Here is a quote of the day, as an ave atque vale to a contentious, smart, learned, moralistic, opinionated and unique man of letters.
My father, a Royal Navy commander, was on board H.M.S. Jamaica when it helped to deal the coup de grâce to the Nazi warship Scharnhorst on December 26, 1943–a more solid day’s work than any I have ever done.
Hitchens had a good understanding of the concept of the Anglosphere:
[P]roperly circumscribed, the idea of an “Anglosphere” can constitute something meaningful. We should not commit the mistake of “thinking with the blood,” as D. H. Lawrence once put it, however, but instead emphasize a certain shared tradition, capacious enough to include a variety of peoples and ethnicities and expressed in a language—perhaps here I do betray a bias—uniquely hostile to euphemisms for tyranny. In his postwar essay “Towards European Unity,” George Orwell raised the possibility that the ideas of democracy and liberty might face extinction in a world polarized between superpowers but that they also might hope to survive in some form in “the English-speaking parts of it.” English is, of course, the language of the English and American revolutions, whose ideas and values continue to live after those of more recent revolutions have been discredited and died.
That is from his essay An Anglosphere Future. It is very much worth reading, or re-reading.
As a Catholic I regret Hitchens’ typically violent animosity against my religion and Christianity in general. He was usually unfair in this regard. But Hitchens was a slugger, who picked his enemies and went after them, and he was not interested in fighting fair, he was interested in winning. So be it. I ask the God he did not believe in to grant him abundantly the mercy we all rely on, and to impose only the gentlest of Divine admonishments upon this talented and tumultuous son of His. Judge not lest ye be judged, and I will be the last to judge Mr. Hitchens or anyone else in the court reserved for the Divine judge. Hitchens’ fellow English man of letters, and fellow literary debater, dirty fighter and hard-puncher, St. Thomas More, at the end, when the death sentence had been handed down, told the men who had unjustly condemned him that he hoped one day they would all be merry together in Heaven. I hope the same for Hitchens, and for Orwell — Hitchens’ literary hero and mine — and for many others. May that day be far off for many of us. But for Hitchens it is now.
Rest in peace.