Christopher Hitchens Dies, Age 62

Just making note of the trend amongst religious radicals to latch onto individual words and phrases factually or allegedly uttered by well-respected intellectuals in general, as a form of personality idol worship. I think I misunderstood what Joepistole was specifically referring to in my original reply, but there are indeed plenty of people out there right now looking for some implicit Hitchens endorsement of religion so they can fling their feces at some atheists.

No doubt, although it's not my perspective. His softening his tone on his deathbed would have been a disappointment; one enjoys an opinion well and strongly held.
 
It's so unfair, I know ....

GeoffP said:

And he had.

So you say. But you won't provide.

Think of it this way, Geoff: Imagine one of my right-wing detractors gets upset because I won't call Communism evil. So then, let's imagine that, say, Gustav points out that I've written extensively about Communism. So the conservative points out that I've never actually come out and called Communism evil. So Gustav says, "And he has." Well, in that case, Gustav would be wrong.

As I explained before:

Simply addressing the "capitalist-communist duality" is what it is. But he never seemed to actually strike after the heart of the matter. Whether church or capitalism or communism or whatever, the fundamental problem rests within our very humanity, and as long as we continue to argue about symptoms, we will never be able to even attempt to cure the disease.​

Do you see? The fact that Hitchens has written about capitalism does not automatically mean he has denounced the greed that has co-opted capitalism.

We're talking about a man who thinks Mother Teresa was evil because she fed the poor. Because she never transcended the bigotries conditioned into her belief system. Would the world be better off if she just left people to die?

His screed about Jerry Falwell, as much as I sympathize with it, is exactly the sort of thing we denounce about the Westboro crowd that dances on people's graves with their stupid protests. It is, to put it bluntly, what an asshole does. And therein you find an example of why I called him an asshole. That he is, to some extent, my kind of asshole, the kind I sympathize with, does not mean he is not an asshole.

I would not think this sort of thing is particularly difficult to comprehend, except people remind me daily that it is. The passing of Christopher Hitchens, and the response of his cultish following to any suggestion that he was anything less than beatific is all I'm after. It doesn't do anyone any good to try to whitewash an asshole.

But, of course, the Hitchens cultists are getting flossed on their thongs in clenching rage.

I don't know, man. I always find it odd when people try to honor someone by betraying his core principles.

That was the aspect you cherry-picked out for consideration.

I think if you actually paid attention, and gave the issue any sincere consideration, you would see the obvious problem with your telling of history. Indeed, the whole question of cherry picking could easily be avoided if Spidergoat, who reminded us of how important Orwell was to Hitchens, hadn't reduced the famous passage from Catalonia to "no one can be in favor of a war unless they are also a soldier".

The membership of which you insert SG and myself into, and then pull out of, as if you're trying to practice the rhythm method with an organ you don't quite understand the use of. As I said, we're not fanboys. Could you be more myopic on this issue? Do you understand?

As you said? Geoff, we've both been around this site long enough to know that the fact that you say something does not mean it is either accurate or honest.

It seems what's flossing you is that not everybody thinks St. Christopher was all that and a bag of chips. And at some point, as you repeatedly drive the point home, as you undermine Hitchens' legacy by demanding for him what he obviously thought was inappropriate in general, yes, the spectacle becomes rather quite funny.

It amazes me that someone who lauds his own intelligence as broadly and often as you do could so determinedly dodge every opportunity to display it.

What amazes you about this discussion, Geoff? That someone can enjoy playing the vapid game you've specialized in for so many years? Is there nobody you can accuse of auctioning off children for sexual slavery this time? Is that what's bothering you?

You did earn a complaint on the above, though, so kudos to you again.

And your complaint certainly earned a chuckle; it was very cute.

The bottom line is that Hitchens' cultists think it is unfair to treat St. Christopher as he treated others. He's only days through the looking glass, and his worshippers have already trashed his legacy.

There is, in the end, some merit to be found in considering the worth of one's contribution to the world by how those who claim to appreciate it actually treat that prize. I mean, look at James' bit about Hitchens' alcoholism. At least he got into the spirit of things. For all I might disagree with James, there are times that I appreciate his outlook; that was actually quite the funny post. I'm certainly not going to betray its spirit simply to find a reason to disagree with James.

