I should honestly not be blogging right now but this required my attention. I have some bad news for those who like having an intellectually engaging political climate. Christopher Hitchens has been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. From Michael J. Totten:
Christopher Hitchens has been diagnosed with cancer. According to the Washington Post, he has been “advised by my physician that I must undergo a course of chemotherapy on my esophagus. This advice seems persuasive to me.”
Some thought he published his new book Hitch-22: A Memoir a bit prematurely. I hope they’re right.
Get better, Christopher.
From getting literally beat up by thugs in Beirut after pulling down a nationalist poster to traveling to the worst troublespots of the world, Hitchens put his words to reality in a way that has set him distinctly apart from other writers and pundits. While I’m not an atheist, I distinctly appreciate the message of God is not Great, which took to task the corruption and perverse history of organized faith. From taking on the pedophilia of the Catholic Church to the oppression of Islam, Hitchens wasn’t afraid to critique those who are often taken to be untouchable.
I’m hoping that he pulls through. Without him, the discourse in this country (and globally) is going to get even dumber than it already is.
I can almost guarantee that the overwhelming swap of Liberty Papers readers were sympathetic to the creators of South Park in the recent controversy. In fact, I’m sure some of you are planning on participating in Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.
Given that, I have to request reader thoughts on the French ban of the burqa (a Muslim face-covering for women). My first intuition is a firm “no” against the ban, simply based on my strong emotional attachment to the tenets of freedom of religion as expressed in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Christopher Hitchens makes the case over at Slate that the ban isn’t a ban at all, but actually a sort of state-mandated liberation of women from the tyranny of Islamic theology:
The French legislators who seek to repudiate the wearing of the veil or the burqa—whether the garment covers “only” the face or the entire female body—are often described as seeking to impose a “ban.” To the contrary, they are attempting to lift a ban: a ban on the right of women to choose their own dress, a ban on the right of women to disagree with male and clerical authority, and a ban on the right of all citizens to look one another in the face. The proposed law is in the best traditions of the French republic, which declares all citizens equal before the law and—no less important—equal in the face of one another.
After reading the article, I’m not sure what to think. Hitchens makes a strong case, but he is a master manipulator of words and verbal gymnastics are on full display in “In Your Face.” What do you think?