Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Line of the Day: 2010-07-21

If a democracy cannot make up its mind precisely why it needs to start a war, it is surely better not to start one in the first place.

The above is from a review by Ian Buruma of Christopher's latest book, Hitch-22, and if it's not already obvious, it refers to the sell-job of the invasion of Iraq by the United States.

People who do not like Hitchens for whatever reason will be delighted with this review. But if you are like me -- someone who admires Hitch for at least some things -- I'd encourage you to read it despite its generally harsh tone. The thing about Hitch for me is that I was delighted to hear him articulate so well our shared feelings about religion, and when I learned of some of his views on other topics -- disagreeable being a multipurpose word here -- I think I might have valued Hitch more. It is a good thing to have your own views challenged from time to time by someone who is skilled at making arguments, especially if you already respect that person. I wouldn't at all say that Hitch has persuaded me on the doubleplusgoodness of George and Dick's Excellent Adventure, but I feel better for having had to go through some of his challenges to my initial instinctive reactions.

(h/t: TC, via email)


More Hitch-related stuff:

• As you may already know, Hitch is currently undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer. As you will be unsurprised to hear, this has meant no small amount of yammering on the topic of praying for him. Ross Douthat has a nice post on this.

• I came across this thing from about six weeks ago: David Frum has posted a podcast of an interview he did of Hitch that took place when Hitch was still out doing promo for his book, and before he had received (or shared) the news about his illness. It's about twenty minutes long. Pretty interesting, though perhaps for fans only. (Don't let a distaste for Frum put you off, if you suffer from such an affliction -- he's just being a straight-up interviewer here; it's not a neocon wankfest.)

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