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Christopher Hitchens Net Worth

# Quote 1 When the Washington Post telephoned me on Valentine’s Day 1989 to ask my opinion about the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa, I felt at once that this was something that completely committed me. It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humour, the individual and the defence of free expression. 2 Nothing optional – from homosexuality to adultery – is ever made punishable unless those who do the prohibiting (and exact the fierce punishments) have a repressed desire to participate. 3 Don’t tell me I can have no moral sense as an Atheist. I will not be spoken to in that tone of voice! 4 [Censorship] Resist it now while it can still be opposed. There is a Police State coming that says we are there to protect Religion and all Religions, that and it will all be done in the name of niceness, it will all be benign. Can you bear it? 5 Survivors from North Korea were not keen to hear about a new Saviour, it was all too familiar. 6 I’m also waging a war against cliché, and I promised myself I would be the first journalist to go to Communist Prague and not mention Kafka. So there we were in the Hotel doing an interview and the Secret Police broke in, turned the lights off, and said “You’re all under arrest!” “What’s the charge?” “We’re not telling you!” and I thought “Shit, I’m going to have to mention Kafka now!” They make you! 7 The Vatican, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel all took a stand in sympathy with… the Ayatollah. So did the Cardinal Archbishop of New York and other lesser religious figures. While they usually managed a few words in which to deplore the resort to violence, all these men stated that the main problem raised by the publication of The Satanic Verses was not murder by mercenaries but blasphemy. 8 …As long as you allow special schools for Christians. And Jews. And also special different schools for Protestants and Catholics. If you allow Faith Schools, we’ll allow them to have their Faith Schools. Cultural Suicide. Cultural Suicide, don’t let it happen to you. Don’t let it happen where you live. Look how wonderfully it worked, you know very well, what happened in Northern Ireland when it was allowed to segregate Protestants and Catholic Schools, after all, they have different Faiths. “Oh they do? I thought they were both Christian. I can’t arbitrate this.” “No, they should have separate schools, they should never meet, never intermarry, never socialize”. Beautifully, that worked out! Now let’s have it for Jews and Muslims too, on the mainland. Let them all lie to their children, let them all give their special myth, let them all say to them that they’re different, let them not tell them they’re members of a Civil Society or a Country or a Nation, let them denominate themselves by Faith. Can’t wait to see what happens! I think I know what’s coming. I don’t want, actually, I don’t want my beloved Country of birth to be turned into some fucking Lebanon, by people of Faith, I don’t want it, I’m going to fight it too and you should get ready to fight it when they try it in your case. Don’t allow this! Putting the word Faith in front of something is no excuse for barbarism, and cruelty, and ignorance, and stupidity, just as putting the word Reverend in front of a stupid name like Falwell or Sharpton doesn’t mean he should be on MSNBC! Learn to resist it because you’re going to need to, this is about you. 9 This reminds me of the joke about the Belfast man who is stopped at a roadblock and asked his religion. When he answers that he is an Atheist, he is asked “Protestant or Catholic Atheist?” I think this shows how the obsession has eroded even the legendary local sense of humour. 10 One can only shudder to imagine what must have been going on in the centuries when the Church was above all criticism, but what did people think was going to happen when the vulnerable were controlled by those who, misfits and inverts themselves, were required to affirm hypocritical celibacy? 11 I would be quite content to go to their children’s bar mitzvahs, to marvel at their Gothic cathedrals, to ‘respect’ their belief that the Koran was dictated, though exclusively in Arabic, to an illiterate merchant, or to interest myself in Wicca and Hindu and Jain consolations. And as it happens, I will continue to do this without insisting on the polite reciprocal condition – which is that they in turn leave me alone. But this, religion is ultimately incapable of doing. 12 It’s resented in England, in fact, that even the opposition types, the famous ones, come from, have been to the same colleges as the ruling class, but in a small country and a very encrusted society like that, probably unavoidable. 13 I did once, shivering with fear, take off my flak jacket in Sarajevo and lend it to an even more frightened woman I was helping escort to a place of safety (I am not the only one who has been an atheist in a foxhole). I felt at the time that it was the least I could do for her, as well as the most. The people shelling and sniping were Serbian Christians, but then, so was she. 14 “You may not see the point of all this Faith now, but you will do once you start to lose loved ones”. Again I felt a stab of indignation: “Religion may not be true, but never mind that since it may be relied on for comfort!” How contemptible. 