Friday links! You’re better than that edition [with update!]

Christopher Hitchens, young

Christopher Hitchens died yesterday in Houston. Houston seems like the wrong place for that man to finish up, and such a detail, essentially arbitrary, intensifies the sense of decline that naturally accompanies death. Declinism is a hazard. The other night a former philosophy professor advanced to me his theory that Europe had sunk and the United States was being sucked under with it.* He seemed to be getting close to Houston himself, and I considered that declinism is a worldview for an old person. The rest of us have to fake it until we make it. For a young(ish) person, to say that civilization is in decline is to abdicate a very real office. It is to ignore free choices and the responsibility that comes with them, and we’re better than that. Or at least we could be, were we not committed to the notion that we are living in the last two minutes of a basketball game, when we can foul everyone and throw up wild shots with impunity. It’s Friday, the surest way to blow the game is to decide that we’ve lost already, and the voice of conscience cheers loud as ever. Even if it did get esophageal cancer.

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