Three very different voices with three very different perspectives on the Massachusetts Miracle.
Last night’s appearance of Mark Steyn in the course of my special election night broadcast is transcribed here. We spoke before Scott Brown’s victory was assured.
Hitchens and I found time for some talk about Haitian relief and President Obama’s unilateralism vis-a-vis the earthquake response as well. Hitchins is working with Richard Dawkins to encourage non-believers to be generous toward the victims via Dawkins’ fund. The exchange:
CH: Incidentally, Richard Dawkins and I, and a few others, did a special appeal over the weekend for non-believers, and we raised, I think, up to $350,000 dollars now in three days.
HH: That is excellent. What was the address of that for the non-believers listening right now?
CH: Well, if you go, thank you, it’s called NBGA, Non-Believers Giving Aid, but anyone who wants to go, anyone who’s listening to this who isn’t devout, and doesn’t always trust the religious charities, very generous of you, just go to the Richard Dawkins website. It’ll take you straight there.
HH: Yeah, send him a note that Hugh Hewitt sent you.
CH: And it’s piling up very, real fast. And there was another earthquake today, for Heaven’s sake.
HH: 6.1, yes.
HH: I’ve got to recommend to you, Christopher, that you visit, Google up Team Rubicon, as in the river in Italy.
HH: It is a group, it’s an extraordinary group of Americans who have simply conducted mercenaries with mercy. They’ve invaded Haiti with doctors and Special Forces medics, and they are busy practicing Civil War medicine, because that’s all they can practice there. It’s available at www.blackfive.net as well. There are going to be thousands of stories of Americans acting whether out of Christian impulse or non-believing impulse. They’re doing the right thing. I just, I think it would be interesting to talk to you or Dawkins at some point at length about what is that that is animating the non-believing giver association? Why are they doing it if not…
CH: Well, that’s easy, I mean, because we’re humanists.
HH: But humanists eventually, why do you care?
CH: Why would you care if you thought everything was in God’s hands, or that we were all playthings of a Divine will? That would make you even more inclined to apathy.
HH: Not a plaything of a Divine will, an obedient servant attempting to discern it and follow it, because it’s a good thing to do. But I mean, why does the non-believer care?
CH: Yeah, but the itinerate hands of an angry God, I mean, that’s just as much of a, much, much more fatalistic than saying we know one thing for sure that’s definitely true, which is that we are, we’re all human, and we have duties to one another.
HH: You don’t see wolves running across the continent to take care of other wolves. I mean, humanists always run up against this problem.
CH: Actually, with wolves, I’m not sure you don’t with other wolves. I’m not quite enough of a naturist, or sorry, a naturalist to say that. But with other primates, you certainly have group solidarity and family solidarity.
HH: Yeah, group and family, but not across oceans, and certainly not across communities who could never possible benefit them.
CH: Well, but that’s to state the self-evident. I mean, nor do they go and napalm and bomb and spread…
HH: Yes, it’s a fallen world.
CH: …torture and invasion and chemical warfare on each other…
HH: Christopher Hitchens, always a pleasure, and once again, is it NBGA or via Dawkins?
CH: NBGA, you can probably get to it that way. But if you go, it’s called the Richard Dawkins foundation for science and reason, but if you just Google Richard Dawkins, it’ll take you straight to the site. And it’s going great guns.
HH: I hope the people who do not believe who are listening right now will in fact act on that humanist impulse, irrational as it might be, and do so. God bless you, Christopher Hitchens, for what you’re doing.
Read the whole thing if you’d like. We also managed a bit of discussion of Alan Bennett’s An Uncommon Reader, which I found a wonderful little read about the joy of reading and the duty of doing. Steyn had a less enthusiastic view of Bennett’s talent than Hitchens when I asked him about the British playwright a few weeks back, but I have been recommending this particular book to a wide cross-section of people and everyone who has read it came back with high praise. If you read it, please drop me a note of your reaction. I can safely say that every book club in America will celebrate the novella if they take it up.
For those who have not yet read up on Team Rubicon, you can do so here, or via Blackfive.net. There are thousands of Americans doing amazing things to assist in Haiti. The self-organizing medical relief members of Team Rubicon, most of whom have military backgrounds, is one of the most inspiring stories I have heard yet. The second team of Rubicon volunteers has arrived, just in time to help deal with the aftermath of today’s 6.1 earthquake and to deliver a baby in the midst of the destruction.
Please donate to their efforts, and please also send some help to the very effective Food for the Poor operation –866-714-3663– which is tending to the basic food and water needs of thousands of Haitians even as Team Rubicon pitches in alongside all the other doctors and medical personnel surging towards the island.