was eulogized with “Sieg Heils” while conservatives fiercely defend the dearly departed’s reputation, except we notice that nobody fiecely defends against the terrible “Sig Heils”, which as they echo in the burial chamber unanswered become more significant than any indignant defense.

How well you understand the real threat of a little imaginary conservative scenario, (“fascist! fascist! expose fascism!”). Meanwhile, how poorly you understand your own error, which happens on a daily basis here on Truthdig.

The unanswered “Internationale” echoes down the halls, drowning out any indignant atheist defense of this and athiest attack of that.

Mr Hitchens deserved better.

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By Shenonymous, December 19, 2011 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Cinderella isn’t real either, figuratively speaking.

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By elisalouisa, December 19, 2011 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

Figuratively speaking of course. Nevertheless, if the shoe fits.  .  .

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By Shenonymous, December 19, 2011 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

There is no figment that goes by the name of soul.  Mr. Hitchens
did not make any transaction of selling what he and the rest of the
world does not have.  The artist Mr. Fish makes an impressive
eulogy of an article in honor of Christopher Hitchens.

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By truedigger3, December 19, 2011 at 10:34 am Link to this comment

Re:By Leefeller, December 19 at 8:44 am

Leefeller wrote sarcastically:

“Yes let it be known I am an Atheist of ill-repute and I hate Htichens not for his Athisim, but just for his world views because I disagree with them!”
————————————————————-
Leefeller,

Being a war monger and a peddler of hate is not just different “world view”. The fate and lives of millions of people are affected tragically by such views.

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By elisalouisa, December 19, 2011 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt:Being a vocal Atheist isn’t either healthy or with much profit so Mr. Hitchens sold himself.

How casual are your comments about Hitchens and the selling of his soul. Many loyal readers felt betrayed wouldn’t you say? Also, could that be why Hedges and Hitchens were so at odds. Hedges remained true to himself, Hitchens did not and used less-than-acceptable methods to gain the upper hand in debates and writing. That is the new morality that evidently you accept as your comments attest to. This is remarkable because your writing does not reflect such an attitude on your part.

Hate may be a strong word as to how some felt toward Hitchens. How about: loathe, find intolerable and abhor?

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By Leefeller, December 19, 2011 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

It should be known the self righteous Atheists are alone in their self rightfulness, for many declared unselfconscious Atheists evidently hated Hitchens like the more loving unselfconscious religious intellectuals known as Christians or Mushrooms and possibly Morons!

‘Yes let it be known I am an Atheist of ill-repute and I hate Htichens not for his Athisim, but just for his world views because I disagree with them!”

Evidently the religion of Athisim has its detractors from the word of Hitchens!

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By surfnow, December 19, 2011 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

I always respected and agreed with him on organized religion, but Hitchens lost me in ‘03 with his support for the Invasion of Iraq. In the end he sold out big time to the almighty military-industrial-complex.

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By truedigger3, December 19, 2011 at 3:42 am Link to this comment

Re: By Arabian Sinbad, December 18 at 8:52 pm,

Arabian Sinbad wrote about CH atheism:
“Sorry Atheists to disrupt you false self-righteousness!”
———————————————————————-
Arabian Sinbad,
AGAIN, MOST of the people who hated Cristopher Hitchen, me included, hated him, not because of his atheism, but because he was a war monger and a peddler of hate. He was hanger-on to power and money and his attempts to “pass” and prove, by all, very dubious twists and turns, that he was “a part Jew” was contemptible and laughable.
By the way as I mentioned before, I am an atheist!.
Please read some of the previous posts

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By Arabian Sinbad, December 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment

“Christopher Hitches could be wrong,” says Robert Sheer. But in the book of this writer he represents the ultimate moral wrong!

First, he was a sad soul who didn’t even consider intellectualizing that smoking is not only terrible for his health, but it is a form of slavery and addiction to an imagined mood-enhancement.

Additionally, a fanatic Atheist, whose hallmark was to focus on hating organized religion and showing disrespect for billions of Believers, considering that the “only religion” worthy of consideration and value was “his own fanatic Atheism” is not worthy of the tears his followers and admirers are shedding over his death.

Moreover, and most importantly, a confused soul who supported and propagated for the evil war in Iraq, with all its attending destruction and killings is, in my book, the ultimate symbol of evil.

Based on these few considerations, Hitchens, in my book again, had nothing of value to offer humanity, let alone to to what might be considered intellectualism!

No tears for this confused and lost soul from this writer. And Mr. Scheer’s eulogy of him was the worst he has written!

Sorry Atheists to disrupt you false self-righteousness!

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By Night-Gaunt, December 18, 2011 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment

Some people I see hate entirely too much. To such an extent that they nearly lose their composure if not their rational thought processes. Maybe I’m just a cold nearly emotionless robot but that has been my present observation.

Christopher Hitchens may have been the last of the hard boozing self destructing brilliant writers around. He knew how to promote himself and press all kind of emotional buttons. Good for him. I didn’t come here to praise him or damn him but to bury him. For all the good and ill he had done he was still human. We are all a mixed bag. Only a few people make it known to much of the world themselves unabashedly as he. Being a vocal Atheist isn’t either healthy or with much profit so Mr. Hitchens sold himself.

His views on American imperial conquests were of the same vein and reasoning I heard on Fox News. He was much harder to deal with because of that intelligence and expertise in arguments. So unless you were fully equipped he’d wipe the floor with you. It was an area I found that made him more of a Conservative than a Liberal. Disgusting but that is what is in the discourse in a free society and should never change. But hate him? Never. An emotion of problematical power it needs to be used judiciously and carefully. I find it to be use liberally and messily. A habit I would council against for anyone to cultivate a hair trigger as I see on the Internet where civil discourse is in the minority.

