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Hitchens Sees Only One Side of a Coin

John on January 3, 2010 at 9:56 am

He has a piece about Iran. Here’s the heart of it:

A country that attempts to govern itself from a holy book will immediately find itself in decline: the talents of its females repressed and squandered, its children stultified by rote learning in madrassas, and its qualified and educated people in exile or in prison. There are no exceptions to this rule: Afghanistan under the Taliban was the worst single example of beggary-cum-terrorism, and even the Iranians were forced to denounce it—because of its massacre of the Shia—without seeing the irony.

But when the crops fail and the cities rot and the children’s teeth decay and nothing works except the ever-enthusiastic and illiterate young lads of the morality police, who will the clerics blame? They are not allowed to blame themselves, except for being insufficiently zealous. Obviously it must be because the Jews, the Crusaders, the Freemasons have been at their customary insidious work. Thus, holy war must be waged on happier and more prosperous lands.

Of course this is also a largely accurate description of officially atheist North Korea today or officially atheist China under Mao or officially atheist Cambodia under Pol Pot. The point being, it’s not theocracy or the Holy books that create stultified societies incapable of self-criticism. In fact, modern Iran is a veritable paradise of social freedom compared to all three of the examples of atheocracy I just listed. Personally, I would much rather be a citizen in today’s Iran than an unremarkable citizen in any of the other three. So would Hitchens, if he were honest about it.

It seems Hitchens is constitutionally unable to see more than one side of this particular coin. But then I suppose he’s still trying to sell books.

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Category: Atheism |

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