Christopher Hitchens Would Have Turned 63 Today

My thoughts on his passing.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • howardpeirce

    My thoughts:

    Do you really want my thoughts?

    Christopher Hitchens was primarily a misogynistic douchebag. Secondarily, he was a psychopathic warmonger.

    Oh, and he was also an atheist and a very talented writer, but those are minor considerations, overall.

    • John Morales

      I disagree with you.

  • John Morales

    Counting years since death for individuals makes more sense than computing how old they’d be on any birthday.

    (Just saying)

    • Daniel Fincke

      Not for the first birthday after their death.

    • John Morales

      I kinda miss him too.

  • grumpyoldfart

    God Is Not Great – How Religion Poisons Everything.

    When I saw that subtitle I just knew that things would never be the same again. Good on you Hitch.

  • Riptide

    I think that Christopher Hitchens did more advocacy work on behalf of women the world over, who suffer the world over from the shackles of faith, than many self-proclaimed feminists (even me). I find it sad that people ignore his public statements on the dignity and humanity of women in favor of his tongue-in-cheek “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” or his occasional showing of his age by using sexist idioms that were current during his own youth.

    I think that the man was more honourable, and passionate, and intelligent, and brave than any man I’ve ever seen; I only know of two examples who surpass him in any of these respects, the most famous of which being Ayaan Hirsi Ali. He held positions I disagreed with, but his reasons for them were infinitely better-argued than many people’s holding the contrary view. He never compromised on his principles, unlike so many of the so-called “Left,” from the Rushdie affair his own deathbed.

    I think that it will remain one of my greatest regrets that I could not meet him in time, and that I could not be worthy of his meeting me. I should have sent him an e-mail telling him how much his work informed my own thinking, even if he never bothered to reply, But I have to live with the fact that I shall never see him or hear his voice in person, never make him laugh or cry with a bad joke (or a good one), never get into a drunken argument with him (or alongside him against others), and never get to express how deeply I owe him for arming my mind against the nonsensical vagaries of faith.

    I think that Christopher Hitchens is dead, and that before this century is out, so shall we be. And I can only hope that some of us live as well as he managed to, in whatever time we manage to claim. And hopefully we will live on in the memories of our physical and intellectual descendents, as the Hitch will live on in ours.

    • bspiken


    • StevoR

      Yep. Seconded by me too.

  • William Burns

    The founder of Predator Drone Atheism.

  • johnny makepeace

    I disagreed with Hitchens at times, I would rather disagree with Hitchens a million times than agree with the pope once.

  • James C.

    Hitchens was an ass. He was damned good at it, too, as his eulogy for Jerry Falwell shows.

  • schmeer

    I miss Hitch. I loved his writing and speaking; you didn’t have to agree with him to appreciate his talent. I plan on a Johnnie Walker black in his honor later today.

  • Andrew Hall

    I just read a few of his essays from Arguably. His voice still condemns Bronze Age beliefs and will continue to do so for quite some time.

    However, who would be the anti-Hitchens? Kirk Cameron? Darth Ratzinger?

    • Stevarious

      That implies that there is a man of his caliber on the other side of the argument – a proposition for which there is zero evidence.

  • fester60613

    I didn’t always agree with him, but I admired him for his courage to confront stupidity with plain words. He was flawed – as are we all – but he shall always be a hero to me.

  • Alasdair

    The funny thing about Hitchens is that although he was one of the world’s most famous atheists, he manifested many of the common failings of the religious, notably a singleminded determination that he was always right and inability to accept that he might have got things wrong. As atheists, we tend to argue that the facts should come first and opinions should be formed around them, but with Hitchens you always got the feeling that his opinions came first and he found the relevant facts later.

    That said, even when he was utterly, infuriatingly in the wrong, as over Iraq, he was one of those rare writers whose work remained thoroughly readable even when you completely disagreed with it. And when he was right, of course, he was brilliant.

    Overall, he was one of a kind, and stands head and shoulders above his many wannabes and imitators. I’m sorry I never got the chance to meet him.

    • Stevarious

      notably a singleminded determination that he was always right and inability to accept that he might have got things wrong

      Not so. While I agree that he was sometimes stubborn about these things, it was by no means universal. For instance, he was at first a supporter of waterboarding as an ‘alternative’ to traditional torture. It was his commitment to ‘being right’ that led him to try it, to be waterboarded himself, and he did an immediate 180 on the subject.

      So while you could definitely say that he was stubborn, and did not change his mind as often as he perhaps should have, you can’t say that he never did.

  • Laurent Weppe

    My thoughts?

    Owned his late carreer to the fundies: if not for their existence, he would never have had a foil to be positively compared to and would have been shunned from polite society as soon as his authoritarian impulses started to show under his cracked über-liberal persona.

    Then again, without the fundies, there would have been no Bush Junior presidency, no 9/11, therefore no Iraq invasion, therefore his “social democrat socialite” pretense would have remained pristine: Arg Damn You, Causality!