December 06, 2013

Chris Hedges' selective view of protesters

I like Chris Hedges a fair amount, including his honesty about how war reporting can get addicting.

I like that he doesn't like Gnu Atheists.

But, I don't like that he doesn't like atheists in general because of Gnu Atheists. And, I don't like that he can occasionally pontificate in general.

The latest specific example is here, with a piece about a Canadian family sitting on top of a pool of oil and trying to do some monkey wrenching. Actually, a whole lot of monkey wrenching.

I have several problems with his quasi-hero worship piece on the Ludwigs.

First of all, that's what it is. It's not a very critical piece, in the proper sense of that word. That said, he does note the Ludwig family eventually rejected violence they had employed for a while. But, he lauds the rejection of violence in a Christian-specific context.

That leads to the biggest problem — this:
"I do not share Ludwig’s Christian fundamentalism—his community was a rigid patriarchy—but I do share his belief that when human law comes into conflict with God’s law, human law must be defied."
Really, Chris?

I know you lump all atheists together, even though we're not the same, but your blindness is huge in this area. Per your statement, right-to-lifers are OK with all their harassment outside abortion clinics, etc. And, before you say, "but that's violent," a right-to-lifer can cite a "higher law" and say, that's why he or she is defying human law. As for the violence? Such a person could say the real violence is an abortion, and, even if they're violent, it's still a lesser violence. Or claim that anybody who is acting on god's law isn't actually being violent, no matter what the actual action is.

And, that leads to a related issue. Not everybody who is religious believes in the same god as Hedges does, and this is a Mack Truck-sized loophole.

Second is a possible bit of hypocrisy.

A lot of environmentalists (I'm one, but not part of this subgroup) talk about how good it is that, in almost everywhere in the world but the US, governments, not private individuals, own mineral rights, saying that the state is less likely to be exploitative than private business.

Until that argument gets undercut. As it does here.

I favor government ownership of mineral rights. But, Chris, you can't be selective about it. It's either right all the time or its wrong all the time. You think Canada's bad? Don't forget Russia, with its massive oil reserves, or China, with its upward estimate on shale gas reserves.

Third, on the violence and sabotage parts (pre-shooting of people) what's right about this and wrong about Black Bloc type stuff, Chris? (I'm not a personal fan of OWS, or of much of the Adbusters/Anonymous antics related to it, but again, it's a matter of logical consistency.)

Finally, I think some of this feeds into Hedges' seeing himself as a modern liberal Protestant Jeremiah. And, per my semi-snark, semi-straight comparison of him to P.Z. Myers, that's a real issue in and of itself.

Overall, the more I read of Hedges, the less I like him, or at least, his voice. Put more charitably, a little Hedges goes a long ways.

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