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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Hitch Is Dead. Long Live The Hitch

I am unapologetic apologist for Christopher Hitchens. Most folk don't understand his profound atheism and its effect on his political views. Hitchens saw the Arab world and its Salafic Islamic theocratic world view as the most intense threat to all things Hitch held dear. Even more of a menace than the Church of Rome, communist totalitarianism or American fundamentalism. The West has had its religious wars over and over again to the point where few are willing to revisit that historical nightmare. Islam has yet to have its hundreds year war, English Civil War, Reformation Wars or inquisition. We have had our wars of imperialism and ideology and learned from our mistakes. An accident of geology parked a large part of the essential and easy to extract resource, petroleum, under their sands. Hitchens bought the Bush idea that a free and democratic Iraq would spread like wildfire through Islam and tame the beast. Apparently we did it wrong. Perhaps we did it right in Libya, but the votes haven't been counted yet.

The part of the Christopher Hitchens story I regret is his fight with another essayist who I respect almost as much, Alexander Cockburn. Cockburn is a bit too understanding of proletarian totalitarianism for my tastes. Even though he misread history or culture led him to support a war that cost a lot of lives and about a trillion dollars I still love Hitchins because he gave us atheists an articulate, take no prisoners voice.

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