Eric Kibler's Reviews > Arguably: Selected Essays

Arguably by Christopher Hitchens
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Apr 12, 12

Read from December 04, 2011 to April 11, 2012

Ah, these politically polarized days we live in. We are constantly fed the idea that we must accept one of two predigested slates of beliefs. If you're a "conservative", you must be pro-gun rights and anti-abortion. If you're "liberal", you must be critical of Christianity, but "culturally sensitive" enough to be tolerant of the worst excesses of Islam. No matter that the belief system you've been handed is often internally inconsistent. Just believe! No thought required! Pick up one of these signs we've prepared for you and stand in front of the court house! Yell your slogan really loudly so you can't hear what the other side is saying!

One complaint people had about Christopher Hitchens was that he was inconsistent in that he didn't jump with both feet into one of those camps. He was an atheist and a neocon. He thought George W. Bush was an over-privileged ninny. He was not "culturally sensitive" enough to suffer Islamic extremists gladly. He was a man of the left who often sided with the right. Was he inconsistent? No. He was a rigorous thinker. He was an Englishman who, late in life, became an American citizen and who was a scholar of the Founding Fathers.

You know, in these days of shorthand thinking, everyone should go out and buy this man's books and read them. Not quickly, as you read a thriller, but slowly, closely, and intently. Parse his sentences. Grok him in fulness. As a result, you may be inspired not to take what you're handed at face value. Do your own investigations. Make up your own mind based on the best available information. Read and learn constantly. Be willing to admit you were wrong when it becomes apparent that you are.

LISTEN! READ! INVESTIGATE! OBSERVE! THINK! LEARN TO FORMULATE AND ARTICULATE COMPLEX IDEAS! We seem to be losing the power to do all these things, and Hitchens sets a great example. Don't let people simplify him as an atheist or as a neocon. He was so much more than either of these things.

And sometimes he will make you laugh. Deep, rich belly laughs of absurdity and irony.

I must read more.
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01/31/2012 page 368
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message 1: by Jana (new)

Jana Great review. The Hitch will be missed. I'm waiting for my son to finish this one and then it's my turn.


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