Author Topic: Christopher Hitchens  (Read 2885 times)

Offline Cavebear

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2017, 05:55:07 AM »
I was somewhat conservative in my youth ( AUH2O - Goldwater).  But when I realized the US was not trying to win the Vietnam war but merely not lose it and they wanted me as cannon fodder for political reasons, I changed my views.  I got involved in demonstrations.  I flunked out of college.

In the 90s, I went back. 

I was only 3 classes short of my degree in Political Science.  The 3 classes I took were all seminars.  Aced the seminars and learned what I should have 20 years earlier. Piece of cake.  None of the students (even grad students) had a chance against me in seminars.  Life experience matters. 

I had 20 years experience in government by then and had learned how to argue with the best at my level.  Those students never had a chance, LOL!

And it was just for personal satisfaction.  The degree never meant anything professionally.  But it meant something personally. 
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline Baruch

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #16 on: December 18, 2017, 06:49:09 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I was somewhat conservative in my youth ( AUH2O - Goldwater).  But when I realized the US was not trying to win the Vietnam war but merely not lose it and they wanted me as cannon fodder for political reasons, I changed my views.  I got involved in demonstrations.  I flunked out of college.

In the 90s, I went back. 

I was only 3 classes short of my degree in Political Science.  The 3 classes I took were all seminars.  Aced the seminars and learned what I should have 20 years earlier. Piece of cake.  None of the students (even grad students) had a chance against me in seminars.  Life experience matters. 

I had 20 years experience in government by then and had learned how to argue with the best at my level.  Those students never had a chance, LOL!

And it was just for personal satisfaction.  The degree never meant anything professionally.  But it meant something personally.

You got me in the feels ... right there!  Yes all the good students I knew in the 70s were older men, but they were Vietnam war veterans.  But glad you realized early what a CF the Vietnam war was ... it was much worse (we found out later) than "not trying to win".  Being a dropout ... lucky you didn't get a draft notice.  I was lucky ... next to last year to get a power-ball, but one year past the last time they acted on that power-ball.  By the fall of Saigon ... I had gotten pretty cynical about the whole thing.  And at least my brother and older cousin weren't hurt (physically) by the experience.  War sucks if you get to close to it.  You are lucky too you didn't get arrested during demonstrations .. that could have nixed your government employment.  I am not against demonstrations, just cynical that they do any good.  I am tongue in cheek saying previously, that the whole college population should have been specifically targeted by the draft in 1965 ... on the theory of 1) teaching young boys to be men the hard way and 2) upper and middle class parents calling for an end to the war a lot sooner.  And yes, even for personal satisfaction, getting a degree is great (though it was a lot cheaper in the 70s when I did it the first time).
πŽπŽœπŽœπŽŸπŽŒπŽ€πŽπŽŽπŽ€πŽ€πŽšπŽ€πŽŸπŽπŽœπŽœπŽŸπŽπŽ€πŽπŽ‰πŽ€πŽ€πŽšπŽ€
luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
May you be well, may you be healthy

Offline Cavebear

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #17 on: December 18, 2017, 07:13:43 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You got me in the feels ... right there!  Yes all the good students I knew in the 70s were older men, but they were Vietnam war veterans.  But glad you realized early what a CF the Vietnam war was ... it was much worse (we found out later) than "not trying to win".  Being a dropout ... lucky you didn't get a draft notice.  I was lucky ... next to last year to get a power-ball, but one year past the last time they acted on that power-ball.  By the fall of Saigon ... I had gotten pretty cynical about the whole thing.  And at least my brother and older cousin weren't hurt (physically) by the experience.  War sucks if you get to close to it.  You are lucky too you didn't get arrested during demonstrations .. that could have nixed your government employment.  I am not against demonstrations, just cynical that they do any good.  I am tongue in cheek saying previously, that the whole college population should have been specifically targeted by the draft in 1965 ... on the theory of 1) teaching young boys to be men the hard way and 2) upper and middle class parents calling for an end to the war a lot sooner.  And yes, even for personal satisfaction, getting a degree is great (though it was a lot cheaper in the 70s when I did it the first time).