An interesting person who leaves us with a mixed body of work that will be discussed for years. May he Rest In Peace. Which he will since he is dead. I hope he isn’t put in one of those coffins that keep the worms out. So unnantural. Takes from our earth even in death.

In case it isn’t apparent I am an Atheist too. Though a Pan-Atheist unlike most people who believe in one god and say all others are fake. Those are Monotheists. Those that believe in one god(s) but allow all others to exist are Henotheists. Technically we are all agnostic since we don’t have total knowledge, though that is unnecessary to function and a poor argument to believe.

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By RayLan, December 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

@Leefeller
“What book”
It’s uh ...an expression meaning -in the long-standing repetoire of debate - not the least examples being found on TD.

Apparently you are in doubt about the standard meaning of words - such as prejudice and bigotry - the book in that case would be the dictionary.

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By CornetJoyce, December 18, 2011 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The english princess, michael jackson, and now hitchens! How will humanity survive the loss of such giants! But be of good cheer: we still have Lady Gaga.

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By Shenonymous, December 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

balkas, you are the classic Protagorean relativist.  Yayyyy

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By Foucauldian, December 18, 2011 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

And btw, as an addendum, I don’t think I disagree
with you in that “the political construction of a
liberal democracy ... [is] the best form of govern-
ment ...,” although I would add, “under the
circumstances, in this historical moment.”  I would
say it’s an ideal default position from the
standpoint of statehood.  My argument rather is
that for a variety of reasons, statehood can’t
deliver what it purports to promise.

But this really has to be discussed in an orderly
manner, step by (baby) step.

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By balkas, December 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

shenon,
let me stress that everything u ever wrote is right.
according to what u KNOW or think u KNOW u have an inalienable right to put down on paper what
u KNOW.
and your writings shld never be criticized let alone u.
but remember the coveted win-win situation? u also do the same.
in short, everybody is right according her/his definition of words and knowledge.
one knows what one knows [or thinks that one knows or doesn’t know that one only thinks one
knows].
and once again, we obtain a win-win result.
on the level of doing things, we use arsitotle’s desirable truth that we err—if we must err, err on
side of not killing, torturing, etc. people.
this wld be valid for lying, calling people names, or any undesirable event.
however, sorry to note, all of us have been rendered over millennia [by clero-noble class] vastly
unsane; thus, i expect that life wld end on this planet in less than two centuries. tnx

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By Foucauldian, December 18, 2011 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

By all means, Shenon, I wouldn’t expect you to
capitulate on any subject whatever, whether on this
venue or any other.  I wouldn’t ask such a thing of
anyone.

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By Shenonymous, December 18, 2011 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

Hello balkas… Perhaps some anti-theists (to use Hitchens’ term)
think they are ‘right,’ in the sense of correctness, the ones I know
including myself, do not hold with absolute firmness any claim of
rightness about their unbelief.  The claim I make and those I know
about no belief in a deity is that there is no evidence to support the
claim that there is any supernatural beings of any kind and no one
has yet made a convincing argument that there is, even Pascal. 

Holding to that conviction could be called a belief by one unable to
make distinctions, but it is not of the species of belief, where belief is
firmly holding to an unproven or unsupported perception of reality.  I
have no quarrel with those who have beliefs, may they find comfort and
peace in them as each conscious human must find their own happiness. 
I only admonish that they do not insist in any way that I hold them as
well, especially to the point where they would harm me if I didn’t or
others if they don’t.

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By balkas, December 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment

i shld stress my opinion that actually very few people believe in god. most of
them believe or evaluate as true what talmud, quran, bible and sacerdotal
class [just people, eh] ‘teach’.
so, the argument, bitterness, anger between me and priests [and people
who obey priests] wld go on forever.
however, my wife believes in god, but does not go to church or obeys any
priest.
that is ok with me. and there are, i think, mlns of people like her! tnx

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By Shenonymous, December 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Yes, down to the nitty gritty.  Inasmuch as I view the political
construction of a liberal democracy as the best form of govern-
ment, the United States being the epitome of that, and even
though it is currently showing a pallor as some sign of disorder,
which I attribute it to the nearly three decades old struggle with
the madness of the wealth sustained conservative state of mind,
I also believe that this nation with a very large mixed and pluralistic
population, and which is a very young one of a mere 235 years, will
find its proper bona fide liberal bearings, its progressive politics
that holds the population higher than the individual, but does not
otherwise in any way devalue the individual, that yes, we ought to
postpone further depth perhaps even better on a different venue. 
But my agreement is predicated on the idea that it is not a promise
to capitulate the topic entirely elsewhere on Truthdig should it come
up with others. 

It is my hope with the close of this revolution around the sun, that the
solstice portends a much better 2012.

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By balkas, December 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

shenon,
i do not think that while talking about theists and nontheists i led u to draw the conclusion that i absolve a theist
from her/his responsibilities.

i was only talking about a belief or no belief in a or the god.
and i was very careful to call both beliefs “fancies”.
however, a responsibility [whichever and in whoever’s judgment], being an act, and thus can be seen, is not a fancy,
but real.

the lesson sent, but not received, at least by shenon: recognizing beliefs as fancies, wld end bitterness/never
ending and totally useless arguments between the two factions, if they’d finally say: we are both right, but only as
far as god existing or not.
the entire point is too obtain here a win-win situation instead of an eternal win-lose one.

it is also obvious that the seen act [of fulfilling a responsibility] is not the judgment of it. but one has the right to
say: such and such an act represent fulfillment of responsibility and another person to say: no, it’s not; i.e., it wasn’t
your duty to do that; or to say: u made things worse for doing that.
and both judgers are right.

once again, we obtain a coveted win-win, peace-peace solution.
there is too much of comparing fancies, one’s judgments with what one sees; or identifies the two diff phenomena
as having the same value in orientation for living.
belief or no belief in god is an inalienable panhuman right.

however, ‘religion’ [danger word, it may upset u] is not belief in god. in fact, i find cleric ‘teaching’ [danger] quite
antihuman. tnx

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By Foucauldian, December 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

I don’t see how we got this far afield, Shenon.  My
original critique concerned the notion of Reason
operating as it were on its own, apart from other
dimensions of human personality, such as will and
values.  If I cited the postmodernists, it was only
to highlight the fact that their entire critique
revolved around the failure of Project
Enlightenment to deliver; but surely, there are
independent philosophical grounds, not to mention a
body of psychological theory, to support my
original claim.