It's kind of like watching people try to split hairs about what part of Andy Kaufman's comedy was funny. As with so many comedians infamous for their extremity, a lot of those tying themselves into knots about his more outrageous behavior don't see how one joke connects to the next.

The problem with your reading comprehension is not that you're illiterate. Rather, it's that you try to annex what people say and do for yourself; that is, they can only mean what you want them to mean in order to satisfy your need. That need is what defines you, because what you want other people to mean is entirely subordinate to it.

If you brought even a shred of sincerity to the character you play in this community, there would at least be something to sympathize with. But your need is to thump your chest and declare your superiority; the last thing anyone expects you to do these days is actually demonstrate whatever talents you think you have.

So if you're going to complain, you might get a better response if you do so honestly.

I know, I know. It's so unfair, isn't it?
 
We're talking about a man who thinks Mother Teresa was evil because she fed the poor.

He actually wrote an entire book explaining Mother Teresa's various faults. If I recall correctly, feeding the poor wasn't the main one. Doubtless you're unaware of this book. Obviously you're unaware of Hitchens' actual claims on the matter. Either that or you're willing to sacrifice truth to make a silly rhetorical point.

Would the world be better off if she just left people to die?

A better question for you to ask would be: would the world be better if she had not acted in the ways that Hitchens explicitly criticised her for (as opposed to your straw-man characterisation of his actual writings on the matter)? Look them up if you're interested.

The passing of Christopher Hitchens, and the response of his cultish following to any suggestion that he was anything less than beatific is all I'm after. It doesn't do anyone any good to try to whitewash an asshole.

Where is this cultish following you speak of? Look, I'm sure that there are a few Hitchens swooners out there who actual believe that the man could do no wrong, but I'm not seeing any right here in this thread. So, who exactly are you talking about?

I don't know, man. I always find it odd when people try to honor someone by betraying his core principles.

Please enlighten us as to what you believe Hitchens' core principles were.

It seems what's flossing you is that not everybody thinks St. Christopher was all that and a bag of chips.

What is "flossing" people here is that you obviously know little if anything about the man or his writings, and you're posting more-or-less empty slanders because he got your tits in a knot over something (I assume).

If you want to quibble over some substantive point of view, then fine. Start a thread on that. But don't come here with some kind of general rage and express it though a bunch of unsupported insults.

The bottom line is that Hitchens' cultists think it is unfair to treat St. Christopher as he treated others.

Who are these cultists?

Please provide the relevant quotes where the cultists have advocated a double standard for their Saint.

He's only days through the looking glass, and his worshippers have already trashed his legacy.

Where, exactly?

I have read many obituaries and commentaries on his death over the past few days. The vast majority have been quite complimentary. Perhaps by "worshippers" here you mean "detractors" such as yourself.

It's also rather a big call to say that his legacy is now "trashed". What, precisely do you have to offer to support that bizarre contention?

There is, in the end, some merit to be found in considering the worth of one's contribution to the world by how those who claim to appreciate it actually treat that prize. I mean, look at James' bit about Hitchens' alcoholism. At least he got into the spirit of things. For all I might disagree with James, there are times that I appreciate his outlook; that was actually quite the funny post. I'm certainly not going to betray its spirit simply to find a reason to disagree with James.

Oh, I'm so glad.

I would otherwise be expecting quite an incoherent spray from you following this post.

The problem with your reading comprehension is not that you're illiterate. Rather, it's that you try to annex what people say and do for yourself; that is, they can only mean what you want them to mean in order to satisfy your need. That need is what defines you, because what you want other people to mean is entirely subordinate to it.

If you brought even a shred of sincerity to the character you play in this community, there would at least be something to sympathize with. But your need is to thump your chest and declare your superiority; the last thing anyone expects you to do these days is actually demonstrate whatever talents you think you have.

What an interesting character analysis. Unrequested, of course. But oh so useful.

Just change the name and it reveals so much.
 
Don't worry about the facts; Greenwald loves you anyway

So you say. But you won't provide.

You have perhaps gone mad? I don't think I'm asking anything extraordinary by requiring you to read what I wrote. Oh well.

Think of it this way, Geoff: Imagine one of my right-wing detractors gets upset because I won't call Communism evil. So then, let's imagine that, say, Gustav points out that I've written extensively about Communism. So the conservative points out that I've never actually come out and called Communism evil. So Gustav says, "And he has." Well, in that case, Gustav would be wrong.

