It seems like Hitchens would frequently use this term to describe Faith-Based Thinking. I’m not sure this is quite accurate, but I kind of appreciate what he was trying to explain. It’s kind of a grey area.
I mean Solipsism is when a person only acknowledges their Reality because of their own thoughts and feelings. (I think therefore, I am) As far as they can tell people in daily life are no more or less real than people they might encounter in a dream. I don’t think even most religious people are quite literally to that point.
Yet, do many humans fail to appreciate other humans have independent minds just like theirs? In a vague murky way, I think maybe this is true, and I wondered if this is what Hitchens meant.
This state of mind could arise unintentionally when people rise to positions of power in Politics or Religion which insulate them from the general public. At first, they try to be responsible leaders, but then, they try to mold the population and society based on how they’ve lived their own successful life.
I guess in general, I’m not sure the term Solipsism was quite right, but I feel Hitchens was grasping at a very critical issue that needs to be looked at. I also think in a way American Foreign Policy is tainted by this and that is why we keep trying to “Spread Democracy” to the Middle-East.
Or in a more mundane way, this leads to the Bad American Tourist who visits another nation while expecting food and amenities like back in the U.S..