Senate The Theist/Atheist Thunderdome™...

Discussion in 'Community' started by harpua, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Do you have any inkling of how insane it is to "welcome total war?" You should also realize that the group he was targeting was manifestly broader than the one you identified. There was already an aggressive military campaign against Al-Qaeda and affiliate groups when he was predicting a future confrontation. It also gives some disturbing overtones to the fact that he tied his support for the invasion of Iraq--unseating a secular dictator in a country that previously had no firm presence of militant radicals--into this framework. It sounds very much like he was welcoming the use of force against people who weren't actually trying to fight.
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  2. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    I love this thread. It's a reason to wake up in the morning.
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  3. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Interesting selection you've made to respond to. I'm more of a pacifist than Hitch. You should read his work though, you'd realise how silly your regurgitated anti-intellectual criticisms of him seem to those who have...

    I'm not sure what point you're trying to make when you say 'There was already an aggressive military campaign'. As if this gives credibility to some point you think you're making. Yes, while Iraq and Afghanistan were under way he predicted a clash of civilisations between the ideologies of rationalism, liberation and the Christian enlightenment on one side, and the forces of Islamist theocracy on the other.

    He wasn't a pacifist, and I doubt you're a 100% moral pacifist either. If so, fair play to you, but you'll have to concede a lot of moral authority if you're trying to demonise Hitchens for his support of civil rights, equality, freedom, liberty, and all that other good stuff via armed conflict. He was a Marxist, after all. Conflating his stance on regime change in Iraq with the lies and deception used by the neocons to justify their war before the UN and global media is a bit silly, which you'd realise if you actually knew what you were talking about.

    Your summary of Iraq with its 'secular dictator' and 'no firm presence of militant radicals' is capturing something of a soft focused image of a country torn apart by war, genocides, mass killings, ethnic cleansing, and governed by militant ****ing radicals. He squandered all the aid money for his starving population on tasteless palaces and defacing the ancient city of Babylon to praise his own name. He was a corrupt, sadistic **** who used religion, nationalism and racism to divide his citizens and to win their support.

    I'm not a supporter of Bush & Blair's wars, I marched and campaigned against both of them, but I concede many points to Hitch. I concede nothing to the neocons and their illegal war, I do not defend what we did there, I do not defend Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition or torture (you might want to read and watch what Hitchens had to say on those subjects too).
    Goodwood likes this.
  4. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    I'd say that's quite a thorough smackdown.

    So @Jabba-wocky, the ball is now in your court. Do some honest research for once, try to get into the head of the person you seek to discredit, and see if he's really the monster you make him out to be. Take a chance, you may end up agreeing with him on a lot of things.
  5. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6

    [IMG]
  6. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    I told an Internet friend of mine, a guy who was a Marine and now works in corrections, about this guy who proudly claims to be a geocentricist...and found out to my surprise that he's just as bad. He actually defended Ham in the Nye/Ham debate, and said that yes, there is a difference between "historical science" (lol) and observational science. The only thing worse than that above poster is using an ignorance of science to debate science.

    Faith in Humanity: -3
    Last edited by Goodwood, Mar 28, 2014
  7. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    What is "historical science?" That's a new phrase to me.

    I've heard people advocate that as well and it's a compelling idea. There are certainly areas it could be applied to, even if it wouldn't work across the board. Student loans, for one. I haven't researched all the ideas contained in the modern economic idea to say I straight up support the idea, but it has a very visceral emotional appeal, the jubilee. Any discussion is purely academic, unfortunately.
    Last edited by Rogue1-and-a-half, Mar 28, 2014
  8. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    It's basically Ken Ham's excuse for why we can't find ANY evidence for the Great Flood. He wouldn't stop banging on about it in the Nye/Ham debate.
  9. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    graeber's work is on the cultural history of debt so when he references the traditional jewish and medieval christian jubilees in regard to the present scenario, he's doing exactly that -- being academic. but yes, the mobilization, rioting, civil disobediance, etc you'd need to force a jubilee scenario on the global markets and "reset" the system would probably be larger and more broad-based than what you'd need to just kick-start an international socialist revolution and eliminate the problem entirely. graeber is an anti-capitalist so im sure he'd prefer that option anyways

    his book "Debt: The First 5000 Years" is written for a general audience and is pretty interesting/mindbending. readddd it
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, Mar 28, 2014
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  10. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Allow me to relieve you of your confusion. You said that his objection was only to groups like Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Al-Shabbab. If that's the case, why was he using the future tense? He could've just pointed out we were already fighting them in the present. For instance, when Frederick Douglass talked about the use of force to end slavery during the Civil War, he didn't say there would "some day" be a war over the issue. He correctly described the current war between the North and the South as the one he was talking about to resolve the issue. Or again, Vladimir Putin hasn't gotten up to predict that some day in the future Russia would go into Ukraine to protect Russian-speaking civilians. He uses the present tense, because the goals he claims to have are what is actually happening.

