I learned of Christopher Hitchens passing when I read John Tabin's obit earlier this morning.
Unlike John, I never had occasion to be in his presence much less enjoy the pleasure of his company. I would liken never hearing Hitchens either lecture or debate in person to not seeing Harry Chapin in concert.
While I profoundly disagreed with the premise of his views on Israel and the Tea Party, you have to give the man his due for his willingness to debate the likes of Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and George Galloway. Even when he was wrong, he heightened the level of public discourse and we are now far poorer for his absence.
Here is Hitchens in fine form answering a question at a conference in Madison, Wisconsin in October 2007 from a self-described Athiest, secularist and Marxist who claimed Western Civilization not Islamic radicalism was the problem. When he begins his reply by stating, "There you have it. You see how far the termites have spread and how long and well they've dined," you know there's far more to come.
And yet today it doesn't quite seem enough. R.I.P.
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