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Anti.Agent036



Joined: 11 Jul 2003
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MCGF wrote:
So you can only admire people you agree with?




I admire his writing skill, and his oratory skills. Substance...no. Admiration is intended not for specifically those I agree with, but those with credible convictions. Warmongering, invasion, xenophobia, occupation, are not things I can admire, nor are they petty stances of an individual which I can simply brush off. I admire individuals that I do not fully agree with. However, had one of them advocated War. I do not admire a Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, or Hitchen.
Post Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:20 pm
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MCGF



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Charlie Foxtrot wrote:
MCGF wrote:
So you can only admire people you agree with?


What would there be to admire about him if you didn't agree with his ideas? If you think he was a good writer (I don't, but that's a different argument), that's hardly something to praise. Leni Riefenstahl and D.W. Griffith are considered master filmmakers, but are not deserving of our admiration.


Excellence should be praised. Does that make me a Nazi?

Check out the debate b. dolan posted on the first page of this thread. I completely disagree with Hitchen's assessment of the Iraq war but I'd be a dumbass if I didn't admire the effortless way he constructed a compelling argument. Moreover, even though I disagree with his argument, he made me think about foreign interventions in a way I had never done before.

Hitchens was a talented and thought provoking motherfucker, and you have to be a narrow minded ideologue to see him otherwise. Yes, he was an attention whore and yes, he often argued for abhorrent policies. But I'm still sad to see him go; he added value to American political discourse. He was a thinker and a shouter in an age where only shouters are heard.

And he was a damned good writer when he made the effort. I'd kill for that prose, and you would too!
Post Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:20 pm
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tommi teardrop



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What you should admire Hitchens for, even when you disagree with him, is that his ideas are constructed from logical thoughts and facts that he perceives as important. He, unlike many neocons that share his views, can justify his thinking and point you to reports and facts that back up his claims.

This is what is important right now. There are valid arguments for many conservative positions. People look at the world differently. And that's okay. It's great for us debate these things. Hitchens could tell you why he thought the way he did. And you could disagree with him. He probably knew more about the topic than you.

If you don't agree with war, that is fine. But you had better be ready to use logic and reasoning to state why you disagree with war absolutely. People like Hitchens are why we can't just spout off and say, "War is never the answer." Because he will give you a list of times throughout history when it was the answer.

If we don't have someone to question the views that we take as universals, we start drifting away from critical thinking and move toward belief.
Post Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:33 pm
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Captiv8



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And this is why people like Hitchens are so important: they reaffirm the validity and necessity of intellectual thought. Amid the strong anti-intellectual current in the United States we need people, whether we agree with their personal views or not, to stand up and clearly articulate any given position based on logic, rationale, and research.
Post Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:02 pm
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Charlie Foxtrot



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tommi teardrop wrote:
Hitchens could tell you why he thought the way he did. And you could disagree with him. He probably knew more about the topic than you.


If he was so informed and logical, how did he fuck up the Iraq thing? How can an argument be well-informed, logical, and wrong? The only way is for two people to have totally different value systems, but I don't think that applies here.
Post Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:03 pm
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Anti.Agent036



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tommi teardrop wrote:
What you should admire Hitchens for, even when you disagree with him, is that his ideas are constructed from logical thoughts and facts that he perceives as important. He, unlike many neocons that share his views, can justify his thinking and point you to reports and facts that back up his claims.

This is what is important right now. There are valid arguments for many conservative positions. People look at the world differently. And that's okay. It's great for us debate these things. Hitchens could tell you why he thought the way he did. And you could disagree with him. He probably knew more about the topic than you.

If you don't agree with war, that is fine. But you had better be ready to use logic and reasoning to state why you disagree with war absolutely. People like Hitchens are why we can't just spout off and say, "War is never the answer." Because he will give you a list of times throughout history when it was the answer.

If we don't have someone to question the views that we take as universals, we start drifting away from critical thinking and move toward belief.




Apologies for the fact that I do not admire a neocon. As I stated previously, I used to agree with him on several topics. Does that not mean that an individual can (and suddenly did) diverge from their previous convictions, just as he so eloquently did? Especially on the justification (or lackthereof) of war? Because I previously admired some traits, or views, those which were thoughtprovoking and pure, of an individual, means that I am to remain an admirer of them? I admire his writing skills (technically) which certainly did not suffer with the transformation, but I do not admire him as an individual.

