Talk:Christopher Hitchens

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Icon pundit.svg

This journalism related article has been awarded BRONZE status for quality. It's getting there, but could be better with improvement. See RationalWiki:Article rating for more information.

This page is automatically archived by Archiver
Archives for this talk page: <1>

Hitchens an Islamophobe?[edit]

His stance on foreign policy notwithstanding (he was as a matter of fact an anti-Zionist in principle though not in actions and had little love lost for Hamas and other NGOs of mass murder), Hitch was not any more virulently opposed to Islam than he was to Christianity. He teared that Albanian ghoul to shreds just the same as he did the Persian theocracy or the necrcracy (than) one short of a trinity. In short his disdain for religion and cult of personality was universal and if he was a bigot in regards to Islam, he also was one in regards to Christianity and all the other myths and fairytales he so loved to hate. (talk) 14:39, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

I'm going to assume you haven't actually read much of what he wrote or heard much of what he said; it's the likeliest explanation for you not knowing this. Queexchthonic murmurings 14:40, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Oh I quite enjoy me some Hitchens to relax. And trust me I know that some of the Islamophobe crowd try to use things he said to "prove their point". But his reaction to many of the Islamophobe "issues" shows he had a different way of thinking. Muslims want a military Imam? Hitch: Either give it to them or don't have any military religious figures in the first place" Islamophobe: "No. Dey cand ged no Imam dey make Muslim owr military and den take ova da place." People wanna kill Salman Rushdie? Hitch: "Hell no you can't. Just like we can't kill anybody just cause he says something offensive. There is a right to offend" Islamophobe: "Dey arr takin' owr freedumb. We shood outlaw da Muslimity for them to make mosque cause dere dey make dem terrorist". (talk) 14:53, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Wow, I didn't realize all the Islamaphobes out there are from the south. It's amazing how the Islamophobic spell checker doesn't recognize Islamophobe, Islamophobes, Islamophobic or Islamophobia as real words. Oh, well. Get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand! Burkean (talk) 15:10, 5 October 2015 (UTC)
An account of a speech given in 2007:
"Then it was Hitchens at his most bellicose. He told us what the most serious threat to the West was (and you know this line already): it was Islam. Then he accused the audience of being soft on Islam, of being the kind of vague atheists who refuse to see the threat for what it was, a clash of civilizations, and of being too weak to do what was necessary, which was to spill blood to defeat the enemy. Along the way he told us who his choice for president was right now — Rudy Giuliani — and that Obama was a fool, Clinton was a pandering closet fundamentalist, and that he was less than thrilled about all the support among the FFRF for the Democratic party. We cannot afford to allow the Iranian theocracy to arm itself with nuclear weapons (something I entirely sympathize with), and that the only solution is to go in there with bombs and marines and blow it all up. The way to win the war is to kill so many Moslems that they begin to question whether they can bear the mounting casualties.
"It was simplistic us-vs.-them thinking at its worst, and the only solution he had to offer was death and destruction of the enemy."
I don't believe that quite that level of violent rhetoric can be ascribed to generalised distaste for religion. After all, he didn't advocate the murder of fundamentalist Christians at the same time. Queexchthonic murmurings 15:04, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
A second hand account of a speech he gave is not a valid source of his own beliefs. However, advocating for a war against Iran is a totally rational and sane stance, even though some on the left might dislike it. The Islamic Republic - just like ISIS - must disappear into the trash bin of history as fast as humanly possible. And it is a sad fact but something of a truism that in most of the world, Islamic fundamentalism is a bigger threat than Christian Jewish Hindu or Hare Krishna fundamentalism. Pointing that out should not be regarded as Islamophobe. Hitch did point out on several occasions who Christian fundamentalism does tremendous damage even when the intention is not openly murderous such as with AIDS in Africa. Creating a false equivalency where none exists or "requiring" x amount of criticism of other religions for every y of criticizing Islam is not a good idea, either. (talk) 15:34, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
It was the closest source to hand, it's not unique by any means. Did you read the article as far as the Q&A portion? Unless you're claiming the article's author just made stuff up, there's no wriggling out of what Hitch said then. "advocating for a war against Iran is a totally rational and sane stance" *does double-take* *backs away slowly* . OK, now you have jumped the shark. There's no point continuing to engage any more. Queexchthonic murmurings 15:38, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Well there are people on the left who want a war with the self proclaimed "Islamic State". The only major difference between Iran and said entity is that Iran does not upload YouTube videos of its hangings of gay people. In a sense the invasion of Iraq was so disastrous because it was "killing the wrong pig". Saudi Arabia and Iran are both rather unpleasant regimes (unless of course you are one of the select few on top of it all) and the goal of any foreign policy should be to get rid of them. However it is debatable whether war is the best way to do that. It is still a sane stance. Insane would be calling for the wiping off the map of Israel - just what the dinner jacket did, at least according to the official English translation on his website... (talk) 15:43, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
"The only major difference..." So that Iran is far more democratic isn't important to you? Hmm... (talk) 16:29, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
The guy in charge is Ayatollah Khamenei and before him Khomeini. Whom nobody elected. How that qualifies as democratic in any way shape or form is beyond me... (talk) 16:44, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Actually, the 'Supreme Leaders' are elected by an Assembly of Experts, who are directly elected by the people and have the authority to remove said Leaders from power. The US actually elects their presidents somewhat similarly: indirectly through an Electoral College. And for all the power Khamenei holds, he doesn't interfere all that much in the running of the regime. And what's that below him in the political hierarchy? A directly elected president and an actual parliament? Don't forget that the Islamic Republic has only been around for 35 years; even by American democratic standards you wouldn't expect more than a handful of political rulers in that time frame. (talk) 17:41, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, so that whole green revolution thing was just a bunch of fascists trying to destroy Iran's freedom. Burkean (talk) 15:14, 5 October 2015 (UTC)

