Speaking of the left…
I’ve been meaning to do a Christopher Hitchens post, ‘specially since he got a bunch of bloglinks for one of his recent Nation columns.
Hitchens, in my view, is one of the most interesting and intelligent journalists / thinkers we have around today. I don’t always agree with him (but frequently do), but he’s always worth reading. His strong and consistent admonishments that it is the responsibility of every person to hold their own beliefs, and form their own judgments, rather than following the herd of conventional wisdom, were in fact part of my inspiration to join the blogging crowd and lend my voice to the din.
Anyway, praising Hitchens is easy, and practically everybody does it. But what I wanted to pass on are a few links that show that there is something equally enjoyable and enlightening as reading Hitchens: listening to him.
Hitchens is a phenomenal public speaker, and damn, he’s got the hardcore Oxford accent to make everything he says sound brilliant, too. So here is my little version of a “Hitchens audio primer”. There’s quite a bunch of audio interviews and / or lectures with Hitchens out there on the net, but here’s a few of my favorites to start with (many of these can be found at the unofficial Hitchens home page as well, or at this page devoted to Hitchens audio. ).
A good general interview with Hitchens (in two parts) by Danny Postel can be found here and here. In particular, Hitchens discusses his dim view of Mother Theresa, thoroughly debunking the conventional picture or her as a great friend of the poor.
Hitchens main claim-to-fame in recent years is his relentless attacks on Henry Kissinger, who he believes has both committed war crimes and violated the laws of the United States. I just found an entire page devoted to The Trial Of Henry Kissinger , so you can choose your own interview there, or start with this interview if you want my choice. Hitchens makes a convincing case indeed.
And finally, Hitchens has been one of the most outspoken critics of the left’s dismal reaction to the war; a longtime socialist and frequent critic of U.S. foreign policy himself, he nonetheless completely condemns the onslaught of “Islamic fascism” and is a strong (but not uncritical) supporter of war in Afghanistan and against terror more generally. For a primer on his view on the war and the left’s reaction, check out his address at the University of Chicago, “Is Bush’s War Our War?” (where he affectionately addresses his audience as “the beaten rabble that constitutes the remnant of the American left”)
Check him out, and judge for yourself. Because I assure you Hitchens wouldn’t want you taking my — or anybody’s — word for it.