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Peter Hitchens (born 1951) is an author and columnist for the British anti-immigrant tabloid, the Mail on Sunday. He is known for being a strong traditional conservative to the point where even the British Conservative Party (and particularly David Cameron) is considered too progressive, even going as far as to put them on the same level as the Socialist Workers Party. He is dismissive of UKIP, frequently denouncing them as a Dad's Army. He is the brother of noted atheist and skeptic Christopher Hitchens.
Ironically, Hitchens started his life (or at least his university life) as a member of the Trotskyist International Socialists, a forerunner of the Socialist Workers Party, saying that he "thought Marxism-Leninism had the answers to the problems of the world". He allegedly turned up late to a lecture declaring, "Sorry I'm late: I've been starting the revolution!" He is a great example of the quote "If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain," even if a great many of conservative utterances put the second conclusion in doubt. Hitchens became disillusioned with the left after visiting Warsaw Pact countries in the early 1980s as a journalist, and finding what he saw at odds with what he was told as a member of the Labour Party. He is also the brother of the late post-Trotskyist Christopher Hitchens, who was well known for his outspoken atheism (effectively disowning his brother, for a time), though politically they're more alike than not.
Some of Peter's pet hates are:
- Sex education and the teachers thereof: "State groomers are as bad as paedophiles" was the title of an October 2008 article. He also claims that it is the source of the "sexualisation of children," and has hinted that anyone who disagrees with that conclusion is effectively a paedophile.
- Birth control.
- All politicians.
- Liberals and Leftists: "Every so often our new Marxoid ruling class make an exciting discovery. There's a long way to go (probably too long) before these smug, dogmatic dimwits realise that conservatives were right all along about everything. But we must always welcome even the smallest glint of intelligence among such unfortunate, delusional people."
- Unusually for a conservative, Margaret Thatcher, which means that, if he were an American, he may trash *gasp* Saint Reagan.
- Nelson Mandela-, Barack Obama- and Princess Diana-worship, the latter two being "cults [...] bereft of reason and hostile to facts" (Obama, he claims, is "the obedient servant of one of the most squalid and unshakeable political machines in America," as evidenced by "his sordid associates, his cowardly voting record, his astonishingly militant commitment to unrestricted abortion and his blundering trip to Africa.")
- The BBC (in fact television in general).
- Unlike most modern conservatives (who tend to pick and choose, and usually reserve out-and-out condemnation for hip-hop and forms influenced by it), all pop and rock music, in totality. He even implicated Engelbert Humperdinck in the Great Moral Decline of the 1960s. Many Mail readers who agree with most of his other views are out of sympathy with Hitchens on these issues. Ironically, though, many leftists would also sense the continuum he senses (which Richard Littlejohn and Jeremy Clarkson don't sense) between Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones and the modern British working-class appropriation of hip-hop - the difference, of course, is that they'd see it as a good thing.
- The loss of the British Empire.
- "Green" issues.
- Islam and Islamification.
- Secularism and secularisation.
- The British penal system.
- Anything else he can blame on the Left: "In Soviet Britain [for example],
television watches YOU!"roadworks now seem to take five times as long as they used to. And when you come back to the country from abroad, it always takes ages to open the aircraft doors, which other countries manage in seconds. Does anyone know why these particular things have got worse?"
- Calls for nuclear disarmament.
- For a long time, his brother (after a misunderstanding over a Marxist joke).
- Stephen Fry
- People who are smiling (?)
- Neoliberalism (no, seriously! He's even defended Jeremy Corbyn, although only to an extent)
- The metric system.
- Decimalised currency.
- The Good Friday Agreement
- Drugs, and the concept of addiction itself
“”The left's real interests are moral, cultural, sexual and social. They lead to a powerful state. This is not because they actively set out to achieve one. It is because the left's ideas – by their nature – undermine conscience, self-restraint, deferred gratification, lifelong marriage and strong, indivisible families headed by authoritative fathers.
In a November 2007 column for The Mail on Sunday, Hitchens said that women who are raped should be denied anonymity, that he did not believe all "events now often depicted as 'rapes'" are "in fact rapes at all" and that many of these involved "men and women who have been engaged in a sexual relationship for some time" or who were "not specially chaste in their personal lives."
In his column he has also expressed his view that a woman's place is in the home; that women should not have access to contraception such as the pill; that women should not have premarital sex and that women should not have the right to an abortion.
In September 2008, he accused the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron, of using "cheap tricks" by "exploiting" his disabled son Ivan, who suffered from cerebral palsy and a form of severe epilepsy and who later died, in order to "make us like him." In the same column, he dismissed ADHD as a "cult" with "no proof."
In a January 2009 column, Hitchens revealed that he does not believe that poverty exists in the United Kingdom, but that it is a left-wing lie and that people in poverty suffer from "moral poverty" and are being punished because there is "an almost total absence of good examples in their lives" whilst the middle class are "better off because they are good." In the same column he also supported an MP who called dyslexia a "lie," branding the belief in it a "cult" and anyone who suffers from it "the result of a colossal failure by our schools."
