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Fun with Hitchens


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#1 TVCasualty

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 02:21 PM

Well, it's fun for some, anyway.

 

[Direct Link]

 

And god I hate Screwtube (so to speak), but the Agatan Foundation (whatever the hell that is) has a very interesting Channel that is well-worth a browse: https://www.youtube....sC6FPvnzCPVvsTw


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#2 TVCasualty

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 03:32 PM

He's not just a thorn in Christianity's side. He's equal-opportunity.

 

[Direct Link]

 

His opposition to organized religion is directly related to the empowerment of women, which is in turn directly related to creating a community that grows and thrives and is not mired in poverty and ignorance.

 

[Direct Link]

 



#3 Alder Logs

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 05:12 PM

Watching the first video; at least I know how to spell nypl now.



#4 TVCasualty

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 05:43 PM

Yeah, it's ultimately a political thread that won't be of particular relevance or bring any revelations to those who have already transcended (if you will) religion.

 

I've found that many people (including myself to some degree) come to an awareness of spirituality through a meandering path that often first leads from an organized religion to a place of skepticism and ideally then to a place of skepticism that is informed by direct experience.

 

The difference between a "teacher" and a "preacher" is so great that they may be considered polar opposites. As such, the teachers remain inaccessible so long as the preachers hold sway.



#5 August West

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Posted 02 September 2019 - 08:11 PM

I went to watch Hitchens debate Mark Danner in Berkeley in the hours before Gulf War II. They were debating on the appropriate use of U.S. power to police the world (the US hadn't attacked yet). Unfortunately Hitchens had made his foreign policy turn towards neo conservatism (like several other previously rational people in the wake of the "War OF Terror").

I was in agreement with Danner's ideological position but Hitchens absolutely took him apart, Scotch in hand and all.

#6 Alder Logs

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 12:23 AM

 

To be born into one of the world's great religions is a great blessing. To die in one, a great curse.

~Sri Hans Ji Maharaj



#7 TVCasualty

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 10:11 AM

I went to watch Hitchens debate Mark Danner in Berkeley in the hours before Gulf War II. They were debating on the appropriate use of U.S. power to police the world (the US hadn't attacked yet). Unfortunately Hitchens had made his foreign policy turn towards neo conservatism (like several other previously rational people in the wake of the "War OF Terror").

I was in agreement with Danner's ideological position but Hitchens absolutely took him apart, Scotch in hand and all.

 

Was this it?

 

[Direct Link]

 

This is Fun with Hitchens, so it's entirely on-topic even if that particular example probably wasn't much fun for Hitchens.

 

I finished my homework and watched the whole thing, lol. 

 

It seemed to me that any implicit support he apparently had for the neo-con agenda was entirely incidental.

 

Hitchens is radically anti-Fascist, and like Orwell believes that sometimes that requires a fight. Orwell put his anti-Fascist money where his mouth was by fighting in the Spanish Civil War against Franco's thugs, so he literally killed Fascists in order to stop them. And as WWII showed, sometimes you have to fight whether you want to or not.

 

So both Hitchens and Danner were correct in their positions IMO, and which one is the right one to pursue is a matter of timing. And how to determine the proper timing for a given course of action is a function of the facts. When it came to the Gulf War v2.0, those were hard to come by and even harder to verify.

 

Hitchens pisses off anti-war activists because sometimes he's pro-war. He also accuses anti-war activists of being Fascist apologists (elsewhere, not in this debate), and he makes a good point in that regard.

 

The nuances involved are profoundly subtle; anti-Fascism used to be a violent and bloody affair, and may have to become so again. Was it the right time to invade and depose Saddam? Probably not, but then the whole situation was fucked to hell and back so there was arguably no “correct” course of action nor any that would not have resulted in a shocking loss of life. Then there’s the history of our involvement in his initial rise to power and the weapons we sold him to help him stay there; what is our responsibility there?

Both sides on this issue have equally-compelling arguments since what is “really” going on in Iraq is apparently a matter of interpretation. The fog of war is especially thick here.

 

At 00:19:52 he offers one of his primary rationales for the war, but it turned out to be breathtakingly naive. He was correct in stating that those 4 million exiles couldn’t go home with Saddam in power. But after the war they’d be crazy to want to, and that was clearly the complete opposite of what Hitchens was advocating for.  He didn’t apparently believe or have any inkling that the Bush Administration was a cabal of psychopaths and would run the show the way they did.

