A man whom conservatives should have spit out and excluded, but whom they grovelled over and adored

The nonentity Rich Lowry calls the erudite Robert Weissberg “noxious” and expels him from NRO. But what about a truly noxious person who was extravagantly celebrated by the conservative movement—who, when he died last December, received as many respectful and affectionate obits at National Review as if he had been the Pope? I speak of course of the late Christopher Hitchens. In connection with which, I just came upon an unsent draft comment by me from last December intended for a thread at The Thinking Housewife about conservatives’ and Christians’ sickening embrace of Hitchens. I’ve fixed it up a bit and here it is:

Since Mark L. has conceded so many of Laura’s excellent points, it may not seem necessary to say anything more, but I would like to make a couple of further comments.

Mark L. writes:

[Jesus] said to love and pray for one’s enemy and to do good to those who despitefully use you (Matt. 5). And what was the motive? Seeing them won over to Himself. That’s what it means to pour hot coals on their head—it’s not to intensify their torment, but to break them down and lead them to repent. Think of Saul of Tarsus, “breathing out threatenings and slaughter” against the early Christians (Acts 9). Would Fitzgerald/Auster have written him off as enemy swine, and advised them not to pray for his conversion?

This is not a good analogy. Saul was an official of the Jewish authorities, zealously and sincerely doing his job of suppressing this heretical sect. Hitchens was a celebrity journalist and pseudo intellectual who over a period over decades expressed total hatred of Christianity and Christians.

Second, the issue is not whether to pray for someone in private, but the public, extravagant, self-indulgent prayers and solicitude expressed by many conservatives and Christians for Hitchens.

On the question whether Hitchens was a threat and whether he should be taken seriously, we need to distinguish between two points. I myself called him a joke, and also called him evil. How are those two statements reconciled?

I’m talking about two different things.

Insofar as his substantive statements about Christianity and belief in God were concerned, he was a joke. His ideas were on the level of the stupidest adolescent who sees any authority as the equal of Hitler.

However, insofar as his extreme hatred and contempt were concerned, and the prominence the media (and his conservative lovers) gave him, he was not a joke, but evil and, to use his word, poisonous. A man who poisoned everything he touched. And in that regard he should have been taken seriously and excluded.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 11, 2012 12:48 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):