Hosting a 2014 Hitchmas party? Let me know (date, place, link) and it will be listed here.
Hitchmas in Scotland
Edinburgh
Dec 15 @ 8pm
Hotel du Vin, 11 Bristo Place

Never be a spectator of unfairness and stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.

—Christopher Hitchens

WWATMD 4h
The Ghost of Hitchmas Past t.co/IUpiEt2hbd
RichWrightFirth 13h
@Stagendogs: Merry Hitchmas !!!! #Atheist t.co/o3ksVC5j7g Love you Hitch
Stagendogs 15h
Merry Hitchmas !!!! #Atheist #atheism t.co/tdrDUFNyE2
Stagendogs 15h
Merry Hitchmas!!!! t.co/oVuJd0tJer
ArtyAbsatz 20h
The Ghost of Hitchmas Past ~via Reason #TCOT t.co/jKuH0YpKvu
klemmenesmaties 20h
The Ghost of Hitchmas Past: Merry Hitchmas, Reasonoids! Enjoy this throwback to Reason's party of Christmas p... t.co/na6v1udNli
jbuttie17 15m
@CoachOverboard yeahhh he would have MURDERED anthony hitchens in the slot.. We can't stop that with Sean Lee hurt
maxx_chaos 16m
Christopher Hitchens believed capitalism had succeeded where social had failed because he was able to do his job from a computer
LAGacre 17m
The four most overrated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnicsChristopher Hitchens
rdrake98 22m
Forget 'evil' Putin - we are the bloodthirsty warmongers. Peter Hitchens asks right questions about EU and Ukraine t.co/7CJAd7xhWr
Novorossiyan 23m
#Russiaisright Via @sepang2003 HITCHENS Forget 'evil' Putin, we're the bloodthirsty warmongers t.co/HIzHpFZKEB via @MailOnline

Confirm your front line standing in the battle against the darkness of unreason, faith, intellectual temerity and demagogy of bad ideas. Engage like-minded friends and enrage unlike-minded enemies. Affirm the luminous and deny the supernatural.

Hitchmas in Edinburgh

Like Hitchens? We want you here.

This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.

—Alexander McCall Smith


I will be in Edinburgh on December 15th, celebrating Hitchmas with the Holy Trinity. No, not three frozen streams of water, but Scotland, scotch and smokes.

The venue is Hotel du Vin (11 Bristo Place), a former asylum—where many opponents of Hitchens belong—and science lab—where many proponents of Hitchens can be found.

We'll mingle between the Bistro, Whisky Snug, and the heated Cigar Bothy, all within the hotel.

The event is unstructured. Do as you like, but "never be a spectator of unfairness and stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence." (Christopher Hitchens).

If you'd like to attend let me know, or just show up. I'll be wearing a Hitchens t-shirt.

Update—I'd like to thank the Edinburgh Thinking Allowed and Secular Society for supporting and publicizing the event. It was great to meet everyone and raise a tumbler of Monkey Shoulder to Christopher Hitchens.

From poorhouse to asylum to science lab to boutique hotel, the building's lived through many guises since 1743.

—Hotel du Vin, Edinburgh

Hitchmas 2014 in Edinburgh Hotel du Vin

Never be a spectator of unfairness and stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.

—Christopher Hitchens

Hitchens on Christmas

Trees—fine, God—less so

The tree long predates Christmas. There's been a festival of light, in fact, and of trees (yule log trees—that's why they're all from Scandinavia) since the winter solstice was first thought of, long before any mythical event in the Middle East, a birth the date of which even the Bible cannot get right and repeatedly gets wrong.

That's fine. They can celebrate it all they like. It would be impossible to live in this country and not notice that there are a lot of Christians who like to celebrate the birthdate of the person they believe is their saviour. You cannot possibly escape it. But we don't want it to enjoy any public preference or subsidy and the Constitution says that we don't have to.

And the progress you're talking about ... this guy from Lynchberg [Mat Staver, Liberty Councel President] defines progress as teaching junk science to our children. leaving us the mockery of the world by pretending that we did not evolve. That's progress to him.

He's a front man for fat-faced reverend who applauded the destruction of the World Trade Center. Front man for Fallwell. Fallwell said the World Trade Center was brought down by God.

—Christopher Hitchens (Scarborough Country, MSNBC)

Hitchens comments on his performance on Q&A (C-SPAN):

I think I left that one. I actually walked out on that one. Either have me on and have my view, or don't. But don't tell me what to say. Don't tell me what you think all the time. I actually corrected Mr. Scarborough, I improved him slightly, as a host and as a talk show person. He made an obvious mistake. Everyone gives themselves permission to behave absurdly when religion is mentioned and he's just another one of those who do.