I suspect he thought that good would come from it in spite of them being what he probably assumed was a typical bunch of self-serving dumbass politicians. I don’t think he suspected that they were such unrepentantly rapacious and calculated psycho-assholes. They were probably happy to see Hitchens volunteering to be a Useful Idiot for their agenda, but at the same time he's only as guilty for his complicity as anyone else who's been successfully conned.

He also dissed the Neo-cons’ hubris pretty hard, so I doubt they really had anything to do with his thinking on the issue, and THAT was his big mistake as it led to all of his miscalculations on the issue.

At 1:07:50+ he summarizes his position and it’s regime change, not war necessarily. But C’mon, Hitchens damned well knew we weren't going to talk that one out.

At 1:10:00 he predicts the post-invasion disaster IF we screw things up either by letting the regime fall apart on its own or (though he didn’t say it) if the Administration conducting the invasion blows a bunch of shit up and then basically leaves the Iraqis to deal with the aftermath on their own, which is pretty much what ended up happening though Hitchens was clearly under the impression that we would invade and stick around long enough to allow the Iraqi people to take control over their own government and that it would be a stable one.

The advantage of hindsight reveals how far off those assumptions were, but that was not available to him at the time. That is especially apparent at 1:25:00 where he talks about Iran being (at the time) on its own way to imminent  regime change toward a more democratic government (oops).

 

He done fucked up a couple times in this debate, but did so honestly and consistently with his beliefs while being misled as to what was really about to happen (just like the whole world was being misled at the time).

War and peace. Sometimes it's hard to tell them apart. It can get complicated; when is it time to talk, and when is it time to stab ‘em in the neck with your bayonet like Orwell did when he wasn't writing about them? It’s a difficult and dynamic balance. Welcome to the razor’s edge, where we've been all along.


Edited by TVCasualty, 03 September 2019 - 10:13 AM.

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#8 Alder Logs

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 10:49 AM

I just started the video and the intros are still underway.  I find going back to that time a bit of an emotional gut shot.  The ship of state never, it seems, has anyone of sufficient merit at the helm.  



#9 Alder Logs

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Posted 03 September 2019 - 11:37 AM

Forty minutes in now and it's really hard to listen to Hitchens' New York Times image of the world.  Operation Mockingbird never ends, and its effectiveness endures.

 

On edit:  Both Hitchens and Danner have been Mockingbirded.  Both have had intravenous infusions, though perhaps of slightly different flavors, of whatever Kool-Aid was on the market at the time.

 

 

"There will be no war.  There will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention to remove the Saddam Hussein Regime." 

~Hitchens, not Nostradamus


Edited by Alder Logs, 03 September 2019 - 12:21 PM.


#10 TVCasualty

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 07:26 AM

Well, he did get it technically right in claiming there'd be no war, and he carefully defined what he meant by the term "war" just before that quote begins. To him a "war" would be what a conflict between major world powers would entail, which differentiates it from swift and decisive "blitzkrieg" (if you will) that shatters a country with no effective opposition. He also made a distinction between the invasion and what was to come after, which he got totally wrong at the time.

 

 

Hitchens was himself primarily a Journalist, and went to Iraq (among other places where I have no desire to). He spoke to Iraqis, and Kurds, and extremists both in Iraq and Iran and Israel and North Korea, etc. (pretty much all the players in today’s geopolitical Main Events). He even stated at some point (not sure which video) that he became a Journalist because he didn’t like taking other people’s word for anything. If anyone would be at the very least relatively immune to the machinations of Operation Mockingbird, it would be a Journalist of Hitchens’ caliber and intellect.

Oh, and I read a CIA press release where they said they totally quit doing that altogether after King George (Bush) the First made them knock it off, so I’m sure it’s all cool now because why would the CIA lie in a press release?!? I really do think it’s hilarious that it was GHW Bush who supposedly got the Company to quit schmoozing with (accredited) Journalists (freelancers were still fair game, apparently), considering all there is to consider about such things.

 

 

 

 

 



#11 August West

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 10:48 AM

The most difficult thing about Hitchens' (and those who earnestly share his) position for me is the seeming lack of context regarding U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East for at least the last 40 years - I think I'm being conservative with that time frame - and completely disregarding the much longer track record of U.S. involvement around the world.

