Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Christopher Hitchens and World Peace

Christopher Hitchens is a cool guy. He's intelligent, well-spoken, and uses those characteristics to great effect. He's damned good at speaking his mind. For example, he has to be the only guest on the Bill Maher show who insults and flips off the audience.

He's a vociferous antitheist (in his view, someone who is actively happy that God doesn't exist), and speaks on the subject frequently. I agree with him. He's also very political and has been an on-again-off-again libertarian/socialist/Marxist. I disagree with almost everything he says, here.

Basically, he's all for an invasion of Iran, was a big supported for the Iraq war, and I assume was actively shooting people in Afghanistan. He also does something that any self-respecting intellectual must be loathe in doing: he takes a moral stance.

Morals are very difficult. Even though it's apparent, now, that Iraq wasn't a threat, that doesn't matter. The Iraq invasion was a righteous one. And the Iran invasion would be righteous for the same reason.

A frequent counter to Iraq was "well, why Iraq? Why not every other country we don't like?" Well, Hitchens isn't afraid to say "You're right," and advocate invading all those countries. If a country is evil, and we have the power to destroy it, we should. I have huge issues with that statement.

One, it goes against his arguments against religion. He finds religion detestable because he says that priests, and churches, and God, and everything doesn't have the right to tell you what's right and wrong. It's arrogant and impossible, yet he is doing that vis-a-vis other countries. Iran is bad and we're good, so off goes their head.

I agree that Iran sucks, but it is not our moral imperative and to argue otherwise is dangerously arrogant. If it is, we become the police of the world, fighting injustice as we see it wherever man doth trod. Shouldn't we be more concerned with the injustices inherent in our own society? What about rampant sexism and racism? What about no universal health care? What about homeless people dying on the streets? What about a government who taxes us like hell and gives us little, or crumblinng bridges, the military-industrial complex, traffic light cameras, copyright law, rapists on the street, and hot dogs in packages of eight and buns in packages of ten?

And, importantly, if we assume that it's not our moral imperative, and he himself admits that it's not our practical imperative (they are not a direct threat), I do not want to put our lives on the line to liberate them! I wouldn't go over there, and I certainly don't want to send soldiers that are better served in other places fighting real threats.

An Interview with Christopher Hitchens, Part II (

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