Christopher Hitchens

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Christopher Hitchens


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Christopher Eric Hitchens (13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011) was a British author and journalist who is widely regarded as one of the most influential atheists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Author of 18 books on faith, culture, politics, and literature, he was born and educated in Britain, graduating in the 1970s from Oxford with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. In the early 1980s, he emigrated to the United States and wrote for The Nation and Vanity Fair. Known as "one of the 'four horsemen'" of New Atheism, he gained prominence as a columnist and speaker. His epistemological razor, which states that "what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence", is still of mark in philosophy and law.Hitchens's political views evolved greatly throughout his life. Originally describing himself as a democratic socialist, he was a member of various socialist organisations in his early life, including the Trotskyist International Socialists. He was critical of aspects of American foreign policy, including its involvement in Vietnam, Chile and East Timor. However, he also supported the United States in the Kosovo War. Hitchens has emphasized the centrality of the American Revolution and Constitution to his political philosophy. Hitchens held complex views on abortion; being ethically opposed to it in most instances, and believing that a foetus was entitled to personhood, while holding ambiguous, changing views on its legality. He allegedly supported gun rights and supported same-sex marriage, while opposing the war on drugs. Beginning in the 1990s, and particularly after 9/11, his politics were widely viewed as drifting to the right, but Hitchens objected to being called conservative. During the 2000s, he argued for the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, endorsed the re-election campaign of George W. Bush in 2004, and viewed Islamism as the principal threat to the Western world.Hitchens described himself as an anti-theist and saw all religions as false, harmful and authoritarian. He argued for free expression, scientific discovery, and the separation of church and state, arguing that they were superior to religion as an ethical code of conduct for human civilisation. Hitchens notably wrote critical biographies of Catholic nun Mother Teresa in The Missionary Position, President Bill Clinton in No One Left To Lie To, and American diplomat Henry Kissinger in The Trial of Henry Kissinger. Hitchens died from complications related to oesophageal cancer in December 2011, at the age of 62.