As much as objected to the Vietnam War Debacle, I didn't avoid the possibility of the draft.  In 1970, I dropped my college deferment and threw my hat into the ring.  No fake medical disabilities or anything like that. 

I wasn't drafted, and was forever free.  Good thing, too.  It would have meant Canada or Ft Levenworth.  I don't take orders from idiots.  I barely take orders from intelligent people.

The government entrtance exam I took in 1976 was easy.  I scored in the top percentile, told them I smoked grass in college but not since then (well there WAS one party in 1974), but they really needed someone like me (rational analyst) and we met in the middle.

I cut off my 18" ponytail (which I still have most of on the wall) and shaved my beard; they gave me a job 2x minimum wage.  I never looked back and they never regretted it.

Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Online trdsf

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #18 on: December 18, 2017, 10:35:03 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
People forget that young Hitchens was a liberal, and got more conservative as he ages.  Something I am personally aware of in myself.
Interesting.  I find that I did the opposite.  I entered college sort of like a conservative liberal.  I was for the Vietnam War, for example.  And looked down on welfare of any kind--stuff like that.  As I have aged I have become more and more liberal.
I have always been left of center to one degree or another, dating all the way back to when I was 8, stuffing envelopes for McGovern in the company of a hippie in the little storefront campaign office up the street.  No, I won't claim I had at that age a profound understanding of the domestic and global political situations at that age.  I'm quite sure I didn't.  But I know there was something about Nixon that I didn't like.  I felt quite vindicated two years later, and forty-plus years later, I remain comfortably ensconced on the liberal left.  It is possible that I have moved slightly to the right, but not as far as the entire political conversation has in this country -- I've become more liberal simply as a matter of the center being yanked so far to the right.  What passes for a mainstream Republican today would have been a dangerous reactionary in the 1970s; what passes for a mainstream Democrat today would have been a conventional moderate Republican then.  Fortunately, I am enough of a historian and political scientist to be aware of the cyclical nature of these things, and that it must eventually come back to the center, and even beyond.  And eventually back again.  It's the nature of the beast.

As for Hitchens, he never repudiated the left, and still considered himself a member of it to the end of his life -- while he agreed on the Iraq war, he wasn't a mindless cheerleader, You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login so he could report on the torture allegations with authority (his final analysis: yes, it fucking well is torture).  His support for the Iraq war was born of his opposition to radical (and weaponized) Islam, not his embrace of neoconservatism.
Sir Terry Pratchett, on being told about the theory that the universe is a computer simulation: "If we all get out and in again, would it start to work properly this time?"

Offline SGOS

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2017, 10:48:09 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
As for Hitchens, he never repudiated the left, and still considered himself a member of it to the end of his life -- while he agreed on the Iraq war, he wasn't a mindless cheerleader, You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login so he could report on the torture allegations with authority (his final analysis: yes, it fucking well is torture).  His support for the Iraq war was born of his opposition to radical (and weaponized) Islam, not his embrace of neoconservatism.
That was my impression concerning his support for the war.  It may have been the only thing where I believed he was dead wrong.

Offline Cavebear

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2017, 11:29:02 AM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
That was my impression concerning his support for the war.  It may have been the only thing where I believed he was dead wrong.

I knew at a young age that war itself wasn't evil (WWII) but stupid ones were.  I grew up with MASH and Star Trek and Vietnam.

I decided there had to be a better way of solving problems and I've lived my life on that idea.  Now, NK is making me doubt that.  Insanity has to be stopped.  I am logically adrift...
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline SGOS

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2017, 12:28:07 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I knew at a young age that war itself wasn't evil (WWII) but stupid ones were.  I grew up with MASH and Star Trek and Vietnam.

I decided there had to be a better way of solving problems and I've lived my life on that idea.  Now, NK is making me doubt that.  Insanity has to be stopped.  I am logically adrift...
NK worries me also.  My biggest worry is that we don't have the leadership to deal with the problem in the best way.  I'm not saying I know the best way, but I have zero confidence in any of our leaders and that makes me feel helpless.

