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Lady Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

For a guy who hates Catholics, he's sure parochial ...
posted by Tom

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." -From Article VI of the Constitution of the United States [italics added]

"I sometimes get more praise from right-wingers or Republicans than I want." – Slate contributor Christopher Hitchens.

“You don’t have to worry about that with me.” – Adeimantus contributor Tom
Somebody once said - I don't know, maybe it was Hillary - that after talking to Bill Clinton and walking away, you were compelled to check for your wallet. If you catch Christopher Hitchens on a liberal blab show like MSNBC’s Hardball or PBS’s Broadway Charlie Rose, or on CNN or NPR, you have the same reaction. Hitchens' smarminess truly shines on TV and radio: That faux sonorousness dressed up in a limey accent as he tries to pass off his left wing ideology as independent thought. For some reason, Yanks are easily sucked into believing that anybody who sounds like a character from a Renaissance Fair must know what the hell he or she is talking about. Why do you think Madonna fakes the British accent? In Hitchens' case, that basset hound-begging-to-be-adopted-before-the-shelter-gasses-him expression works in his favor, too. Anybody that morose looking must be an intellectual.

One big reason why Hitchens gets away with this is that hardly anyone watches or listens to the shows he appears on. I understand he has a steady gig on MSNBC’s The Situation with [National Review columnist] Tucker Carlson, which immediately follows Hardball, which means the entire audience is Chris Matthews' immediate family. Okay, some of them. Hitchens' columns pose more of a problem. They’re found all over the internet like a fungus, and appear regularly in the lefty blog that pretends it’s an on-line magazine, Slate. There his words can be studied a little more closely and as a result they yield up his dirty secret: Like most so-called "independent" political writers, he’s a biased piece of shit doing his damnedest to convey his prejudices as fact.

Don’t get the idea I completely dislike the guy, and in the interest of fairness, let me say that it’s to Hitchens' credit his columns need to be read more than once before you realize what a crock it all is. Most other lefty hacks are exposed after one reading. I think the accent thing helps here, too – indirectly. If you’ve heard Hitchens’ speaking voice on one of the aforementioned shows, it’s only natural that upon an initial reading of his written words the echoes of the Sir Ralph Richardson School of Elocution reverberate in your head and you think, “Gee, this guy’s smart.” Once you get hold of yourself, though, and reread him a few more times, your own internal voice takes over and you can more closely examine the left wing pitch he’s throwing at you like a Ford salesman telling a 21-year-old male customer that women go nuts over a guy that drives a Focus.

A recent column, Catholic Justice – Quit tiptoeing around John Roberts' faith (Aug 1) is a good example of the Hitchens Method of Discourse – essentially leftist propaganda with a Continental flair – and is probably the best example of his neurotic Catholic-phobia since he attacked Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ a year ago. You're forgiven if you missed his hysterical overreaction to the film as liberal anti-Christian neurosis was virtually pandemic at the time, but it was a real hoot. His outraged secularist routine was in full bloom on the aforementioned Charlie Rose's show (PBS’s answer to the piercing intellect of CNN’s Larry King). It was here he claimed Gibson tailored his film to appeal to the Gay Catholic Sadomasochist market. We’ve all heard of that demographic, surely, and with a box office take of a gazillion dollars, who can deny Gibson’s success at appealing to it? Again, to be fair to Hitchens, his appearance on Rose’s show may have been preceded by a few jolts of single malt.

Then, in The Gospel According to Mel (Vanity Fair March 2004) and various Slate columns, Hitchens the libertarian – i.e., a liberal who doesn’t like taxes – invented a new requirement for filmmakers. Well, not all filmmakers, only those that make sincere movies adapted from the New Testament. Appalled that Gibson adapted a screenplay from the Gospels, he demanded Gibson justify the film in a debate with his critics. This meant Hitchens himself, presuming he could squeeze a sober moment into his drinking schedule. As anyone who reads Hitchens with any regularity knows, he like all lefties is deeply committed to free expression – so long as everyone expresses leftist dogma, particularly when it comes to the Marxist idea of religion as the opiate blah, blah, blah.

Pardon this digression into a debate Gibson himself won long ago through the sheer force of his film, as well as with the domestic and foreign box office receipts. The Passion’s audience was obviously much wider than the one Hitchens imagined after tossing back a few, and the left wing bigots with whom Gibson refused to debate are still wiping the egg off their faces for predicting his professional demise. Lest we forget, New York Times entertainment columnist cum political writer Frank Rich predicted that Jewish movie executives would avoid Gibson like the plague (pardon the Biblical imagery) after The Passion. Michael Eisner obviously missed the memo, because Gibson is currently working on another subtitled historical epic, this time dealing with the Mayan empire, that Disney will be distributing. Rich should stick to writing about Gay marriage. And Hitchens should stick to writing about his support for the war against Islamofascism, the phony “independent” position he has staked out that has supposedly alienated all of his left wing friends at The Nation and has resulted in “more praise from right-wingers or Republicans” than he wants. Only the dumbest lefties and righties have fallen for this con. Anyone with an ounce of common sense realizes that it isn’t the fascism part of Islamofascism that has made a hawk out of Hitchens, but the Islamo part.

Ann Coulter has correctly pointed out that were it not for the use of terror tactics against the US and its citizens, liberals would despise fundamentalist Muslims precisely because of their religious fundamentalism. Hitchens is one of those cracked liberals that despise them only for their fundamentalism. Rest assured that had 9-11 been perpetrated by secular socialist anti-westerners whose manifesto promised the extermination of all religious cults (Judaism, Catholicism, etc), Hitchens would be echoing the cries of the anti-war crowd until he was hoarse. Politically, Hitchens is pretty much a limey version of Fox clown Bill O’Reilly - he's only as “independent” as his audience is stupid enough to believe he is. He tries mightily, and fails miserably, to hide his own tendency toward intellectual fascism. He doesn't demand everyone think alike, though. He prefers everyone not think at all – especially about his opinions.

Catholic Justice is a rambling diatribe with more holes in it than his liver. Its premise is that Catholics – believing, practicing Catholics, not free-wheeling pigs like, say, the Kennedy clan – are disallowed by the United States Constitution from serving on the Supreme Court, or any court for that matter. See, their beliefs may conflict with the Constitution, because, see, the Constitution is totally secular. See, God is not mentioned. Hitchens no doubt could explain who bestowed the “blessings of liberty” extolled in the Preamble after having a few stiff ones. Be that as it may, because God is not mentioned by name, it therefore follows in Hitchens’ universe that anyone who believes in the unmentioned God is unqualified to interpret that document.

I can hear the chorus of morons screaming, “Where does Hitchens say that in his article?” Hitchens himself would be the choir director.

Please. Just as he required Gibson, a Catholic, to “debate” him because Gibson’s work did not conform to Hitchens’ personal interpretation of the subject matter, Hitchens demands that Judge Roberts, a Catholic (see a pattern here?), take an oath that he will conform to Hitchens' personal interpretation of the Constitution. It’s a mystery why Hitchens doesn’t simply say up front, “Catholics should be barred from the federal judiciary.” Or maybe it’s not so mysterious, since bigotry is rarely called such by those who practice it. So Hitchens has to begin his claptrap speculating about the rumor that Roberts told someone somewhere that if he is confirmed (remember, we’re talking about the Supreme Court, not the Catholic sacrament), he would recuse himself from deciding cases that conflict with his religious beliefs. Those cases are, for example, the teaching of creationism in public schools (we assume “public” – Hitchens doesn’t specify in the article and with him, one never knows) and abortion (yawn). Roberts denies making the recusal statement, but Hitchens asks, “[H]ow probable is it that the story is wrong?”
A clever conservative friend writes to me that obviously Roberts, who is famed for his unflappability, cannot have committed such a bêtise. For one thing, he was being faced with a question that he must have known he would be asked. Yes, but that's exactly what gives the report its ring of truth. If Roberts had simply said that the law and the Constitution would control in all cases (the only possible answer), then there would have been no smoke. If he had said that the Vatican would decide, there would have been a great deal of smoke. But who could have invented the long pause and the evasive answer? I think there is a gleam of fire here. At the very least, Roberts should be asked the same question again, under oath, at his confirmation.