Yes, yes, I saw your oblique revocation. Unfortunately, this was a goal-post relocation attempt, which everyone saw through. You perhaps forget your own prior post:

Tiassa said:
Just remember that in all Hitchens had to say about how horrible religion was, he never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism.

My emphasis. Never: he never got around to it. Never mentioned it once... aside from all those times that he did mention it. Have you actually read any of his works on capitalism? Don't you think you should? 'Greed that has co-opted capitalism?' I'm sorry: which kind of Marxist were you, again?

We're talking about a man who thinks Mother Teresa was evil because she fed the poor. Because she never transcended the bigotries conditioned into her belief system.

Erm, actually his comments are as much that she's a tool of or complicit with conservative reactionaries and selfish economic interests as comments about her (fairly highly) conservative religious perspectives. But you think Hitchens thought she was evil 'because she fed the poor'? Are you even aware of your own writing, here?

His screed about Jerry Falwell, as much as I sympathize with it, is exactly the sort of thing we denounce about the Westboro crowd that dances on people's graves with their stupid protests. It is, to put it bluntly, what an asshole does.

While I bow to your greater practical experience, you'll note that he does so in print, rather than by dancing around with a sign at a man's actual funeral. You might, if you wanted to be really extreme, call a soldier complicit with the agenda of the conservatives (or liberals, or economic interests) that send him somewhere, but Falwell was actually running the show. It's not the same indictment at all.

But, of course, the Hitchens cultists are getting flossed on their thongs in clenching rage.

I don't know, man. I always find it odd when people try to honor someone by betraying his core principles.

Well, I think I'd be remiss in letting unfounded comments pass. If you want now to get into the gestalt of post-post-modern greed dynamics as a reason to call the guy an asshole, one could talk about that too, I suppose.

Yes, yes: Hitchens was an admirer of Orwell. (Let us go that extra mile and even call him a fanboy.) And he clashes thereby with one of Orwell's issues on jingoism, which we've seen cited here ad nauseam as if this will somehow make the case for you. Okay. And? I clash with my superiors in evolutionary theory also, on one central issue. Does this make me a hypocrite, or someone able to make a rational and alternate choice? I mean, come the hell on here. This is ridiculous. Do you actually think one difference in philosophy is sufficient to render mute and void his commentary to date? I'm torn between calling you naive or ignorant here.

As you said? Geoff, we've both been around this site long enough to know that the fact that you say something does not mean it is either accurate or honest.

And also unto you. I do seem to have a better grasp of both than you, mind, so you shouldn't be throwing rocks here.

It seems what's flossing you is that not everybody thinks St. Christopher was all that and a bag of chips.

No, I merely want your criticisms to be valid. Is that so much to ask? Or is every debate with you going to end with your employing your Pakistan-issued "White Passport" (hilarious that was, BTW) and running off to a thread where they'll better appreciate you? :D

What amazes you about this discussion, Geoff? That someone can enjoy playing the vapid game you've specialized in for so many years? Is there nobody you can accuse of auctioning off children for sexual slavery this time? Is that what's bothering you?

:yawn: So which is it: that you're sekritly playing a tu quoque game of incorrect assertions (solitaire, I'm afraid, since I prefer whist) or that, in fact, it's all about my inability to accept the fact of Christopher Hitchens' impending divinity, as I apparently see it, which I demonstrably don't? Make up your mind.

The problem with your reading comprehension is not that you're illiterate. Rather, it's that you try to annex what people say and do for yourself; that is, they can only mean what you want them to mean in order to satisfy your need. That need is what defines you, because what you want other people to mean is entirely subordinate to it.

Well, I guess that explains why I called you out on your assertion that Hitchens never ever criticised capitalism.

So if you're going to complain, you might get a better response if you do so honestly.

I know, I know. It's so unfair, isn't it?

Well, as used as I am to the innate inequality of most of your - er - 'contributions' to SF, your weaseling language above has ineptly dodged the point of both the complaint and its response. This is in addition to the inexactness I've come to expect from you, and the argumentative roads your deliberate myopia lead you along, running down straw men and skidding out on carelessly-placed herrings as you go: but going somewhere, you're sure.

The only thing I'm not sure of about the above is whether you do so from a centralized laziness, or some kind of partially repressed hate or factionalism. And I'm not entirely sure that I care, really, although I suppose the answer would be briefly amusing.