Online trdsf

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2017, 01:00:06 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I knew at a young age that war itself wasn't evil (WWII) but stupid ones were.  I grew up with MASH and Star Trek and Vietnam.
Likewise.  I was on board with the invasion of Afghanistan, since that's where the attacks were planned and masterminded.  The Iraq war, on the other hand, was purely a war of aggression and of choice.  It never needed to be fought, and it was never about 9/11 or the mythical Iraqi WMD.  It was always about two things: the oil, and Cheney's buddies' war profiteering.

You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I decided there had to be a better way of solving problems and I've lived my life on that idea.  Now, NK is making me doubt that.  Insanity has to be stopped.  I am logically adrift...
I don't know what to do about North Korea either, but I feel confident in saying that random belligerent tweets are definitely not what to do.
Sir Terry Pratchett, on being told about the theory that the universe is a computer simulation: "If we all get out and in again, would it start to work properly this time?"

Offline Cavebear

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2017, 01:08:57 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Likewise.  I was on board with the invasion of Afghanistan, since that's where the attacks were planned and masterminded.  The Iraq war, on the other hand, was purely a war of aggression and of choice.  It never needed to be fought, and it was never about 9/11 or the mythical Iraqi WMD.  It was always about two things: the oil, and Cheney's buddies' war profiteering.
I don't know what to do about North Korea either, but I feel confident in saying that random belligerent tweets are definitely not what to do.

Indeed, sometimes it is very obvious what NOT to do.  I wish we had a President that smart...
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline SGOS

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2017, 02:10:00 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
Likewise.  I was on board with the invasion of Afghanistan, since that's where the attacks were planned and masterminded.  The Iraq war, on the other hand, was purely a war of aggression and of choice.  It never needed to be fought, and it was never about 9/11 or the mythical Iraqi WMD.  It was always about two things: the oil, and Cheney's buddies' war profiteering.
I don't know what to do about North Korea either, but I feel confident in saying that random belligerent tweets are definitely not what to do.
I was OK with Afghanistan too, but I was floored when we decided to go into Iraq.  It was a helpless nation, although with an annoying leader, but who was in no way connected to 9-11.  Unfortunately, 67% of the nation was buying into the propaganda that Saddam had WMD and was somehow connected to 9-11.  I remember a liberal friend who was supporting the invasion.  She said, "You know that Saddam had WMD at one time, so you know he has them now," as if 10 years of weapons inspections never happened.  That statement was made by an intelligent person, too, but the collective war frenzy at the time prevented her from seeing the logical fallacy of her statement, even when pointed out.

I knew voters would come to their senses once the human and financial costs of the fiasco slowly entered their consciousness, which they eventually always do, and which they did, but only after an enormous loss and a mountain of national debt.  The fact is, we study history to avoid the same mistakes in the future, but the other fact is that we keep making the same mistakes, anyway.  Each time we perceive a crisis, we perceive it as different from the last crisis, and our "learning" gets tossed out because it's a special crisis in our mind, when most of the time, it's really just a replay of the last crisis, and we fail to see the common denominators.

Offline Cavebear

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2017, 02:15:30 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I was OK with Afghanistan too, but I was floored when we decided to go into Iraq.  It was a helpless nation, although with an annoying leader, but who was in no way connected to 9-11.  Unfortunately, 67% of the nation was buying into the propaganda that Saddam had WMD and was somehow connected to 9-11.  I remember a liberal friend who was supporting the invasion.  She said, "You know that Saddam had WMD at one time, so you know he has them now," as if 10 years of weapons inspections never happened.  That statement was made by an intelligent person, too, but the collective war frenzy at the time prevented her from seeing the logical fallacy of her statement, even when pointed out.

I knew voters would come to their senses once the human and financial costs of the fiasco slowly entered their consciousness, which they eventually always do, and which they did, but only after an enormous loss and a mountain of national debt.  The fact is, we study history to avoid the same mistakes in the future, but the other fact is that we keep making the same mistakes, anyway.  Each time we perceive a crisis, we perceive it as different from the last crisis, and our "learning" gets tossed out because it's a special crisis in our mind, when most of the time, it's really just a replay of the last crisis, and we fail to see the common denominators.