I don't like the term Islamophobia. I think the term should be renamed anti-Muslim xenophobia or hostility to Muslim immigrants. But nevertheless, I'll use the term Islamophobia for broader purposes. Normally, for someone to be considered an Islamophobe, they would have to endorse policies such as profiling of Muslims, deportation of Muslims for their political views (just because you may not like their political stances on say LGBT rights doesn't give you a right to deport them; liberal democracies are supposed to tolerate a variety of views that they may find detestable, not violently react against them), closing down mosques for alleged anti-terrorism/anti-Islamism reasons, enacting surveillance on mosques, and waging wars of aggression without any justified doctrine of self-defense on Muslim countries. Sam Harris, Bill Maher, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali have endorsed some of these views, so calling them Islamophobes is justified. There are better critics of Islamism who don't use their hostility of religion to endorse xenophobic policies. I haven't seen any indication that Hitchens has endorsed any of the above, though his calls for banning of the burqa are stupid and not much different from the likes of Saudi Arabia who enforce women to cover themselves (whereas in this case, he's calling for women to uncover themselves). So I'm not ready to call Hitchens an Islamophobe, but his aggressive stance on the War on Terror doesn't help matters, especially considering he's justified pre-emptive strikes.

As far as war on Iran goes, this would be a bad idea for a couple of reasons. One, it would only enhance the status of hard-line Islamists and engender the population to support them for nationalist, patriotic reasons. This is what happened when Saddam attacked Iran and gave Khomeini more public support than he deserved. Second, it would play into the hands of jihadist groups like Al-Qaeda who want to entice Muslims to join with them in retaliating against the US for occupying Muslim lands. This is why the invasion of Iraq was disastrous, because it proved bin-Laden right that the US was attacking Muslim countries for shits and giggles. Not to mention the invasion of Iraq led to the empowerment of even more dangerous groups like ISIS. Third, you may call this apologetics for the Iranian regime, but Iran has legitimate security concerns for wanting a nuclear weapon. Not counting the British and Russian imperialism of the Iranian area in the late 19th and early 20th century, Iran's been a punching bag for foreign nations. Their government was overthrown by the US/UK in 1953 in which the secular dictator the Shah was installed on an unwilling populace. Saddam attacked Iran in the 1980's and used poison gas on their fighters. And Iran has had to deal with sanctions by the US as part of the US' dual containment policy while the US/Israel flouts the possibility of a military attack (keeping all options on the table as they say). Given these contributing factors and the fact that the US invaded Iraq as well, Iran would have to be insane not to wish to enhance their defenses. ChrisAmiss (talk) 19:09, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

