Once Again VDH, at his memorable best writing about a man who was not afraid to go against the grain.
Three quotes from a memorable post:
1)” Introspection and remorse Mr. Hitchens was not much interested in. Once he took a position, whether in print or in conversation, he rarely regretted it, even as new information came to light. But I don’t think that he was thereby not self-critical, but rather more worried about charges of fickleness and hypocrisy than of appearing dogmatic. The trimmers and flip-floppers were his banes, especially in the dark years of Iraq. In some sense, he was harder on left-wing campus charlatans than on right-wing zealots, seeing in the former a sort of lazy and pretentious groupthink, in the latter the sort of blinkered minds who at least sincerely believed in their dogmas. ”
2 “In this regard, I never quite understood why conservatives thought Hitchens a conservative. He was most certainly not. Did they expect that his brilliant polemics on behalf of finishing the job in Iraq would lead to metamorphoses on other issues? Did they not see that for Hitchens the issue was not supporting George Bush — or conservatives or Republicans or a US war, right or wrong — but helping to rectify the betrayal of the Shiites of 1991, showing solidarity with the long-persecuted (and at times Trotskyite) Kurds, opposing a murderously illiberal radical Islam that sought to hijack our own liberation from a genocidal Saddam, fulfilling both the UN and congressional authorizations, and in the process tweaking a number of liberal hypocrisies that long had needed to be tweaked? I note too that he had an enormous respect for US soldiers on the ground in Iraq that made the thought of opposing what they were in the middle of fighting for impossible.”
3)”Since he has passed away, for all the supposed Hitchens adulation, I have met a surprising number of people who have scoffed with something like “Good riddance!” or “What a clever opportunistic con artist!” or “What did the alcoholic expect?”
Expect? Why, I think he expected to live far, far longer than he did, and to be remembered as someone who told the truth as he saw it, and did so with style and erudition as few others could, all with an acknowledgment of our own biases and vanities. For a supposedly mean person, he could be awfully kind.
I miss talking to Mr. Hitchens and reading him, in a way I don’t miss most others. And I think I’ll feel the same in five or, God willing, ten or fifteen years as I do today about one of the most unusual and disconcerting people I have ever met.”