Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christopher Hitchens at TAM5

This is Christopher Hitchens at the Amazing Meeting 5, presented by the James Randi Educational Foundation, in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2007.

Hitchens speaks for about 20 minutes, then answers questions from the audience.

Many of my "Hitchslap" video postings disappeared recently when a YouTube user closed his account, but since the James Randi Educational Foundation's channel has 38,489 subscribers, I suspect that this one will stick around for awhile. :)

Hitchens makes a good point here - well, several good points, but especially the one about our cowardice in responding to intimidation. During that uproar over some very mild Danish cartoons, our media didn't even allow us to see the cartoons to make our own decisions. Well, they were afraid.

And his questioners make a good point, too. It's not such a terrible thing to wish to give no offense, especially considering our long history of bigotry. In the past, we've been pretty vile on occasion.

But no belief system should be immune to criticism or even ridicule. Suck it up! If you don't like such cartoons, then reply with your own cartoons, not with violence. Free speech is more important than hurt feelings.

It is autocrats who seek to shut down free speech, who seek to use violence to force their own beliefs on the rest of us. Speech is the answer to speech.

Note that it's only when they can't compete in the free marketplace of ideas that people resort to these attempts at suppression. Violence is just admitting that you don't have a good argument, yourself.

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