I doubt that there are many women around that willingly cover themselves in an amount of cloth that would serve as a tent for two people in times of need. But that is perhaps besides the point. If you point out the security "needs" (they are almost always perceived needs, as security is rarely rational or objective) of Iran, imagine the security situation of Israel, if they have to legitimately fear that a country that regularly holds an "Al Quds day" (al Quds being the Arabic name of Jerusalem) where they parade the weapons that they proclaim to intend to use in their "liberation of Al Quds" (=destruction of Israel). If I were the prime minister of Israel, heck if I were the undersecretary for helicopter transportation, I would be rather concerned with that threat and would try to do all in my power to keep the Islamic Republic of acquiring the means to fulfill their stated end. (talk) 20:16, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
I should've mentioned on my third point that on the basis of the historical evidence of foreign attacks against Iran and not vice versa (Iran has not launched a foreign invasion of a country in over a century), a Western-style intervention would only increase the already hostile anti-Americanism/anti-Israel sentiment displayed among the Iranian public, making terrorist attacks all the more likely and doing little to cool relations between Iran and the West. I disagree with Al-Quds day being equivalent to destruction of Israel. There exists bellicose language among Iranian leaders, yes, but the main point of "liberating al-Quds" as you term it is to erase the occupation and annexation of East Jerusalem/the regime (aka the government, not the people), not Israel and the populace itself. In terms of the diplomatic record, Iran has also supported a two-state solution by voting yes on the annual UNGA resolution titled Peaceful Settlement of the Palestine question, which calls for two-states on the June 1967 borders with a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem as its capital. 160 or so other countries also vote yes on this resolution. The only countries who vote against this resolution are the US, Israel, Canada/or Australia, and some south pacific islands like Micronesia or Palau. Even if Iran did want to attack Israel, it would be incredibly ill-conceived because Israel has Jordan as an ally for its defense, and Israel usually adheres to a military doctrine of disproportionate firepower against an enemy force (see Ben Gurionism and Dahiya doctrine) to maintain its deterrence capacity. So if Iran were to launch one nuclear warhead against Israel, it would not be inconceivable for Israel to launch several warheads that would devastate Iran in response. ChrisAmiss (talk) 02:39, 25 July 2015 (UTC)
I very much doubt your interpretation of the al Quds day, as this is not what they say. And I have come to take the blatherings of Antisemites very serious indeed. Israel understandably does the same. As for the potential of a nuclear attack spelling the end of Iran as we know it... The Iranian regime is fully aware of that. If it were led by rational people, this would be somewhat comforting. But with religious fanatics who believe it to be their duty not only to kill all Jews but also to bring about the second coming, this becomes a lot less comforting.... (talk) 14:47, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Iran. Iran's so far away[edit]

An aside, User:Queex; do you think the Iranian people would be better off with a different regime, a regime of their choosing instead of the current theocratic dictatorship? (talk) 16:00, 24 July 2015 (UTC)

