I suspect the Marxist materialist/radical days encouraged his particularly anti-religious bent. As a member of the new atheists, he had a real and passionate hatred for the ability of religious doctrines and religions themselves to encourage (and potentially cultivate) many darker parts of human nature, including mysticism, passionate conviction tied only to respect for authority, righteous justification for action (no one may know some of these traits better than a former Marxist…and usually writers know the darker parts of the human heart). He loved going after religious charlatanism. He was also a war correspondent (real courage is always mixed with fear), a fine writer, and excellent in debate.
I remember being drawn to him for his withering critiques of the failures of multi-culturalism in Europe.
From the Telegraph:
‘He began as a leading iconoclast of the Left and, during the 1970s, was a voluble member of a talented and raffish gang, with Julian Barnes, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan and James Fenton, which gave the New Statesman magazine its glittery literary edge. But he got tired of British politics and, in 1981, moved to America where, despite occasional disagreements with his erstwhile comrades (as when he took Britain’s side against the Argentine junta in the Falklands conflict), his repeated assaults on such hate figures as Ronald Reagan and Henry Kissinger continued to guarantee him a welcome in radical circles.
All this changed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, an event he interpreted as a turning point in “a war to the finish between everything I love and everything I hate”. He became an outspoken opponent of “Islamofascism”, forging a breach with the Left which became a permanent rift after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.’
Addition: Transcript of a very interesting Reason interview here from November, 2001.
Related On This Site: Via Youtube: Christopher Hitchens On Faith And Virtue……From Beautiful Horizons: ‘Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan at the 92nd Street Y’…Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’…From Michael Totten: ‘An Interview With Christopher Hitchens’
How does a neoconservatism more comfortable with liberalism here at home translate into foreign policy?: Wilfred McClay At First Things: ‘The Enduring Irving Kristol’