    So what's going on with Hitchens? If his point is that there will one day be a war with Al-Qaeda, why isn't he using the present tense? There had been a war with Al-Qaeda for over half a decade by the time he gave this speech. The only reason to use the future tense is if the current conflict is not the one he was talking about. That means he had to have more people in mind than the groups you made. Who are they?I see two possibilities:

    1. Hitchens thinks there needs to be wars against other Islamic entities besides the subset we currently target, which have to be both radicalized, armed, and engaged in terrorist activity.

    2. Hitchens thought that there was going to be some sort of more radical dividing along the lines of the existing conflict, so that perhaps the ranks of Al-Qaeda (etc) would swell.

    The second possibility was just historically untrue by 2007, when this speech was given. Popular support for Al-Qaeda was declining among Muslims, not increasing. Nor was the other side getting more radicalized either. His prediction simply wasn't panning out, and it was a pretty stupid one to have made. Alternatively, you can assume he was implying the first possibility: there were other people Hitchens wanted to target. But the critical question is, who? Given that the US was already targeting essentially any group that was ready to use force, I don't see how there's any possibility of answering this question in a good way.

    Thank you, George Bush. But for clarity, I didn't bring this up to debate the War in Iraq. I mentioned it because Hitchens himself did, and I mentioned it in the same terms Hitchens himself did. Please refer to Ender Sigh's video.

    I didn't say that. He did. He never mentioned Saddam, or genocide, or abusing international aid. He went directly from talking about the need to resist Islamic fundamentalism to saying that the way one does that is by supporting the Iraq War. Failure to support it is being "terribly neutral." He defined it as a religious war. Indeed, the religious war, since apparently civilization itself was at stake. That is an insane and wholly ahistorical interpretation of what the Iraq War was ever about. Two points here. One, it is shockingly crude and ill-informed to paint the conflict in these terms. Certainly no hint of the intellect you were lionizing. Two, if he was really only concerned with targeting Al-Qaeda, why does that lead him to saying that the single most important conflict theater is a country where: A)the group didn't exist prior to the American invasion and B) it's subsequently established offshoot was already in sharp decline. Wouldn't he have picked somewhere they were actually more of a problem? The fact that he didn't suggests his focus was never solely on these sorts of groups at all.

    In conclusion, at multiple points one can readily discern that there was a much broader body of Muslims Hitchens was eager to use force against than the ones you cited. This is deeply disturbing, because whoever these others were, they pretty manifestly weren't trying to use force against him. You're right I'm not a total pacifist, but I very much look askance at the idea of being eager to kill people unprovoked.
    Last edited by Jabba-wocky, Mar 28, 2014
  11. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Is anyone here familiar with the so-called Volcano Theory Hypothesis as to how koalas and kangaroos got to Australia after the "flood"?

    EDIT: Apparently @Jabba-wocky was absent the day the Basic Philosophy professor lectured on the charity principle.
    Last edited by Goodwood, Mar 28, 2014
  12. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    I wouldn't even call it a hypothesis. Idea, delusion, fantasy, but not hypothesis.
    KED12345 likes this.
  13. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    There are seashells on top of Mount Everest, you know.




    :p
  14. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Wock - your arguments are as pointless as they are ridiculous, given that you don't really know what you're talking about.

    If you want to discuss Hitchens, read Hitchens and try to understand what his point is. If you just want to seem like a really dull ****-****-troll, keep going. I'm not going to offer you any more help.
  15. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Wocky

    Since you've clearly neither listened to the speech I posted for you nor bothered to read the links I posted or do some research of your own.

