Talk:Christopher Hitchens

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Former good article nomineeChristopher Hitchens was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There may be suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
DateProcessResult
September 2, 2009Good article nomineeNot listed
In the newsA news item involving this article was featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "In the news" column on December 17, 2011.

"but believed that Marx had underestimated the revolutionary nature of capitalism" in lead is grossly misrepresentati[edit]

The full sentence in the lead goes:

   Hitchens nonetheless continued to identify as a Marxist, endorsing the materialist conception of history, but believed that Karl Marx had underestimated the revolutionary nature of capitalism.[5]

The assertion was so absurd that I wanted to know Hitchens's full argument. From the source article penned by Hitchens in The Atlantic:

   As Wheen skillfully shows, there was an underlying love-hate relationship between Marx and capitalism. As early as the Manifesto, he had written of capitalism’s operations with a sort of awe, describing how the bourgeoisie had revolutionized all human and social and economic relations, and had released productive capacities of a sort undreamed-of in feudal times. Wheen speculates that Marx was being magnanimous because he thought he was writing capitalism’s obituary, and though this is a nice conceit, it does not quite explain Marx’s later failure, in Capital, to grasp quite how revolutionary capitalist innovation really was. (The chapter on new industrial machinery opens with a snobbish quotation from John Stuart Mill’s Principles of Political Economy: “It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being.” This must have seemed absurd even at the time, and it appears preposterous after the third wave of technological revolution and rationalization that modern capitalism has brought in its train.) 


The lead is misrepresentative in at least 2 ways, either one of which I argue is grounds for removal.

   1) "Hitchens nonetheless continued to identify as a Marxist ... but believed that Karl Marx had underestimated the revolutionary nature of capitalism." This implies the latter clause is in opposition to Hitchens's identification as a Marxist, but it couldn't be further from the truth. The full quote from the article is referring to Marx's underestimation of capitalism to further entrench class divide, even while productivity multiplied many times over. It is not a condemnation of Marx's ideologoy, it is a remark on the resilience of capitalism.
   2) The section from the article is Wheen's argument, not explicitly Hitchens's. It is likely Hitchens agrees with much or all of the argument, but it isn't sufficient to ascribe the belief to himself based on this attribution.
   3 Bonus) Marrying "Marx" and "revolutionary" without context invites the reader to assume this is a reference to "proletarian revolution" and not the resilience of the system of which Marx was inexhaustibly critical of.  — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pdmjg (talkcontribs) 05:05, 10 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply] 
Yes, I think this is misleading. As far as I can see, the source doesn't say that Hitchens was a Marxist not a socialist.Jack Upland (talk) 10:39, 24 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Quotation on free speech[edit]

In the section describing his political views, there is a box containing the following quotation:

"My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, anyplace, anytime. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line, and kiss my arse."

There are two errors that should be corrected. I had tried to correct them, however the changes were not made (possibly because they involve profanity).

First, in the source, he does not say "kiss my arse"; he, very clearly, says "kiss my ass". "Ass" is consistent with the closed captions in the source.

Second, the citation claims that Hitchens says the quote 2 minutes and 40 seconds into the video. This is incorrect. Hitchens says it 2 minutes and 45 seconds in.

These errors should be corrected. 70.48.65.84 (talk) 00:10, 5 June 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Christopher Hitchens[edit]

Comment on the focus of his debate topics. 2601:80:4381:C200:1A7:E86D:F404:9C4B (talk) 17:06, 1 July 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]