I just watched this video of Salman Rushie, Mos Def and Christopher Hitchens debating nuclear disarmament on Real Time with Bill Maher, and I feel like vomiting.
People like Christopher Hitchens are the reason that the future of humanity is looking increasingly dire. That condenscending, racist snobs like Hitchens have highjacked the legacy of the Enlightenment and turned it into an excuse for their hatred of Islam is both personally depressing and politically catastrophic.
Hitchens may warn us of the evil Muslim masterminds that will destroy the world with their nuclear weapons, but he chose to ally himself with Christian fanatics who caused the deaths of over a million people in their conquests of Iraq and Afghanistan. He claims that Afghanistan had to be saved from the Taliban, but how have things gotten better there thanks to his war? He claims Iraq had to be freed from Saddam’s dictatorship, but conventiently forgets that thanks to this wonderful intervention, Iraq is now a theocratic state engaged in civil war. And the ideals of the Enlightenment he is so hot about? The ideals Tom Paine, whom he claims to admire, fought for? They’ve been trampled into the ground in the name of combating terrorism.
And in the debate about nuclear weapons, the one argument he fails to answer is this: why is it wrong for Iran to have them if the United States and other nations can have them? He (and Rushdie) claim that Iran is the only country that wants them in order to use them – which is an obvious and painfully idiotic lie. Not that the Iranian government is incapable of idiocy and fanaticism, but how can Hitchens ignore the lunatics both in the United States and in Israel who so regularly scream nuke them? (Or similar lunatics in India, for that matter?) How can he ignore the fact that only a single country in the history of mankind has actually used these weapons in a war, and against the civilian population at that? (And the name of that country was not Iran.)
He can ignore these facts because it’s convenient, because applying the principles of logic to everyone would lead to different, more complex results. Because it would force him to explain the current political situation in terms that involve more than just The Great Evil of Religion, but would also include history, economics and – most importantly – self-criticism.
Until people on the left stop admiring racists and fanatics like Hitchens just because they happen to be atheists, we’re not going to get anywhere.