I'm not that keen on the idea of being unconscious. There's plenty of time to be unconscious coming up.

—Christopher Hitchens

10 Commandments

a re-assessment of situational ethics

Based on the Vanity Fair article New Commandments. A concise—but not sober—re-assessment of morals in tablet form. Watch video

i.
Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or their color.
ii.
Do not ever even think of using people as private property, or as owned, or as slaves.
iii.
Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations.
iv.
Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child.
v.
Do not condemn people for their inborn nature*.
vi.
Be aware that you, too, are an animal, and dependent on the web of nature. Try and think and act accordingly.
vii.
Do not imagine that you can escape judgement if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife.
viii.
Turn off that fucking cell phone**.
ix.
Denounce all Jihadists and Crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions and terrible sexual repressions.
x.
Be willing to renounce any god or any faith if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above.

* Why would God create so many homosexuals only in order to torture and destroy them?

** You can have no idea how unimportant your call is to us.

Never be a spectator of unfairness and stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence.

—Christopher Hitchens

Hitchmas churl

Sing it

On the first day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
a rational outlook on life.

On the second day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label.

On the third day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
complete works of Christopher Hitchens, and a kiss.

On the fourth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
a full set of irony bath products.

On the fifth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
front row tickets to gloat over the misery of others.

On the sixth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
Intelligent Design vs Evolution board game.

On the seventh day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
reasons to believe not to believe.

On the eigth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
an assortment of like-minded friends, and unlike-minded enemies.

On the ninth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
the right words, at the right time.

On the tenth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
a Joseph Ratzinger pinata.

On the eleventh day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
a hitchslap t-shirt and matching hip flask.

On the twelfth day of Hitchmas my darling gave to me
hope for humanity, but not all of it.

I'm not that keen on the idea of being unconscious. There's plenty of time to be unconscious coming up.

—Christopher Hitchens

Hitchslaps

Nobody hit harder than Hitchens


Nature of reality

The whole universe was designed with just you in mind

There is a certain arrogance to this assumption that all of this extraordinary development was all about us. The tremendous wastefulness of it. The tremendous cruelty of it. The tremendous caprice of it. The tremendous tinkering and incompetence of it. Never mind. At least we're here. The whole universe was designed with just you in mind.

—Hitchens vs Craig at Biola University (4 April 2009)

Say Sorry

...and I still haven't heard enough apology for it

It makes ordinary moral people, compels them, forces them, in some cases orders them do disgusting wicked unforgivable things. There's no expiation for the generations of misery and suffering that religion has inflicted in this way and continues to inflict. And I still haven't heard enough apology for it.

—Hitchens vs Rabbi Harold Kushner and Rev Gomes at Connecticut Forum (Jan 2009)

I won't have it

Don't say my children must play with these toys

I'm perfectly happy for people to have these toys. And to play with them at home. And hug them to themselves and share them with other people to come around and play with the toys. That's absolutely fine. They're not to make me play with these toys. I will not play with the toys. Don't bring the toys to my house. Don't say my children must play with these toys. Don't say my toys are not allowed by their toys. I'm not going to have any of that. Enough with clerical and religious bullying and intimidation. Is that finally clear?

—Hitchens vs Sharpton at New York Public Library (7 May 2007)

Affront and outrage

Do we get no credit for saying this?

What about the most important minority in the history of the world? Those who have never believed in God. Those who believe that ethical life is possible without religion. Who don't want it. There are lots of us. We have to be insulted and outraged everyday by what we see and what we read. By slaughter and murder. Slaughter and murder and barbarism and insult and superstitious nonsense. We do not reply in kind. We don't say we'll go and kill you if you go on insulting us like this. Do we get no credit for saying this?

—Hitchens vs Sashi Tharoor at Hay Festival (27 May 2006)

I won't have it

One has to oppose this 100%

Whatever you do, they will find a reason to take offence. And when they've done that, they think it's their axiomatic right to go straight to violence of the most criminal kind. Including violations of diplomatic immunity, one of the most precious gains of human civilization. No. One has to oppose this 100%. I'm not going to live under a dictatorship of people like this, I'm not going to listen to their opinions. I'm not going to respect them. No, keep it to yourself. Do not dare address me. Do not dare talk to me as if you're warning me when I comment on this. I won't have it. I won't be talked to in that tone of voice.

—Hitchens vs Sashi Tharoor at Hay Festival (27 May 2006)

Celestial North Korea

Who but a slave desires such a ghastly fate?

