Before his untimely passing Christopher Hitchens developed quite a following. Hitchens, a one-time Trotskyite who remained a man of the left until his passing, was a brilliant writer and polemicist who pulled no punches. He was a student and admirer of George Orwell. His biographical essay about Orwell, “Why Orwell Matters” is an example of both the style of Hitchens’ writing and the substance of his thought. Though he was an admirer of Orwell he did not write a hagiography. He forthrightly examined what he considered to be Orwell’s strengths and weaknesses.
Less well-known is Christopher Hitchens’ brother, Peter, also an intellectual. (Christopher and Peter did not get along.) Peter Hitchens, a former Bolshevik takes aim at the authoritarian left relying in part on his past experience as a leftist. Like his brother, he gives no quarter and calls it the way he sees it. Take a look at the video below of Peter Hitchens being interviewed about the silencing of voices of dissent and the cancel culture, a culture that is rapidly spreading through American society.
“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Jean-Jacque Rousseau
“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” Edmund Burke.
There is a great philosophical divide between classical liberalism and utopian socialism. It is this divide that drives modern politics and has done so since the time of the French and American Revolutions. The intellectual poison served up by Rousseau, eagerly consumed by the ignorati, has wrought tremendous cultural damage. The damage is evident in the smoking ruins on literal display in America’s cities and figuratively in its cultural institutions.
For some historical perspective on todays politics and culture, it is well worth watching the discussion below with the David Starkey (no relation to Ringo), a Cambridge educated and very controversial British constitutional historian.
Peter Theil, a famously successful technology investor, is the founder of PayPal and the first outsider to take a stake of Facebook. He eventually sold PayPal in 2002 to eBay for $1.5 Billion and later sold his 10.2% stake in Facebook for over $1 Billion. Thiel, an outspoken libertarian, earned his undergraduate degree in in Philosophy at Stanford University and followed that up with a Law degree from Stanford Law School.
After practicing law for a short time he worked as a speechwriter for U.S. Education Secretary William Bennet, then went on the become a derivatives trader at Credit Suisse. Eventually he moved to Silicon Valley and became a famously successful technology investor. He is still a technology investor and teaches as an adjunct at Stanford University.
In September of 2019 he was interviewed by Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution. The wide ranging discussion was sparked by an essay Thiel published titled “The Straussian Moment”.
It is a fascinating discussion and well worth watching. It can be seen below.