About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Hitchens on book burning and despicable responses

I'm glad we've still got Christopher Hitchens around to say stuff like this.

For what it's worth, I'm not a great fan of burning our enemies' holy books. But that doesn't justify responding with violence. Nor does it justify proposals to allocate the legal blame for the violence to the person who burned the holy book rather than the people who actually committed the violent acts.

Just sayin'.


Eamon Knight said...

I like how he managed to write the whole essay without once mentioning the name of the "...devout American nonentity, notice of whose mere existence is beneath the dignity of any thinking person."

Damn, but Hitchens is a treasure.

Anonymous said...

I'm profoundly ambivalent about Hitchens. Yes, this particular piece is excellent, and right on the money, as are many of his other works on theism and atheism. On the other hand, he vociferously supported--and continues to support--Bush's illegal and senseless destruction of Iraq. The cognitive dissonance is so great that I have no confidence in any of his moralizing.

Pete Moulton

Felix said...

I think the correct response to the current situation is to burn more books.

I propose a web site or TV program were the presenter invites a guest to discuss a book of their choice.

At the end of the program the book under discussion will be burnt.

For reasons of clarity of message we may choose to restrict the choice to books the guest admires.

However this would prevent me from committing the complete works of L Ron Hubbard to the flames!

I would like to get the Archbishop of Canterbury and his Catholic counterpart to jointly immolate a bible. (I think it is useful to say _a_ bible rather than _the_ bible).

It would be acknowledged up front that there is no intention to burn the Koran since if that was an unproblematic act the program/site would not be necessary.

The logo would be blind justice holding scales with a baby on one side and a book (possibly not explicitly identifiable as the Koran) on the other. Naturally the baby would out-weigh the book.