I'm sorry, but the fact that an individual can present ideas constructed from "logical thoughts" on a particular subject does not compel me to admire them. That's a common prerequisite. In regard to war, it is not because of his advocacy of a war that depletes my admiration for him, it is the sudden (and to be quite honest, illogical) abandonment of particular ideals that does so for me. I don't think his stance is commendable, or even intelligent to be quite honest. WMD, al-Qaeda in Iraq prior to the war, and the removal of a dictator as reasons for invasion are silly to me. It would not have been silly if he stated that it was in Western/Israeli/Saudi interest to do so, however, it was not in the 80's. I can "understand" that, but not the shifty transformation and metamorphosis that totally reshaped his view of war.
Post Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:08 pm
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tommi teardrop



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I keep trying to type something that illustrates how I feel about Hitchens' positions on these topics, but it keeps getting muddled in my own feelings about the subjects.

Basically, I think Hitchens admired the neocons' dedication to changing the world in the way they saw fit. I think his Marxist background probably played a part in this. As he got older, he seemed to be more concerned with where we, as a collection of cultures, were headed, than he was with adhering to strict theoretical guidelines of what was permissible and what was not.

I think he became a pragmatist. It is somewhere that someone like Chomsky will probably never go. Because they look at the world differently. I view Chomsky as the optimist that feels the world could be better if only people could be allowed the opportunity to fulfill their potential. Hitchens, on the other hand, sees the problems of the world as a result of the feeble human mind unable to help itself and its species.

It's not that I agree with him. It's that I see where he is coming from.

And I don't find the removal of a dictator for invasion near as silly as you do.
Post Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:04 pm
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tommi teardrop



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Charlie Foxtrot wrote:
How can an argument be well-informed, logical, and wrong?
Because "wrong" is a simple word for simpletons that don't understand that the world is a complex place and that an action, such as invading a country for various goals/motivations, is an action that would produce outcomes that will be interpreted all over the spectrum between "right" and "wrong."
Post Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:14 pm
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name



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Actually, I don't think Hitchens' position and arguments for the war were all that nuanced or complex. At his core, Hitch was driven by an abhorrence of totalitarianism. He was ultimately also disgusted by people who equate American "pseudo-imperialist" foreign policy with the regimes of people like Hussein and Qadaffi. Just go watch the episode of Bill Maher, where he demolishes Mos Def's dimwitted and self-righteous view of the post 9-11 landscape (and in the gem of the round table refers to him as Mr. Definitely).

I'm sure, in a perfect world, Hitchens would prefer that regimes such as these could be brought down by a more concerted global/popular effort. But in the absence of that reality, a United States that takes the lead in such matters, to him, is better than any alternative.

He has so many enemies on left precisely because his views were feircely pragmatic - and never ever influence by conventional thought. The left rightly grew to fear Hitchens, not only for his formidable intellect, but also because they knew the laser would be turned upon them at the slightest whiff of ideologically-tainted reasoning.

Via Andrew Sullivan:

From his last interview, with Richard Dawkins. And yes, it sums up all he stood for and believed in:

RD I've always been very suspicious of the left-right dimension in politics.

CH Yes; it's broken down with me.

RD It's astonishing how much traction the left-right continuum [has] . . . If you know what someone thinks about the death penalty or abortion, then you generally know what they think about everything else. But you clearly break that rule.

CH I have one consistency, which is [being] against the totalitarian - on the left and on the right. The totalitarian, to me, is the enemy - the one that's absolute, the one that wants control over the inside of your head, not just your actions and your taxes. And the origins of that are theocratic, obviously. The beginning of that is the idea that there is a supreme leader, or infallible pope, or a chief rabbi, or whatever, who can ventriloquise the divine and tell us what to do.
Post Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:10 pm
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Anti.Agent036



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tommi teardrop wrote:
I keep trying to type something that illustrates how I feel about Hitchens' positions on these topics, but it keeps getting muddled in my own feelings about the subjects.

Basically, I think Hitchens admired the neocons' dedication to changing the world in the way they saw fit. I think his Marxist background probably played a part in this. As he got older, he seemed to be more concerned with where we, as a collection of cultures, were headed, than he was with adhering to strict theoretical guidelines of what was permissible and what was not.

I think he became a pragmatist. It is somewhere that someone like Chomsky will probably never go. Because they look at the world differently. I view Chomsky as the optimist that feels the world could be better if only people could be allowed the opportunity to fulfill their potential. Hitchens, on the other hand, sees the problems of the world as a result of the feeble human mind unable to help itself and its species.

It's not that I agree with him. It's that I see where he is coming from.

And I don't find the removal of a dictator for invasion near as silly as you do.


I don't understand why chomsky and his ideals were referenced. By that logic we can determine that right-wing utopianism/libertarianism is optimistic, but it's irrelevant. Also, I rethink the term "silly" when referring to waging war in order to remove a dictator...it wasnt intended to be taken literally. Obviously it is not silly. I meant that I don't find the argument credible, that a dictator such as saddam, a western client that was committing crimes against humanity was not deposed until was seen fit by neoconservative hawks. I reconsider my recant of the word silly....it is silly.


