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Comment count is 36
EvilHomer - 2015-02-16

I was planning on writing up a long response to this tonight, but I haven't the time at the moment. So just for right now, I'll leave this here:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/christopher-hitchens-forcibly -removed-from-trailer,165/

dairyqueenlatifah - 2015-02-16

He was one few prominent atheists who didn't give Islam a free pass on their religious insanity.

I really hate that you can't criticize the most violent, homophobic, sexist, racist *religion* on the planet right now without being called a "racist".

misterbuns - 2015-02-16

Take away netflix and walmart and the south would roiling in militant christianist sectarian violence within a year. Semitic religions are all equally xenophobic and warlike. How those ideologies resolve themselves into politics depends on economics.

Iran was pretty liberal before the revolution and they were all muslims.

I think the real enemy here is the market for fossil fuels and the pressure it applies to under developed nations.

EvilHomer - 2015-02-16

Take away Netflix and Trader Joes and the coasts would rolling in militant sectarian violence just as quickly. I say it's neither Islam nor Semitism, but simply the natural order of things.

misterbuns - 2015-02-16

Hm. Islam, Judaism and Christianity are all Semitic religions and they are the ones that lend themselves most easily to genocide and pretty much being awful to everyone. The eastern stuff has to be contorted a lot to be awful.

anyway, i agree.

Bort - 2015-02-16

"I really hate that you can't criticize the most violent, homophobic, sexist, racist *religion* on the planet right now without being called a "racist"."

There is no religion except that which is practiced, so if you are going to attack Islam itself, you are invariably attacking its followers. And if you're going to do that without acknowledging distinctions and variation among individual Muslims, then you're a bigot (NOT a racist).

Here, listen to a better atheist:


kamlem - 2015-02-16

You can criticise the text of Islam all you like and not be bigoted or racist. If followers that agree with the criticised verses, say the prescribed punishment for apostasy for example, are offended, so what?

Bort - 2015-02-16

Except every atheist under the sun knows that the faithful don't even know their Scriptures; it's something atheists typically love to rub the noses of the faithful in. Except when they're trying to "prove" that Muslims are killer robots running the Quran operating system.

I'm all for criticizing those Muslims who are intolerant, misogynistic, etc., provided one at least acknowledges that those criticisms don't apply to all Muslims.

As it works out, my next door neighbors are Muslims, and I encounter a fair number of Muslims in my doings -- as far as I can tell, decent people who want more or less the same things I do. So I am particularly sensitive to painting all Muslims with the same brush; I take offense because it's not fair to the decent Muslims in my life.

SolRo - 2015-02-16

there is practically no one criticizing islam without being a massive bigot in the same breath, and usually they aren't criticizing islam but are just being racist (specifically towards brown people).

a lot of the stuff on the internet quickly devolves into (or just starts as) calls for genocide.

Miss Henson's 6th grade class - 2015-02-16

I get the feeling that most of Islam's "defenders" on the internet aren't so much defending it as attacking the specific way that other internet dwellers are attacking it. If you called Italians a bunch of bloodthirsty savages who were incapable of being civilized and who'd always hated America and who can never be trusted or assimilated, you'd be called a bigot. But the amount of people who are willing to discuss Islam and Muslims in general in these terms today is staggering. Residents of a first world nation should fucking know better. A product of recent history, I suppose, and perhaps understandable, but still worrisome. And Islam has a lot to answer for, and I've spent time in the Middle East. It is a profoundly illiberal place. But that doesn't excuse that kind of talk.

kamlem - 2015-02-16

I work in an industrial factory filled with cleaners and low level operators of Muslim faith. I have travelled through Indonesia, Egypt, Bosnia, Turkey, Serbia, etc. All seem like nice people as long as you are not seen holding your boyfriends hand.

Half a million Muslims now live in Australia, yet this is still the largest Jihad on Australian shores. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Broken_Hill

This is why I tend to focus on criticising religious texts. If a religious person makes a moral claim about their deity, it seems the least problematic way to counter it while avoiding potential xenophobia. If the individual then supports the religious status quo on, say, the penalty for apostasy, then I can make a judgement on that person based on that specifically. If we can agree that quoting from a book does not make something so, then we can be in agreement on that particular subject. It still surprises me how uncommon it is for the latter to happen.

