Archive for December 2011
The aphorism “You can’t arrest an idea,” has permeated the social networks, as well as in broadsides around Los Angeles. And it’s true, you can’t—after L.A.’s showdown in the park and its relatively anticlimactic denouement, the momentum of the Occupy movement continues both in the media and on people’s minds.
“It seems to me it’s a photographer’s duty to try to put an idea into his or her work. In this photo I have tried to express what seems to me one of the strongest proofs that there probably isn’t a god, in which Dawkins believes, namely that ‘the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis like any other.’ It is certainly in the finitely touching expression of a young man, which he himself was conscious of, when he is sat quietly in the corner by the heater. At the same time, there is something humble, something sublunary, which is that he is destined for the worms. This is far from all theology, simply the fact that the poorest little barista or bike messenger can have moments of emotion and inspiration that give him or her a feeling of an eternal home, and of being close to it.”
Hitchens was known for his admiration of George Orwell, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson and for his excoriating critiques of, among others, Mother Teresa, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Henry Kissinger. His confrontational style of debate made him both a lauded and controversial figure. As a political observer, polemicist and self-defined radical, he rose to prominence as a fixture of the left-wing publications in his native Britain and in the United States. His departure from the established political left began in 1989 after what he called the “tepid reaction” of the Western left following Ayatollah Khomeini’s issue of a fatwā calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie. The 11 September 2001 attacks strengthened his internationalist embrace of an interventionist foreign policy, and his vociferous criticism of what he called “fascism with an Islamic face.” His numerous editorials in support of the Iraq War caused some to label him a neoconservative, although Hitchens insisted he was not “a conservative of any kind.”
Identified as a champion of the “New Atheism” movement, Hitchens described himself as an antitheist and a believer in the philosophical values of the Enlightenment. Hitchens said that a person “could be an atheist and wish that belief in god were correct,” but that “an antitheist, a term I’m trying to get into circulation, is someone who is relieved that there’s no evidence for such an assertion.” He argued that the concept of god or a supreme being is a totalitarian belief that destroys individual freedom, and that free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion as a means of teaching ethics and defining human civilization. He wrote at length on atheism and the nature of religion in his 2007 book God Is Not Great.