Christopher Hitchens

In: "Arguably: Essays"

(...) the words of Genesis do not mention the marvelous creation of dinosaurs and pterodactyls, either because the semi-literate scribes who gathered the story together were unaware of these prodigies of design or because (shall I hint?) the Creator was unaware of having made them.

(...) the shepherd protects the sheep and the lambs not for their own good but the better to fleece and then to slay them.

(...) all those who have warned until the present day of the awfulness of absolutist revolutions and of the terrifying results that ensue from any scheme for human perfectibility.

revolutions devour their own children and turn into their own opposites.

eighteenth-century England, John Wilkes was the leader of a radical political faction known as the Patriots. In Dr. Samuel Johnson’s Tory view, affiliation with that subversive party was “the last refuge of a scoundrel”: This now is construed as an attack on all those—most often Tories themselves—who take shelter in a too-effusive love of country.

Hume—who told Boswell that he was no more afraid of his own extinction after death than he was of the nonexistence that had preceded his birth.

And I had sinned in the same way, I and my kind, the liberals of Western Europe. We had regarded ourselves as far holier than our Tory opponents because we had exchanged the role of priest for the role of lamb, and therefore we forgot that we were not performing the chief moral obligation of humanity, which is to protect the works of love. We have done nothing to save our people, who have some little freedom and therefore some power to make their souls, from the trampling hate of the other peoples who are without the faculty of freedom and desire to root out the soul like a weed. It is possible that we have betrayed life and love for more than five hundred years on a field wider than Kosovo, as wide as Europe.

Austria’s twin achievement was to have persuaded the world that Hitler was a German and Beethoven a Viennese?

(...) the antique Shia concept of taqqiya, or the religious permission to dissemble in dealings with infidels.

It used to be that thinking people would say, with at least a shred of pride, that their own convictions would not shrink to fit on a label or a bumper sticker.