Agreeing with abhorrent item Y in religious text Z still does not make them a bad person outside of that particular belief. I work with many racists and homophobes that would spend a whole weekend helping to fix a coworkers car for a 6 pack of beer, for example. I just don't feel the need to hang out with them.

Potrod - 2015-02-16

The "take away Netflix and walmart" thing doesn't really hold up to me. There are plenty of 3rd world countries that are predominantly catholic, atheist, or whatever; they're not blowing people/themselves up in the name of religion.

I'm sure there are a million factors that complicate it way beyond that.

Gmork - 2015-02-16

It's the whole divine mandate for murder that I have a problem with. The Muslims who are also good people happen to be bad practicing Muslims, as interpreted by their own holy book. Their rules, not mine.

yogarfield - 2015-02-17

So if it weren't for creature comforts, we'd all be cavemen?

Bort - 2015-02-17

Miss Henson's 6th grade class gets it. And I tend to think that at least half of Islam -- the female half -- wouldn't be heartbroken to see at least some reforms.

Gmork: no, they become YOUR rules when you start trying to tell Muslims how to interpret and practice their faith. Rules that were practical and vital in one setting may not be applicable or even workable in another; just because Mohammed led armies doesn't mean every Muslim today should aspire to war.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2015-02-17

60% of Muslims in Great Britain think that homosexuality should be an illegal offense. They comprise 2% of the population and are responsible for 25% of the physical attacks against gays in that country.

So as a gay man I just want to say, I don't want them coming here and I have no good reason to want that.

Spaceman Africa - 2015-02-17

where do you get that statistic? because I see that spouted a lot by the "Creeping shariah" type but its always a different number

baleen - 2015-02-17

ROUS, you should watch an Egyptian film called Jacobian House (or Yacoubian as it's spelled sometimes I think). It is the top grossing film in Egyptian history and has a distinctly (but some completely sympathetic and kind of offensive) Mid-Eastern take on homosexuality.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2015-02-17

That's nice and all baleen, but Egypt has also conducted raids on various gay establishments for decades and arrested offending homosexuals. It's illegal there. They have also made it an offense to put up gay profiles on online dating sites. Also over 80% of people polled believe in death for apostasy.


https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/pew-report -on-muslim-world-paints-a-distressing-picture/

http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Persecution_of_Homosexuals_(United_K ingdom)

The last one is a fun read...

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2015-02-17

page 47 for the poll on gays

http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/images/publications/living%20 apart%20together%20-%20jan%2007.pdf

Spaceman Africa - 2015-02-17

you linked to a poll from a right-wing think tank, the WikiIslam link is better, but I'm still unconvinced that a roving army of muslims is gonna come into your town and lynch you

yogarfield - 2015-02-18


Spaceman Africa - 2015-02-16

boy did Hitchens really fall off after 9/11

Spaceman Africa - 2015-02-16

This is the same guy who tore Kissinger and Nixon apart for imperialist policies, then decided to ride the whole Middle East interventionist campaign that Republicans were all for.

simon666 - 2015-02-16

Say more. You've quite yet made a point.

Spaceman Africa - 2015-02-16

What I mean is Hitchens was all too happy to jump on a neo-conservative narrative despite being an apparent Marxist and anti-imperialist. I don't know how he didn't have crippling cognitive dissonance.

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2015-02-16

Are you saying Hitchens' implosion was an inside job?

EvilHomer - 2015-02-17

Mr Spaceman - Hitch stopped being a Marxist ages ago, well before Iraq if I remember correctly. And a cynic might point out that being an "anti-imperialist" has never actually meant being an anti-*imperialist*. The anti-imperialist narrative was largely the product of the Soviet intelligentsia, and was concerned, not with opposing ALL wars of aggression (coercion is an intrinsic virtue within most "leftist" systems, Marxist-Leninism in particular), but merely those set of wars which principally benefited the traditional Western power structure (however said power structure might have been defined at the moment). For example, it was "imperialist" to support the US defense of South Vietnam, but "not imperialist" to support either the revolt against French colonial rule or the Soviet-armed invasion by the North. Hitch's arguments in favor of the Obama-Bush-Clinton Wars were consistent with his principles - these wars benefited "the Native" and "the Atheist", not "the West" - and his support for them was thus hardly dissonant... or at least, no more dissonant than your average arguments put forth by any given politically-inclined, public intellectual.