15 Why, if God was the Creator of All Things, were we supposed to praise him so incessantly for doing what came to him naturally? This seemed servile, apart from anything else. If Jesus could heal a blind person he happened to meet, then why not heal blindness? What was so wonderful about him casting out devils, so that the devils would enter a herd of pigs instead? That seemed sinister, more like black magic. With all this continual prayer, why no result? Why did I have to keep saying, in public, that I was a “miserable sinner”? Why was the subject of sex considered so toxic? These faltering and childish objections are, I have since discovered, extremely commonplace, partly because no religion can meet them with a satisfactory answer. 16 Behind the Veil of Oz there is only bluff. 17 The disturbing thing about the [9/11] hijackers is not so much that they desired virgins, but that they were virgins. 18 I would put all this down to sexual repression, but one of the Doctrines preached IS sexual repression. 19 If I believed that there was a savior who had been appointed or sent by-or a prophet-appointed or sent by a God who bore me in mind, and loved me, and wanted the best for me, if I believed that and that I possessed the means of grace and the hope of glory, to phrase it like that, I think, I don’t know, I think I might be happy. They say it’s the way to happiness. Why doesn’t it make them happy? Don’t you think it’s a perfectly decent question? Why doesn’t it? Because they won’t be happy until you believe it too. And why is that? Because that’s what their holy books tell them. Now, I’m sorry, it’s enough with saying in the name of religion. Do these texts say that until every knee bows in the name of Jesus and so on, there will be no happiness? Of course it is what they say. It isn’t just a private belief. It is rather, and I think always has been, and it’s why I’m here, actually a threat to the idea of a peaceable community, and very often, as now, and frequently, a very palpable one. 20 If the intended reader of this book should want to go beyond disagreement with its author and try to identify the sins and deformities that animated him to write it, and I have certainly noticed that those who publicly affirm Charity and Compassion and Forgiveness are often inclined to take this course, then he or she will not just be quarreling with the unknowable and ineffable Creator who presumably opted to make me this way… 21 You notice how liberals keep saying, ‘If only Islam would have a Reformation’ – it can’t have one. It says it can’t. It’s extremely dangerous in that way. 22 Remember Islam makes one special claim for itself. All religions claim to be revealed Truth. All are founded by Divine Revelation. But Islam rather dangerously says: “Ours is the last and final one. There can’t be any more after this. This is God’s Last Word.” Now that’s straightaway a temptation to violence and intolerance and, if you note, a temptation they seem quite willing to fall for. 23 It’s considered acceptable in our culture to approach perfect strangers, as often or not who may be in extremis, and evangelize. I don’t see why that’s considered a normal thing. 24 In the brute physical world, and the one encompassed by medicine, there are all too many things that could kill you, don’t kill you, and then leave you considerably weaker. 25 A cruel or rude child is a ghastly thing, but a cruel or brutal parent can do infinitely more harm. 26 [on Jerry Falwell’s death] If you gave Falwell an enema he could be buried in a matchbox. 27 [If there is no God, why spend your whole career refuting that, why not stay home?] Well, it’s not my whole career for one thing. It’s become a major preoccupation of my life, though, in the last eight or nine years, especially since 9/11, to try and help generate an opposition to theocracy and its depredations internationally, that is now probably my main political preoccupation. To help people in Afghanistan, in Somalia, in Iraq, in Lebanon in Israel resist those who sincerely want to encompass the destruction of civilization and sincerely believe they have God on their side in wanting to do so. I think maybe I will take a few moments to say something I find repulsive about especially Monotheistic, Messianic religion, with a large part of itself it quite clearly wants us all to die, it wants this world to come to an end you can tell the yearning for things to be over, whenever you read any of its real texts, or listen to any of its real authentic spokesman, not the pathetic apologists who sometimes masquerade for it. Those who talk, there was a famous spokesman for this in Virginia until recently, about the Rapture, saying that those of us who have chosen rightly will be gathered to the arms of Jesus, leaving all of the rest of you behind: if we’re in a car it’s your lookout, that car won’t have a driver anymore; if we’re a pilot that’s your lookout, that plane will crash; we will be with Jesus and the rest of you can go straight to Hell. The eschatological element that is inseparable from Christianity, if you don’t believe that there is going to be an Apocalypse, there is going to be an end, a separation of the sheep and the goats, a condemnation, a final one, then you’re not really a Believer and the contempt for the things of this world shows through all of them. It’s well put in an old rhyme from an English exclusive Brethren sect: “We are the pure and chosen few, and all the rest are damned. There’s room enough in hell for you, we don’t want Heaven crammed!” You can tell it when you see the extreme Muslims talk, they cannot wait