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Christopher Hitchens: genocide is the answer

October 14, 2007

I’d wanted to find out about how the FFRF convention went this week and looked for a summary.  PZ Myers was there, and reports on it at length.  (Short version: had a couple great guests who fought for separation of church and state.  Needed more breaks, people came here to organize and schmooze, not to hear long speeches.)

Scroll down, though, and you’ll find his report on Christopher Hitchens’ address, in which the speaker basically said we should bomb the entire Muslim world back into the stone age, and then keep bombing them some more.  Myers was not impressed, and to his credit did a great job dismantling the diatribe.

The idea that we can kill our way to cultural supremacy has a lot of takers, but it’s wrong.  There aren’t enough bombs in the world to destroy the Muslim heaven.  It’s easy enough to replace the fanatics you’re killing, too, if the culture is immersed in poverty and ignorance.  But vast numbers of Muslims want to consume Western culture, which is far more potent leverage.

Do we even need to say that genocide is wrong?  That a nation that commits it undermines its own legitimacy, and the arguments for its own existence?  When we see dictators on trial at the Hague, we should be thinking; “Don’t be that guy”. 

I often see religious people try to argue that only (their) religion can be the basis for morality.  And some atheists argue for the opposite: that religion is the source of immorality and only atheism can set us free from it.  Hitchens is evidence that maybe good and evil just come from … us.

Categories: defense, Politics
  1. October 14, 2007 at 13:38 | #1

    I think I finally figured it out. Hitchens is not an atheist, but an agent provocateur for the Jewish Lobby.

  2. October 14, 2007 at 17:52 | #2

    It’s really amazing how someone that makes incredibly intelligent arguments for other issue would do something so insanely stupid. Doesn’t he realize how this completely undermines his credibility? And how it gives the religious another example where they can say, see that’s what atheism leads to.

  3. Ted
    October 14, 2007 at 19:10 | #3

    What’s the operative definition of genocide here?

    On the face of it, killing Muslims doesn’t seem like genocide, although it is a very BAD thing (in my subjective opinion).

    People keep looking for a socially sanctioned way of killing others and I’m not sure where progress is—in finding the sanctioned way, or not finding it.

  4. October 14, 2007 at 21:35 | #4

    What’s the operative definition of genocide here?

    I couldn’t find a transcript or an mp3.  But I did see Hitchens on the Glenn Beck show and he’s pretty keen on the idea of pre-emptively attacking any Muslim country that annoys us, and keeping up the slaughter until they are afraid to even think about attacking a Westerner.  We’re “at war”, you see, and we should go after one Muslim country after another (starting with Iran) until they can’t pose a “threat”.  It was real “bomb them back to the stone age” stuff.  (Beck was eating it up with a spoon, of course) 

    His talk at FFRF may have been along the same lines – he promised it would be more so.  Will link to transcript when I find it.

  5. October 15, 2007 at 06:48 | #5

    Hitchen’s idea is so bad I’d think him insane if that’s all I knew him by.

  6. Abu Noor al-Irlandee
    October 16, 2007 at 17:01 | #6

    Ted,

    Via wikipedia here is the textbook legal definition of genocide according to the Genocide Convention

    “…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
    – Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article II

    Hitchens comments, as reported by observers seem to be textbook genocide and I will note that in clips available on line and in many, many other forums Hitchens has tried to make it clear that he is NOT speaking about “radical” or even “fundamentalist” Muslims but it is Islam itself or the fact that people are even Muslims that is the problem.  Now, it must be said that he is tremendously disdainful of all religious belief, but Muslims are the only one I see him calling for bombing and killing.

    I really am interested in getting a complete video or transcript of his remarks, the clips on Youtube do not show the most outrageous parts, at least if the reports of his remarks are correct.

  7. Abu Noor al-Irlandee
    October 16, 2007 at 17:03 | #7

    Just to be clear, I am not saying Hitchen’s comments themselves were genocide, but they were textbook “calls” for genocide.

  8. Ted
    October 16, 2007 at 22:01 | #8

    …On the face of it, killing Muslims doesn’t seem like genocide, …

    I stand corrected, although that part with …in whole or in part… seems pretty mealy.

    I was asking for the operative definition, as in—“what exactly is he talking about—all, some, radicals or whatnot”. Not really that it matters much, because I consider him a drunk chowderhead and have for years. Our very own version of Anne Coulter, if you will—because we should have at least one.

    I originally meant that I didn’t think killing enough Muslims would be genocide because killing people industriously (en masse) is a lot of hard work, and the support wanes unless one quickly rains nukes or some such thing. Plus we get bored easily, once the novelty wears off. But I guess that killing even one Muslim (being the …in part… above) could constitute genocide if we follow that UN definition strictly. I tell you, I’m against killing anyone, but that definition sounds opportunistic and can be applied for political reasons.

    I’m just not all that into this protecting religion by declaring them a specially protected class—be it Muslims, Christians or Jews (or other), since it seems to make stupidity a protected class by extension.

    But I digress; you are right.

  9. October 17, 2007 at 08:10 | #9

    I’m just not all that into this protecting religion by declaring them a specially protected class—be it Muslims, Christians or Jews (or other)

    I agree. I look forward to the day when I can openly discuss a person’s religion with them without being an a**hole.

  10. Abu Noor al-Irlandee
    October 17, 2007 at 08:24 | #10

    Ted,

    I appreciate your comments and I understand your issue about the definition.

    The definition is a bit tricky, but the key is that you are killing people BECAUSE they are Muslim, or Jewish, or Bosnian, or Armenian, or speak French…the key is not the number or what percentage of the group you kill. 

    We probably don’t agree on much else, but at least we can agree that Hitchens is a loser.

  11. October 17, 2007 at 08:31 | #11

    Or if you live in Europe, the day when you can openly discuss a religion without having to hide out in a safe house every night, under protective guard.

  12. October 17, 2007 at 08:38 | #12

    I look forward to the day when I can openly discuss a person’s religion with them without being an a**hole.

    I look forward to the day when we outgrow religion.

    Hitchens is an embarrassment. Much as I agree with some things he says, he undercuts his own credibility.

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