My New Man-Crush — I've recently discovered that I have an intellectual crush on Christopher Hitchens. I can think of no active intellectual so free of cant and dogma, and so driven by intellectual honesty. And his prose kills. Here's a good bit, from The Nation. Spot on, too. This takes off from a discussion of a nauseating little anti-semitic exchange between Billy Graham and Nixon, and of the generally sorry state of the monotheisms.
… After all, in the National Cathedral after September 11 he [Billy Graham] was allowed in the presence of our country's elite to assert that all the murder victims were in paradise and happy to be there–a wild outburst of evil and stupidity that implicitly copies the fantasies of bin Laden. So there you have it: The country's senior Protestant is a gaping and mendacious anti-Jewish peasant; the leaders of official Jewry are cringingly yoked with him for the purpose of a disastrous crusade and meanwhile the cardinals are running a rape fiesta for twitchy “celibates.” All official attention turns, meanwhile, upon the weird beliefs to be found in the Koran, which may be partly because the Attorney General himself is a tuneless, clueless, evangelical Confederate dunce.
Damn! Something to aggravate everyone. Yet so unavoidably true. He goes on to correctly argue that:
The struggle against theocratic fascism should, therefore, be inseparable from the struggle for a truly secular state. This need not mean an atheist state; the religious impulse itself seems to be partly innate at our present stage of evolution. But it need not necessarily take the extremely backward form that it assumes in our society, nor need its recognition eventuate in the present sickly “multiculturalism,” whereby all forms of religious stupidity are granted equal “respect” while challenges to, say, scientific teaching are greeted with nervous tolerance.
That's pretty much my view. All the monotheisms are dangers to sanity and freedom unless culturally and politically gutted by wholesale assimilation to the market liberal order. Thus, my periodic spats with certain sorts of conservative.
Anyway, go forth read the rest of the piece.