Intelligence Squared Debate The Catholic Church Is A Force For Good In The World
Christopher Eric Hitchens (13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011) was an author, essayist, orator, religious and literary critic, and journalist. Hitchens was born and raised in the United Kingdom but spent much of his career in the United States, becoming a US citizen in 2007.
Hitchens contributed to New Statesman, The Nation, The Atlantic, London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Slate, andVanity Fair. Hitchens was the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of over 30 books, including five collections of essays, on a range of subjects, including politics, literature, and religion. A staple of talk shows and lecture circuits, his confrontational style of debate made him both a lauded and controversial figure. Known for his contrarian stance on a number of issues, Hitchens criticized such public and generally popular figures as Mother Teresa; Bill Clinton; Henry Kissinger; Princess Diana; and Pope Benedict XVI. He was the elder brother of the conservative journalist and author Peter Hitchens.
Having long described himself as a socialist and a Marxist, Hitchens began his break from the established political left after what he called the “tepid reaction” of the Western left to the controversy over The Satanic Verses, followed by the left’s embrace of Bill Clinton, and the antiwar movement’s opposition to intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, Hitchens did not leave his position writing forThe Nation until post-9/11, stating that he felt the magazine had arrived at a position “that John Ashcroft is a greater menace thanOsama bin Laden.” The September 11 attacks “exhilarated” him, bringing into focus “a battle between everything I love and everything I hate” and strengthening his embrace of an interventionist foreign policy that challenged “fascism with an Islamic face.”His numerous editorials in support of the Iraq War caused some to label him a neoconservative, although Hitchens insisted he was not “a conservative of any kind,” and his friend Ian McEwan described him as representing the anti-totalitarian left. Hitchens recalls in his memoir having been “invited by Bernard-Henri Levy to write an essay on political reconsiderations for his magazine La Regle du Jeu. I gave it the partly ironic title: ‘Can One Be a Neoconservative?’ Impatient with this, some copy editor put it on the cover as ‘How I Became a Neoconservative.’ Perhaps this was an instance of the Cartesian principle as opposed to the English empiricist one: It was decided that I evidently was what I apparently only thought.” Indeed, in a 2010 BBC interview, he stated that he “still [thought] like a Marxist” and considered himself “a leftist.”
A noted critic of religion and an antitheist, Hitchens once said that a person “could be an atheist and wish that belief in God were correct,” but that “an antitheist, a term I’m trying to get into circulation, is someone who is relieved that there’s no evidence for such an assertion.” According to Hitchens, the concept of a god or a supreme being is a totalitarian belief that destroys individual freedom, and that free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion as a means of teaching ethics and defining human civilisation. Hitchens authored God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, which was a New York Timesbestseller.