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Um, thank you, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends for coming. Thank you, ma’am, for that fantastically grudging, ungenerous, and terse introduction. Um, people, conversation, excuse. Um, so I have to speak in English, but not the dialect of bromance. Um, rather more inflected with Saxon. Um, and I never know when I’m doing this, and I never give the same speech twice because I think it’s rude and I have to try and judge it by guessing from the look at the audience whether to begin at the ontological end of this or the, if you like, the political end.

Because of recent developments, I would actually begin more of the political than the ontological end, then get to the audiological point. Because we imagine a time when if you just glance at the newspaper, what you’re going to see, you’re going to see today this week, and you can, if you like, look at my little logical in the Newsweek.

It’s on the cover this week, um. He’s holding us, the pope, receiving back into the bosom of the church a bunch of neo-fascists crackpots who believe that genocide did not occur in the 20th century but the deicide did occur, 20, 100 years ago, and um, that in both cases, the Jews are responsible for the misunderstanding.

Think of the work, think of the crackpot word necessary just to put that together. And then think of being the pope and thinking our church isn’t complete, so these people are backing it. And not only do they deny genocide and affirm the Mad theory of dear side, but they blame democracy and not theocracy for the great I’m used. Can you hear if I yell downstairs? It’s good. Yeah, no. So what should we do? No, no, perfect.

Should I start again? You have as your guest to practice demagogue very well.

Uh, yes, the democracy and not theocracy is responsible for the great assault on American Civil Society of September 11, 2001. So this is a very unpromising development in a church that claims to be that nurturing mother of European civilization. But if you look just a little further east to another Schism that took place in the bosom of the same church, you will find that the other schismatic force, not known as Orthodoxy instead of Catholicism, has just instated as its dictator, its spiritual and earthly representative, Vladimir Putin.

The Russian Orthodox church has now become the official Church of the Putin organization. Uh, no, no, no. In statement of any police official, any military official, any government official of the Putin regime is complete without the kissing of the icons. The swinging of the incense, the affirmation of the ancient verities of the very church that, since we’re on the subject, managed to bring us all the way to Western Europe with incredible trouble, the forgery actually, the fabrication of the protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Church of czarism, the Church of serfdom, the Church of Russian imperialism, uh, the Church of tyranny and superstition.

And now they’re producing new icons, not content with the old ones that baptized and confirmed serfdom, tsarism, anti-Semitism, and fascism. Uh, new, new icons. Um, you can see them. They were easily found on the internet, which show in a prayerful attitude the father of his people and as the holy protector of holy Russia, Joseph Stalin, uh, who, it’s true, was a very leading member of a seminary in Georgia under the name Joseph Fisarianovich Julie Ashby in his youth, and whose mother is supposed to have said to him when he became chairman of the Central Committee of the presidium of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, “You’re a stupid boy. If you’d stayed in that Seminary, you could have been a bishop by now.”

I believe the story anyway, even if what is said by the mothers of gods isn’t always to be taken completely seriously. So that’s a very bad development, and believe you-me, we will all live to see and regret what we’ve allowed to happen unnoticed, the conversion of modern Russia into a heavily armed, aggressive, self-pitying, chauvinistic theocracy.

This is not something that happens to people who live in benighted Bronze Age societies far from us like Afghanistan. However, and before I, I’ll just say for a second, when I go to the ontological, I would say, however, that is where they start. It doesn’t mean that’s where they stop. Um, let’s just say one more practical case before I move to the ontological side of it.

Um, even if, like me, you think that as a secular Jewish person, a secular public Jewish person, that the probability is on secular grounds that Zionism was a very big mistake to begin with and there’s a false Messiah for the Jewish people, whose main achievements are being in secular diaspora societies. Even if you believe that, the fact remains that there is a self-determined Jewish community in Palestine that that is something to which I think the Jewish people do have a right. Maybe not to a state, certainly not to an exclusive one, but to a Jasper-derivedour shoes. It used to be cool. It was much right, in other words, to being Palestine as any other historic community does. What is what’s gone wrong with the Israel-Palestine dispute?