In February 2009, he again espoused his view that homosexuality is something that should be kept "in the bedroom." People are being "forced to say that we think homosexuality is a good thing, that homosexual couples are equal" and Hitchens does not believe "homosexual couples are just as good at bringing up children as the children's own grandparents." In his view, Britons are now "the subjects of some insane, sex-obsessed Stalinist state, compelled to wave our little rainbow flags as the 'Gay Pride' parade passes by." So, yeah, he's a homophobe. This actually makes his brother Christopher seem mild in comparison...
Hitchens has done much to fan the flames of vaccine hysteria, at one point ending every column for several months counting out the number of weeks that Gordon Brown (or was it Tony Blair? Or was it both?) had refused to tell him whether or not their children had received the MMR vaccine. Unbelievably, he still believes he was justified in taking Andrew Wakefield seriously and has spent much time in 2013 trying to justify himself on this front, without a moment's embarrassment or shame. On 29 September 2013, he came up with another not as bad as justification for Wakefield's scaremongering, in a column which generally resembled a grotesque self-parody; hysterical paranoia about the metric system and a smug, supercilious "joke" about Wales. He is right about the Blairites preferring David Cameron over the less neoliberal Ed Miliband, though.
Though rarely expressed in so many words, he has often shown a tendency to regard rural England (in which only a minority of the population has lived since the great expansion of the 19th Century) as inherently more English than urban England (even though England was the world leader in mass urbanisation). This probably has little to do with active racism; denying the Englishness of urban England is a historic tendency in English culture, as old as industrialisation itself, and probably the biggest reason why the Industrial Revolution was not followed by a complete constitutional revolution. The bias is deep-rooted and predates post-1945 immigration (which, with the partial exception of post-2004 Eastern European migration, has mainly affected the urban areas); while the immigration undoubtedly gave it a new lease of life in certain circles, it did not create it, and Hitchens appears to be more a romantic dreamer of a misty past than an active supporter of ethnic cleansing. It is however probable that he puts his "rural England more English than urban England" belief in code to avoid being accused of racism, though a case can be made against the view for other reasons; even if it isn't racist, there are different reasons why it is flawed and dubious.
In full stopped clock mode, he did oppose the Iraq war. He also claims to be a "a lifelong trade unionist" who "favour[s] nationalisation of industry where it makes sense", especially the renationalisation of British railways, and has said that "While I’m not in favour of abandoning all nuclear weapons, I think Trident an absurdly elaborate and extravagant system."
Hitchens has written and published several books. Some of them have pretty scary blurbs.
- The Rage Against God
- "An autobiographical and spiritual journey from atheism to faith in God through the power of reasoning. It states that faith is the best antidote to utopianism, encouraging men and women to act in the belief that there is a God and an ordered, purposeful universe, governed by an unalterable law."
- The Cameron Delusion
- "The struggle between the main political parties has been reduced to an unpopularity contest, in which voters hold their noses and sigh as they trudge to the polls. The author explains how and why British politics has sunk to this dreary level. He also examines the Tory Party's record in government and opposition."
- Abolition of Britain
- "Identifies various things that the author feels have gone wrong with Britain since the Second World War and makes the case for the 'many millions who feel that they have become foreigners in their own land and wish with each succeeding day that they could turn the clock back."
- Abolition of Liberty
- "In this volume Peter Hitchens argues that the time has come to re-examine the criminal justice system root and branch - to cope with rising levels of violent crime, and to restore public faith in society's ability to defend itself."
- "[W]e do not have a proper conservative party", he has written, "we only have the useless Mr. Cameron" (If only The Committee of Unintended Consequences had been able to grill Blair).
- 'The UK is finished' – Owen Jones meets Peter Hitchens via Owen Jones' YouTube channel.
- General post, Mail on Sunday blog, 12 April 2010
- This is just about the only university anecdote Greg Dyke seems to have.
- How long until we abort the old too?, Daily Mail, 18 July 2009
- We show tolerance to 'gays' and get tyranny in return, Daily Mail, 31 January 2009. To be fair, though, he has upbraided Fidel Castro as "a monster" for (among many other crimes) his long-standing persecution of gay people, although he has still, y'know, compared gay rights activists to wild-eyed, depraved Stalinists in the top column, so yeah, still a homophobe.
- "State groomers are as bad as paedophiles - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
- BBC News - Peter Hitchens: Sex education causes teenage pregnancy (and a suitably brilliant smack down by David Dimbleby).
- Condoms, pills ... but how about restraint?, Daily Mail, 29 March 2009
- Paddington Green nick, that's where our bleating MPs belong, Daily Mail, 7 December 2008
- Our political parties are corpses and democracy as we used to know it is quite dead, Daily Mail, 20 September 2008
- He has described the National Family and Parenting Institute, which champions the cause of fatherless households, as "[t]his horrid anti-marriage 'Institute'" and "this ultra-feminist coven."
- "NO! The most important word that a child will ever hear - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
- He has said that he feels regret for falling "for the great Thatcher-Reagan promise".
