Religion

Christopher Hitchens: Bah, Humbug on Christmas

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Last year in December, reason hosted a "Very Special, Very Secular Christmas Party" at its Washington, D.C. headquarters.

The evening's special event was a dramatic reading of Tom Lehrer's "Christmas Carol" by Christopher Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, Why Orwell Matters, No One Left to Lie To, and many other books.

"It may have struck you, ladies and gentlemen, that there's a big relationship between this marvelous time of year and living in a one-party state," Hitchens told the overflow crowd of 250. "You can't go anywhere without listening to the same music. You can't go anywhere without hearing the name of the Great Leader, and his son, the Dear Leader….All broadcasts, all songs, all jokes, all references are, just for that magic few weeks, just exactly like living in…North Korea."

We at reason celebrate the holidays in many different ways (some of us not at all) and extend our best wishes to all for a joyous and happy new year.

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  1. Hitchens’ comment reminds me why I’m glad I don’t listen to the radio. I’m spared the repetitive inanity of hearing the same stuff over and over again.

    …maybe not. It’s just now I’m listening to what I want over and over again, rather than what somebody else wants me to listen to 🙂

  2. I kept seeing “Very Special, Very Sexual Christmas Party” at first. That along with a picture of a drunk Hitch was not what I wanted to see first thing in the morning.

  3. Let the Hitch hate-fest proceed!

  4. The internet smelled faintly of gin. I knew there would be a new Hitchens link somewhere.

    Actually, I quite like Hitch.

  5. Repent!

    For today unto us a son is born!
    He will be the king of angels,
    He will come to save the living and the dead.
    For

    CHRIST was born on Christmas Day!

  6. Ah. A militantly atheist, pro-war, recovering international socialist hosting a party at Reason. Nice.

  7. Also, Christmas is mostly a pagan holiday anyway, but that’s what makes it fun.

  8. Ah. A militantly atheist, pro-war, recovering international socialist hosting a party at Reason.

    But he’s a lush who is fun at parties! Lighten up.

  9. i’ve always found it weird how many libertarians like hitchens. i like him too but i like his views less and less as time goes on. but libertarians like the reason staff, tucker carlson and penn jillette all really like him when he’s essentially a ”police the world” liberal.

  10. I’m getting tipsy just reading this thread.

  11. this dude is not nearly as smart or cool as he thinks he is. Here’s to hoping one of his binge-drink-fueled holiday celebrations will finish off the last of his brain cells.

  12. Right, Hitchens. Living in a majority Christian country is just like living under a ruthless dictatorship. Tell ya what, Chris, maybe you should get in touch with some North Korean atheists and ask them if they’ll switch places with you every December.

  13. “just exactly like living in…North Korea”

    I’m glad that a nostalgic ex-Trotskyite, who continues to admire Trotsky and even today rejoices at the Commie victory in the Soviet Civil War of the 1920s, is willing to criticize a Commie regime. That’s the fun of being a Trot or ex-Trot – you can criticize existing Commie states because they didn’t do Communism right. They’re not True Scotsmen.

    What could be more like North Korea than believing in a Savior who taught a moral code superseding the laws and commands of the state? What could be more libertarian than scoffing at the idea of a law higher than that of the state?

  14. I think one of the reasons why religious people don’t like libertarians is because we typically demonize religion. I know an editor of a conservative Christian journal who was open to libertarian ideas but he then picked up an issue of Reason and saw an article mocking people of faith. I just don’t think it’s very good for our cause.

    Merry Christma-Hanna-Kwanzica.

  15. reason sucks

  16. An atheist, I love Xmas time. The carols, the decorations, greeting cards, the rampant consumerism, the charity efforts, the “peace on earth goodwill towards men” thingee, the whole ball of wax.

    I’ve already made my donation/gift* in the spirit of the holidays. I couldn’t do otherwise.

    * Toys for Tots, another damned reason for a sailor to support the Marines.

  17. Anyone else get the feeling Hitch should be writing about a socialite running over a ghetto youth?

  18. The Reason staff might hate the holidays when it comes to music on the radio but that won’t stop them from using this time as a way to sell subscriptions. Just look at the banner on the front page. Is anyone really going to give the gift of reason this year?

  19. I think IOZ had some good thoughts concerning Christmas and Ye olde Hitch.

  20. Reason should really be renamed to “Inductive Reason”.

  21. Last year in December, reason hosted a “Very Special, Very Secular Christmas Party” at its Washington, D.C. headquarters.

