(In response to more on Hitchens at Corey Robin’s joint:)
Hitchens was right about the war on terror, just wrong about who the real enemy was… Not “clash of civilizations,” but a defining moment of the clash or crisis within civilization – whether the final crisis of the American Neo-Empire or a premonition of it, still an epochal shift to be confronted with one’s whole being whether one likes it or not. The enthusiasm for war follows in the wake of a joyous casting off of the merely reasonable: The personal, national, and civilizational mid-life descents become indistinguishable from each other: Hitchens adopts and formally obtains an American citizenship in the same way that another man in his 50s might drop an old wife for a young one, or take up sky-diving, or both, and much more, while the head-shaking judgments of peers and progeny provide welcome opportunity to demonstrate how invigorating he finds rejecting their influence and opinions. Greater or anyway historically more significant minds than Hitch’s have succumbed to that temptation, and the assertion from any of us “I would never” is always premature – and very likely self-falsifying. The turn to religion, or for some to an unskeptically absolute skepticism that amounts to the same thing, comes next, as night follows day (intimation of mortality, the starting point).