for death and destruction to overtake and overwhelm the World, they can’t wait for what I would call without ambiguity a Final Solution. When you look at the Israeli settlers, paid for often by American tax dollars, deciding if they can steal enough land from other people and get all the Jews into the promised land and all the non-Jews out of it then finally the Jewish people will be worthy of the return of the Messiah, and there are Christians in this country who consider it their job to help this happen so that Armageddon can occur, so that the painful business of living as humans, and studying civilization, and trying to acquire learning, and knowledge, and health, and medicine, and to push back the frontiers can all be scrapped and the cult of death can take over. That to me is a hideous thing in eschatological terms, in End Times terms. On its own a hateful idea, a hateful practice, and a hateful theory but very much to be opposed in our daily lives where there are people who sincerely mean it, who want to ruin the good relations that could exist between different peoples, nations, races, countries, tribes, ethnicities; who openly say they love death more than we love life and who are betting that with God on their side that they’re right about that. So when I say as a subtitle of my book that “Religion poisons everything”, I’m not just doing what publishers like and coming up with a provocative subtitle. I mean to say it infects us in our most basic integrity, it says we can’t be moral without Big Brother, without a totalitarian permission, it means we can’t be good to one other, it means we can’t think without this, we must be afraid, we must also be forced to love someone who we fear – the essence of sadomasochism, the essence of abjection, the essence of the master-slave relationship – and that knows that death is coming and can’t wait to bring it on. I say that this is evil. And though I do some nights stay home, I enjoy more the nights when I go out and fight against this ultimate wickedness and ultimate stupidity. Thankyou. [Applause] 28 There is a story of a boor who kept boasting of a great leap he’d made in Rhodes. Finally, someone confronted him: “Hic Rhodus. Hic salta.” Here is Rhodes, leap here. 29 Islam in its origins is just as shady and approximate as those from which it took its borrowings. It makes immense claims for itself, invokes prostrate submission or “surrender” as a maxim to its adherents, and demands deference and respect from nonbelievers into the bargain. There is nothing – absolutely nothing – in its teachings that can even begin to justify such arrogance and presumption. 30 If the Qur’an was the word of God, it had been dictated on a very bad day. 31 I became a journalist because I didn’t want to have to rely on newspapers for my information. 32 Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely soley upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake. 33 Modesty, simplicity, humility. By these canonical key words we are taught that we may recognize saints. Yet Mother Teresa regards herself as mandated by heaven, which is hardly modest. She lends spiritual solace to dictators and to wealthy exploiters which is scarcely the essence of simplicity. And she preaches surrender and prostration to the poor which a truly humble person would barely have the nerve to do. When she speaks about private or public morality, opposing family planning for example, or defining abortion as quite literally the greatest threat to world peace, she takes on the grim and tedious tones of the zealot and the fanatic. In a Godless and cynical age it may be inevitable that people will seek to praise the self-effacing, the altruistic and the pure in heart, but only a complete collapse of our critical faculties can explain the illusion that such a person is manifested in the shape of a demagogue, an obscurantist and a servant of earthly powers. 34 Like most people who claim to be apolitical, Mother Teresa is in practice and in theory an ally of the status quo. And when the status quo is threatened, a trusted ally of the conservative forces. 35 [Quoting Folke Greville] Oh, wearisome condition of humanity! Born under one law, to another bound; vainly begot and yet forbidden vanity; created sick, commanded to be sound. 36 The progress that’s made… in any argument or in any discussion is by confrontation. That’s a dialectical fact. People say oh let’s have less heat and more light, fatuously. There’s only one source of light. It happens to be heat. 37 Religion, it is true, still possesses the huge if cumbersome and unwieldy advantage of having come first. 38 Mockery of religion is one of the most essential things… one of the beginnings of human emancipation is the ability to laugh at authority. 39 Name me an ethical statement made or an action performed by a believer that could not have been made or performed by a non-believer. 40 All the excitements of a prohibited book had their usual effect, one of which, as always, is to expose the fact that the censors don’t know what they are talking about. 41 You know, you can make a small mistake in language or etiquette in Britain, or you could when I was younger, and really be made to feel it, and it’s the flick of a lash, but it would sting, and especially at school where there’s not much privacy, and so on. You could, yes, undoubtedly be made to feel crushed. 