Anyway: doctor, heal thyself.
 
D'oh!

GeoffP said:

You have perhaps gone mad? I don't think I'm asking anything extraordinary by requiring you to read what I wrote.

You mean like the Amazon link? ("Here, read this whole book. I'm too lazy to cite anything from it to make my point.") Or perhaps the couple of articles? ("Here, read these, even though they don't make my point for me, which is why there's nothing I can quote from them.")

I don't think I'm asking anything extraordinary by asking you to make your point.

Yes, yes, I saw your oblique revocation.

What are you on about now, Geoff? I don't think anyone would be asking anything extraordinary of you to expect that you don't just make up random shit.

My emphasis.

Also your snip job. Look, since your whole temper tantrum is based on your blatant dishonesty (or is it illiteracy?) there really isn't much I can do for you.

It was a nice try, Geoff, but once again you're caught out having a hissy cow that is either dishonest or plain uneducated.

Whatever your problem is, it's not other people's to fix. Indeed, the way you treat people, I'm not certain anyone could fix it for you.

So get your shit together, and spare us this ridiculous pretense.
 
We're talking about a man who thinks Mother Teresa was evil because she fed the poor. Because she never transcended the bigotries conditioned into her belief system. Would the world be better off if she just left people to die?
Mother T was a bitch. hitchens disliked her because she basicly had them locked up in her hospices with out treatment and refused to treat them so they could die. she also refused to let them see their families. she felt surrounding herself with the dying brought her closer to god. hitch was right to critize her. an oh yeah about feeding the poor mother T took money from dictators to help the poor than pocketed it.



and in case you missed it


SHE DID LET PEOPLE FUCKING DIE THAT WHY HITCHENS DISLIKED HER.
 
Does seem that she might have had moral absences along those lines, or at least that Hitchens was pretty damn sure of it.
 
I didn't always agree with some of Hitchens's views about the republican party or the wars but his style of argument, his broad knowledge and his ability to present a demolishing spontaneous response in the way he did was very impressive. Here in the UK we are effectively a secular nation, despite a state religion but the US has a long way to go before it, for want of a better word, matures and becomes comfortable with atheism in the same way. I watch a lot of stuff about the us religious mindset (The Atheist Experience out of Austin is good if anyone is interested) and in recent years there seems yo be a slow shift and I think that is due on no small part to Christopher Hitchens. Anyone who values discourse, even if you are on the other side, on the questions of religion can see the discourse has lost a great contributor.
 
Whoopsie!

Also your snip job.

By snip job, do you mean the one where you, with no kind of conditioning statement, said Hitchens hadn't ever criticized capitalism, and then I showed you that he had, and then you pretended that instead what you meant was that he hadn't done it according to the specifications of your shifted goal-post in succeeding thread posts? Is that the snip job you mean? Funny kind of snip job. Is this some kind of fourth-dimensional math trick you intend to pull of of somewhere? I can hardly wait for the exciting reveal.
 
Fros-tay!

GeoffP said:

By snip job, do you mean the one where you, with no kind of conditioning statement, said Hitchens hadn't ever criticized capitalism, and then I showed you that he had, and then you pretended that instead what you meant was that he hadn't done it according to the specifications of your shifted goal-post in succeeding thread posts? Is that the snip job you mean? Funny kind of snip job. Is this some kind of fourth-dimensional math trick you intend to pull of of somewhere? I can hardly wait for the exciting reveal.

Wow. Merry Happy Holiday Greetings Season to you, too, Scroogy McDoodle.

May Baby Santa Jesus find you peace.

And meanwhile, that's the snip job that appears to deliberately attempt to manipulate context. Unless, of course, you're admitting that what you really need from Baby Geevers is a lump of reading comprehension in your stocking.
 
Wow. Merry Happy Holiday Greetings Season to you, too, Scroogy McDoodle.

And that has what the fuck to do with anything?

And meanwhile, that's the snip job that appears to deliberately attempt to manipulate context.

Oh good! Then this should be easy for you to demonstrate in a fashion that won't make you look like a complete fucking idiot.
 
What You've Got ....

GeoffP said:

And that has what the fuck to do with anything?

Irony.

(It's a Satanic drug thing ... you wouldn't understand.)

Oh good! Then this should be easy for you to demonstrate in a fashion that won't make you look like a complete fucking idiot.

