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Why Hitchens is Great (Part 4): Fellow Traveler

In my forth blog post addressing Jeffrey T. Kuhner’s Washington Times article, “God is Great” I will focus on Kuhner’s ignorance about history and logic. I will also discuss his unquestioning political dogmatism. In the article, Kuhner makes a point to his fellow conservatives that Christopher Hitchens is NOT a “fellow traveler,” but rather Hitchens is an evil Communist. *Face Palm*

“Because of Mr. Hitchens’ support for the war on terror, many conservatives have falsely embraced him as a fellow traveler.”

Really Jeff, do you not know the history behind the phrase “Fellow Traveler?” This was a phrase used largely during the McCarthy Era to describe Communist supporters. So in one simple line of this article Kuhner equates conservatives with Communists. The irony is that almost half of Kuhner’s article deals with trying to label Hitchens as a Communist.

“That Mr. Hitchens remains a militant atheist should come as no surprise. He is an unadulterated Bolshevik.”

This is the text book definition of the ad hominem fallacy. Before we get into the nearly half of the article which attempts to label Hitchens as the before mentioned, “unadulterated Bolshevik,” it really needs to be pointed out that one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Labeling Hitchens as a Communist does nothing to discredit his arguments addressing religion nor does it support any arguments in favor of religion. It is simply a red herring.

As mentioned before, Kuhner took almost half of his article to attacking Hitchens’ alleged political leanings. He went on at some length to point out that Hitchens opposed the Vietnam conflict and many of Reagan’s foreign policy decisions. This he considers supportive of Communism. The interesting reality is that most Americans were opposed to the Vietnam conflict and many Americans considered the particular foreign policy decisions of Ronald Reagan that Kuhner points out to be poor and even illegal. While Kuhner has every right to try to defend the invasion of Grenada and arming the Contras, calling those who disagree with him on these issues Communists is silly.

I don’t think one can put simple labels on Hitchens’ political philosophies throughout the years. While he certainly supported certain aspects of socialism it is ridiculous to insinuate that he supported the systematic murders of tens of millions carried out by Stalin. Despite the lengthy attempt to link Hitchens to the worst crimes of Communism, Kuhner really doesn’t go into any real depth in the nuances of Hitchens’ positions. Kuhner’s argument amounts to, “Hitchens thought Lenin was a great leader, therefore Hitchens is an evil Communist who supported everything Lenin and anything other Communists did.” One can admire someone’s leadership ability and even some aspects of their philosophy without having to support everything they do.

Why is all this important? It really isn’t, but according to Kuhner, “Mr. Hitchens loathes Catholicism for one simple reason: It was the Church that stood as the most powerful and consistent force against the communist occupation of Eastern Europe.” And I thought Mr. Hitchens loathed the Catholic Church because large numbers of Catholic priests fucked and continue to fuck children and the Catholic Church systematically has tried to cover it up. Among other atrocities of course.

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