Inherent, of course, in my siding with the
postmodernists on some aspects of their critique
was also an indirect critique of the modern-day,
liberal nation-states (of liberal democracies, for
short); obviously, fascistic or totalitarian states
needn’t be considered.  So I suppose that’s how we
got from point A to point B, more or less.

In any case, you do have access to my body of
writings where I present I believe a coherent
argument why a modern-day nation state can’t
deliver on its promises.  So even if I were to
accept the idea of “social contract” on its face
value (as representing a helpful analogy) or the
notion of “right” (however judiciously defined) as
some kind of pinnacle of social organization—
which I don’t on both counts—I’d still argue
that both of these notions are some of the
accoutrements which come with the Hobbesian/Lockean
idea of statehood; and if that idea as a whole is
found either deficient or impractical, so it must
be the case for those two notions as well.

So perhaps we ought to postpone this discussion
until we can get down to the nitty-gritty at some
later time.

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By Shenonymous, December 18, 2011 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

Wrong, balkas.  Yours is a provincial view.  There are significant
differences in the view that there is a supernatural involvement in
human lives or not.  One way alleviates personal responsibility and
leaves it up to an alleged god to mete out rewards and punishments,
particularly after the death of the body, the other that responsibility
resides and only resides within the province of the human being and
only for the space of time of its physical life, no implication there is
anything beyond that is proposed.
 
It is my view, the reality is that it is only between human beings that
resolution of differences can be effected.  Yes, you are right that all
war starts with words, but those are words that find no compromise,
they are angry words, like Angry Birds, where players use a slingshot
(substitute any weapon of choice, physical or metaphysical ones) to
launch birds at pigs stationed on or within various structures, with the
intent of destroying all the pigs on the playfield.  How indeed can birds
and pigs talk to one another even in the imagination?  Some pigs are
innocent and some birds guilty of imperialism. 

You cover ground much too quickly and if you seek real dialogue, you
might take each of your theses individually and examine them for truth
for your post is a soliloquy where you express only a personal point of
view from your idea of what is truth, with no substantial evidence.

And right here along with a glass raised to Christopher Hitchens’ too
brief appearance in this world, I will also toast Vaclav Havel who has
now passed into oblivion.  It is a condition we will all face at sometime
or another.  I occasionally remind myself that in a hundred years, very
few of those alive today will be given a moment’s thought.  It is
immanently important then to make one’s life a meaningful one.

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By Leefeller, December 18, 2011 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

“One man’s hatred is another man’s insight - framing objections based on evidence and sound reasoning as hatred is the oldest rhetorical dodge in the book.”

Which book is that RayLan?

“Simplistic unreasoning bias is what characterizes hatred - which indicts Hitchens more than his detractors.” Well RayLan,

I can assume on unsound ground,.... from the same book,.... a book specializing in hatred?

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By balkas, December 18, 2011 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

folks, how about a fist fight? does it also start with words or maybe i shld say
after using words or language—silently or out out loud?
some people say that a fist fight does not start with words, but by how we
first of all orgasmically react to an event and then the words take over;
leading us to seek a peaceful or warlike solution.

waging a war is not, it seems, caused by primal urge or an orgasmic reaction
to events—in think people have to be taught over time to wage wars. the
technique works, tho, only if assiduous ‘teachings’ to wage wars goes primal.
in other words, the process is reversed: first the words and on and on; and
only after them, comes or does not come the feeling to kill/destroy/maim.
and this explains why so many americans approve of their wars of
aggression. it’s gone under their skin, so to speak.
what makes the technique work better than elsewhere is the fact that 99% of
americans think that u.s is infallible; thus, whatever it says must be true. and
the rest of the technique is fun and games!
does every war seller know the technique? or really any? meaning to say, that
all or most war sellers instinctively know that they can teach defense war? tnx

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By didi, December 18, 2011 at 7:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Why did Hitchens leave England? I am not sure but I have a hunch that it happened when he realized that he should have lived before and not after George Bernard Shaw.

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By balkas, December 18, 2011 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

how about putting it this way: god, nature, or god-nature [or all of it] is infinitely valued.
and we, being a part of it, also being infinitely valued. both in real and potentially.
how many people—who represent no danger whatever to us—we can kill, maim, render homeless, while
sleeping well, is one of our panhuman traits.
yes, it’s god’s or nature’s trait and as i said already, also our trait; because we are an inseparable part of the
nature or god or ‘god’. [‘god’ means: watched it, danger word, may not be good for your peace of mind]
and pious people have the above trait and not just impious.

lying to one another; deceiving, abusing, torturing people are also our panhuman traits.
however, so is respect for one another; needing one another; being honest, truthful, helpful; act as guides,
tutors, etc.

so, how we behave towards one another and biota depends on the environment we’re in. and, of course,
language, education we receive are parts of that environment.
have u guyz not noticed that every war starts with words?

people learn languages and languages are later taught in ‘schools’. kids learn proper grammar, syntax, diction,
etc., but they are not taught that there is another usage of language—and one by far more valuable for our
sanity than learning grammar, etc.
and that is the implicatory structure of any language and how to distinguish a factual utterance from
conclusions, opinions, inferences, and inference of inferences, etc.

