Michael Totten, a blogger based out of Portland who has written a number of interesting pieces on Kosovo, Iraq, Lebanon, and the “Olympics War” of 2008 between Georgia and Russia, has posted part one of a long interview with Christopher Hitchens who, as Totten says, really needs no introduction.
Hitchens: These people are saying the grandfather and granddaughter [Kurt Westergaard and his granddaughter -ed.] were the authors of their own attempted assassinations. These are some of the same people who say that if I don’t believe in God I can’t know what morality is. They’ve just dissolved morality completely into relativism by saying actually, occasionally, carving up grandfathers and granddaughters with an axe on New Year’s Eve can be okay if it’s done to protect the reputation of a seventh century Arabian man who heard voices.
If we grant that these people are right or that they have a point, we grant that the Taliban does represent Islam. If we grant that the completely contrived protest against Danish cartoons by a few mullahs represents Islamic emotion, how much more contemptuous of Islamic people could we be?
Hitchens: Here’s a way of throwing an Oregon progressive into a state of confusion: ask him or her if they’ve read the latest Al Qaeda pronouncements on the Hindu question. Or, shall we put it another way, a billion infidels, brown-skinned, third world, living in a secular democracy, and all of them deemed by fatwa as fit only for slaughter.
Underneath this indulgence, Michael, this lenience we inflict on ourselves and others, is a vague feeling among millions in the West that Islam is somehow the religion of millions of the oppressed third world, of the brown-skinned, and of the black-skinned in Somalia and Nigeria. What I call the cultural cringe is involved. It’s subliminal, but it’s played on by terms like Islamophobia coined by the propaganda of the other side. It’s designed to make you feel bad even if you don’t like it. It’s thought crime. The attempt is to make Islamophobia something you’ll be as reluctant to be accused of as being a racist.
Actually, from some people I don’t even care if I’m being called a racist. Their standards have become so low that it doesn’t hurt like it should. [emphasis added]
I’ll post a link to part two when Totten puts it on his site.