    Do you concur your position on HItchens is formulated by adding wild doses of assumption, ignorance and supposition and could be entirely without factual merit?
  16. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    @V-2 I'm uninterested in the genocide thing, but how was Hitchens a Marxist? Wikipedia says he was one in his teens but had completely disavowed it long before his death. The man coveted U.S. citizenship, for God's sake.
  17. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    actually last i checked he never disavowed "marxism" at all. in fact i can think of several post-9/11 public declarations of his own marxism. he always used "trotskyite" in the past tense, but he still considered himself a "marxist". but it was his own personal definition of "marxism" which appears to refer more to a fondness for historical materialism and a sort of ideological nostalgia than any political allegiance or agenda. his insistance on declaring himself a "marxist" long after he threw his energies into promoting a neoconservative agenda is part of the reason he ticks off actual leftists so much. richard seymour's unhitched: the trial of christopher hitchens places this odd conciet of hitchens in context with a long line of such claims. the man was an avowed contrarian, and part of what made him compelling is his ability to ever reinvent himself and position himself as "refreshingly unique" while still in line with whatever ideological thought was en vogue in his current context. this is why he was such a successful public intellectual

    EDIT: changed "makes" to "made" him compelling because as much as i still harbor some residual nostalgia for the man and his style (he was, afterall, a professional troll of the highest order and an inspiration to me personally as such) and as successful as his strategies for standing out were in allowing him limelight during his lifetime, i doubt he has much staying power in the collective imagination now that he's not around to shift, chameleon-like, his persona, to fit the vacillations and fashions of the political scene.
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, Mar 29, 2014
  18. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Ahh, yeah, I came across stuff about his weird relationship with Marxism after I made that post.
  19. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    i would actually recommend reading some of his work/listening to some of his public debates (the one with his idiot brother is particularly fun) if only because he was a wonderful writer and rhetoretician and should be studied & enjoyed in that regard. his polemical style is particularly enjoyable in his book-length burns of mother teresa, bill clinton, and henry kissinger (all of whom are indeed despicable on some level). then read seymour for a good summary of hitchens' career from a left-perspective, in case you, somehow, find yourself taking onboard his positions wholesale. though i have yet to meet someone who has, because as fun as it is to follow his masterful loops and barrel rolls of rhetoric and his exquisite, scurrilous burns, the result is always too tangled to leave you agreeing with him unless you already agreed with him to begin with, and even then for most people in most arguements this was in an "enemy of my enemy is my friend" sort of way and not because they agreed with his reasoning, which was usually rather obscure to the thought-processes of most people. his fans fall into two categories: either they love a good burn on principal (like me) or hitchens frequently skewered one or more of their ideological enemies (and he was so prolific and contrarian that this is true for most people) and they enjoyed cheering him on in those scenarios, before tuning out as he did an about-face and skewered them and theirs.
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, Mar 29, 2014
  20. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Also worth noting, for the billionth time - actual neoconservatives are all former liberals or leftists.
  21. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9

    I fall in the middle -- where I liked both of those (for sure) but I still wanted to read his stuff I didn't agree with because I like how he wrote it, even if I disagreed with it.
  22. V-2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 10, 2012
    star 4
    Yeah his followers and fans don't really fall into those two categories.

    He certainly self identified as Marxist right until the end, regularly employed the logic and reason of Marxism to his writing and debating (while attempting to avoid Marxist clichés, of course), and he spent much of his career championing the victims of those who hold illegitimate power over them.
  23. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    @Ender Sai: I haven't made it all the way through the video yet, which is why I have not made any global commentary on it. I've also not reiterated the claim of "genocide" that I received second hand. What I did say I can confirm. I did read your links, though I wasn't particularly impressed with them. Unsurprisingly, people respond to things differently, and the fact that I wasn't persuaded by an argument that you found convincing doesn't mean much beyond the fact that we are different people.

    Ultimately, we can still talk about a couple of issues though. Hitchens hews towards rather apocalyptic language that I don't think factual analysis really supports. He had--as demonstrated by my quote, among other things--a strange affection for war that wasn't always coherent in light of his other positions.

    Your main form of argument against this until now (and to much greater extent, V-2 and Goodwood's) is to tell me why he "couldn't" be saying the plain meaning of his words, because of some other arguably positive but frankly unrelated position he holds. This is poor logic. In an ideal world, it would hold. But people are people, and sometimes they are inconsistent. That he is insightful in some things does not mean his position on the Iraq War is as well-reasoned. Because he is clear-eyed on one issue does not mean he is equally rational about all of them. Each particular position deserves a defense in its own right. In any case, do what you will from here.
  24. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7

    that's just being in the first category
  25. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    I'm the kind of person who appreciates a good burn made in earnest even if I happen to fit the category being mocked—if one is honest with oneself, one can admit that an outsider's perspective can offer insight into the things one holds dear. Such things can lead to change that has a positive overall effect, or at least an affirmation of one's viewpoint based on something more than, as potholer54 has referred to it, "the feelies."

    Hitchens, like Carlin, was good for that sort of thing, and humanity is better off for them having lived.