even the knowledge of god is inferential knowledge. it definitely is not factual knowledge; which, of course, is by
far more reliable than any inferential knowledge. how about atheism? what does this symbol stand for? it stands
for a fancy just like the label god.
the statements: there is god, and there is no god, are fanciful. and that shld end all further discussion.
so, fret not u cannot be, or, rather, shld not be called a goddist or an agoddist.

so one can compare a theist with an atheist, but solely on fanciful level; i.e., on an even keel and with equal
rights and validity for each position
if u wanna compare hitler with genghis, stalin, mao dze dong, or obama, please do so, but stay on factual level at
least for awhile and only thereafter jump to any fanciful level of own choosing. and i’d read u and understand u.
tnx

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By chris massey lynch, December 18, 2011 at 7:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It would be ironic,if christopher hitchens died and came back again,as a poor Afghan or Iraqi baby…(Hi Chris and good luck in the Bardo Thodal)

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By Shenonymous, December 18, 2011 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

There will always be polarities in different people’s thinking.
Sometimes rancorous.  Especially between the liberal democrats
and fascist elitists.  It was The Seduction of Unreason, and I didn’t
think Wolin’s theory was pedestrian.  Actually I found him quite
lively and lucid in his criticism of the Right.  But of course Isaiah
Berlin, along with John Rawls, sharply had the fascist postmodern
goats by their beards.  Berlin, unequivocally a champion of freedom,
also rationally recognized, “...we must realize that we live in a
world of competing ends and values of which negative liberty is only
one, and there will necessarily be cases where that freedom will be
restricted in the name of other goods….Ends collide;...one cannot
have everything.” 

So let’s dwell a bit on the idea of freedom since it is Hitchens’ yoke
as well.  I like Berlin’s insight, “Right is the restriction of each
individual’s freedom so that it harmonizes with the freedom of
everyone else (insofar as this is possible within the terms of a
general law).  And public right is the distinctive quality of the
external laws that makes this constant harmony possible.  Since
every restriction of freedom through the arbitrary will of another party is
termed coercion, it follows that a civil constitution is a relationship
among free men who are subject to coercive laws.”

Therefore, the restriction on individual freedom embodied in the idea of
a right is rational insofar as it places individual actions under the
rules that actions are morally right in certain situations if and only if the
reason for carrying out an action is a one that every person may act
on in similar situations, and that the action is morally right if a person
does not use others merely for advancing his/her own interests.

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By RayLan, December 18, 2011 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

@Leefeller
“Amusing how Hitichens pushed so many buttons, and especially those who portray their proclivity to hate and those who support hate as some sort of acceptable option in their hypocritical oath to their faith?”

One man’s hatred is another man’s insight - framing objections based on evidence and sound reasoning as hatred is the oldest rhetorical dodge in the book.
Simplistic unreasoning bias is what characterizes hatred - which indicts Hitchens more than his detractors.

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By Shenonymous, December 18, 2011 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

Good Morning, here too, Outraged, Dec. 17 11:20 pm!  So the
fundamentalists “must love their neighbor?”  But but but what
if their neighbor is… an atheist?

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By Outraged, December 18, 2011 at 12:20 am Link to this comment

Re: Lefeller

”‘Yes, I cannot tell or at least I have trouble
telling the difference between an Atheist and a
Fundamental Christian”

LOL. I can tell. While it’s difficult to conclude
what an expert of either stance would be, all the
same, I have been BOTH, and am now an atheist.

In response to other posts:
There is no FAITH in atheism because atheism in not
premised upon it. Religion teaches faith in a supreme
being and it is religion that TEACHES that those
without this faith are lacking or hateful of the
teaching of a supreme being.

Atheism is opposed to this teaching because it is
without merit, reasonably. Atheism TEACHES
nothing….no dogmas, no preconceived ideals, no
purity…..nothing. Atheism is absence of belief in
supreme beings. This is why Mr. Hitchens will be
viewed differently by atheists. Religious tenets
vary, for this reason Hitchens will also be viewed
differently by religious people.

However, ALL fundamentalists will view Hitchens as
evil, because that is what fundamentalism requires.
All fundamentalist religions require one to hold
opposing viewpoints on many issues…. i.e. you must
hate who you are taught is bad and yet, you must love
your neighbor.

One might think at first glance that fundamentalists
would be “gray thinking” but this is not the case.
Because every “gray” conundrum is concretely addressed. Using
WEAK ARGUMENT supposedly premised upon “God’s Word”
(at least their own very specific interpretation of
it) all gray conundrums are translated into black and
white and easily digestible for the incurious.(Note: This is not
to mean that fundamentalists are incurious, only that they
are inculcated (sometimes harshly) with the notion that
curiousness is anathema to loving God, this is also why they
defend the unreasonableness of their position vigorously)

Curious matters are allowed but only regarding
approved topics, unapproved topics are BLACK AND
WHITE and are to be reasoned using only approved
arguments. There are NO exceptions. In contrast,
atheism…not by demand, but by its very nature inspires
curiosity and challenge.

As an atheist, I did not agree with what I knew of Mr. Hitchens….... but I have not read his books nor many of his articles. I did see several video clips and was not a fan. I did however, think highly of him for challenging his own opinion of waterboarding and undertaking that endeavor. He was not hesitant to say he was wrong.

As it is, I’m with Lefeller. “A tequila toast to Hitch!” and would like to add, May he be remembered well.

Maybe I should read his book…...get a better picture of his thoughts and such…..

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By Foucauldian, December 18, 2011 at 12:14 am Link to this comment

And as regards to Wolin, he’s the most pedestrian of
American intellectuals.  “Democracy Incorporated” is
naive, and it reads like a text from the turn of the
century.  At least Chomsky had guts enough to admit
he could make no rhyme or reason of the postmodernist
thought.