It is the wish to be a slave. It is the desire that there be an unalterable, unchallengeable, tyrannical authority who can convict you of thought crime while you are asleep. Who can subject you to total surveillance around the clock, every waking and sleeping minute of your life. Before you're born and, even worse and where the real fun begins, after you're dead. A celestial North Korea. Who wants to this to be true? Who but a slave desires such a ghastly fate?

—Hitchens vs Peter Hitchens (his brother) at Fountain St. Church, Grand Rapids (3 April 2008)

I won't have it

I'd rather fight it out if it takes all my life

What is the ground of grievance here? That the Prime Minister of Denmark will not stop the publication of cartoons in the evening paper. That's all it takes to make enemies. People who say let's not make enemies under these conditions are being flat-out masochistic. Sure we can avoid their ire, just as long as we're willing to destroy everything that makes our society different from theirs. Well, I'm not ready to do that. I'd rather fight it out. If it takes all my life.

I won't have it

I cannot take your responsibility away from you

If Jesus claims to be able to take your sins on himself, remember what we're talking about here. The revolting idea of human sacrifice. Of vicarious redemption. Of scapegoating. The idea that you can throw your sin on someone else and make him die and take your sin with him. The repulsive, immoral idea of vicarious redemption. I can pay your debt. I can serve your sentence in prison. But I cannot take your responsibility from you. Because it would be immoral to do so. You've no right to ask it of me. You can't shed that responsibility. The whole basis of morality requires that you face it and take it upon yourself. Nonetheless, Christianity offers the idea of vicarious redemption.

Affront and outrage

It is the most important argument we have, ever since the dawn of civilization

The beliefs of the religious are very offensive to me. I do not go and burn down the nearest Baptist or Catholic church. I don't call for you to form mobs to vindicate my hurt feelings. I'm an atheist. I have a natural resistance to profanity. It comes from Antigone. It comes from Sophocles. It doesn't come from monotheism. The criticism of religion is the beginning of all criticism. If you don't have the right to criticize religion, you have no right at all. It is the most important argument we have, ever since the dawn of civilization.

—Hitchens vs Sashi Tharoor at Hay Festival (27 May 2006)

Mind-forg'd manacles

I say that this is evil.

So when I say that religion poisons everything, I mean to say it infects us in our most basic integrity. It says we can't be moral without big brother. Without totalitarian permission. We can't be good to one another without this. We must be afraid. We must also be forced to love someone who we fear. The essence of sadomasochism. The essence of abjection. The essence of master and slave relationship. I say that this is evil.

—Does God Exist? Hitchens vs Turek at Virginia Commonwealth University (9 Sep 2008)

Celestial North Korea

It is a horrible idea.

It is a horrible idea that there is somebody who owns us, who makes us, who supervises us. Waking and sleeping. Who knows our thoughts. Who can convict us of thought crime, just for what we think. Who can judge us while we sleep for things that might occur us in our dreams. Who can create us sick, as apparently we are, and then order us on pain of eternal torture to be well again. To demand this, to wish this to be true, is to wish to live as an abject slave.

—Hitchens vs Peter Hitchens (his brother) at Fountain St. Church, Grand Rapids (3 April 2008)

Nature of reality

No one beats these odds

We have everthing to fear including fear itself. And the bad news hasn't yet hit, I don't think. We're all in a losing struggle. Nobody has ever beaten these odds. I've looked up ahead, or if you prefer, down the road. I know what's coming. I know no one beats these odds. And it's a matter of getting used to that and growing up and realizing you're expelled from your mother's uterus as if shot from a cannon towards a barn door studded with old nail files and rusty hooks. It's a matter of how you use up the intervening time in an intelligent and ironic way and try not to do anything ghastly to your fellow creatures. That leaves us with the question of 'why should we care?' Somehow I'm glad that at least that bit of our innate nature is useful. But if we praise ourselves of what's innate, we are going to be praising a lot of unpleasant things too. And there's no way around that. There's only the pretense that there's a way around that. And to add, by the way, and also, if you ask me if I think we have free will. How do I know that, because we have no choice but to have free will.

—Impromptu roadside conversation with a fan.

Mind-forg'd manacles

Primates who claim to know it should be distrusted

It's a claim to a truth that no primate can claim to make. Primates who claim to know it should be distrusted. Great damage has been done and continues to be done by such people and by such ideas. You're better off thinking for yourself and taking all the risks, and all the pleasures that will come from that. The most overrated of virtues is faith. The metaphysical claims of religion are untrue.

