One of the joys of atheism’s outlets on the internet was that they were clever, deft, funny, tolerant and irreverent. It was certainly robust and not for the faint-hearted.
Those of us who do not wish to extend our atheism into someone else’s definition of progressive politics may take rather unkindly to being described as immoral scum, useful but unsavoury body parts, and outdated contraceptive devices. In the week when American atheism made its appearance in the Economist’s editorial pages, it seems to have been sowing the seeds of that most religious of events – a schism.
If only a great prophet had arisen among them…
I remember countless meetings where the idea was “one more plank.” And the problem is that this is what Freud called the narcissism of the small difference. People will always try to concentrate on themselves. Well, you can go to a meeting where someone says, “The meeting doesn’t stop till we discuss the question not just of Cherokee lesbians, but Cherokee lesbians who have to take an outsized garment label.” It’s barely an exaggeration. There will always be someone who wants it all to be about them. So what was for a moment something that was social, general, collective, educational, and a matter of solidarity can be very quickly dissolved into petty factionalism. Therefore, coalition-building is reassembling something out of fragments that needn’t have been fragmented in the first place.
February 26, 2014 @ 2:26 am
Q: In your writing, you reserve a special hatred for Clinton. What is it in particular about Clinton that you hate so much?
Hitchens:who is definitely modern, no question about that, very much at home with modernity. Wilson's "white heat of technology" was a very clever means of talking revolution while in fact making sordid bargains.
It's nothing to me if there's a moderate, corrupt Republican about the place, really. That's part of the wallpaper of living in a consumer society, and the damage they do is mainly to their own side. But if there's someone who's appealing to the idealism of the young and the visions of the left and getting away with it by doing that, then he' s trampling on territory that I care about. It's like in a labor dispute, people dislike the scab much more than they do the boss. And there' s something completely cowardly and shabby–and ingratiating–about Clinton's personality as well that I find repulsive.
from 1997. This is EXACTLY my opinion of Obama. I'm sure Hitch would say something similar about Hope N' Change.
February 27, 2014 @ 2:31 am
Obama and his campaign did not dupe or simply co-opt unsuspecting radicals. On the contrary, Obama has been clear all along that he is not a leftist. Throughout his career he has studiously distanced himself from radical politics. In his books and speeches he has frequently drawn on stereotypical images of leftist dogmatism or folly. When not engaging in rhetorically pretentious, jingoist oratory about the superiority of American political and economic institutions, he has often chided the left in gratuitous asides that seem intended mainly to reassure conservative sensibilities of his judiciousness — rather as Booker T. Washington used black chicken-stealing stereotypes to establish his bona fides with segregationist audiences. This inclination to toss off casual references to the left’s “excesses” or socialism’s “failure” has been a defining element of Brand Obama and suggests that he is a new kind of pragmatic progressive who is likely to bridge — or rise above — left and right and appeal across ideological divisions. Assertions that Obama possesses this singular ability contributed to the view that he was electable and, once elected, capable of forging a new, visionary, postpartisan consensus.
…Taibbi described Obama’s political vision as “an amalgam of Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton and the New Deal; he is aiming for the middle of the middle of the middle.” Taibbi is by no means alone in this view; others have been more sharply critical in drawing out its implications, even during the heady moment of the 2008 campaign.
Nearer the liberal mainstream, Paul Krugman repeatedly demonstrated that many of candidate Obama’s positions and political inclinations were not only inconsistent with the hyperbolic rhetoric that surrounded the campaign but were moreover not even especially liberal. When in a June 2008 issue of The Nation Naomi Klein expressed concern about Obama’s profession of love for the free market and his selection of very conventionally neoliberal economic advisers, Krugman responded rather waspishly, “Look, Obama didn’t pose as a Nation-type progressive, then turn on his allies after the race was won. Throughout the campaign he was slightly less progressive than Hillary Clinton on domestic issues — and more than slightly on health care. If people like Ms. Klein are shocked, shocked that he isn’t the candidate of their fantasies, they have nobody but themselves to blame.”