    Way to provide us with up to date news…here’s a video from our party LAST year!

  22. I think one of the reasons why religious people don’t like libertarians is because we typically demonize religion. I know an editor of a conservative Christian journal who was open to libertarian ideas but he then picked up an issue of Reason and saw an article mocking people of faith. I just don’t think it’s very good for our cause.

    It may be too late for that particular editor, but I might as well plug last year’s review of Andy Olree’s “The Choice Principle: The Biblical Case for Legal Toleration”.

  23. Oh and what’s the point of having a ‘Secular’ CHRISTmas party?

    Especially at Chirstmas time. Perhaps a ‘Secular No Idols Party’ on October 23rd would be more fitting…

  24. Gloo-oo-oo-oo-oo-ooo
    oo-oo-oo-oo-oooo
    oo-oo-oo-oo-oria!
    In exelcis bourbon.

  25. Just look at the banner on the front page. Is anyone really going to give the gift of reason this year?

    The pic of Volcker(?) does seem marginally less appealing than the reason Pillow Girl.

  26. Yeah, it’s all just like North Korea, except the coercion and death and poverty and dictatorship.
    Have another drink, Hitchens, you fucking sot, and this time, may it eat your stomach lining, causing an ulcer so bad you keel over and shit yourself.
    Die alone, you fuck.
    Reason, why do you let this fucktard shitsicle get his two cents in at any time, much less Christmas.

  27. Also, Christmas is mostly a pagan holiday anyway, but that’s what makes it fun.

    So says the Jehova’s Witness.

  28. So did Reason’s holiday party this year involve a Depression-Era theme? And will I ever get to see Ron Bailey dancing on top of a flagpole?

  29. Jamie Kelly | December 22, 2008, 1:02pm | #

    …Have another drink, Hitchens, you fucking sot, and this time, may it eat your stomach lining, causing an ulcer so bad you keel over and shit yourself. Die alone, you fuck.
    Reason, why do you let this fucktard shitsicle …

    Peace and goodwill to you too, Jamie.

  30. “I know an editor of a conservative Christian journal who was open to libertarian ideas but he then picked up an issue of Reason and saw an article mocking people of faith.” — Fuck him then. If he can’t take criticism of his ideas he shouldn’t read the magazine. Hitler probably wouldn’t have liked a magazine that criticized him, either. Should we tailor all magazines to make sure they don’t hurt the sensitive egos of the deluded? Keep Christ out of Christmas!

  31. Brothers, sisters, let us remember that this is Christmas, time of peace and goodwill. Let us return to the spirit of the Lord with a Bible passage randomly generated from my random Bible passage software, and Merry Christmas to all!

    “No man whose testicles have been crushed a or whose penis has been cut off may enter the LORD’s assembly.”

    Deuteronomy 23

  32. “Reason should really be renamed to “Inductive Reason”.”

    This does mean we can drink, right? I mean most of the time we drink when people question the “reason” of Reason, therefore we should drink at this post which seems to question the “reason” of Reason.

  33. Merry fucking xmas.

  34. “What could be more like North Korea than believing in a Savior who taught a moral code superseding the laws and commands of the state?”

    How about a beauracractic, centralized, undemocratic institution which has a billed-as-infallible leader who lives lavishly while preaching justice for the masses and attempts to control what its members see, hear and do at the most personal of levels?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_church

  35. “Reason should really be renamed to ‘Inductive Reason’.”

    “This does mean we can drink, right?”

    No, *this* means we can drink:

    “Hitler probably wouldn’t have liked a magazine that criticized him, either.”

  36. MNG,

    Thank you for the link to the Wikipedia article about the Catholic Church.

    From the article:

    ‘[The Church] operates social programs and institutions throughout the world, including schools, universities, hospitals, missions and shelters, as well as organisations such as Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Charities that help the poor, families, the elderly and the sick. . . .

    ‘The Church operates numerous social ministries throughout the world, but teaches that individual Catholics are required to practice spiritual and corporal works of mercy as well. Corporal works of mercy include feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers, immigrants or refugees, clothing the naked, taking care of the sick and visiting those in prison.’