There are plenty of ways they could be better off. Having the US jump in ham-handed in a repeat of the Iraq fiasco is not one of them. Queexchthonic murmurings 16:07, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't say war is the only way of getting rid of the Iranian regime. But it is one way and it is in no way an insane course of action. What is rather questionable is the nuclear deal, that elevates the regime to a "partner" in international negotiations and (by implication at least) perpetuates and legitimates it. With the Saudis there is at least the excuse that their oil is needed. What is the excuse for propping up Iran? (talk) 16:20, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Not starting a costly war that benefits no-one except military suppliers. Queexchthonic murmurings 17:50, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Iran is not the least well governed nation in the world. It's not even the worst governed in its region. Its constitution sucks, enforced theocracy is dumb. It's laws are not ideal: but their application of Sharia is moderate compared to some neighbors. Evaluating them in absolute terms or in terms relative to the first world does show serious problems. Evaluating them as a developing country actually puts them pretty middle of the road. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 18:55, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
I think Iran splits the title "worst in region" with the Saudis, at least if we exclude NGOs of mass murder like Hamas (financed by Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood) or Hezbollah (financed by Iran) or of course the self-proclaimed Islamic "state". I mean... which other country publicly hangs gay people? Sure the religious police is "moderate" compared to the Saudi one, but than again Tehran pre 1979 was a pretty forward thinking city. Heck even the Shah tried to win some "moderate cred" by introducing full suffrage (even for women) and some other forward thinking reforms. But their foreign policy is probably even worse than that of the Saudis. The constitution pretty much says that they have to export their revolution. So yes in essence, getting rid of the current Iranian regime is rather desirable. There were numerous talks with North Korea to stop them from getting the bomb. They now have the bomb. Iran led by the Mullahs and with the bomb in their hands would be the worst possible scenario of foreign policy in the Middle East. And it would be a failure of all US policy in the region beginning with Ike's "Operation Ajax". So far the bomb has been in the hands of madmen (Nixon, Mao, the Kims) but still in the hands of madmen who believed in their own survival. If Iran gets the bomb, it will be the first time in history that the person sitting behind the proverbial red button would be a literal believer in the second coming of something, in this case the Mahdi. And how do you bring about the second coming? One shudders at the thought... (talk) 20:09, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
Oh come on: slave labor in UAE, constant tribal warfare in Yemen, the gassing his own people in Syria(not to mention the complete lack of democracy, rather than Iran's hampered and weird theocratic democracy). Yes, Iran's foreign policy is essentially dickishness, but you asked about the people. Let's focus. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 20:14, 24 July 2015 (UTC)
I've always found the extreme Western hostility towards the Iranian Ayatollahs bizarre exactly because the official reasons given can be applied in at least equal measure to other countries in the region, several of which are Western allies whom no Western governments and few if any Western politicians are suggesting should be overthrown (the Gulf monarchies and the Egyptian pseudo-democracy, for instance). No, it's a hold-over from the built-in anti-Western/-Ayatollah element from the Iranian Revolution due to the Shah's status as one of two key pillars of the US/Western security system in the Middle East (the other being Israel). Sure, there are plenty of reasons to wish for a different political system in Iran, not least for the sake of Iranians, but the notion that any sort of sustainable "regime change" could be brought about by US military intervention is simply pie in the sky wishful thinking.
Of course any Western criticism of the undemocratic elements of the Iranian theocratic semi-democracy sounds exceedingly hollow, considering Western reactions when "the wrong party" won in Egypt and that Western governments were more than a little mealy-mouthed when the Muslim Brotherhood government, however distasteful and democratically problematic it may have been, was overthrown by an out-and-out military coup, resulting in the current pseudo-democratic autocracy which is effectively a return to the thinly veiled military dictatorship of the Mubarak era. ScepticWombat (talk) 16:46, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Just 'cause 25% of the people give your their vote does not mean you can do as you please. That being said, Egypt - even when it was run by the Muslim Brotherhood - is a more pleasant place (not by much but by some) than Iran, if you happen to be of the minority of critically thinking people. And I for one advocate regime change throughout the region. Which is probably not doable by war. Boycotting Saudi Oil, however would be a good step. Therefore in a sense building High speed rail is a sound foreign policy, as it reduces the dependence on Saudi Oil. The only reason Bush (and to a lesser degree Obama) is so chummy with the Sauds is the fact that they own a huge amount of oil. And gas prices of, I don't know a buck a liter (which would be ridiculously cheap in any country in Europe) are political suicide for any American president. Also there is this mirage of an argument that just because the only organized and visible opposition in Saudistan is even more nutcase Wahhabi Islamist, that they would take over once the Sauds are gone. So Iran and Saudistan are pretty much a wash in what should go first. Syria under Assad was never seen as a partner for peace by any foreign policy expert in any position of power and Assad should also be removed from power... However right now he is fighting against ISIS and in choosing between classical right wing dictatorship with high body count and ISIS with its insane body count, I tend to chose the former grudgingly and biting my teeth. But once ISIS and Assad cancel each other out and hopefully both go to the ash heap of history, the next regimes that have to go are the Saudis and the Ayatollahs. I don't care all that much which one goes first (though if one goes and the other stays in power, this would tip the scales in favor of the last man standing), but the bombing of Iran is immensely preferable to the Iranian bomb. The same of course goes for Saudistan. The bombing of the Saudis is preferable to a Saudi bomb. (talk) 18:38, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Hitchens's bisexuality[edit]

Hitchens was bisexual during his younger days – until he claimed his looks "declined to the point where only women would go to bed with me." [1] He claimed to have had sexual relations with two male students at Oxford who would later become Tory ministers during the premiership of Margaret Thatcher, although he would not reveal their names publicly.[2] (talk) 04:31, 2 November 2015 (UTC)

