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dyeager
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« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2011, 09:48:27 AM »

I prefer Dawkins much of the time. I found Hitchins to be an arrogant waste of a mind, most of what I read or heard from him. That may be an unpopular position, but I stand by it. Far, far more intelligent and even-minded men have contributed more deeply and effectively to the body of human philosophy, and in much the same field he did.

My problem with Hitchins is not that he's an atheist, nor an anti-theological zealot, but that he was altogether a hypocrite and a religious bible-beater of a particular brand. I have no patience, nor liking for those kinds of people. At least his bond companion could admit not only when he was wrong, but that he could be wrong. For me, Hitchins was little more than the model person he most hatred: Seductive, irrational, and selfish.

No voice of reason there, merely a voice of hatred and malice. Whatever good he may have said or written was far outweighed by his own ineptitude. Rest in peace, Chris, and if there is life again, I hope you come back with a bit of humanity in you.

Wow.
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Hidoshi
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« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2011, 10:05:11 AM »

Why do I not think that's a good "Wow"? :P
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dyeager
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« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2011, 10:11:41 AM »

I'm still trying to process it. I can't figure out if choosing to make this post was somehow intentional verbal irony, plain old point scoring, or a genuine attempt to instigate some discussion about the possible flaws of Hitchens' worldview/debate style.

I just know I wouldn't want you speaking at the funeral of anybody I know. :-)
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Hidoshi
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« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2011, 10:22:46 AM »

I certainly hope I don't come off as much of a seductive bible-beater, if that's what you mean by irony. :P At the very least, I've tried to be seductive and failed most of the time. Heaven knows how I'm getting married.

I'm pretty much prone to stating my opinion about people like Hitchens. I dislike celebrity worship in general, especially if the personality in question is beloved for what I feel are the wrong reasons. I can hardly wrap my head around people adoring a man who goes out of his way to demonize compassion and frame good-will ambassadors the way he does. To be clear, I am in favour of social critique and personal responsibility. I believe rational, reasonable thinking should pervade. But I see no need to be so negative and chafing about it. In the end, that kind of attitude is no different from the one encountered in religious zealotry. Fanaticism, however "reasonable" sounding, should always be discounted and treated with suspicion. I don't see Hitchens as being particularly bright, only well-spoken and assertive.

As to the last bit there... I'll treat a person with respect if I feel they deserve it, or if I have a reason to. I wouldn't bash Hitchens in front of his family or close friends, but heaven knows there aren't any around these parts (I hope). I just don't have any public respect for him. Being dead doesn't change that.
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dyeager
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« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2011, 10:38:49 AM »

I was referring to the potential irony in calling a guy who just died "an arrogant waste of a mind" and a "voice of hatred and malice" whose any possible good he did in life was "far outweighed by his own ineptitude". The tone being applied is precisely what you are decrying.

I also just question bringing it up in this particular thread. The person who posted clearly stated they were "bummed" about Hitchens' death. I personally would not choose this thread to bring up my personal opinions about why I thought the guy was an asshole in a thread clearly intended to serve as a place to celebrate whatever perceived good he was able to accomplish. You absolutely have the right to do so, I just question the taste involved.

Basically the "Wow" came solely from my surprise at the post's tone and content and had absolutely zero to do with Hitchens at all.
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« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2011, 10:57:55 AM »

Ah, my bad. I do suppose that came off with a bit more vitriol than was necessary -- and certainly embarrassing on my end, considering. I do stand by what I said, even if I exhibit the same flaws -- I certainly don't like them in myself. It's a bad, old habit of mine, being a grump and frequently finding myself the devil's advocate. I usually try not to be too aggressive, but I can see here that I've been quite insensitive. My apologies to anyone who did find it a bit of a shove in the ribs.
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dyeager
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« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2011, 11:03:04 AM »

Ah, my bad. I do suppose that came off with a bit more vitriol than was necessary -- and certainly embarrassing on my end, considering. I do stand by what I said, even if I exhibit the same flaws -- I certainly don't like them in myself. It's a bad, old habit of mine, being a grump and frequently finding myself the devil's advocate. I usually try not to be too aggressive, but I can see here that I've been quite insensitive. My apologies to anyone who did find it a bit of a shove in the ribs.

Bah, no worries. Hitchens always was a fellow who could get the blood boiling. In fact, if I step back, maybe this is one of the truest reflections of his legacy. :-)
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« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2011, 12:06:52 PM »

In a way, I think it was good for someone to be a dick about it all the time in the public realm like him.
The existence of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson more than calls for the existence of people like Christopher Hitchens. Kinda balances things.
It is, after all, quite frustrating for an intellectual when so much of the world steadfastly believes in, and public policy is too often guided by, what we know to be bollocks.
And if you're offended? Well, sounds like you are a soft person who didn't have much faith to begin with.
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« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2011, 12:13:07 PM »

I dunno, I stand on the side where being as dickish and outrageous as the people you detest is two wrongs making a bigger wrong.
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dyeager
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« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2011, 01:13:59 PM »

This is a separate argument and I didn't want to threadjack (but I'm probably doing it anyway) - but I do think there is at least some merit worth investigating to the POV that peaceful resistance by itself can't always work. You mentioned Desmond Tutu for example - a good example of a peaceful protestor but he becomes even more appealing in the face of the violence that he was contrasting at the same time as his own rise to authority/prominence (the Soweto riots for example). Was it just Tutu's peaceful protests that helped end apartheid, or did the violence play a role? Was it only Martin Luther King that provided a catalyst for change, or was it his own peaceful philosophy combined with more forceful leaders like the early Malcolm X?

I don't actually know the answer. I'm not sure anybody does. But I at least suspect that these things are complicated enough that all kinds can play a role in change to the same end. You may not like Hitchens' style and hey, honestly I didn't really either, but I do think it is a mistake to throw everything a man has to say out with the man himself. That's not rational thinking, and in the end what Hitchens demanded from himself and others was rational thinking. I think you could argue that he often failed to deliver that due to his abrasive style, and he was sometimes too willing to let his message get lost in the shouting. But I also think it is a mistake to qualify it as a categorical "wrong".
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