The Corner

Re: “Ignorance” and Arrogance

This is not where it gets interesting; this is where it gets tedious. Let’s review: Hitchens wrote a confused rant about Catholics and the Supreme Court; I noted its sloppiness and illogic; he claimed that my description of him as “invincibly ignorant” was itself ignorant of “the meaning” of the phrase. He now allows, without noting the concession, that there are multiple meanings of the phrase and therefore that I made no error. Indeed, this appears to be his method in this conversation: He drops every point on which he’s been called and brings up new irrelevancies. Under the circumstances, I see no reason to take it upon myself to defend the Catholic church’s teaching on the ways the faculty of reason can be weakened against Hitchens’s rather absurd gloss on it.

I will note only that on no fair reading of my previous comments did I suggest that any disagreement that Hitchens (or anyone else) has with the Catholic church is a symptom of his “want of curiosity or willful blindness,” or “false consciousness.” I am actually not at all interested in figuring out whatever it is led him to his rather easily demonstrated errors. He should learn more, or find a new hobbyhorse.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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