What’s most notably gone wrong? Ask yourself because this is going to come back to you very soon and haunt you again. Well, there are two communities, one Arab and actually quite largely Christian but put on any wisdom, both approximately the same size and number, with equally good claims to at least part of the land. That the majority of Jewish people in the diaspora and Israel have for a long time favoured a two-state solution to this problem.

It’s a national question, it’s a land question. This is also the express view of the United States Congress, of the American Jury, of the United Nations, of the European Union, of that really at the end of the Palestine Liberation Organization, it’s what the majority of people involved in the study want. Why can’t they get what we all want? Why is it made impossible? Because in both communities, the veto is held by the party of God.

In the first case, by the Messianic settlers who think that by establishing a fatal Company by violence and stealing other people’s land in the name of the Jewish people and in the name of God, they can help to bring on the Messiah. If they say, we get all the Arabs out of this area and all the Jews in gathered, then the Messiah would come finally after such a long, sweaty wait. That’s right, that’s right. On the Arab Palestinian side, the veto is now held, the whip hand is now held by a party that says, you’re absolutely right that God decides matters in this church. You’re completely right. Only he can award territory. He’s the king of real estate around here. It’s just you’ve got the wrong God. He says, it only belongs to Muslims, not just Arabs. Or verses only Muslims, they’re not Christians, not secularists.

Let them try and live their lives if they want in God’s all the West Bank. They’ll have a hard time, a harder and harder time so that the whole world is in danger of going to hell on a sled because of the parties of God in Palestine.

And nuclear weapons have been introduced into this combat too, by the proxy intervention of other powers and by the Israeli theft of thermonuclear fissile material. And this doesn’t complete the picture at all, but just for a brief tour, Dory is all I would say. By on or about August this year, the Iranian government will be able to announce that a nightmare we’ve long pondered and tossed and turned around in our sleep, the coincidence of an apocalyptic regime with apocalyptic messianic weaponry, will actually have occurred, would have been tested and demonstrated and that it won’t be used. I think on Israel, it won’t be used on America.

The world is a world of warcraftian worldly than that. But it will be used for nuclear blackmail, mainly against the Sunni Arab neighbouring Gulf States who will learn to respect the local Regional boss. And we will then live in a world where we’ll have to be polite to the parties of God because they are facing us with weapons of mass destruction. So how about that for an opening?

Um, and that’s just a plus. As any fool, including myself could have plucked it from the headlines. Okay, what’s wrong with that? Doesn’t need any underlying for me. What’s wrong with it, ab nissio, as they used to say in Latin? Tibet, what’s wrong with it from the beginning? Why do I say religion poisons everything in my subtitle? Well, some publishers want a sensational subtitle. Not so am I. Very discreet and tasteful French publishers. That’s not why it’s theirs.

That’s because I want you to be there and people say, “Come on, everything does it. Poison tantric sex, does it poison vegetarian cooking, does it poison chess?” And so I said, “Yes, actually it does because it offends humanity in its deepest dignity and most profound integrity. It says to us, you ladies and gentlemen, brothers, sisters, comrades, friends, it says to us, we, you would not know right from wrong, could not perform a right action, could not make a right or just statement unless you had supernatural permission to do so.

You wouldn’t have the idea unless it came from on high as a gift to you. You don’t have it inherently, it’s not yours, it’s not part of your own decency. There couldn’t be, I don’t think, a more radical attack on the idea of the individual, of the rights of the human being, or of the responsibilities as well as the rights of a human being. It is an invitation to be a slave. Um, you mentioned very kindly that I say, and I may as well get to it straight because it’s so closely related to the political opening I gave, the ontological question of the deity.