42 On his death, Pope John Paul was praised among other things for the number of apologies he had made… This seemed to say that the Church had mainly been wrong and often criminal in the past, but was now purged of its sin by confession and quite ready to be infallible all over again. 43 The literal mind cannot understand the ironic one. 44 Those who offer false consolation are false friends. 45 Human decency is not the result of religion, it precedes it. 46 [to Charlton Heston, in a televised debate] Keep your hairpiece on. 47 [on the fatwa placed on Salman Rushdie because of his novel ‘Satanic Verses’] He made, I will always feel, the ideal protagonist for this drama. If literature and the ironic mind are to be defended to the death, then it is as well to have a superbly literate and ironic individual as the case in point. 48 Dickens was able to mine this huge resource of London life, becoming the conductor and chronicler like nobody since Shakespeare himself. 49 [When asked to critique Ayn Rand] I’m invited to be unpleasant at the expense of Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Well, that’s easy. Well, they’re novels first, as I keep trying to say: there’s more morality in a novel by George Elliott than in the four Gospels, or the four of them put together. I care very much about literature as a place where real dilemmas, ethical dilemmas are met and dealt with. So to have novels as transcendentally awful as ATLAS SHRUGGED and THE FOUNTAINHEAD sort of undermines my project. 50 I personally want to ‘do’ death in the active and not the passive. And to be there to look it in the eye and be doing something when it comes for me. 51 At 7 years old, I was precocious enough to watch the news and read the papers, and I can remember October 1956, the simultaneous crisis in Hungary and Suez, very well. And getting a sense that the world was dangerous, a sense that the game was up, that the Empire was over. 52 I don’t care how rich you are. I’m not coming to your party. 53 [defending Salman Rushdie during his exile] It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. 54 Politics is essentially a matter of character. 55 [on believing in God while battling cancer] The entity making such a remark might be a raving, terrified person whose cancer has spread to the brain. I can’t guarantee that such an entity wouldn’t make such a ridiculous remark, but no one recognizable as myself would ever make such a remark. 56 In whatever kind of a ‘race’ life may be, I have abruptly become a finalist. 57 Writing is what’s important to me, and anything that helps me do that–or enhances and prolongs and deepens and sometimes intensifies argument and conversation–is worth it to me. Impossible for me to imagine having my life without go to those parties, without having those late nights, without that second bottle. 58 [on believing in God in 2007] It would be like living in North Korea. 59 [on water boarding or a bikini wax] Very much more frightening though less painful than the bikini wax. 60 [on Iraq] There are a lot of people who will not be happy, it seems to me, until I am compelled to write a letter to these comrades in Iraq and say: ‘Look, guys, it’s been real, but I’m going to have to drop you now. The political cost to me is just too high.’ Do I see myself doing this? No, I do not! 61 [on learning that he had incurable cancer] In whatever kind of a ‘race’ life may be, I have very abruptly become a finalist. 62 The noble title of ‘dissent’ must be earned rather than claimed. It connotes sacrifice and risk rather than mere disagreement. 63 [on Jerry Falwell] I think it’s a pity there isn’t a hell for him to go to. The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing: that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you’ll just get yourself called Reverend. Who would, even at your network, have invited on such a little toad to tell us that the attacks of September 11th were the result of our sinfulness and were God’s punishment if they hadn’t got some kind of clerical qualification. People like that should be out in the street, shouting and hollering with a cardboard sign and selling pencils from a cup. The whole consideration of this horrible little person is offensive to very, very many of us who have some regard for truth and for morality and who think that ethics do not require that lies be told to children by evil old men, that we’re not told that people who believe like Falwell will be snatched up into heaven – I’m glad to see he skipped the rapture and was found on the floor of his office – while the rest of us go to hell. Lots of people are going to die and are already leading miserable lives because of the nonsense preached by this man. 64 Europeans think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And they’ve taken as their own, as their representative American, someone (Michael Moore) who actually embodies all of those qualities. 65 The four most over-rated things in life are champagne, lobster, anal sex and picnics. 66 Faith is the surrender of the mind; it’s the surrender of reason, it’s the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other mammals. It’s our need to believe, and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated. 67 [on Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)] To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of ‘dissenting’ bravery. 68 Gore Vidal decided early on to become a European cosmopolitan rather than an “all-American” writer like Norman. So he is almost Jamesian in his fascination with English social niceties.’

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