 

Perhaps I've benefited from being able to go back and study this topic in hindsight? It's interesting here that in the debate it is just taken for granted that Iraq and Al Qaeda are essentially  one and the same. The irony there of course is that there was no connection and no Al Qaeda in Iraq until it's destruction by the U.S. made that possible. Further, I don't know how much scholarship existed before 9/11 on Western "Intelligence's" role in the region. It is clear though, that they indeed had plenty of presence, regardless of the official line. Over and over again they turned a blind eye, for whatever reason, on the warnings from their assets about and after 9/11. How is it that one can argue for the use of U.S. military might to police fascism if they aren't willing to use that might in order to stop it from occurring in the first place? I, for one, would like to hear a debate that takes a historical approach to these matters rather than disregarding it because well, "We're here now so that's irrelevant".

 

Sorry, this is all a bit jumbling but this is a pretty deep topic and one that's difficult to pull off on an internet forum.


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#12 Alder Logs

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 12:05 PM

Though it seems there is a bit of competition between the two, the US and UK, et. al., have been joined at the hip (where the powers reside) in doing much mischief around the planet for a long time.



#13 TVCasualty

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 12:51 PM

The most difficult thing about Hitchens' (and those who earnestly share his) position for me is the seeming lack of context regarding U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East for at least the last 40 years - I think I'm being conservative with that time frame - and completely disregarding the much longer track record of U.S. involvement around the world.

...

Sorry, this is all a bit jumbling but this is a pretty deep topic and one that's difficult to pull off on an internet forum.

 

Yeah, that’s an understatement. And this was a thread more about him in general than Iraq specifically. Why I posted it is still becoming clearer to me, lol.

 The video below is especially interesting, not so much for what Hitchens is saying as it is for what the callers are saying. As one of the comments under it points out, these random people calling in to a radio talk show possessed a level of knowledge and nuanced understanding of the issues under discussion to a degree that is conspicuously absent from contemporary media.

Whether that’s a consequence of the general public getting dumber or because intelligent discourse is being intentionally suppressed (or is due to both) is a topic for its own thread. One thing is certain: If we don’t bring the ambient level of public discourse (back) up to this level of knowledge and sophistication then we’re never going to parse these issues to a degree that will affect any substantive change.

 

I also included this video because when he talks about the situation in South Africa (in 1985 when it was filmed), he makes it clear that a large part of the conflict can be blamed on where the lines were drawn and that they were drawn by “my countrymen the British.” This was also obviously the case in the Middle East, so he may not have been as unaware of the region’s past and the US's and UK's involvement as it seems just from watching that debate.

 

I guess I’m posting this stuff because I would like to get beyond sound-bites and partisan slogans in my understanding of geopolitics (or reality, for that matter). But the more I do that, the thicker the fog seems to get. I’m teetering between trying to dig deeper into these kinds of topics and just saying to hell with it and deal with the world the way a kayaker deals with rapids (try to have some fun while dodging the rocks and not drowning).

But that degree of self-absorption seems like a cop-out since any slack I enjoy as I dodge the rocks is thanks to the efforts of those who came before me to cast off the historic oppression of religion and general thuggery and all the rest of the shit that plagues most people around the world to this day (not to mention facilitating the modern infrastructure that makes for comfy houses and hot showers and the ability to discuss and debate stuff on the Internet).

Granted, that’s still a work in progress as current efforts to re-ban abortion (among other political lunacy) can attest, but we’ve arguably come a long way. And the great irony of our species may be that the slack we’ve created for ourselves with our industrial civilization may be the very thing that facilitates the sort of thinking that ultimately becomes the undoing of said civilization.

We cannot operate and manage a modern civilization on mythology, fairy tales, and lies. Religion in particular is still holding us back in that regard, which is where I was originally coming from in posting a thread about Hitchens. Anyway, we can’t pray for the grid to remain functional and call it done, etc.. And that’s not to mention the problem of transcendentally-motivated leaders possessing Apocalyptic weapons who CAN "pray" for the End of the World and actually make it happen.

Baffling the masses with bullshit used to be a fairly low-risk way to control them since the societies that invented our religions were either nomadic or agrarian. As such, their misconceptions about reality didn’t pose a direct and literal threat to the continued existence of the human race (among other species).

 

 

[Direct Link]

 

This video is also special because it may be the only time you’ll ever hear him wish someone “Merry Christmas.” And they went to another caller at one point because of concern over the caller’s long distance charges accruing, lol.

 


Edited by TVCasualty, 05 September 2019 - 12:52 PM.

