Christopher Eric Hitchens (13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011) was an English-American author, columnist, essayist, orator, journalist, and social critic. Hitchens was the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of over 30 books, including five collections of essays on culture, politics, and literature. A staple of public discourse, his confrontational style of debate made him both a lauded public intellectual and a controversial public figure. He contributed to New Statesman, The Nation, The Weekly Standard, The Atlantic, London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, Slate, Free Inquiry, and Vanity Fair.
Having long described himself as a democratic socialist, Marxist, and an anti-totalitarian, he broke from the political left after what he called the “tepid reaction” of the Western left to the Satanic Verses controversy, followed by what he perceived as an ill-advised embrace of Bill Clinton by parts of the left and the anti-war movement’s opposition to NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1990s. His support of the Iraq War separated him further. His writings include critiques of public figures Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Mother Teresa and Diana, Princess of Wales. He was the elder brother of the conservative journalist and author Peter Hitchens.
As an anti-theist, he regarded all religions as false, harmful, and authoritarian. He argued in favour of free expression and scientific discovery, and that it was superior to religion as an ethical code of conduct for human civilization. He also advocated for the separation of church and state. The dictum “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence” has become known as Hitchens’s razor.