Yesterday brought the news that Christopher Hitchens has cancer. Of course, the Christian response to that news is prayer for Hitchens’ recovery and conversion, just as it would be to the news of anyone’s serious illness. But I wanted to highlight some of the gushing tributes to Hitchens that continue to pour forth, such as today’s David Brooks column in the New York Times and yesterday’s exceedingly pompous and dull review of Hitchens’ memoirs in The New Criterion. What these reviews show, despite all the talk of Hitchens’ iconoclasm, is that Hitchens is something far different from an iconoclast. He is instead a harbinger of elite opinion, representing opinions our elites hold or are coming to hold but are as yet wary of fully expressing. Far from harming Hitchens in any way, his hatred of religion has won him the admiration of our elites, who see in it something similar to their own views, even if Hitchens’ hatred is still fiercer and more bold.
Real iconoclasts don’t get mash notes published to them in the New York Times.