Well, you see Geoff, we use letters to form words. And then we tend to string those words together into what we call sentences. Sometimes, people arrange sentences into forms called paragraphs. And understanding how those words in the sentences and paragraphs influence one another is the basic process of reading comprehension.

For instance:

Tiassa said:
Just remember that in all Hitchens had to say about how horrible religion was, he never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism.

My emphasis. Never: he never got around to it. Never mentioned it once... aside from all those times that he did mention it. Have you actually read any of his works on capitalism? Don't you think you should? 'Greed that has co-opted capitalism?' I'm sorry: which kind of Marxist were you, again?

• • •​

By snip job, do you mean the one where you, with no kind of conditioning statement, said Hitchens hadn't ever criticized capitalism, and then I showed you that he had, and then you pretended that instead what you meant was that he hadn't done it according to the specifications of your shifted goal-post in succeeding thread posts?

You complained of moving the goal posts. Frankly, Geoff, I don't think an expectation of basic reading comprehension is a matter of moving goal posts. I mean, sure, reading comprehension seems optional in your world, but nobody is invoking any new standards in asking you to have a clue.

What you quoted:

Just remember that in all Hitchens had to say about how horrible religion was, he never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism.

(Boldface accent in snip quote)

What was written:

Just remember that in all Hitchens had to say about how horrible religion was, he never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism. For as much as religion complicates wars, people like to blame it for causing wars because they don't want to get into economics. It's far more acceptable in our society to hate religion than it is to acknowledge the underlying problem of greed. We've turned greed into its own religion, which we call capitalism.​

What was ignored:

.... For as much as religion complicates wars, people like to blame it for causing wars because they don't want to get into economics. It's far more acceptable in our society to hate religion than it is to acknowledge the underlying problem of greed. We've turned greed into its own religion, which we call capitalism.​

The alleged movement of the goalposts:

The fact that Hitchens has written about capitalism does not automatically mean he has denounced the greed that has co-opted capitalism.​

However, that movement of the goalposts only occurs if we accept your false proposition that what was ignored never actually existed.

We're now how many posts past the one that got you so flossed, and you still can't provide the simplest of examples? So instead you just turn up the dishonesty, dig in, and bark like a pollicle.

I would have thought it that much easier, since you're so convinced you're correct, to have simply settled the point long ago, but quite clearly you're more interested in the interpersonal politics. And that's fine, Geoff. You know. Whatever gets you off, in the end. That's what we're here for, after all. It certainly isn't for any exercise in civilized, intelligent discourse, is it? Because if it was, one might expect you to be honest, and as you've made clear, an expectation of honesty is nothing more than an unfair moving of the goalposts.

Thank you for trying, though. You have provided an excellent demonstration of human frailty, and the rest of us can certainly learn from it if we choose to.
 
Well, you see Geoff, we use letters to form words. And then we tend to string those words together into what we call sentences. Sometimes, people arrange sentences into forms called paragraphs. And understanding how those words in the sentences and paragraphs influence one another is the basic process of reading comprehension.

And that is very good comprehension, Tiassa. I would love to hang about and find out what else it is you have learned, but I am forced by propriety to drag the conversation back to the facts of the case. You accused me of snipping, but your tiny errors lie here, in your first post:

Tiassa said:
Just remember that in all Hitchens had to say about how horrible religion was, he never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism. For as much as religion complicates wars, people like to blame it for causing wars because they don't want to get into economics. It's far more acceptable in our society to hate religion than it is to acknowledge the underlying problem of greed. We've turned greed into its own religion, which we call capitalism.

Smith would sit quietly, head in hands, near to weeping. Marx would nod sagely and ask him if he wants to go get a drink.

To which I responded:

GeoffP said:

Now, I would ask you to review your comment above, and ask where it is I am snipping it off. When you said that Hitchens had never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism, was that later negated by your comments about greed, or economics, or Smith, or Marx? Or the weeping, with the head in the hands? The answer, of course, is none of those. These things are pretty implicit in Hitchens' writings; they are necessarily implicit in any such critiques. It's a little Tiassic to pretend now that this is was what it all was about in a quest to avoid looking stupid, again, particularly as I separated that issue from the get-go. It would be difficult to claim, in knowledge, Tiassa, that Hitchens did not write about capitalism with the word "never" when you really meant never to mean "the greed that makes capitalism all bad n' stuff" as a separate issue. It would be difficult to make that kind of mistake. Related to that, I would ask again how in the world a Marxist can believe capitalism can be co-opted, but I think the answer would be genuinely damaging.