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#14 Alder Logs

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 10:44 AM

We certainly won't fix the world by branding its failings alone.  We bring it back home and apply it as it applies.  Some of us won't adapt, and I'm afraid that's the best we can do. 

 

Have to watch this video later.



#15 TVCasualty

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 11:37 PM

I reckon the only way to know what the best we can do can be is to give what we can do a try.

 

I've been noticing the incursions of organized religion into politics and culture becoming more pernicious and subtle, but no less numerous than ever. And this is a problem, and like all problems it's ultimately a consciousness problem. Well, that and money.

 

We need to conduct some serious renovations of the consciousness (or how it functions, rather) of however many people it will take to reach the critical Tipping Point where the number of people in society who are focusing their intent on its sustainability finally has a tangible effect on the way it actually operates.

 

People like Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris make air-tight arguments that religion is the primary source of opposition to the very things we need to achieve this critical mass of sustainability within the population (e.g., reason, critical thinking skills, a willingness to entertain new ideas, the scientific method, etc.). That makes it an existential issue, and if our collective consciousness is going to be renovated then like with all renovations it's going to have to undergo the demolition phase of all the outdated crap currently installed in there first. And time is not our friend in that regard.

 

So once identified, we can begin to dismantle, rhetorically demolish, mercilessly mock, or otherwise do what is necessary to save the goddamned world. So to speak.

 

 

The good news is that this in no way kills God or The Gods, the Spirit World, or What or Whomever one suspects (or knows, perhaps) is beyond the physical/tangible world. It just gets the loosely affiliated man-made (and not at all supernatural) pyramid-schemes out of politics.



#16 TVCasualty

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 11:43 AM

Below is an example of one of the reasons I respect Hitchens and his point of view.

 

He thought that "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" like waterboarding were not torture, and initially supported their use.

 

Like most people who felt the same way, he'd never been waterboarded. The Editor of Vanity Fair asked him if he'd be willing to be subjected to it. FWIW, the Fox News mega-tool Sean Hannity talked a bunch of shit about being willing to go through it as well in order to prove it wasn't torture just like Hitchens, but since Hitchens has the courage of his convictions and puts his money where his mouth is (unlike Hannity), he actually accepted the "invitation."

 

Afterward, he readily admitted that he had been very wrong about waterboarding, and that it was definitely torture. It took him ~15 seconds to change his mind. If only all minds were as flexible and willing to confront their own assumptions...

 

There's nothing quite like direct experience to inform one's beliefs, eh?

 

 

 

[Direct Link]

 

 

 

 

Hannity, of course, remains a shit-talking coward to this day, same as he ever was.


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#17 Misfit

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 02:49 PM

That shit ended QUICK


“I’d rather have nothing than have a lie”
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#18 TVCasualty

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 03:21 PM

The clip below illustrates why the active opposition to religion matters and should be pursued by all rational and intelligent adults who care about the state of the world, in under 6 minutes.

 

"Why don't you just stay home?"

 

Here's why:

 

[Direct Link]


Edited by TVCasualty, 08 September 2019 - 03:22 PM.


#19 gonefishen

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 03:30 PM

If y'all are fans of The Hitch I know you will love The Atheist Experience on youtube every sunday Its a live call in show that is run by Atheists and theist callers call in to "prove their "god" what and why they believe it. None of them have ever made a convincing point but it's nice to see them try and fail over and over again, they are shining a light on the flaw with in christian and religious thinking, and changing minds weekly.
their sister show Talk heathen is a nicer approach to the same subject and is very good as well. If your not watching your missing out.

The Atheist Experience Airs every sunday around 5 or 6
https://www.youtube....perience/videos airs every sunday around 5

Talk Heathen on every sunday around 2 or 3
https://www.youtube....KwjRmRWg/videos


Edited by gonefishen, 08 September 2019 - 03:34 PM.

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#20 TVCasualty

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 03:43 PM

If that was a live show instead of a call-in then I'd show up and put a pipe loaded with DMT on the table and say "I have no evidence for an omniscient Creator, but here's some food for thought about the existence of something beyond what is normally able to be perceived, though its ultimate implications remain a mystery. If you have 20 minutes to spare indulging me in this experiment then I sincerely look forward to your comments."

 

Which is to say that the vanquishing of religion is the cultural demolition necessary to allow the renovation or the revival (if you will) of direct experience of the transcendent or numinous to emerge as a culturally-significant influence or force for change.


Edited by TVCasualty, 08 September 2019 - 03:44 PM.





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