Those who wish that there was an eternal, unchanging, unchangeable, irremovable father, father who never went away, are those who have discovered the origins of totalitarianism. They want a big brother, and they want to be on their knees in front of an authority figure who will not quit. Now, the great thing about a father, for my children’s sake, I’m willing to move over. If I were to say to my children, you know what, I love you so much, I’m never going away, do you think their expressions would change? You don’t know my children. By analogy, do you suppose they think, oh, cool, um, it’s never going away, or at least he says, um, what do we just say? If religion says this, this boss never quits. Not only that, this boss watches you while you sleep. This boss knows what you are thinking before you’ve even thought it.

This boss, because this is the quintessential, or worrying point of 1984, the big brother, this boss can convict you of thought crime. He knows what you’re dreaming, and he can condemn you to an eternity of torment, or my definition of heaven, another eternity of torment where, instead of being tortured with red-hot irons for every sin, you all told us to say on your knees and praise and give thanks forever. I don’t know if I wouldn’t rather pick the red-hot funny lance. I mean, I’ve been to all the axis of evil countries, North Korea Iran and Iraq.

Understand, and I think that Murray writers who have done this in between the century and with North Korea, I now know what it would be like. I used to wonder when I was a child, I could picture hell right. I could see that clearly. But they never gave me a very good picture of heaven, not the Christians anyway, except they said, we’ll be praising and thanking as you should, and constantly issuing further bulletins of praise and thanks. I thought, well, maybe after the first 100 million years, that would get a little tedious. In fact, maybe even painful.

But who wants it? I mean, who wants to sit listening to it painful for them surely after the first once you’ve written one thank you letter, you should have written them all. But I’ve been in North Korea, and now I know what it would be like. I’ve seen a country, I’ve seen what it would be like to be a human being tortured without culture, without irony, without ask, without a moment of privacy, without a single fragment of respect for the human personality, forced from dawn till dusk to offer thanks to a God who doesn’t care about them at all. Who’s laughing at how easy it is to make a living off the of the enforced credulity of such people.

This is what totalitarianism means. This is what the real essence of unending slavery really consists of. So I hope by looping around in that direction to knitted together the ontological and the political, the reasons why I thought it was vessentialat this time to begin some kind of pushing back to the theocrats and the bullies and louds who are helping them. Whether it is the theft of land in Palestine, whether it is the construction out of a ruined society of nuclear weapons in Iran or North Korea, whether it is putinism, whether it is the attempt to solsify American children by teaching them the pseudoscience in school, which hacks players money. Children, it’s chemistry in first period.

After that, for equal time considerations, we’ll have the Alchemy class, your astronomy teacher is well known too. But today your astrology teacher will be safe after the break. I mean, really, can you imagine this happening in the capital of the world’s first democratic secular republic? I say nothing against the proclamation of the French Rights of Man when I say this because the separation bit didn’t quite take well. Um, if you haven’t got my drift by now, I could talk for a lot longer and you still wouldn’t get it. But I’m gonna trust you. There’s something about your honest faces that makes me do so. And I’ll say that I’m not in a hurry at all. I don’t have anywhere to go. And the Hitchens mission statement is, I will never leave a bookstore until, well, two things have happened. One is that the management has offered me at least one free book for my efforts, and the other is that I won’t leave. Well, anyone can say later, “When I had a question of Hitchens, but he wouldn’t answer it.”

I won’t go away. Any of you can say that. So, as long as you respect the cocktail and dinner hour, I will be true to this promise. And I’m fantastically grateful that you came and very flattered and um, you own me my hostages. I look forward to being your prisoner. Thank you.

Notable Quotes:

“Religion poisons everything… It offends humanity in its deepest dignity and most profound integrity.”

“Those who wish for an eternal, unchanging, irremovable father have discovered the origins of totalitarianism.”

“The reasons why I thought it was essential at this time to begin some kind of pushing back to the theocrats and the bullies and louds who are helping them.”

“I hope by looping around in that direction to knit together the ontological and the political.”

“I will never leave a bookstore until… the management has offered me at least one free book for my efforts.”

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