Friday, May 18, 2007

Enough False Sincerity (Lies)...Just Say What You Mean

I admit it. I did not know much about Christopher Hitchens. I had seen a number of references to him on atheist blogs, but they usually lament his confrontational style. I just shrugged and never really thought about him again. I wish I had, because PZ Meyers of Pharyngula recently posted a couple of YouTube videos where Hitchens unabashedly shared his thoughts on Falwell. The first clip is what he said on CNN regarding Falwell's legacy:

I applaud Hitchens for being honest. I certainly agree with him that we should not revere evil men just because they've died. Does their mere death suddenly make their terrible acts in life worthwhile? I say nay.

The better clip is when Faux News invited Hitchens to defend his statement on Hannity and Colmes:

This clip actually made me burst out laughing. It's nice to see someone refusing to take the usual Faux News bullshit. I love how Hitchens runs roughshod over Hannity's (or Colmes'? I don't know. I don't watch that worthless network) attempts to distort his words.

I must say I agree with Hitchens wholeheartedly. Honesty is the best policy because fake sincerity won't make Falwell's attempts to subvert the Constitution any less terrifying. I hate making Hitler comparisons (they're usually an association fallacy), but I suppose it's a good extreme example to illustrate my point. Should people have ignored the terrible things Hitler did and focus on his positives merely because his brain activity ceased? I say no. Now, Falwell is certainly no Hitler. Of course, if given the same power, it's hard to say what Falwell might have done. But I digress.

It seems to me we should be true to ourselves and not pretend to feel sincerity when actually feeling the opposite. Sure, a person feeling a lack of sympathy would be wise and civil not to personally tell the deceased's family his feelings. However, we shouldn't close off all debate amongst everyone else. If a man was a bastard in life, the world shouldn't forget that. Otherwise, he can reappear in another form that much easier.

At any rate, after seeing this, I'm definitely going to read Hitchens' book. I'll let you know how it is.


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