Saturday, May 03, 2008

Chris Hedges and the New Atheists


Here is a contentious Point of Inquiry interview with Chris Hedges. While Hedges goes a bit too far in labeling the New Atheists as "fundamentalists", his overall criticism is quite interesting (and perhaps valid) - especially on the caricatured depictions of Muslims by the New Atheists (mostly Sam Harris). In response to the question about the promotion of secularism in the Muslim world, it was good to see him bring up "which Muslim country" - Bosnia, Turkey, Morocco? Or Saudi Arabia, Sudan? The interviewer, DJ Grothe, is usually very good - but here he sounds a bit defensive and he kept on making huge generalizations (such as the attitude of the "left" towards Islamic fundamentalism or "Muslim" reaction to the West). On the other hand, the skepticism of Hedges towards reason to potentially improve our lives is also discomforting. Do check out the interview as it raises good questions and, at the same time, I'm sure you'll find things in here to vehemently disagree (or angry) with.

Here is Chris Hedges bio:

Chris Hedges is a journalist and author who focuses on American and Middle Eastern politics and society. He is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute in New York City and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than fifty countries, and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, where he spent fifteen years. He is the author of What Every Person Should Know About War and American Fascists. His newest book is I Don't Believe in Atheists.