I remember the day.  I doubted the WMD argument, but then Colin Powell said it was real.  In front of the UN.  And I trusted him...  I hung my head and said to myself, "OK". 

And I learned later he knowingly LIED.  If there was ever an end of innocence and trust, that was it.  To this day, I am ashamed of my gullibility.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline SGOS

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2017, 02:34:25 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I remember the day.  I doubted the WMD argument, but then Colin Powell said it was real.  In front of the UN.  And I trusted him...  I hung my head and said to myself, "OK". 

And I learned later he knowingly LIED.  If there was ever an end of innocence and trust, that was it.  To this day, I am ashamed of my gullibility.
I never bought Powell's argument because it was a non sequitur.  He began showing blurry satellite images of what might have been mobile chemical labs.  All you could see was what looked like they may have been semi trucks with trailers.  OK, that could squeak by.  Maybe that is exactly what they were, but after asserting these were chem labs without giving any reasons for why they should be, he brought out diagrams of what a chem lab would look like in a semi trailer.  The diagrams were well done, and clearly showed pots and vats nicely labeled.  The basics of his argument were:

We have these photos of tractor trailers.
They might be chem labs.
I have a diagram of a mobile chem lab.
Therefore, these are mobile chem labs.

I was on the verge of screaming and tearing out my hair.  It ended with CNN camera's back in Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room as they called it.  Wolf Blitzer and some good look air head co-commentator were both beaming with delight.  "Well, there you have it," beamed Blitzer, "Iraq has chemical weapons, and an invasion will surely take place."  (And I will surely make a lot of money reporting on it).

Offline Cavebear

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2017, 02:42:30 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I never bought Powell's argument because it was a non sequitur.  He began showing blurry satellite images of what might have been mobile chemical labs.  All you could see was what looked like they may have been semi trucks with trailers.  OK, that could squeak by.  Maybe that is exactly what they were, but after asserting these were chem labs without giving any reasons for why they should be, he brought out diagrams of what a chem lab would look like in a semi trailer.  The diagrams were well done, and clearly showed pots and vats nicely labeled.  The basics of his argument were:

We have these photos of tractor trailers.
They might be chem labs.
I have a diagram of a mobile chem lab.
Therefore, these are mobile chem labs.

I was on the verge of screaming and tearing out my hair.  It ended with CNN camera's back in Wolf Blitzer's Situation Room as they called it.  Wolf Blitzer and some good look air head co-commentator were both beaming with delight.  "Well, there you have it," beamed Blitzer, "Iraq has chemical weapons, and an invasion will surely take place."  (And I will surely make a lot of money reporting on it).

It wasn't what he SHOWED.  It was what he SAID.  He SAID they were there based on evidence and... I... believed him.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

Offline SGOS

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2017, 02:56:06 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
It wasn't what he SHOWED.  It was what he SAID.  He SAID they were there based on evidence and... I... believed him.
I never bought it.  Maybe it was just lucky skepticism on my part, but he could have asserted more than "we have evidence" with at least a hint of what the evidence was.  I can understand them not wanting to admit it came from a cab driver.  Hey, cab drivers can be right about things, but it doesn't lend much to an argument.  OK, OK, he may have been a cab driver, but he did come from Iraq, and the fact that he wanted Saddam gone so he could be the new president wouldn't sound fishy at all.  Well... Oh forget it.

Offline Cavebear

Re: Christopher Hitchens
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2017, 03:00:28 PM »
You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login
I never bought it.  Maybe it was just lucky skepticism on my part, but he could have asserted more than "we have evidence" with at least a hint of what the evidence was.  I can understand them not wanting to admit it came from a cab driver.  Hey, cab drivers can be right about things, but it doesn't lend much to an argument.  OK, OK, he may have been a cab driver, but he did come from Iraq, and the fact that he wanted Saddam gone so he could be the new president wouldn't sound fishy at all.  Well... Oh forget it.

I wish I was like you, then...  I guess that's all I can say.  Congrats, maybe...
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk