If he's not my favorite journalist, Christopher Hitchens is pretty damn close. Here's an example why - an article Hitchens posted today at Slate.com, titled "Standing Up for Denmark! Why are we not defending our ally?," about the phony Islamist cartoon uproar.
"Put the case that we knew of a highly paranoid religious cult organization with a secretive leader," Hitchens writes. "Now put the case that this cult, if criticized in the press, would take immediate revenge by kidnapping a child. Put the case that, if the secretive leader were also to be lampooned, two further children would be killed at random. Would the press be guilty of 'self-censorship' if it declined to publish anything that would inflame the said cult? Well, yes it would be guilty, but very few people would insist on the full exertion of the First Amendment right. However, the consequences for the cult and its leader would be severe as well. All civilized people would regard it as hateful and dangerous, and steps would be taken to circumscribe its influence, and to ensure that no precedent was set.
"The incredible thing about the ongoing Kristallnacht against Denmark (and in some places, against the embassies and citizens of any Scandinavian or even European Union nation) is that it has resulted in, not opprobrium for the religion that perpetrates and excuses it, but increased respectability! A small democratic country with an open society, a system of confessional pluralism, and a free press has been subjected to a fantastic, incredible, organized campaign of lies and hatred and violence, extending to one of the gravest imaginable breaches of international law and civility: the violation of diplomatic immunity. And nobody in authority can be found to state the obvious and the necessary—that we stand with the Danes against this defamation and blackmail and sabotage. Instead, all compassion and concern is apparently to be expended upon those who lit the powder trail, and who yell and scream for joy as the embassies of democracies are put to the torch in the capital cities of miserable, fly-blown dictatorships. Let's be sure we haven't hurt the vandals' feelings."
Hitchens ends the piece by asking "if anyone might feel like joining me in gathering outside the Danish Embassy in Washington, in a quiet and composed manner, to affirm some elementary friendship. Those who like the idea might contact me at [email protected] , and those who live in other cities with Danish consulates might wish to initiate a stand for decency on their own account."
Follow this link to read the piece in its entirety.