For the sheer magnitude of its horsepucky, this column may well stand forever. Generations yet unborn will come and read it, just to stare out of the magnificent vista of presumption, self-regard, and tinpot piety the way people bring their children to look at the Grand Canyon. It takes an unusual amount of juice-box hubris to put your thoughts in a dead man’s head. It takes towering presumption to put into a dead man’s head your thoughts with which he would scabrously disagree. Here, we have a New York Times columnist, a god-bothering newsboy on his best day, presuming to think — let alone speak — for a guy who is no longer here to think or speak for himself. Ross Douthat now stands as the Pope Stephen VII of letters, digging up the recently deceased and putting his corpse on trial in Douthat’s own, Colorforms version of the Cadaver Synod. I guess we can be grateful that Douthat only gums away futilely at his argument. Stephen threw the convicted remains of Pope Formosus into the Tiber. Douthat just tosses Christopher Hitchens’s corpse into the shallow end of his intellect.
Pierce, if you are unfamiliar with him, is the author of a pretty good book called Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. Well worth a read.
Also, for a more measured but equally effective reply to Douthat have a look at this post from Jean Kazez.