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Go to: Hitchens v Albacete - Excerpts

N. Fidel's Avatar Jump to comment 51 by N. Fidel

Not that I expect NMcC to respond, after all "as far as [he] is concerned, this correspondence is now closed," but the case is still so wide open, and NMcC has hardly “vindicated” anything: he has finally become pathetic. So, let's close this correspondence properly.

We now fortunately have NMcC's somewhat terse thesis, which can be expressed concisely as: Hitchens (in leaving out THE line) ignores the conditions that Marx says we must really criticize: the situation in which people find themselves (namely the initial toils of slavery, serfdom, and eventually proletarianism). This situation is what make them cling to the illusion, what makes them smoke the opium, and this, says Marx is what we must necessarily criticize if we criticize the illusion.

Mac, no one here would disagree with that understanding of that line -- its meaning was never in dispute. Nonetheless, NMcC asserts that because of Hitchens’ leaving out that line “[he] is treating religion as both the conditions and the illusions about these conditions. In doing so, he is simply ignoring the MATERIAL conditions that Marx (especially as he went on to develop his views on capitalism and economic history) says give rise to religion in general or the specific social conditions that give rise to specific religions." (emphasis mine).

Hitchens makes no claim that Marx saw religion as both the conditions and the illusions about these conditions, nor does he ignore “the material conditions that Marx says give rise to religion in general.” Hitchens makes no such mistake. How do I know this, how do I know this conversation was all for naught, save for the education of a disgruntled, libelous windbag? I know because I know what NMcC would have known had he taken my advice and read what Hitchens has to say about this in The Portable Atheist (see god-knows-how-many-posts above), which we’ll get to, but first more from NMcC:

“This is nothing short of the idealist claim that religious ideas fall from the sky. Marx, in fact, in adding his rider about the criticism of religion as the illusionary happiness of ‘the people’ being at the same time a criticism of conditions, and a demand for the removal of those conditions, that need illusions, has in mind the view that material reality for ‘the people’ is, and invariably always has been, mostly that of ignorance, misery, poverty, alienation, degradation, exploitation, violence and war.”

From the Portable Atheist (p. 64):
"In [the following] discussion of Hegel, it can be seen that Marx was not as simplistic about the sources of belief as most people think. When read in context, the ‘opium’ observation becomes more profound. Few now doubt that wars between different factions of religion (the subject of the rest of this essay) are the product of unresolved contradictions in the material world."

Hitch’s “material world” contains ALL of NMcC’s good examples of what NMcC calls above -- rather coincidentally wouldn’t you say? -- the “material reality”: “ignorance, misery, poverty, alienation, degradation, exploitation, violence and war (see above).” Man, looks like Hitch and Mac are on the same page. Sorry, Mac. I know you can’t stand him, but the two of you are seated at the same table on this one, my snide, snarling friend.

Marx DID assert that the chain to cast off is the oppressive system that creates the condition that necessitates the flowery illusion of religion. But Marx is recognizing generally, and Hitchens quotes him for this recognition, that religion is not genuine, it is not true; it is created to put sprinkles and flowers and gumdrops – hell, a shot of opium – onto the turd that is life as the slave, the serf and the proletarian.

Hitchens’ point about the transcendent and numinous being a means to cast off the chain is his own opinion, one which he is entitled to defend using the prepossessing words of a like-minded thinker, especially if they express the same or similar sentiment in a particular instance like this one.

What this thread has really revealed is your contempt, Mac, for Hitchens not any sycophantic obsession you accuse me of having for him. He may be all the things you claim he is; but that would not change the fact that he is a character, someone interesting enough for people to spend some time nodding along with his points every once in a while, to buy his books and actually read them to find out what he thinks. He is interesting enough for people like you (and the your buddies at the piteous “hitchenswatch” who LITERALLY follow his every move, unlike me, who just reads his books) to spend so much time bashing him and, in your case especially, putting their feet directly into their mouths while they do it.

In any case, Mac, I hope you are over the flu. That bastard keeps mutating don’t he? All the best.

Yours in freethought,

N. Fidel

Fri, 28 Nov 2008 02:51:00 UTC | #278676

Go to: Hitchens v Albacete - Excerpts

N. Fidel's Avatar Jump to comment 44 by N. Fidel

Re: Squinky's post directly above.

Hear, hear.

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 14:13:00 UTC | #274490

Go to: The battle rages on in Texas

N. Fidel's Avatar Jump to comment 94 by N. Fidel


Just moved from Austin to Dallas -- for school, not because I like big hair, religious bigotry, or valet parking at the mall (I kid you not). I envy your proximity to Barton Springs and the rest of that great cosmopolis.

But I'll be back after my self-inflicted torture . . .


Fri, 21 Nov 2008 13:47:00 UTC | #274475

Go to: Hitchens v Albacete - Excerpts

N. Fidel's Avatar Jump to comment 42 by N. Fidel

Let's use NMcC's actual words: they are self-discrediting.

"Indeed, if I’m not mistaken, you could even ‘fill in the blank’ with your ally’s namesake, Hitchens being a fair-weather, ‘critical supporter’ of Castro too?"
- NMcC seems to think the clever (okay, not-so-clever) pun that is my handle (N. Fidel) suggests that I am a Castroite. Pathetic reasoning and an insulting suggestion to say the least. I guess all Adolfs in this world belong to the neo-nazi party.

"No, it’s Fidel’s shining knight, Christopher Hitchens, fulsome, yet again, in his praise for Trotsky, the butcher of Kronstadt and the chief political criminal in setting up the worst tyranny the world has ever known - the mafia-fascistic Bolshevik tyranny in Russia that Stalin so found to his taste."
- NMcC's but-for test -- that had the 1917 revolution not taken place, Stalin and his "Socialism in one country" tyranny would never had existed -- is anti-historical. Trotsky suggested, even before the revolution in 1917, that Lenin's democratic centralism could lead to dictatorship should the workers' revolution not become multi-national. To conflate the Bolshevik approach to government organization with the isolationist imperialism of Stalinism is to paint every "Red" RED with a broad, intellectually dishonest brush.

The history lesson will have to be over for now because -- and I am forced to say this again -- this discussion is NOT and was NOT about Hitchens' Marxsim; it was not about my enjoying his writing (whether I agree with him as I sometimes do, or whether I disagree in spades, as I often do); it was not about communism, Leon Trotsky, Castro, or even places where Hitchens may debatably be inconsistent; it is about the fact that NMcC accused Hitchens of misquoting or selectively quoting Marx's Introduction to his Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right.

Mac, you still have yet to defend your position on that point. All you have done so far is build straw men and ATTEMPT to cut them down.

If you have a response to my pointing out that Hitchens' omission of that bit -- Marx's noting that religion is an illusory condition, and the criticism of the illusion is to criticize a condition that requires illusion -- did not detract from the point he made in his debate with Albacete, then I'd be glad to read it, complete with your usual scorn and slander.

NMcC, you can continue to throw your witless insults around here, but it makes you look like a grandiloquent fool.

Yours in freethought,


Fri, 21 Nov 2008 11:30:00 UTC | #274407

Go to: Hitchens v Albacete - Excerpts

N. Fidel's Avatar Jump to comment 38 by N. Fidel


You made an empty criticism of Hitchens' so-called misquotation. I pointed that out. Then you called me and another poster half-wits and went on another diatribe about Hitchens' Marxist past, which had nothing to do with any points I made. Straw men, with straw hats.


Thu, 20 Nov 2008 21:08:00 UTC | #274058

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