This Week’s Links—December 19, 2011: Farewell to Christopher Hitchens; others….

December 17, 2011
  1. Vodpod videos no longer available.

    “I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist,” he told USA Today in 2010. “I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason, and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us.”

    Crestfallen, but not surprised. Those who have looked online for images of Christopher Hitchens over the past year have seen this coming. I often took comfort in believing that every few months there would be another fresh crop of Hitchens debates on YouTube to inspire abd encourage. Alas, that is no longer true, but he has left behind an impressive catalog to visit and revist.

    Much will always be made of his Trotskyite past, but I had often wondered whether to count Hitchens as among the libertarians, given his occaisonal appearances at reason.com-sponsored events and the libertarian-sounding rhetoric he used against the notion of a celestial dictator. His support for the Iraq war seemed to weigh against the proposition. He has been quoted as saying of himself that he had a libertarian gene. I don’t know if that’s quite enough, but either way, I’m grateful for the what he has given us. Devotion to rationalism is the highest ideal—higher even than the devotion to liberty. It isn’t good enough to do what only seems virtuous. One must also be right.

  2. Yes, it would be nice if you could throw your sins and your responsibilities on someone else, and have them dissolve, but it’s NOT TRUE!

    I cherish all of the long nights during my law school days that I spent on YouTube with Christopher Hitchens, who had the courage to say, loudly and clearly, what ought to be plain. Of all that time, this is probably the video I remember best as having the earliest and greatest effect. What a lousy ethical doctrine it is to believe that one can be absolved and forgiven by throwing one’s sins on another’s back and then murdering him, ruthlessly. If that’s the way to salvation, then count me out. Read the rest of this entry »


Links for December 5, 2011: OccupyPhilly evicted, Jury Nullification speech under fire; Newt sounds half reasonable sometimes; others….

December 3, 2011
  1. In spite of the “police state” rhetoric, I think Philly has still handled the Occupy movement better than other municipalities. This eviction was undertaken so that a long-planned construction project could begin in Dilworth Plaza.

  2. A facebook friend wrote, “This is how Philadelphia police treat non-violent protesters.” Not quite. Police did not just up and drive a horse through a permitted demonstration. Those who disobey orders to disperse are no longer mere protesters. They are then civil disobediencers. Police up the ante at that point. I’m not denouncing the protesters. Good for them–but let’s be honest about what happened.

  3. Prosecutors are offering their first detailed explanation for why they charged Mr. Heicklen, arguing in a brief that his “advocacy of jury nullification, directed as it is to jurors, would be both criminal and without Constitutional protections no matter where it occurred.”

    The key phrase is “directed as it is to jurors”.  Read the rest of this entry »