Today marks the what would have been Christopher Hitchens’ 66th birthday. While the controversial writer lost his long battle with cancer in 2011, nearly half a decade later his legacy continues to remain a puzzle to most. To some, Hitchens was a brilliant iconoclast, fearlessly proclaiming truth and reason in a world crippled by political correctness and blind sentimentality. To others, Hitchens was a traitor who abandoned his radical roots in favor of jack-booted imperialism and militarism. After all this time, the question remains: Who was Hitchens?
Born in Porstmouth, England, Hitchens first began his prolific career as a writer for a number of leftist magazines, eventually joining New Statesman in the early 70s, where he quickly made a name for himself as a fiery critic of the the Vietnam War. Hitchens would go on to become an acclaimed foreign correspondent, frequent contributor to The Nation and Vanity Fair, and unapologetic critic of most of the political establishment. No one- from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton, from Jerry Falwell to the royal family- escaped Hitchens’ unique blend of unimpeachable logic and acidic invectives. Hitchens made a name for himself in particular by viciously decrying Henry Kissinger, who he argued (not without cause) was a power-worshiping war criminal…
I grew up as an Evangelical Christian. There are many wonderful people I love who strongly associate with that title, but at this point in my life I no longer consider myself one. As I’ve struggled with certain tenants of the Evangelical movement over the last few years I’ve also struggled with the urge to write off Christianity entirely.
As I’ve gotten older and moved away from my previous home and (wonderful) community, I’ve started to realize that the “brand” of Christianity I was raised with is certainly not the only one out there. I also discovered that the emphasized conversion message that I was brought up in is actually a relatively new aspect of Christianity. While this method had a real heyday in the 80-90’s (think altar calls), here in North America things seem to be evolving yet again.
While I’d love to share more about what I’ve been learning regarding the evolution of Christianity sometime soon, for this post I want to focus on a branch of theology that I didn’t even realize existed until pretty recently: Liberation Theology. Continue reading →
We don’t debate nearly as much as we should on what a Socialist society would look like, but if I had to guess, it’d probably be pretty similar to the administration of Jose Mujica.
Uruguay’s current leader has been dubbed by some as “the world’s poorest president”. Swiftly gaining acclaim as news of his actions and lifestyle spread across the internet, Mujica has been joined the all-too-small ranks of “honorable politicians”, perhaps filling the void left by the death of Nelson Mandela in December of last year.
In a world where poverty, inequality, and economic injustice are increasingly recognized, Mujica stands out for his shocking rejection of the pomp and circumstance that accompany power. Mujica drives a beat-up Volkswagon Beetle, and lives with his wife on a chrysanthemum farm on the outskirts of the capitol with their three-legged dog, Manuela. Living off of 12,000 dollars, and donating 90% of his presidential salary to charity, it sounds almost more like the setting for a political fairy tale than a reality.
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that question- it seems that any discussion or (as it mostly is) debate on the subject of Marxism turns inevitably to that issue. How will _____ work under Marxism?
For the most part, Socialists won’t answer this question, claiming that predictions about the future are overwhelmingly wrong. I think there’s some points to be awarded for being cautious in the regard, but let’s face it- the absence of a clear picture of the world we’re trying to build does the movement more harm than it does good. Conservatives, after all, can point to a heavily mythologized Rockwell-esque picture of 50s America as the “good ol’ days” they’re looking to restore…
Elements like these tend to be left out of such descriptions…
…while Liberals, on the other hand, can point to a hybridization of Scandinavian and Western European welfare states.
Minus the rampant racism, corruption, and unemployment…
Ok, so that’s a bit of a potshot, but the truth of the matter is that both of the mainstream tendencies in this country have decently clear visions of the social system they’re trying to create, and there’s really no way the radical left can expect to compete for the hearts and minds of the public at large if all we have to offer is some vague, pie-in-the-sky promise that things will be infinitely better. We need a picture of a Socialist America, and while we’re gradually coming around to this concept, we could stand to do a lot more (and reciting this scene from Monty Python doesn’t count).
Your name is John/Jane Smith, and you are an American citizen 18 years of age or older. On this merit alone, you will receive approximately 300 dollars per month to be deposited in a bank account of your choosing.
That right there is the gist of Guaranteed Minimum Income and the subject of today’s discussion. Continue reading →