Whether Roberts made the statement is not my concern here. As a matter of fact, if he did rise to the left's bait and make such a promise on or off the record, he's as stupid as his detractors and should be rejected out of hand just for that. But I’m not defending Roberts' nomination per se as much as exposing how stupid supposedly intelligent writers get when they try to hide their anti-religious bigotry behind a concern for the Constitution, the “rule of law”, and all of their other pious nonsense. This reflects either 1) their ignorance of the fact the Court is a highly politicized body and has been ever since Chief Justice John Marshall handed down his self-serving opinion in “Marbury v. Madison”, or 2) their dishonesty. I vote for 2) in Hitchens’ case.

Does anyone seriously believe he needed this third-hand story before demanding that Roberts renounce his Catholicism under oath or else promise to recuse himself from cases conflicting with his Catholicism? No doubt his fans believe this, just as they fall for his demand that Roberts state explicitly the law and the Constitution will control in all cases – indeed, that’s “the only possible answer” Roberts can provide to the committee before Hitchens will vote for his confirmation. What “law” Hitchens is referring to remains to be seen.

It’s bad enough that this lush thinks we need him to interpret the Constitution; he also demands we accept that his liberal interpretation of what are in effect liberal interpretations of the Constitution actually cite the document itself. The nutty recusal standard he advocates for Roberts wouldn’t apply to, say, queer justices when so-called “gay rights” cases come before the Court. An Hispanic justice of Mexican descent would not be required to recuse him- or herself in cases involving immigration. In cases involving Affirmative Action, Black and White justices alike would not have to recuse themselves [even though both bring their racial and cultural biases into play, no?]. And of course, should a case of discrimination against persons ugly enough to stop a clock come before the Supreme Court, Hitchens would not demand that Ruth Bader Ginsburg recuse herself. He doesn’t say so, naturally, but he doesn’t have to. Not only because everyone knows he is a mush-headed, politically correct lib masquerading as an “independent” thinker, but because he is a bigoted, mush-headed, politically correct lib masquerading as an “independent” thinker.

In an attempt to convince people that what they see is not really there, Hitchens asks the following:

“Why should this question be asked only of Catholics? Well, that's easy. The Roman Catholic Church claims the right to legislate on morals for all its members and to excommunicate them if they don't conform.”

He’s right, it’s easy to come up with nonsense, something he’s demonstrated countless times in the past when his paranoia about people who express their faith in something other than a keyboard, a monitor, and a bottle of booze has gotten the better of him. To paraphrase Hitchens, the only possible response to this silliness is to say, “So what?” Any person – well, any sober person, that is – who has watched the confirmation hearings of federal judges for the 40 something years the Democrats had the majority in Congress and therefore chaired the Judiciary Committee knows that Liberal Democrats claim the right to legislate on morals for the enitre country and smear all nonconformists, particularly those nonconformists with the temerity to believe they’re qualified to sit on the Supreme Court. Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas are only two prominent examples of what happens when one’s judicial philosophy challenges liberal dogma, which is as intransigent as any Hitchens can find in Catholicism. Pro-life Democrats especially are for all and intents and purposes excommunicated by the Party. If Hitchens can find one that the Democrats have allowed to speak at their conventions, he can drop me a line.

Hitchens asks, “[W]hat happens when a religious affiliation conflicts with a judge's oath to uphold the Constitution?” Note the assumption that such a “conflict” must necessarily arise among Catholics, because not only does the Constitution not recognize God or religion in Hitchens’ alcoholic fantasies, it does not recognize “morality”, either, irrespective of its source. The assumption, too, is that the Constitution as written contains anything that conflicts with Catholicism or any other faith. I welcome this celebrity "rebel" to find any clause in the nation's founding document that reflects this.

Be that as it may, if we were to humor Hitchens’ silliness, the answer to what happens with a justice's Catholic affiliation would be the same as what happens when a racial, cultural, political affiliation conflicts with his oath – nothing that hasn’t happened in the past half century that the liberal political hacks in the judiciary have been making up the “law” based on their own liberal dogma.