Besides, even if his position on OBC were truly at odds with his previous positions on Kissinger, 'nam, Indonesia et al, would it really matter? People grow. Opinions change. It is his prerogative to rethink earlier arguments and either uphold or reject them as he gathers new experience and new information; Hitchens was not Chomsky.

baleen - 2015-02-17

"What I mean is Hitchens was all too happy to jump on a neo-conservative narrative despite being an apparent Marxist and anti-imperialist. I don't know how he didn't have crippling cognitive dissonance."

I was a mega-fan of Hitchens in college, and when he jumped onto the neocon circus, turning away from The Nation as a magazine of "pseudo-intellectual masochists," I tried to grapple with it by swallowing my pride and reading his essays. Over on Hitchens Web, you can read pretty much everything he's ever written about anything in essay format.

Hitchens describes his decision to join GWB's "War on Terror" as a revelation he had on a Kurdish jeep leading up to the war. They were flying flags of George Bush Jr.'s face. He noted how self-aware he felt, and how strange all his liberal friends would feel about seeing photos of him riding around in these things. He asked one of the Kurds why they flew the flag, and the man answered, "If it were not for him, we'd all be dead."

I can't really imagine the cognitive dissonance and difficulty I'd have in trying to digest that information as a Marxist lifelong combatant against... fascism. He would constantly cite examples of leftists in history who volunteered their lives to fight fascists, and didn't see a difference between a leftist fight against Nazi-inspired Baathism and the grassroots lefty war against the Franco takeover of Spain. Hitchens was actually pretty prescient. Liberals are far less likely to criticize Obama for intervening against ISIS.

That being said, he played both sides and made millions in the process.
He was a master of perfectly crafted casuistry and debate, which is the part of him that I loved to watch. Years after the war started, he had plenty of bad things to say about Bush and what was happening in Iraq, how they squandered opportunity to change the country and so on. But by then, the world had grown tired of hearing about it.

Bort - 2015-02-16

So about those British schools that had to change "The Three Little Pigs" to appease the Muslim community ... what Hitch doesn't feel like mentioning is 1) they voluntarily did it as a gesture to Muslim students, and 2) the Muslim communities told them there was no need, since it's not like Muslims are afraid of pigs or are offended by stories about them.

Unlike Hitchens, I'm going to back it up:


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-442555/Church-school-r enames-Three-Little-Pigs-avoid-offending-Muslims.html

Yeah, it's kind of ninnified, but it's a case of ninnification where everyone got along, rather than Muslims taking over like Hitchens would have you believe.

Hooker - 2015-02-16

Say what you will about the man, but the upper-class snob blowhard delivery is always spot-on. You have to respect a performer's dedication to the character.

StanleyPain - 2015-02-16

I love Hitchens, but if you want to read and/or listen to someone even more devastatingly honest and refreshing about Islam, look into Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Some of you may know the name because she is, naturally, bandied about as an "Islamophobe" in the media, despite the fact she herself was raised as Muslim and worked for years trying to help integrate Muslims into Dutch society. She was friends with Theo Van Gogh (who is mentioned here) and helped him make the film for which he, and many other people, have been murdered. Like Salman Rushdie and many others, she must live with continual protection because of the threats on her life, which are credible, and this fact is always dismissed, of course, with the usual "not all Muslims" nonsense.
The media love portraying her as this horrible, cold, witch who just wants to rain death and destruction down on Muslims (because Muslims are a poor, huddled minority who need our protections), but her book Infidel is probably one of the most heart-wrenching outpourings of emotions towards Muslims and how she feels they have been so wrong by their own culture and surroundings. Love and tenderness is found in volumes in her writing, none of which you ever hear...just the quote mines about how "We are at war with Islam" (which is not quite what she said). As far as I'm concerned, as much as I think Hitchens was a great voice of reason when it came to this liberal defense of Islam at any cost bullshit, Ali is really the one who has spoken much more from the heart and from personal experience.

Nominal - 2015-02-16

You just will not stop with that mocking "not all Muslims" jab, will you?

You have this obsession with painting everything you don't like as some blanket organized conspiracy. Muslims? Men? Gamers? THEY'RE ALL THE SAME!

kingarthur - 2015-02-16

What an asshole. Five stars.

Miss Henson's 6th grade class - 2015-02-16

He heard their position on alcohol and declared war. Also: fuck this guy.

Chocolate Jesus - 2015-02-16

Don't tell me who not to bow to, jerk.

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