Christopher Hitchens died yesterday, ending his battle with esophageal cancer. I would not say that he was my favorite writer and I didn’t often agree with his positions, yet what he wrote was always worth reading and he had the ability to make you think. The one good thing that I can say about him was that he was always his own man. He did not follow any orthodoxy but his own conscience. He was a life long Marxist who abandoned Marxism when he realized that capitalist America is really the most revolutionary country in the world. He spoke out against the threat that militant Islam poses to freedom when it was not politically correct to do so and defended Salman Rushdie when many feared to. He supported the US invasion of Iraq, alienating nearly all his friends on the Left, because he realized that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous tyrant who needed to be stopped. And yet, he criticized President Bush for some of his policies. As Hitchens himself said,
My own opinion is enough for me, and I claim the right to have it defended against any consensus, any majority, anywhere, anyplace, anytime. And anyone who disagrees with this can pick a number, get in line and kiss my ass.
In his later years, after the publication of god Is Not Great, he was best known as a advocate of the New Atheism. I would have to say that I didn’t much care for god Is Not Great. It was not because the book is an argument for Atheism, but because it was a poor argument for Atheism, more of a prolonged, angry rant than a reasoned apology. One Christian who he debated summarized Hitchens’s argument as “God does not exist, and I hate Him”.
Whether you agreed or disagreed with him, Hitchens was always interesting and he will be missed.
- British writer Christopher Hitchens dies: Vanity Fair (theprovince.com)
- Polemical journalist and atheist Christopher Hitchens dead at 62 (theprovince.com)
- Christopher Hitchens Leaves the Party (mraybould.wordpress.com)