Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Christopher Hitchens, a truly independent thinker

It's so rare to find truly independent thinkers. Conservatives have their holy cows as do liberals. I'm generalising here, but the conservatives who have dominated US politics for the last eight years have been generally pro war, pro torture, pro religion and anti immigration.

Britain's political and intellectual elite by contrast have been anti war, anti torture, anti religion and pro immigration. And it goes without saying that they regard George W Bush is the embodiment of evil.

So how refreshing it is to read Christopher Hitchens, someone who doesn't feel bound by "group think" and who is his own person. He is a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq, but strongly against torture (so much so that he chose to experience it himself). He is anti-theistic, and has no time for conservative bigots like the late Jesse Helms. He was even a plaintiff in an ACLU lawsuit against the Bush administration. A textbook liberal no? But then again, he has also been fiercely critical of the Clinton administration, and is no fan of Obama either.

He is generally regarded as a conservative because he is admired more by conservatives than by liberals. I think that conservatives can live with his contradictions more than liberals can, which tells you something about liberals and their supposed open-mindedness.

There is an excellent critique of Christopher Hitchens in the National Post.