It would be like...well, I don't know... I suppose it would be as foolish as trying to find a 'White Passport' issued by Pakistan. It just wasn't there to be found.

You see, what we're seeing here is that you missed all that right from the start. You did indeed pick up on it - er, much later, when a couple of us had reminded you of that thing you did not know - but you tiny issues with being unable to admit you were wrong are obstructing your dialogue here.

The essence of your problem is that you disliked him on balance of what he was most famous for, the relevance of which we've discussed already, and which is centred around the fact that he dissed off on religion in a way you didn't like. Soo that's another bad sale for the Acme company on your account. Enjoy. I recommend a wholehearted attempt to discuss some of the other points in your diatribe.
 
Just remember that in all Hitchens had to say about how horrible religion was, he never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism. For as much as religion complicates wars, people like to blame it for causing wars because they don't want to get into economics. It's far more acceptable in our society to hate religion than it is to acknowledge the underlying problem of greed. We've turned greed into its own religion, which we call capitalism.
I have no idea who's ultimately being quoted here, but it betrays a profound lack of understanding of the economics of the Industrial Era.

A case can be made for identifying the conversion of the chemical energy in fossil fuel into kinetic energy as the key technology of the Industrial Revolution. Without it, our machines and assembly lines would have only brought about a modest increase in the productivity of our labor. The vast majority of the human race would still be doomed to "careers" in the food production and distribution industry, many of them perhaps still as slaves.

Industrial energy increased our productivity by two or three orders of magnitude, so that today the vast majority of the human race don't make a living by exerting musclepower, an economy no one could have imagined 300 years ago. This was manifested in an equivalent increase in surplus wealth or "capital"--the portion of economic output not devoted to the fulfillment of basic needs.

"Capitalism" is nothing more or less than the management of the production process by private citizens. For all of its faults it produces such a volume of excess wealth that even the poorest people in capitalist countries have homes with central heating, refrigerators, stoves, TVs and telephones, as well as education, entertainment, transportation and junk food. (My wife, a former social worker, assures us that most of the people who don't have these things are mentally ill but just competent enough to make a decision to avoid being captured, fed and housed by the authorities and instead move to Los Angeles where they can sleep outdoors 350 nights a year and survive by panhandling the guilt-ridden leftist population.)

The only competing system that was extensively tried was communism, which for reasons best discussed elsewhere invariably ends up coupled to totalitarianism. The production process is managed centrally by a bureaucracy comprised of people who know little about production and care less. On any large scale it invariably squanders and/or mismanages its resources and ends up producing a "negative surplus" despite its industrial processes driven by fossil fuel conversion. Eventually the entire population ends up living like the poorest people in a capitalist nation.

Capitalism is one of those things we have created about which we can say, "It's the worst system there is, except for all the others."

If greed is the hallmark of capitalism, it is distributed evenly throughout the population even if the surplus wealth is not. If you don't believe me, you weren't in a mall last week during the Christmas shopping rush. Greed was just as endemic in the communist states. But unlike the capitalist leaders, who routinely pass large amounts of surplus wealth down to the average citizens (because selling things makes them richer) while nonetheless retaining even more of it for themselves, the communist leaders got all of the surplus wealth (what little there was until the system imploded) and the average citizens got none.

If it was Hitchens who made this naive assertion about capitalism, then he truly was overrated. If it was somebody else, then I pass the moron label to that guy.
 
This and That

Fraggle Rocker said:

If it was Hitchens who made this naive assertion about capitalism, then he truly was overrated. If it was somebody else, then I pass the moron label to that guy.

And I would pass it back to you for missing the point so broadly:

"'Capitalism' is nothing more or less than the management of the production process by private citizens. For all of its faults it produces such a volume of excess wealth that even the poorest people in capitalist countries have homes with central heating, refrigerators, stoves, TVs and telephones, as well as education, entertainment, transportation and junk food. (My wife, a former social worker, assures us that most of the people who don't have these things are mentally ill but just competent enough to make a decision to avoid being captured, fed and housed by the authorities and instead move to Los Angeles where they can sleep outdoors 350 nights a year and survive by panhandling the guilt-ridden leftist population.)"