Pardon the punctuational and grammatical shortcomings of this...was written on my phone
Post Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:23 pm
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tommi teardrop



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I just brought up Chomsky because to me, If you think of the typical idealist vs realist train of thought that most of us drift between, they seem to be the intellectuals on each side. They both live in my head, sometimes one more than the other. So I thought it was worth talking about.

And yeah, the shit that name posted is right at the core of it all. It's Nixon talking to Mao telling him about how the right accomplishes what the left theorizes about.

I find it fascinating and I guess that's why a dismissal of ch as a neocon rubs me wrong.
Post Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:05 am
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Alan Hague



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tommi teardrop wrote:
It's Nixon talking to Mao telling him about how the right accomplishes what the left theorizes about.

I find it fascinating and I guess that's why a dismissal of ch as a neocon rubs me wrong.


But that's ultimately the question that it comes down to: did the right in fact accomplish what the left theorized about? And the answer is unequivocally: NO. Is Iraq a democratic, egalitarian society? Definitely not, especially in the wake of the recent ordeal involving the Sunni bloc of parliament threatening to resign in opposition to corruption/consolidation of power on behalf of Nouri al-Maliki. Democracy is not functioning in Iraq. The country has been opened up for investment, which is great for business; not so great if you're working class & want electricity & running water & schools.

Also, is the right's method the proper way of going about creating positive change in the world? Does invasion & warfare inspire benevolence & understanding in the besieged population? Not at all.

And that's what's most bizarre about Hitchens; coming from a Trotskyist background, he, of all people, should be fully aware of the Marxist analysis of imperialism: it's never benevolent & always self-interested. Why should anyone suddenly expect the U.S. to be interested in installing democracy around the world when we hardly respect the same concepts here at home? (Enter the violent police break-ups of Occupies around the country; just watch "Film the Police" if you need further evidence). When we supported Mubarak in Egypt for 3 decades?

Yes, Saddam Hussein was a total shitbag, but it doesn't change the fact that Hitchens played the fool in this regard - believing that an outside invasion would somehow bring about justice & democracy.
Post Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:51 am
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Alan Hague



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tommi teardrop wrote:
It's Nixon talking to Mao telling him about how the right accomplishes what the left theorizes about.

I find it fascinating and I guess that's why a dismissal of ch as a neocon rubs me wrong.


But that's ultimately the question that it comes down to: did the right in fact accomplish what the left theorized about? And the answer is unequivocally: NO. Is Iraq a democratic, egalitarian society? Definitely not, especially in the wake of the recent ordeal involving the Sunni bloc of parliament threatening to resign in opposition to corruption/consolidation of power on behalf of Nouri al-Maliki. Democracy is not functioning in Iraq. The country has been opened up for investment, which is great for business; not so great if you're working class & want electricity & running water & schools.

Also, is the right's method the proper way of going about creating positive change in the world? Does invasion & warfare inspire benevolence & understanding in the besieged population? Not at all.

And that's what's most bizarre about Hitchens; coming from a Trotskyist background, he, of all people, should be fully aware of the Marxist analysis of imperialism: it's never benevolent & always self-interested. Why should anyone suddenly expect the U.S. to be interested in installing democracy around the world when we hardly respect the same concepts here at home? (Enter the violent police break-ups of Occupies around the country; just watch "Film the Police" if you need further evidence). When we supported Mubarak in Egypt for 3 decades?

Yes, Saddam Hussein was a total shitbag, but it doesn't change the fact that Hitchens played the fool in this regard - believing that an outside invasion would somehow bring about justice & democracy.
Post Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:51 am
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Charlie Foxtrot



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Captiv8 wrote:
And this is why people like Hitchens are so important: they reaffirm the validity and necessity of intellectual thought. Amid the strong anti-intellectual current in the United States we need people, whether we agree with their personal views or not, to stand up and clearly articulate any given position based on logic, rationale, and research.


I don't think he did "reaffirm the validity and necessity of intellectual thought". If someone like Hitchens and a halfwit like George Bush can reach the same conclusions, what's the point of being an intellectual?
Post Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:27 am
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outpatient



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His reasons for supporting the war were about as plain and just as they come - the removal from power of a genocidal fascist, and a better life for the Iraqis and Kurds (including the lifting of UN sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians).

I don't know why he argued that Zarqawi's presence in Iraq was proof of an Al-Qaeda link with Hussein, or why he took such a glib ends-justify-the-means position on the whole thing (unless he naively believed that we WOULDN'T just be trading off Iraqi suffering under Saddam for Iraqi suffering under an occupational terrorist-magnet clusterfuck), but I also don't know why some people want to define him by this one stance.

I think this about sums it up:

icarus502 wrote:
But, say on the Iraq War: he was wrong, I'd say. Fantastically wrong. But still a better read on the topic and more thought-provoking than the vast majority of those with whom I ostensibly agreed with.
Post Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:56 am
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