Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Browse YouTube and you'll find tons of video clips of Christopher Hitchens. Debates, interviews, speeches - they're all good, and I've already posted a number of them here.

But I was really interested to find this playlist of short video clips because it distills what can be a long debate down into just a few minutes. The result is just the essence of Hitchens, the "hitchslap," as it's called here.

Now I haven't watched all of them. Heck, there are 66 video clips, so far! And the ones I have watched vary in effectiveness and in video quality. (The early ones, in particular, tend to skip around a bit too much.)

Nevertheless, there's some good stuff here, and I thought maybe I'd post some of them. Not all today, of course. Right now, I'm not even sure how often I'll post them. Maybe every day, maybe at much longer intervals than that. I'm really not going to worry about it.

In this clip, Hitchslap #11, Christopher Hitchens quite reasonably asks if scapegoating is moral. Can punishing someone else absolve your sin? Vicarious redemption by human sacrifice - how could that ever be moral?

Furthermore, is it moral to blame us today for something our ancestor supposedly did. Are you going to punish a child for his father's crimes? Even if Adam did eat forbidden fruit, why punish his descendants? Even if some people did nail Jesus to a cross, I had nothing to do with it. I couldn't have had anything to do with it, because I wasn't even born then!

Forget the fact that all this is just mythology. Even if it were true, every bit of it, how could you possibly think that it was justified? How could you possibly think that it was moral? This is the same kind of thinking which considers killing random people in floods, and destroying the property of countless others, to be appropriate punishment for their society in general tolerating homosexuality.

Even if you give them their premise, the result is pure insanity. It's just ridiculous, don't you think?

PS. These brief video clips seem to be taken from much longer videos on YouTube. So if you want to hear the context of these remarks, if you want to hear both sides of these debates - and I highly recommend them - it's easy enough to find the longer versions of most of these.

But I'll leave that to you. If this just whets your appetite, there's plenty more out there. Meanwhile, I'll be posting more of these, probably quite frequently.

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