If you’re looking for a semi-authentic critique, turn
to Fredric Jameson.

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By Foucauldian, December 17, 2011 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment

... is not a virtue ...


I don’t worry about first impressions.

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By Foucauldian, December 17, 2011 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment

Intellectualism—an odd term, come to think of it
—in and of itself it’s not a virtue; and unless
it serves a higher purpose, such as freedom or true
democracy, just a posture.

As far as I’m concerned, both the Right and the
Left are equally guilty of abusing it.  The latter
even more so, I’m tempted to say, because the Right
is less dependent on pretense.

I just don’t have as much faith in American brand
of liberalism, hell, in any brand of liberalism, as
you do.  I see it riddled with contradictions.

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By Shenonymous, December 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm Link to this comment

”Is “insanity” necessarily “unreason,” or any form of deviance?” 
Not necessarily as some of the insane are able to reason quite well,
but sanity necessarily requires Reason.

I am very familiar with the conflict between reason and unreason.
In view of the anti-intellectualism that permeates the Right-Wing
political agenda in the US that has become more intensified in the
last decade, some philosophical understanding needs to be made
clear that comparative thinking is necessary to apprehend any concept.
Call it dyadic perception. For instance you cannot understand up unless
you also perceive down, wet/dry, good/evil, sanity/insanity, self/other,
and so forth. It is the only way we can construct a world that makes
sense. By comparing and contrasting all aspects of our world we create
bipolar constructs that we can then by degrees judge their qualities.

The dichotomy of reason/unreason is requisite to understand that there
are two ways to know the world in which we find ourselves. It is not a
simple dual construction. It is the way the mind is used effectively. Of
course one does not have to use their mind in a reasoning way, they
could simply react from emotion as non-human animals do.

To clarify terms, mind is the mental faculty or process that reasons,
thinks, feels, wills, judges, and integrates conscious experience and
intelligent thought in functions that include perception, reason,
imagination, memory, emotion, attention, and a capacity for
communication, i.e., language, as well as a set of unconscious
processes. Simply said, to reason involves the ability to think,
understand and draw conclusions in an abstract way.  In the realm
of human understanding, to say the antithesis of these processes does
not exist is itself a case of unreason. In action, reasoning involves a
conscious attempt to discover what is true and what is best. Reasoning
thought follows a chain of cause and effect, and the word “reason” can
be a synonym for “cause.”

There has been a temptation, some claim since the 1930s, often
called postmodernism, when the intellectual literati, Jung, Gadamer,
Bataille, Blanchot, et al, contrary to looking as though they were securely
located in a socially supportive and egalitarian left-“leaning” state of
mind, when in fact they had become fascinated with political forces on
the opposite and far right side of the political spectrum and which was
tinged with the dynamics of fascism.  Fascism is against an educated
public, just as communism is.  Only democracy wants an educated
population. And the left, or liberal perspective involves a concern for
those in society who are disadvantaged relative to others and hold the
assumption that there are unjustified inequalities. This is not true of
today’s Republican anti-intellectual views.

It would take too long to go over the anti-enlightenment movement to
any depth, but in essence it was a German originated development in
envious reaction to 18th century French rationalism that appealed
to reason as a source of knowledge or justification, a universalism that
held a belief in one common or ideal truth, and empiricism that asserts
knowledge comes only from sensory experience. It was essentially an
advocacy of unreason, anti-rationalist or hostile to rationalism and
vitalistic where the functions of a living organism are self-determining
due to a vital principle distinct from biochemical reactions. In spite of
rejecting reason, it was not renounced completely. As per Wolin, “In their
mutual hostility toward reason and democracy, postmodernists and the
advocates of Counter-Enlightenment betray a telltale strategic alliance—
they cohabit the fraught terrain where far left and far right intersect.”
Anti-intellectualism lives today in education in America and the skewed
anti-scientific curriculum content the Right-Wing tries to force on the
system.

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By Leefeller, December 17, 2011 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

Amusing how Hitichens pushed so many buttons, and especially those who portray their proclivity to hate and those who support hate as some sort of acceptable option in their hypocritical oath to their faith?

‘Yes, I cannot tell or at least I have trouble telling the difference between an Atheist and a Fundamental Christian, for then I can speak for both with professional servitude to my premise as a self proclaimed scholar on the similarities I so conveniently happen to have trouble with. Of course I ignore the other 3000 plus religions out their in the world for they would muddy my myopic argument.  For when I speak it is only for the two differences, which makes me out as an expert, so tis I speak for all Atheists and all Fundamental Christians as an expert,  because I proclaim it so!’

‘It should be known, I have trouble telling the differences between many things, for it is necessary in building the substrata supporting the limits of my weak arguments standing on their tottering contrived merits.’

If an atheist does not like another atheist is this acceptable in the faith of atheism and even more acceptable if sanctioned and bolstered by sanctioned hate of a Christian?

It appears Hitchens has many detractors, but yet they in their simplicity have proven Hitchens legacy as a notable writer and celebrated giant whos legacy may be renowned forever or a very long time to come, for Hitchens is a legend!

A tequila toast to Hitch!

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By elisalouisa, December 17, 2011 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3, December 17 at 3:44 pm

I have been a hardcore atheist for more than a half century and I still hated Hitchens.?Most people who hated Hitchens, me included, hated him, not for his atheism, but for his war mongering and ingariating himself to the power-that-be
and telling them what they wanted to hear and not the truth which a man with his intellect and knowledge knew very well. For that he was dishonest and a pretnder and hanger-on to power. What he brought to the table against religion and “God”
was nothing new. These issues have been debated and settled hundreds of years ago since the enlightment. He turned viciously against his friends and other progressive personalities if that suited his interests and gained favour for him with the power-that-be and that showed how unprincipled and blowhard he was.

