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Christopher Hitchens 1949 - 2011

While his death was expected, I was saddened to read of the death of Christopher Hitchens. His premier media "home", Vanity Fair, has an obituary.

Most of the bloggers on my bloglist have posted on his death.

Metamagician's post popping up on my bloglist was how I first learnt of his passing. Richard Fernandez (who knew him slightly) thinks of Hitchens the bon vivant. Michael Totten (who went to Beirut with him) remembers his courage and labels him:
He was the greatest writer of our time who could talk off the top of his head better than most of his colleagues can write.
Norman Geras remembers his independence of spirit and quotes him on the pervasive evil of the totalitarian mentality. Skepticlawyer remembers his ability to "make words sing". Philosopher Stephen Hicks celebrates his defense of free speech. Daniel Kuehn thinks it just worth noting. As does J P Irving. Karl Smith finds an appropriate quote.

Catholic philosopher Edward Feser celebrates his brilliance but deprecates his writing on religion. (Hitch's God is not Great was a pretty feeble intellectual attack on religion but a great one on priestly pretension and the corruptions of religious belief.) While Maverick Philosopher is typically misanthropic: Hitchens' death is merely a talking point for his intellectual concern of the moment.

Hitch's brother Peter, who had famous public disagreements with his better-known brother, provides his own, deeply moving, reminiscence. The quality he most remembers about his brother is courage, a feature of him from his earliest days.

Dr Patrick Porter, like others who had met him, shares memories about that experience and then makes a very perceptive comment:
Like some other former revolutionaries, Hitchens came to believe that the most revolutionary force in world politics – the only viable remaining revolution – was the United States, and the most liberating instrument was its military power. We have seen the limits of that power, and the tragedies that flow from a utopian politics, but Hitchens believed himself to be on the side of revolution until the end.
Christopher Hitchens' own words from Michael Totten's recount of their time in Beirut sum him up best:
“But I would have done it anyway. One must take a stand. One simply must.”





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