Mind-forg'd manacles

I don't respect it—I suspect it

People always demand respect for their faith. Why should I respect someone who makes enormous claims on no evidence? And when confronted with that fact, says "I don't need any evidence, I have faith". I think extraordinary claims such as that they know not just that there is a God, but they know his mind, they know his instructions, they've had revealed truth from him. A claim like that demands extraordinary evidence. Instead of which they say 'How about no evidence at all and just take me on faith." Why am I supposed to respect that? I don't respect it. I suspect it.

Pogrom of good ideas

Let's try that for experiment and see who comes out better

I want to be told how any society that follows the precepts of Lucretius, Spinoza, Galileo, Russell, Voltaire, Jefferson, Paine, and Einstein has ever fallen into the same pit of ignorance, famine, cruelty, stupidity, hysteria and witch hunting that is the special privilege of the faithful. Let's try that for experiment and see who comes out better.

Celestial North Korea

Of course you have free will—the boss insists upon it

But I would say, yes, I think we have free will. When asked why I think so, I'd have to take refuge in philosophical irony and say, because I don't think we have any choice but to have free will. But the Christian answer is, "Of course you have free will. The boss insists upon it"

—Hitchens vs Craig at Biola University (4 April 2009)

Celestial North Korea

The smaching of your individuality only begins at the point of death

I've been to North Korea. It has a dead man as its president. It's a necrocracy. A thanatocracy. It's one short of a trinity. It is the most revolting and utter and absolute and heartless tyranny the human species has ever evolved. But at least you can fucking die and leave North Korea. Does the Koran or the Bible offer you that liberty? No. No. The tyranny, the misery, the utter ownership of your own entire personality, the smashing of your individuality only begins at the point of death.

—Hitchens vs Peter Hitchens (his brother) at Fountain St. Church, Grand Rapids (3 April 2008)

Pogrom of good ideas

Is it good for the world?

Is it good for the world to appeal to our credulity and not to our scepticism. Is it good for the world to worship a deity that takes sides in wars and human affairs. To appeal to our fear and to our guilt. To our terror of death. To preach guilt and shame about the sexual act and the sexual relationship. To terrify children with the image of hell, and eternal punishment, not just of themselves but of their parents and those they love. Worse of all, to consider women an inferior creation. Is that good for the world?

—watch video / Hitchens vs Tony Blair at Roy Thomson Hall (26 November 2010)

Gruesome Elderly Virgins

This is morality? I don't think so

Not imposed? Did you really say not imposed? What if you reject this offer, what are you told? What have you been told by centuries of Christians if you reject this offer that took place by means of a torture to death of a human being that you didn't want and should have prevented if you could? What if you reject the offer? And if you accept it you have eternal life and your sins are forgiven. Oh, great. What a horrible way to abolish your own responsibility and get your own bliss. I don't want it. Oh, you don't? Well then you can go to hell. This is not imposed? This hasn't been preached to children by gruesome elderly virgins backed by force for centuries? This hasn't poisoned whole societies? No, of course it's imposed, it's not voluntary. ... This is morality? I don't think so.

—Hitchens vs McGrath at Georgetown University (11 October 2007)

I claim that right

Our prefrontal lobes are too small

No, our problem is this. Our prefrontal lobes are too small. Our adrenal glands are too big. And our thumb and finger opposition isn't all that it might be. And we're afraid of the dark and we're afraid to die. And we believe in the truths of holy books that are so stupid and so fabricated that a child can, and all children do, as you can tell by their questions actually see through them. And I think it should be—written religion—treated with ridicule and hatred and contempt. And I claim that right.

—Be it resolved: Freedom of speech includes the freedom to hate (15 November 2006)

If Hitchens didn't exist, we wouldn't be able to invent him.

—Ian McEwan

Farewell

Nobody wraps it up better than Hitchens

When Socrates was sentenced to death for his philosophical investigations and for blasphemy for challenging the gods of the city, and he accepted his death, he did say, "Well, if we're lucky perhaps I'll be able to hold conversation with other great thinkers and philosophers and doubters too." In other words, that the discussion about what is good, what is beautiful, what is noble, what is pure and what is true could always go on.

Why is that important? Why would I like to do that? Because that's the only conversation worth having. And whether it goes on or not after I die, I don't know. But I do know it's the conversation I want to have while I'm still alive. Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can't give way, is an offer of something not worth having.

I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don't know anything like enough yet. That I haven't understood enough. That I can't know enough. That I'm always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. I wouldn't have it any other way.

And I urge you to look at people who tell you at your age that you're dead till you believe as they do. What a terrible thing to be telling to children. That you can only live by accepting an absolute authority. Don't think of that as a gift. Think of is as a poisoned chalice. Push it aside, however tempting it is. Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way.

—Christopher Hitchens (Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, TX, Nov 18 2010)

Happy Hitchmas—Think for yourself