Like all of the liberals going apeshit because Roberts is a practicing Catholic, Hitchens can’t admit that what he wants from Roberts are specific rulings that conform to his dogmatic beliefs vis a vis abortion and the myriad other “rights” liberal justices have created out of whole cloth for years. So, he attempts an around-end by attacking what he thinks, but could never prove, the Catholic nominee will use as a basis for his own decisions should he sit on the Court. Implicit in all of Hitchens’ Constitutional gibberish is the claim that Liberal political beliefs disguised as “law” already conflict with Roberts’ Catholicism. It wouldn’t matter what Roberts believed; he is precluded from overturning, say, Roe v. Wade whether he is a Catholic, Orthodox Jew, Wiccan, or an atheist that happened to be pro-life.

This is the same gag Hitchens pulled last year with Gibson. According to him, the Gospels are a lie; therefore, any sincere artistic interpretations of them are suspect. Gibson was therefore obligated to defend his belief in the source against Hitchens’ own biased interpretation of the source. Gibson would have “lost” the debate before it had even begun because there was essentially nothing to debate. Hitchens and the other duplicitous libs determined to sink judicial nominees out of their own bigotry and spite, but conscious of the fact they wouldn’t last if they admitted to it, tiptoe (to use Hitchens’ own effeminate metaphor) around the fact they believe the “rights” invented by Liberal justices over the years, especially the right to abortion as it is cockamamily defined in Roe v. Wade, are Constitutional facts.

Continuing with the invented right to abortion example, the gospel according to Hitchens states: Abortion is without a doubt contrary to Catholic dogma. Roberts is a practicing Catholic. Therefore, Roberts must be anti-abortion and will overturn Roe on that basis. When he goes before the Judiciary committee, according to the Hitchens Rules of Procedure, he must renounce his Catholicism – for what would account for Roberts' belief that Roe is “bad law” other than his fealty to the Pope? – or else be barred from the High Court. Roberts loses before he even attends the hearings. Hitchens can’t possibly acknowledge that the alleged right to an abortion created by the Court 30-something years ago is actually grounded in an alleged “right to privacy” that liberal Justices read into the Constitution in the first place. If he did, he would have to acknowledge that the only way to prove Roberts was in favor of overturning Roe purely because his Church demanded it were if Roberts explicitly stated in an opinion that he cannot as a good Catholic uphold such a wicked “right”. Fat chance of that happening any more than you'd have Ginsburg admitting her experience as a left-wing lawyer with the ACLU will not permit her to rule in favor of the Boy Scouts. Without the religious test Hitchens demands but that is barred by the Constitution, he and his leftist (pro-war so long as the war is against a religion) friends are fucked - royally. Because, as the average 12-year-old knows, Roberts' opinion will address the fourth amendment; the moral basis for his interpretation Hitchens has no way of pre-determining under a Constitutional political process. So Hitchens has to invent some exception, because he loves the “secular” Constitution of his adopted land so much, to the prohibition against religious tests. He has to pre-empt appointments to the federal bench that fail to conform to his totally biased interpretation of the US Constitution, which is, as stated earlier, already based on the biased interpretations of liberal justices.

Instead of blowing smoke up everyone’s ass about the "legislative" authority of the Catholic Chruch and the status of the Vatican as an independent state and how John Roberts' adherence to Church precepts renders him unfit to sit on the High Court, Hitchens might have done better to specifically address the very emphatic Aricle VI statement that "no" religious test shall "ever" be administered, even though the Article requires an oath to "support" the Constitution. Which suggests perhaps Hitchens should have examined what is meant by the term "support" versus his invented Constitutional restriction on moral decisions based on religious beliefs. Perhaps Hitchens might have done better admitting that Article VI was written by the Framers precisely because they knew what bigoted morons like him would do if they managed to get elected to the United States Senate.

Then we wouldn't have to waste our time reading his blather.

posted by Tom | 8/09/2005 11:10:00 AM
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