Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hitchens vs Hitchens | the Daily Mail

Hitchens vs Hitchens | the Daily Mail:
"Am I my brother’s reviewer? A word of explanation is needed here. Some of you may know that I have a brother, Christopher, who disagrees with me about almost everything.

Some of those who read his books and articles also know that I exist, though they often dislike me if so. But in general we inhabit separate worlds – in more ways than one.

He is of the Left, lives in the United States and recently became an American citizen. I am of the Right and, after some years in Russia and America, live in the heart of England. Occasionally we clash in public.

We disagreed about the Iraq War – he was for it, I was against it. Despite the occasional temptation, I have never reviewed any of his books until today.

But now, in God Is Not Great, he has written about religion itself, attacking it as a stupid delusion.

This case, I feel, needs an answer. ..."
Well, count me among those who was not aware that Christopher Hitchens had a brother. Christopher Hitchens, the Slate columnist, has been fairly well-known to me for as long as I've been reading Slate.

Peter Hitchens has shown in this article that his writing skills are no less than his brother's, and his review of his brother's book exposes its weaknesses as well as its strengths. As for Peter Hitchen's qualifications to review his brother's book, his own assessment is this: "And I am no less qualified to defend God than Christopher is to attack him, neither of us being experts on the subject." Fair enough.

If you are looking for an ugly catfight between two siblings, don't bother with following the above link. Peter Hitchens is not attacking anyone here. What he is exposing are the inadequacies of human thought to provide a strong moral framework for the world. While not endorsing a literal interpretation of the story of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, he suggests that when human arrogance wins, then evil tends to follow. In the Serpent's words, "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:5)

According to Peter Hitchens:
"Take the enticing satanic advice, and you arrive, quite quickly, at revolutionary terror, at the invention of the atom bomb, at the torture chamber and the building of concentration camps for those unteachable morons who do not share your vision of a just world."
Hyperbole? A cursory reading of 20th century history suggests otherwise. And the 21st century shows little sign of having learned any lessons from previous centuries.

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