An excerpt from Austin Dacey’s review of Christopher Hitchens’ new memoir, Hitch-22:
The Christian West, after all, did not migrate towards secular government by mass conversion to atheism. The leading public arguments and examples came from Christian minorities—Anabaptists like Balthazar Hubmaier; Puritans like Roger Williams, John Milton, and John Locke. Even Spinoza’s case for secularism was premised on his reading of the Bible.
Would atheists in the West be willing to give up the pure peace of opposition to God for the more complicated and cognitively dissonant state of solidarity with religious minorities in Islamic states? Could atheists’ loyalty to other atheists make them less effective in the struggle for the secular, open society? I had a chance to ask this of Hitchens recently at a public event at Washington’s beautiful Sixth and I Historic Synagogue. He responded that the non-religious would do better to stick up for themselves since these embattled minorities might well impose their own theocracies if given the chance. I was left wondering what a Baha’i tyranny would look like. Is this another Hitch-22, or is there room here for a little bit of heresy?