We shall miss Christopher Hitchens for at least three reasons. First, he was the kind of atheist that even a theist could appreciate and applaud. Second, even though he had strongly-held beliefs, he was confident enough to change them when he was confronted with sufficient evidence. Third, there was the courage with which he faced terminal cancer, seldom losing his cool or his acerbic wit or feeling sorry for himself.
I never met Hitchens, and that was my loss. What his friends and acquaintances have painted in their eulogies is a picture of a famous wit with an extraordinary memory, who could drink a horse under the table, and charm the pants off pretty much any woman he felt like; the life of the party, the man with the razor-sharp intellect.
But Hitchens’ essays, and his videos on YouTube, were enough to give me a flavor of a first-class, formidable mind, one that could turn an opponent into jelly by marshalling the most appropriate argument, or quoting the opponent’s own words back to them in the most deadly manner possible, often rendering them speechless.