As she walked away, she looked over her shoulder and gave an almost imperceptibly slight roll of the hip while mouthing the words “Naughty boy!”
He had been actually somewhat gracious in his reaction. That wasn’t his normal reaction, he being a direct and blunt “public intellectual:” he is not known for mincing his words or being upstaged by the Iron Lady.
Using his words as weapons, he had ripped into his opponents with relish: their station in life or credentials didn’t matter.
He loved to talk, preferably as part of an argument. Most public pundits no doubt would be intimidated by him: he was articulate and extremely knowledgable, and Oxford educated. His encyclopedic literary and historical knowledge was unmatched in public discourse.
Skeptical and Cynical, he was known for his admiration of George Orwell, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson and for his excoriating critiques of Mother Teresa, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Henry Kissinger.
Not a mainstream pundit.
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.
Christopher Hitchens died of cancer on December 15, 2011. Probably an Inventor Rational, Hitchens advocated Reason and Science over Religion as a moral basis.
“Identified as a champion of the “New Atheism” movement, Hitchens described himself as an antitheist and a believer in the philosophical values of the Enlightenment. Hitchens 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 civilization. He wrote at length on atheism and the nature of religion in his 2007 book God Is Not Great.” Wikipedia
Christopher Hitchens was in boarding school when he first learned that “words could function as weapons.” He was small, bad at sports and got picked on. He worried he was becoming “a mere weed and weakling and kick-bag.” So one day he turned on a tormenter. “You,” the young Mr. Hitchens declared, “are a liar, a bully, a coward, and a thief.” His stunned tormentor slunk away. He would grow up, a process recounted in his electric and electrifying new memoir, “Hitch-22,” to confront wartier bullies.
An Argument for Science and Reason: Religion’s historical resistance to the Rational.
Hitchens discussed in the the book the ideas of several important intellectuals, including Socrates, Albert Einstein, Voltaire, Spinoza, Thomas Paine, Charles Darwin, and Sir Isaac Newton. Hitchens claimed that many of these people were atheists, agnostics, or pantheists, except for Socrates and Newton. Hitchens said that religious advocates have attempted to misrepresent some of these icons as religious. He described how some of these individuals fought against the negative influences of religion.
The Need for a New Enlightenment
Hitchens argued that the human race no longer needs religion to the extent it has in the past. He claims that the time has come for science and reason to take a more prominent role in the life of individuals and larger cultures.
Rationals are the problem solving temperament, particularly if the problem has to do with the many complex systems that make up the world around us. Rationals might tackle problems in organic systems such as plants and animals, or in mechanical systems such as railroads and computers, or in social systems such as families and companies and governments. But whatever systems fire their curiosity, Rationals will analyze them to understand how they work, so they can figure out how to make them work better.
All Rationals share the following core characteristics:
- Rationals tend to be pragmatic, skeptical, self-contained, and focused on problem-solving and systems analysis.
- Rationals pride themselves on being ingenious, independent, and strong willed.
- Rationals make reasonable mates, individualizing parents, and strategic leaders.
- Rationals are even-tempered, they trust logic, yearn for achievement, seek knowledge, prize technology, and dream of understanding how the world works.
His confrontational style of debate made him both a lauded and controversial figure. As a political observer, polemicist and self-defined radical, he rose to prominence as a fixture of the left-wing publications in his native Britain and in the United States. His departure from the established political left began in 1989 after what he called the “tepid reaction” of the Western left following Ayatollah Khomeini’s issue of a fatwā calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie. The 11 September attacks strengthened his internationalist embrace of an interventionist foreign policy, and his vociferous criticism of what he called “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”. Wikipedia
Perhaps Hitchens’s most surreal encounter was with the highly distinguished former prime minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher. Having just written a piece for the New Statesman, in which he infamously claimed that Thatcher was “surprisingly sexy,” a claim that, by his own admission, received more anger-mail than any other piece he had written, he found himself at the same party as the gallant former Prime Minister.
In true Hitchens fashion, he approached the then prime minister in an effort to discuss her Rhodesia/Zimbabwe policy, one with which he strongly disagreed. Just as soon as he attempted to initiate a policy debate, Thatcher ordered Hitchens to bow. Not one to refuse an order from the second most powerful person in the UK, he obliged, only to be ordered to “Bow lower!” Hitchens, now feeling self-conscious about the whole ordeal is ordered once more to bow “Much lower!” Seemingly content with the arc of his bow, she began to walk a slow circle around him as if she were stalking prey and continued to do so until she took her hands from behind her back brandishing a rolled up parliamentary order-paper and spanked Hitchens directly on the buttocks and walked away from a freshly embarrassed Hitchens. He straightened his back, struggling to comprehend what had just occurred, only to see Thatcher glance back in his direction and flirtatiously remark: “Naughty boy!”
Exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence. — Christopher Hitchens