Once again thank you TD3.

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By RayLan, December 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

The obfuscating rhetoric of hatred only serves to deflect the real issue - was Hitchens a significant contributor to intellectual culture that he has been made out to be by (mostly atheists)?
Being repulsed and/or just unimpressed by his simplistic religion-hating rant cum scientific debunking does not classify as hatred - just critical intelligence.

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By CGJ, December 17, 2011 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“we had harsh public debates about the Iraq War, but I never doubted that, even then, he was coming from a good place of humane concern.”

A million deaths and assorted mutilations and years of horror and humiliation certainly highlight your and his humane concern.

Antony had it backward: it’s the good that men supposedly do that lives on, the evil that their fans try to inter with their bones.

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By Foucauldian, December 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

Reason and unreason is a false dichotomy (unless
conceived in a superficial sense).  Is “insanity”
necessarily “unreason,” or any form of deviance? 
Is normal and abnormal absolute categories?  Yet,
that’s what they’d like us to believe. 

Besides, it cuts a truncated picture of human
personality.  Will certainly comes before reason,
and so do values.  Reason is only a servant,
offering a justification at best, rationalization
at worst. 

In and of itself, Reason is no guiding light but
needs another light to guide it.  It’s main
function is instrumental.

(I’m excluding, naturally, work in number theory or
some such.  But even there, it’s curiosity that
fires Reason.)

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By Shenonymous, December 17, 2011 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

Naw, he’ll be remembered for God is Not Great. 

The book was published on May 1, 2007, and within a week had
reached No. 2 on the Amazon.com bestsellers list (behind Harry
Potter and the Deathly Hallows), and reached No. 1 on the New
York Times Bestseller list in its third week.  It sold 130,000 copies
in UK alone.  Then seven weeks after the book went on sale, there
were 296,000 copies in print. Demand was so strong that booksellers
and wholesalers were unable to get copies just a short time after it hit
stores, creating what the publishing industry calls a “dark week.” One
experienced publishing veteran suggested that Mr. Hitchens likely
earned more than $1 million on the book. It was translated into 34
languages.  By the way, how many books have any of you Hitchens
Haters sold?

Yeah, ya can think whatever you want of the man.  Call him anything you
want, he knew there were dogblogs set up just to denigrate and spew
hate about him.

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By omygodnotagain, December 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment

He was a great essayist and a wit, but he will be remembered as a bigot and a warmonger.

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By Shenonymous, December 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

So has unreason, even more so.  What else is there?

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By truedigger3, December 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Shenonymous, December 17 at 10:16 am

Shenonymous wrote:
“It is not at all surprising that Christians, Jews, and Islamists alike and Hindus as well, hated Hitchens as he did not discriminate his criticisms
regarding the degree of hideousness these religions over history have forced on their respective cultures besides others.”
———————————————————————

Shenonymous,

I have been a hardcore atheist for more than a half century and I still hated Hitchens.
Most people who hated Hitchens, me included, hated him, not for his atheism, but for his war mongering and ingariating himself to the power-that-be and telling them what they wanted to hear and not the truth which a man with his intellect and knowledge knew very well. For that he was dishonest and a pretnder and hanger-on to power.
What he brought to the table against religion and “God” was nothing new. These issues have been debated and settled hundreds of years ago since the enlightment.
He turned viciously against his friends and other progressive personalities if that suited his interests and gained favour for him with the power-that-be and that showed how unprincipled and blowhard he was.

As few poeple mentioned here before, there is a agood article about Hitchens by Alexander Cockburn in :
http://www.counterpunch.org of yesterday.

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By Foucauldian, December 17, 2011 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

Cult of personality, if anyone asks me, and for no
other reason that the American intellectual, in
contrast with his or her Continental counterpart—
Umberto Eco, Agamben (Italy), Sartre, Camus,
Foucault, Lyotard (France), Heidegger, Gadamer,
Habermas (Germany)—is short on ideas.  Thus, 
Hitchens was the darling of the American Left, just
as William F. Buckley was insofar as our Right was
concerned.  Both shined because of the relative
poverty of thought. 

Not to detract, of course, from Hitchen’s skills as
a first-class polemical writer, but depth and
penetration weren’t his fortes.

As to the power of and faith in Reason, I should
think the postmodernists have a thing or two to say
on the subject—our apparent inability to make
good on its promises in terms of effecting
worldwide liberation from domination.  The Project
Enlightenment, which placed all its bets on Reason,
has thus far proved a miserable failure.

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By Shenonymous, December 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment

Ja, Ja ... Grüße an Deine Frau-ie auch! balkas.  Gute Nacht. Die Figur
war sehr lecker.

We’d better watch out, there are truthdippers who just hate it when
non-Engrish is used on TD.

Auf Wiedersehen

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By balkas, December 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

shenon,
about the solstice? remember i finished last in each of my
two yrs of schooling and the only friend i ever had was a
very old donkey.
when i want s’mthing from my wife, i tell her that story and
her heart melts like ice cream in my mouth. tnx

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By balkas, December 17, 2011 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

ich bin ein merkwurdige freund? ja, ja, meiner frau immer,
mein liebchen!
by the way, have u eaten that fig we talked about? so, its
gone to the factory, is it?  good, good, we have solved the
problem. i knew we wld!
ok, it’s three o’clock and past my bedtime! danke, meine
dame!

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By Shenonymous, December 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

The truth of the fig newtons will have to become self-evident,
balkas.  And I can hear your bloody screaming way up here on
my six high horses!!!!!  Shall we instead, as I always do, wish all
a happy winter solstice as the earth makes its new revolution
around the sun?  I shall have to find some New Age music to
share on the 22nd.