Oh boy (or girl) don't let Paravant see your use of refs on talk pages... Anyhoo, it really is an academic question now, isn't it? Is a person bisexual only for putting their parts in the vicinity of the parts of two genders? Or does one have to claim and identify as bisexual? For example Oscar Wilde who is often claimed to have been gay had two children who are most likely biologically his... So...? Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 16:21, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
In the bad old times (and today, maybe too and not only in the countries, were they misuse cranes for rather nefarious things instead to build... buildings), gay men and women did marry people of the opposite gender as a sort of camouflage, which may have applied in Wilde's case.--Arisboch ☞✍☜☞✉☜ ∈)☼(∋ 16:38, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
If he has a life that makes him happy with other consenting adults...who cares? -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 16:53, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
Good post!--Arisboch ☞✍☜☞✉☜ ∈)☼(∋ 16:58, 2 November 2015 (UTC)
I concur, but someone put the category "lGBTQ people" there, so there's that... Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 19:17, 2 November 2015 (UTC)


  1. "Christopher Hitchens: 'I was right and they were wrong'". Decca Aitkenhead. The Guardian. 21 May 2010. Archived on 21 May 2010. Error: If you specify |archivedate=, you must also specify |archiveurl=. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  2. "So who WERE the two Tory ministers who had gay flings with Christopher Hitchens at Oxford?". 6 March 2010. Archived on 6 March 2010. Error: If you specify |archivedate=, you must also specify |archiveurl=. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 


Hitchens was:

He always felt, for example, that the British Empire had a progressive role in India. He wrote of Columbus Day that the extermination of the Native Americans should be celebrated as a fact of historical progress. By the end of his life, Hitchens was convinced that American capitalism was "the only revolution in town", and that it would be "a step up" for the countries exposed to it by armed occupation.

Richard Seymour in his book, Unhitched:

The function of [Hitchens’s] antitheism was structurally analogous to what Irving Howe characterized as Stalinophobia. . .the Bogey-Scapegoat of Stalinism justified a new alliance with the right, obliviousness towards the permanent injustices of capitalist society, and a tolerance for repressive practices conducted in the name of the “Free World”. In roughly isomorphic fashion Hitchens’s preoccupation with religion. . .authorized not just a blind eye to the injustices of capitalism and empire but a vigorous advocacy of the same.


On Afghanistan for instance – ‘one can so easily fall for a place where everybody thinks about sex, where bombing has blasted a society out of the Stone Age, and where opium is the religion of the people.’ Just take a few moments to reflect on that second clause, to register its sinister militaristic tenor – ‘where bombing has blasted a society out of the Stone Age’ – for this was the way Hitchens, in his later years, understood human emancipation to be unfolded – through the smoke and rubble and smouldering ruins Imperial power leaves in its wake.

Hitchens, after 9/11, was a devout and enthusiastic supporter of America employing its superpower-status to police the world.---Mona- (talk) 00:24, 16 November 2015 (UTC)

Yes, I did some undo's that left the "Imperialist" category standing - he became an imperialist even by self-definition, though one that - had he failed to embrace the term (as defined by himself) - could've stood a good chance of evading that label altogether, and without losing what I find to be the vast bulk of his work in the process. Still, it is something he called himself, in a somewhat contrarian sense, always injecting his own definition of the word when possible. So, in conclusion: I'm supporting that "Imperialist" is added permanently to the man. But "Islamophobia" is slanderous overkill of the highest degree when considering the man is already covered under "Atheist", "Imperialist" and "Critic of Islam". Those components added up do not amount to "Islamophobia" (as ableist as that term is) by any stretch of the imagination in the case of Hitchens. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 00:28, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
Just because you agree with him on some things and worship him on others doesn't mean he isn't a bigot. Hollow (talk) 02:33, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

Christopher Hitchens was a racist islamophobe. Here's proof[edit]

He didn't "justly criticise Islam" or something, he was a racist and an islamophobe. People on the left don't like him for a reason, and you all shouldn't be any different. I saw some videos by Philosophy Tube that convinced me that he deserves no respect for his racism. We should remove him from the criticism of Islam category and put him in Islamophobia. Catgrrl37-0 (talk) 07:17, 26 September 2020 (UTC)


I think the category "left of reason" and "right of reason" should be deleted themselves tbh. Oxyaena Harass 16:15, 12 January 2021 (UTC)