I find it questionable—at best—conduct to retreat to an academic definition in order to flee the implications of practical application.

• • •​

GeoffP said:

Now, I would ask you to review your comment above, and ask where it is I am snipping it off.

I would ask you to get honest and actually read the post you're responding to. That is, I suppose I can presume you that illiterate, but given how flossed you get about accurate descriptions of your behavior—filing silly complaints and hoping a sympathetic moderator comes riding to your rescue—I must, in order to keep this discussion at least resembling a functional condition, presume that the problem is not so much in your literacy, but rather in your egocentric desire to carry on a useless argument.

Whatever steams your clam, honey.

So, to reiterate:

For instance:

Tiassa said:
Just remember that in all Hitchens had to say about how horrible religion was, he never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism.

My emphasis. Never: he never got around to it. Never mentioned it once... aside from all those times that he did mention it. Have you actually read any of his works on capitalism? Don't you think you should? 'Greed that has co-opted capitalism?' I'm sorry: which kind of Marxist were you, again?

• • •​

By snip job, do you mean the one where you, with no kind of conditioning statement, said Hitchens hadn't ever criticized capitalism, and then I showed you that he had, and then you pretended that instead what you meant was that he hadn't done it according to the specifications of your shifted goal-post in succeeding thread posts?

You complained of moving the goal posts. Frankly, Geoff, I don't think an expectation of basic reading comprehension is a matter of moving goal posts. I mean, sure, reading comprehension seems optional in your world, but nobody is invoking any new standards in asking you to have a clue.

What you quoted:

Just remember that in all Hitchens had to say about how horrible religion was, he never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism.

(Boldface accent in snip quote)

What was written:

Just remember that in all Hitchens had to say about how horrible religion was, he never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism. For as much as religion complicates wars, people like to blame it for causing wars because they don't want to get into economics. It's far more acceptable in our society to hate religion than it is to acknowledge the underlying problem of greed. We've turned greed into its own religion, which we call capitalism.​

What was ignored:

.... For as much as religion complicates wars, people like to blame it for causing wars because they don't want to get into economics. It's far more acceptable in our society to hate religion than it is to acknowledge the underlying problem of greed. We've turned greed into its own religion, which we call capitalism.​

The alleged movement of the goalposts only finds validity as an accusation if we ignore what was ignored. That is, if one abides by your seemingly willful distortion of context, then one can reasonably complain that the goalposts have been moved. However, if one attends what is actually written, then one must concede the point of context, and drop the stupid complaint about moving goalposts.

In other words, if one accepts your fantasy, then you are right. If, however, one attends reality, then you have been shown to be either obstinate or simply of lacking intellect, and the other does not preclude the one.

Your argument has all the hallmarks of intellectual dishonesty, Geoff. While this is not particularly surprising, I do, in fact, find it somewhat amusing that it means so much to you. I mean, if it was sticky and complicated, sure, it would be more of a political question. However, it's juvenile fluff, so one can either bang their head against the wall trying to figure out what is so important to you about chasing folly to Perdition's gate, or else one can just laugh at the spectacle.
 
:yawn: Same old, same old?

Too old. Do not want.

I'll make it very simple for you: in all that part that I supposedly ignored, there was nothing qualifying your initial suppositions about Hitchens, himself: rather, it was a chance for you to wax hysterical, which you indulged in as deeply as you could.

But you're right: it means so much to me, Tiassa. It was a chance for you to be honest, just once. You must feel a certain sense of relief in waving it bye-bye while distracting the discussion yet again. That's a trolling twofer, I think.
 
I find it questionable—at best—conduct to retreat to an academic definition in order to flee the implications of practical application.
An academic definition? That was my own definition, and therefore somewhat colloquial. I attempted to extract the points that are salient to this argument.
Just remember that in all Hitchens had to say about how horrible religion was, he never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism.
HItchens was enough of a scholar to understand that capitalism is not a religion, so your point is unmade. Yes, the average American male, when drunk, can say "baseball is my religion" and his wife can counter with "shopping is my religion" and Ozzy Osbourne can say "rock and roll is my religion." But Hitchens's whole point is to criticize the phenomenon for which the name "religion" was originally coined--an instinctive belief in the supernatural reinforced by various kinds of institutionalization--not the metaphorical use of the word.