Hier stehe ich, ich kann mir nicht helfen, meine etwas merkwürdig,
aber angenehm Freund.

Did you know… that in spite of the early knowledge about the
comparatively consoling symmetry of the solar system, with its
nonetheless evident tendency to instability and entropy, it upset Sir Isaac
Newton, enough to make him propose that god intervened every now
and then to put the orbits back on an even keel?  And of course Leibniz
teased the hell out of him, which I would say is why Sir Isaac is
considered by some to be divine.  And he had no idea that some day, in
his future, a yummie cookie would be named after him. 

Much mirth and laughter wells up in me that I also cannot help.  I like
the word mirth, someone else used it on another forum, at least I think it
was on another forum????

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By balkas, December 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

shenon,
“unless it is the truth of the fig newton”. i am not sure what u meant by it?
did u mean to say that the fig newton truth
exists apart from thinkers?
or that the fig newton is a mere fig? that one can eat? and thus exists! and
i am in denial of that truth? truth that it actually exists?
[btw, this is the first time i heard of a fig called fig newton}
wld u elucidate us about what was the message u sent us?

btw, i don’t wish anybody a merry christmas—i only wish everybody a
happy and less, much less, a prosperous new year.
because? the planet and me are already screaming bloody murder!
tnx

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By Shenonymous, December 17, 2011 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

Hitting nerves only shows one is still alive.  Not so big a deal as might
be imagined.

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By question, December 17, 2011 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

He was a man, not a “great” man. I’m sorry for you & the millions of others who loved him - he will be sorely missed.  But death doesn’t grant sanctity for him, the atheist, or any other.  I’m glad he’s at peace, I’m grateful for the few things he wrote that I agreed with & the many things he wrote that made me think more deeply than I otherwise would have.  But let’s not sanctify him, or any other, simply because they’ve died.  I will state, in the face of his objection no doubt, God bless him & all those who’ve loved him.

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By Shenonymous, December 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Unless it is the truth of the Fig Newton!!!

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By Oceanna, December 17, 2011 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

@Leefeller

“Death is certain, appears Oceania may have problems with the concept of
certainty? As for having trouble separating Atheists from Fundy Christians, this
indicates something other than trouble!”

I prefer not to be subtle,  and will be direct instead in response to your
distortion of my post.

I think most of the commenters here are smart and discerning enough to go to
back to the posts and commenters that are being attacked to come to their own
conclusions, before they immediately accept someone’s obvious personal attack
on its contents and the commenter.

However, I will post it in its context and reference.  I’m willing to discuss the
corollaries I drew between fundamentalism and atheism, but without your
intentional ad hominem.  I don’t think there was that much subtlety in my
statement on faith. it was clearly not about any uncertainties regarding physical
death—but of the uncertainties of whether a form of consciousness continues
after it or if there is a God; i.e., the unknowables.


“Sometimes I have a hard time separating atheists from fundamentalist
Christians.  Both have a large measure of faith—or insistence in the face of
uncertainty for that which can’t be proven or disproved.  Both proclaim
categorically to know the unknowable. Both are focused exclusively on the
literalism of the bible, with one claiming its infallibility and the other
denouncing it as fraudulent.  Both talk endlessly about God and the bible, much
of it in diatribes.  Both have public figures who promote Islamophobia. “

I obviously hit a nerve, because your reflex to it was to discredit the message
and messenger rather than respond to its content.  I’m not going to canonize
anyone who was an Iraq War cheerleader for the Bush administration, or who
promoted the persecution of Muslims as HItchens did.  I think your issue may
be more with the latter part of my post. 

Which part do you want to discuss?

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By balkas, December 17, 2011 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

can one be an atheist? i say, no! what one does or says about god, is all u’d ever know.
it is that little word “to be” that causes confusion, hatred, intolerance, anger, etc.
so, let’s just describe what hitchens had said and done. and only thereafter accept as valid or invalid
what he had said as to regards to an apodictic truth [desirable- aristotle]
for there is no other truth, but the desirable one; i.e., extant apart from a thinker.
however, the truth that had prevailed over the last 10 k yrs or so is the priestly and noble truth. and
later taken up by litterati and illuminati.

u just don’t pluck a truth like u can pluck a fig. a fig exists whether u see it or not or think of it or not
and whether u believe in its existence or not.
until yesterday i knew almost nothing of what hitchens had said or done.

however, from what i read on this site about what he said, i think he accepted the truth of the personal
supremacists.
and yes, some atheists may accept it as the only truth and also valid for all time. 
and who can prove them wrong? i know i cannot!
tnx

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By Shenonymous, December 17, 2011 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment

Thinking that atheists operate on faith shows a serious
misapprehension, or feigned confusion.  A course in critical
thinking could go a long way in learning how to make distinctions. 
Short of that reading the article at
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/40634/atheism
could only provide some intelligence on the subject.

Atheism is a rejection of religious belief.  Unlike believers who feel
challenged by atheism, most atheists do not dwell either on the
debate about a god or gods existence, unless questioned by
intruding believers.  Nor do hundreds of millions spend any
recordable amount of time worrying about definitions or how
their unbelief is perceived.  By comparison, only a small percentage
of atheists have taken philosophical pains to clarify the atheist position,
either in literary form or in various kinds of public interactions, such as
lectures or interviews.  Agnosticism is often part of the discussion, which
is a different species of non-belief from atheism. 

Agnostics use the aegis of empiricism, that is, of knowledge or its lack of
absolutism to declare that they just don’t know if there is or is not a god. 
Studies has shown atheists and agnostics are just as moral as believers,
but interestingly enough statistical data shows, however, more crimes
are committed by so-called believers.  But atheists don’t make a big deal
about that fact.  And neither do believers, especially since the data is not
in their favor!