  37. MM
    That’s super. You know the communists had all kinds of programs to feed the hungry, take care of the sick and such too. So does Hamas for that matter.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas#Provision_of_social_welfare_and_education

    Does any of that relate to it being an undemocratic centralized bureaucracy that claims an infallible leader who lives lavishly while preaching justice for the poor and attempting to control the intimate details of the lives of its members?

  38. But really MM, unlike N. Korea’s current regime I don’t think the Catholic Church is some kind of oppressive tyranny which massacres those who question it.

    Unless you are one of these guys:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade

  39. Mad Max – go get a hobby; your Catholic fetishism is starting to get disturbing. You can pretty much be relied upon to show up on any thread remotely mentioning religion and generate more heat than light.

  40. No, we get to drink when someone mentions that Hitler was Catholic.

  41. Yo, Mad Max: First, I totally get that the post about Hitler was using an extreme example to point out that Reason should print what it wants, and not be influenced by the opinions of others, no matter in how much high esteem they might currently be held (Hitler was once held in high esteem, just as many currently hold Christians in high esteem). Two, lighten up bro’. Three, since you’re a mad max/mel gibson fan, I can understand why you would get upset about a post making fun of the world’s best known anti-semite (Hitler, not Mel Gibson). Never mind, soon the rapture will take you away and I’ll be left to suffer (or does your crazy religion believe in some other daft fairy tale?) – I’ll drink to that!

  42. I don’t think Catholics believe in the rapture.

  43. You know, I would have thought a bunch of libertarians would be a lot more tolerant of private organizations and their members, regardless of the wackiness of their beliefs. And shown a lot more recognition that the good works they do are an essential bulwark against the spread of the Total State.

    I guess, though, that since the state is small and shrinking, we can spare the mental energy and social credit to attack religion.

  44. “You know, I would have thought a bunch of libertarians would be a lot more tolerant of private organizations and their members, regardless of the wackiness of their beliefs.”

    So, you’d support N.A.M.B.L.A. then?

  45. So, you’d support N.A.M.B.L.A. then?

    I support NAMBLA’s right to petition the government for redress of grievances and their rights of free speech and assembly.

    You?

  46. “I guess, though, that since the state is small and shrinking, we can spare the mental energy and social credit to attack religion.”

    “religion” is a really big category that includes quite a lot of statists at the gubmint teat.

    like our outgoing president, for example. or the incoming one, for that matter.

    i don’t get the hitch love myself. homeslice has fallen hells of far since the late 90s. the bitter atheist routine is just plain stupid.

  47. RC
    I think your assumption that religion in general, or Christianity or Catholicism in particular has always been a check on, and not an aid to, the state is most certainly not correct.

  48. Yes, the Communists had programs to help the poor, just like the Church, except that the Church’s programs work.

    “Mad Max – go get a hobby. . .”

    For all you know, posting here *is* my hobby.

    “You can pretty much be relied upon to show up on any thread remotely mentioning religion”

    You mean, on any thread bashing traditional Christianity and/or the Catholic Church and comparing same to communism? You’re right – why is it that whenever *Reason* posts an item denouncing the Church and Christianity, some fundamentalist Christer uses the comment feature to *defend* the Church and Christianity? Can’t someone read the comments section without having to encounter dissenting views?

    “and generate more heat than light.”

    As opposed to Christopher Hitchens’ rational, well-founded discussion of religion.

  49. “I don’t think Catholics believe in the rapture.”

    Shh . . . don’t confuse Mel Gibson’s dad with the facts. His handle evokes a guy who literally denied that the Pope is Catholic and who believed that Vatican II was a Jewish/Freemason conspiracy, so the level of ignorance is par for the course.

  50. “J sub D
    I support NAMBLA’s right to petition the government for redress of grievances and their rights of free speech and assembly.

    You?”

    No, I don’t support N.A.M.B.L.A. in the context of the posting (which was to challenge the idea that Libertarians should automatically support the GOALS of any private organization opposed to government). I support free speech for religious organizations, but not their influence of public policy. Likewise, of course I support N.A.M.B.L.A.’s right to free speech. But I DON’T support their aim of legalization of sexual intercourse with children.

    You?

  51. Al-

    Oh! The poor children. The world will come to end if NAMBLA gets its way. I am so scared.

  52. The Reason crowd holds special scorn for the religious. It is an arrogance born of the belief most atheists have that they are intellectually superior to those who do believe. This will certainly alienate libertarian leaning believers.

    In 2008 our liberties are more threatened from secularists than from the religious.

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