Certainly baseball, shopping, and various economic systems have a few similarities to religion, which is precisely why the metaphor makes sense. But that doesn't make them religions. To expand a discussion of religion, especially a highly critical one, to include things that have only a vague similarity to religion does not enhance the discussion. It's presumably possible (according to Hitchens and I concur although for me it's a hypothesis that has not been sufficiently tested) to identify the commonalities among all religions and use them as a basis for a scathing criticism of all of them. But we won't find all of those commonalities in baseball, shopping or capitalism (or communism, for that matter, which has a vaguely religious origin--a quote from the Book of Acts asserting that what a man takes from civilization need not correlate with what he gives back and reworked by Marx into his motto--and a vaguely religious cult, and caused as much damage to civilization as a religion, and is therefore slightly more deserving of the metaphor), so to attempt to include them in the harassment campaign would be self-defeating.
somebody? said:
Just remember that in all Hitchens had to say about how horrible religion was, he never seemed to get around to that religion known as capitalism. For as much as religion complicates wars, people like to blame it for causing wars because they don't want to get into economics. It's far more acceptable in our society to hate religion than it is to acknowledge the underlying problem of greed. We've turned greed into its own religion, which we call capitalism.
This is a preposterous assertion. Greed has always been with us. It would be more correct to say that capitalism turned greed from an idle fantasy into a realistic goal. Before the Industrial Revolution (and the intense economic activity immediately preceding it), which spawned capitalism, there was such a small economic surplus that for any individual to think about having a large enough chunk of it to be "rich" was strictly a fantasy of, for example, saving the King's life and being given a duchy in gratitude.

To be greedy in the Middle Ages or any previous era was to take food and other necessities away from one's fellows, or to make war on another country and take away their food and other necessities. To be greedy today is, at worst, to take things that are not necessities away from other people who will be inconvenienced and angry and will try to throw you in jail, but will not starve or become homeless for it, and, at best, it is to work hard and be brilliant, increasing the net value of the economy and being rewarded for it by the marketplace, in a way that everyone benefits.

This is so unlike religion that the metaphor is positively stoopid. The essence of religion--at least the Abrahamic ones which unfortunately dominate our part of the world--is to please God and be rewarded by magic.
 
Certainly baseball, shopping, and various economic systems have a few similarities to religion, which is precisely why the metaphor makes sense. But that doesn't make them religions. To expand a discussion of religion, especially a highly critical one, to include things that have only a vague similarity to religion does not enhance the discussion. It's presumably possible (according to Hitchens and I concur although for me it's a hypothesis that has not been sufficiently tested) to identify the commonalities among all religions and use them as a basis for a scathing criticism of all of them. But we won't find all of those commonalities in baseball, shopping or capitalism (or communism, for that matter, which has a vaguely religious origin--a quote from the Book of Acts asserting that what a man takes from civilization need not correlate with what he gives back and reworked by Marx into his motto--and a vaguely religious cult, and caused as much damage to civilization as a religion, and is therefore slightly more deserving of the metaphor), so to attempt to include them in the harassment campaign would be self-defeating.
(Bolding mine)

C'mon now, I'm finding it difficult to believe that one can know that and not also be more than familiar with the "vaguely religious origin(s)" of capitalism--Luther? Calvin? Protestantism? The Pauline m.o., for that matter? Any of this vaguely familiar?

As to whether or not capitalism is a religion does depend more upon whom one asks, rather than how much of a scholar he or she is. Ask most any sociologist, anthropologist, even many a psychologist, and you'll get an affirmative response. Weber wrote more than a couple a' volumes on the very subject, but I think Walter Benjamin's thoughts more astute (though not as widely accepted), and he characterized capitalism as a phenomenon quintessentially religious in nature.

If you do not see the "supernatural" components in the edicts of it's proponents, I really think you're not looking very hard at all. Of course, who better to take as most representative of capitalism, or any ideology for that matter, than the (oft self-proclaimed) "purists"--far too many here, but anything between Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan should suffice. Do you not see them as "supernaturalists" to the core?

(re: greed)

This is so unlike religion that the metaphor is positively stoopid. The essence of religion--at least the Abrahamic ones which unfortunately dominate our part of the world--is to please God and be rewarded by magic.

Again: huh?! As much as religion is characterized by "pleas(ing) God," there's also the ubiquitous "self" component, no? As in, self-realization, purification of self, etc.
 
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