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Peter Hitchens

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The wicked Hitchens appears to have grown gills.[1]
Parroting squawkbox
Pundits
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And a dirty dozen more

Peter Hitchens (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,[2] even going as far as to put them on the same level as the Socialist Workers Party.[3] He is dismissive of UKIP, frequently denouncing them as a Dad's Army.Wikipedia's W.svg[4] His brother was the writer, atheist and skeptic Christopher Hitchens.

Early life[edit]

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".[3] He allegedly turned up late to a lecture declaring, "Sorry I'm late: I've been starting the revolution!"[5] 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 the 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.

Later life[edit]

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). Despite the friction between them, the two reconciled in later life and engaged in numerous public debates about religion together. When Christopher died, Peter wrote an affirming eulogy for him — despite their different views — titled "In Memoriam, my courageous brother".

Pet peeves[edit]

Some of Peter's pet hates are:

I find if very useful to see exactly how those who loathe me have managed to misconstrue and misrepresent my arguments while never wholly departing from a factual basis.
—Peter Hitchens
  • Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.[40]
  • The 'Special Relationship' between the UK and USA.[41]
  • "Alleged comedian" Russell Brand (AKA "The man in the hat")

Core beliefs[edit]

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.[42]

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."[43]

In his column he has also expressed his view that a woman's place is in the home;[44] that women should not have access to contraception such as the pill;[45] that women should not have premarital sex[46] and that women should not have the right to an abortion.[47]

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."[48]

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."[49]

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."[50] 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.[51] 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.[52]

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).[53] 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.[54] He also claims to be a "a lifelong trade unionist" who "favour[s] nationalisation of industry where it makes sense",[55] especially the renationalisation of British railways,[56] and has said that "While I'm not in favour of abandoning all nuclear weapons, I think Trident an absurdly elaborate and extravagant system."[55]

Books[edit]

Hitchens has written and published several books. Some of them have pretty scary blurbs, depending on who you ask.

  • The Rage Against God[57]
"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[58]
"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 Liberty[59]
"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."
  • Monday Morning Blues[60]
"The "Express's" most controversial columnist is well known for his disregard for fashionable opinion. This collection of columns and journalism provides a chance to enjoy (or confront) one of the greatest enemies of the modern left."
  • Abolition of Britain[61]
"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."

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Seeing Myself as Others See Me. My Enjoyable Entry on 'Rational Wiki' by Peter Hitchens (15 June 2019 11:11 AM) Hitchens Blog (archived from June 16, 2019).
  2. "[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).
  3. 3.0 3.1 'The UK is finished' – Owen Jones meets Peter Hitchens via Owen Jones'Wikipedia's W.svg YouTube channel.
  4. General post, The Mail on Sunday blog, 12 April 2010
  5. This is just about the only university anecdote Greg Dyke seems to have.
  6. How long until we abort the old too?, Daily Mail, 18 July 2009
  7. 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.
  8. "State groomers are as bad as paedophiles - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
  9. BBC News - Peter Hitchens: Sex education causes teenage pregnancy (and a suitably brilliant smack down by David Dimbleby).
  10. Condoms, pills ... but how about restraint?, Daily Mail, 29 March 2009
  11. Paddington Green nick, that's where our bleating MPs belong, Daily Mail, 7 December 2008
  12. Our political parties are corpses and democracy as we used to know it is quite dead, Daily Mail, 20 September 2008
  13. 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."
  14. "NO! The most important word that a child will ever hear - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
  15. He has said that he feels regret for falling "for the great Thatcher-Reagan promise".
  16. "Yes, Churchill did one indisputably great thing. But we should not worship him as if he were a superhero - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 17 June 2019.
  17. "PETER HITCHENS: The night we waved goodbye to America...our last best hope on Earth". Mail Online. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
  18. Why should we have to pay for 'stars' who spit in our faces?, Daily Mail, 04 November 2008
  19. 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.
  20. So much for 'Father's Day' - in a country where fatherhood is dying out, Mail on Sunday, 16 June 2013
  21. If we hadn't fought World War 2, would we still have a British Empire?, Daily Mail, 31 August 2009
  22. 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
  23. 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."
  24. 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.
  25. See also this piece, an intelligent-design drumbeat summarily roasted here by PZ Myers and here by Jason Rosenhouse.
  26. "Will Britain convert to Islam?". Altermedia International. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
  27. "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)
  28. "What's the point of prison? - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog" He complains it isn't punitive enough.
  29. "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.
  30. "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.
  31. Stephen Fry - A Stupid Person's idea of What an Intelligent Person is Like and other articles
  32. 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."
  33. "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.
  34. My Reply to the Metric Zealots, Mail on Sunday, 31 March 2017
  35. A pence for your thoughts - decimalisation, history, monarchy and a rare BBC correction, Mail on Sunday, 21 April 2016
  36. Surrender, Deterrence and Drugs, Mail on Sunday, 22 July 2013
  37. Peter Hitchens on the Legal Drugs Alcohol and Tobacco, Mail on Sunday, 2 December 2013
  38. Peter Hitchens: 'I don't believe in addiction. People take drugs because they enjoy it', The Guardian, 21 October 2012
  39. @ClarkeMicah on Twitter (25 Feb 2018): "Once again I must point out that I automatically and unhesitatingly mute anyone who sends me gifs. No exceptions, no hesitation, no reconsideration.". Cue onslaught of GIFs in his replies.
  40. "Welcome to Britain...you really didn't need to try so hard to get in - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 17 June 2019.
  41. "Down with the Special Relationship - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 17 June 2019.
  42. White, JT. "Why I respect Peter Hitchens" Spectre. 27 December 2014.
  43. "Rape is a very dirty word", Mail on Sunday, 13 November 2007
  44. "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
  45. "Condoms, pills...but how about restraint?", Mail on Sunday, 28 March 2009
  46. "Not even Kim Jong II could live down a visit from Mandy", Mail on Sunday, 25 October 2008
  47. "Abortion… when human life isn't just cheap, it's on special offer", Mail on Sunday, 24 May 2008
  48. "Four years breaking rocks... Now that's what I call flexible" Daily Mail, 28 September 2008
  49. "Poverty? It’s just a lie the Left uses to destroy the middle class", Mail on Sunday, 18 January 2009
  50. "We show tolerance to 'gays' and get tyranny in return", Mail on Sunday, 2 February 2009
  51. "Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
  52. "Why the Blairites back the Tories against Red Ed - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
  53. 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.
  54. Channel 4 News. "Hitchens on Iraq: 'slow decline'". channel4.com. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
  55. 55.0 55.1 "Peter Hitchens: I am a Trade Unionist and I favour nationalisation". Big Issue. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
  56. "Why Nationalised Railways Would be Better - Mail Online - Peter Hitchens blog". mailonsunday.co.uk. Retrieved on 26 September 2015.
  57. The Rage Against Godby Peter Hitchens (2010) Continuum. ISBN 1441105727.
  58. The Cameron Delusion by Peter Hitchens (2010) Continuum. ISBN 1441135057.
  59. Abolition of Liberty: The Decline of Order and Justice in England by Peter Hitchens (2004) Atlantic Books. ISBN 1843541491.
  60. Monday Morning Blues by Peter Hitchens (2000) Quartet ISBN 0704381567
  61. Abolition of Britain by Peter Hitchens (1999, multiple editions) Quartet ISBN 0704381176