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By balkas, December 17, 2011 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

we KNOW [and i’d like to leave the word undefined {it may be even undefinable} and let each person grapple with its
meaning as best s/he can and acknowledging her/his right to do so] that nature [or for those who believe in the unseen
[and probably unseeable for an eternity] entity called god, yahweh, allah, buddha, etc., that these phenomena are dual in
their respective natures.
floods, tornados, droughts, cancer, many diseases, famines, hatred, envy, wars, shame, intolerance, joy, peace, search for
knowledge, human respect of and love for one another prove, we have here on earth a goddevilish life for most biota.

fortunately for us we are part of that same nature; thus, we can choose to lessen or prevent some of the ills that had
befallen us thus far.
however, never if clergy and personal supremacists and their respective supremacisms and infallibilities prevail.

and it is these people who control with iron fist as many as 7bln people and maybe even more; which wld result in business
as usual: hatred of any other ideology, way of life; more exploitation/crimes against the weakest among us, etc.
that’s the nature of the supremacist ideology: deeming any human or animal which falls below an arbitrary standard of
value as a burden on their guardians/teachers/noble thinkers/doers.

and, who knows, goddevil [or nature] may actually want it that way. and i think hitler, mussolini, and the like, if they’d be
alive, wld be elated about what these supremacists do.
so, u can see, why a black person-and a prez, to boot, had—facing the stark choice of being judged by people of value or
that matter—miritoriousness.

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By Leefeller, December 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Oceanna,

“Sometimes I have a hard time separating atheists from fundamentalist Christians.  Both have a large measure of faith—or insistence in the face of uncertainty for that which can’t be proven or disproved.”

Death is certain, appears Oceania may have problems with the concept of certainty? As for having trouble separating Atheists from Fundy Christians, this indicates something other than trouble!

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By Leroy, December 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thanks Hitch, for laying down cover fire for generations of free-thinkers to come.

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By davidg, December 17, 2011 at 11:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Christopher Hitchens was glamorous to the neophyte in his self-indulgent narcissistic self-appointed maverick style, but knowing his chameleon history defames any reputation of value.  Best friends with Paul Wolfowitz—and this is a dissident? Maybe because the PNAC crowd lost their credibility and were unpopular. Kissin’ cousins with Anne Coulter.  I may share his atheism in fact but I do not share his limited undersstanding of the deeper values of mythic narratives.  It was always only about Chris.  May he rest in peace, but his desperate ego will no longer pretend to join any from of real resistance.

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By Oceanna, December 17, 2011 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Sometimes I have a hard time separating atheists from fundamentalist
Christians.  Both have a large measure of faith—or insistence in the face of
uncertainty for that which can’t be proven or disproved.  Both proclaim
categorically to know the unknowable. Both are focused exclusively on the
literalism of the bible, with one claiming its infallibility and the other
denouncing it as fraudulent.  Both talk endlessly about God and the bible, much
of it in diatribes.  Both have public figures who promote Islamophobia. 

If there is any kind of atonement process after death, then Mr. Hitchens would
certainly have a lot of work to do.  His support for the Iraq War and his
Islamophobic crusades may have earned him commemoration and citizenship
by officials in the Bush administration in 2007, but his contribution to the
destruction of a country and the loss of over a million lives would surely follow
him in that case. 

Having communicated that, may he rest in peace.  Or come to rest in peace.

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By Shenonymous, December 17, 2011 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Christopher Hitchens saw his death, faced his death, and accepted
his death the way each well-adjusted human ought to, without fear
and without a shred of expectation of any after death reward or
fantastical everlasting abode, either hellish or heavenish.  It would be
interesting to see if any of his vicious unweaned critics will do the
same at the event of their own deaths.  Ah…well, we can only
speculate. 

We will all rot someday.  And inasmuch as he dismissed a heaven, he
did not worry that any penance would befall him nor that any “essence”
of him would survive his earthly existence.  He gets my applause for
that!

As evidenced on this forum, small minds are unable to perceive what
his contribution to the colloquium about what, if any, value there is
to religion.  As a victim himself of physical malignancy and how it
insidiously pervades the body, he argued that opportunistic religion
equally was a mental malignancy that distorts and distorted over the
millennia human understanding of their mortal condition, and what the
loss of intellectual integrity and pain and suffering it has exacted on the
hundreds of millions of humans. 

I dare say that religion itself will not be so courageous at its own death
as was Hitchens.  Religion everywhere is in its death throes, and gyrating
and manifesting in various ugly ways to grind on.  But as the results of
many public analyses show religion is on its way out of the hegemony it
has had with its alleged invented divine foot on the throats of the many
in whatever form it has taken in modern human populations.  Zuckerman
reports in Atheism: Contemporary Numbers and Patterns, there are
somewhere between 500 million and 750 million non-believers in God
world- wide.  Eventually, according to the six degrees of separation,
they will affect everyone on the planet!  Most likely religion will never
disappear completely as cults seem to have a way of persistence with the
fearful ignorant.  And by that whatever good religion may have had will
also be reduced to footnotes in human history.

His personal experiences with the slaughter and savage indoctrination
of children by the Muslim militia in Uganda Africa soured him on both
Muslims and also on Christian fanatical preachings in Africa as innately
having a deep streak of cruelty.  And he reported it and was threatened,
but that part is always ignored by the cadre of Hitchen Haters as well as
the leftist media. 

It is not at all surprising that Christians, Jews, and Islamists alike and
Hindus as well, hated Hitchens as he did not discriminate his criticisms
regarding the degree of hideousness these religions over history have
forced on their respective cultures besides others.

As possibly one political virtue, third partiers ought to at least give a
courteous nod to his passing as he was a Ralph Nader supporter in the
2000 election.

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