- "PETER HITCHENS: The night we waved goodbye to America...our last best hope on Earth". Mail Online. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
- Why should we have to pay for 'stars' who spit in our faces?, Daily Mail, 04 November 2008
- Pop goes the Monarchy - the Queen listened to Paul McCartney and I heard the end of the Royal Family, Mail on Sunday, 10 June 2012. This piece shows a belief that a pop-dominated society and monarchy are incompatible, and that the former will inevitably undermine the latter, which might have seemed believable in the 1990s but seems quite absurd now.
- So much for 'Father's Day' - in a country where fatherhood is dying out, Mail on Sunday, 16 June 2013
- If we hadn't fought World War 2, would we still have a British Empire?, Daily Mail, 31 August 2009
- Inside Burma - one of the world's most beautiful and ugliest countries and the last ghost of the British Empire, Daily Mail, 14 December 2008
- He is, however, a self-proclaimed "tree-hugger [...] very nearly as grieved by the destruction of a mature tree as I am by the loss of a human life."
- How do you like your shrimps? 50 million years old, or lightly boiled? Admittedly, his has "a tentatively expressed doubt," and therefore not quite worthy of the "Pet peeves" category. But still.
- See also this piece, an intelligent-design drumbeat summarily roasted here by PZ Myers and here by Jason Rosenhouse.
- "Will Britain convert to Islam?". Altermedia International. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
- "The Muslim threat to this country," he declares, "does not come from a few swivel-eyed, blowhard preachers. It comes from our own willingness to drive Christianity out of schools, government and broadcasting, and our feeble refusal to require migrants and their descendants to respect and accept our culture and faith" (If only The Committee of Unintended Consequences had been able to grill Blair)
- "What's the point of prison? - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog" He complains it isn't punitive enough.
- "PETER HITCHENS: If only The Committee of Unintended Consequences had been able to grill Blair. Mail Online 8 December 2009. Retrieved on 26 September 2015. Note the bizarro rhetoric equating a UK at the end of more than a decade under New Labour and almost two decades of Thatcherism before that with anything remotely similar to soviet communism; it's basically a British variant of Obamunism.
- "If you're ready to bomb, you won't have to. If you're not, you will have to. - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
- Stephen Fry - A Stupid Person's idea of What an Intelligent Person is Like and other articles
- You want louts like this punished? You must be a ‘nasty extremist’ like me: "Wayne Bishop, whose triumphantly smirking, selfish face looks out at us from amid his terrifying brood of children, ought to be breaking rocks on Dartmoor instead, and to hell with his ‘right’ to a family life."
- "I'm not that keen on the free market consensus, either. ... [Moral and social liberalism] are attempts to construct some kind of total worldview without religion. The market, for a lot of nominal Conservatives (who aren't actually conservatives at all, but are in general liberals), the market has become substitute for God. They see Adam Smith's hidden hand as as a kind of divine providence." Owen Jones meets Peter Hitchens - full length (12:51 to 13:21) YouTube.
- My Reply to the Metric Zealots, Mail on Sunday, 31 March 2017
- A pence for your thoughts - decimalisation, history, monarchy and a rare BBC correction, Mail on Sunday, 21 April 2016
- Surrender, Deterrence and Drugs, Mail on Sunday, 22 July 2013
- Peter Hitchens on the Legal Drugs Alcohol and Tobacco, Mail on Sunday, 2 December 2013
- Peter Hitchens: 'I don't believe in addiction. People take drugs because they enjoy it', The Guardian, 21 October 2012
- White, JT. "Why I respect Peter Hitchens" Spectre. 27 December 2014.
- "Rape is a very dirty word", Mail on Sunday, 13 November 2007
- "Do you agree with Peter Hitchens or Liz Jones - is a career more fulfilling than raising the next generation?", Mail on Sunday, 15 February 2008
- "Condoms, pills...but how about restraint?", Mail on Sunday, 28 March 2009
- "Not even Kim Jong II could live down a visit from Mandy", Mail on Sunday, 25 October 2008
- "Abortion...when human life isn't just cheap, it's on special offer", Mail on Sunday, 24 May 2008
- "Four years breaking rocks... Now that's what I call flexible" Daily Mail, 28 September 2008
- "Poverty? It’s just a lie the Left uses to destroy the middle class", Mail on Sunday, 18 January 2009
- "We show tolerance to 'gays' and get tyranny in return", Mail on Sunday, 2 February 2009
- "Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
- "Why the Blairites back the Tories against Red Ed - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
- See for example "The Lost Past of the Church of England, an Archaeological Discovery", Mail on Sunday blog, 3 July 2013. Note the tone of the "Yes, I admit it" line, and also the fact that the bishop he had been out of sympathy with represented an area of Manchester, epicentre of the England whose Englishness he cannot really accept.
- Channel 4 News. "Hitchens on Iraq: 'slow decline'". channel4.com. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
- "Peter Hitchens: I am a Trade Unionist and I favour nationalisation". Big Issue. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
- "Why Nationalised Railways Would be Better - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
- Daily Mail Bookshop - The Rage Against God
- Daily Mail Bookshop - The Cameron Delusion
- Daily Mail Bookshop - Abolition of Britain
- Daily Mail Bookshop - Abolition of Liberty