A reader writes:
I do love Hitch - I think he's one of the best zinger men since Tynan, etc. But it will be interesting if thoughts of sobriety eventually creep in, as they sometimes will. His calling AA a quasi-cult in VF still rankles. His right, of course, certainly. But once the Hemingway-style high life begins to pall, I do hope he can find the humility to consider the idea of a higher power. As it says in Appendix II of Alcoholics Anonymous (aka the Big Book), which addresses the sometimes slow awakening of spirituality:
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorancethat principle is contempt prior to investigation," Herbert Spencer.
A line in John Updike's Rabbit Redux always makes me think of AA, though the character was speaking of something else entirely: "It is where God is pushing through."
My own position with friends is to accept them totally, or not be friends. I have no desire for Hitch to be anything other than completely himself, and if that includes a fondness of whiskey, more power to him. I have no desire to change him in any way. His fearless brilliance, astonishingly wide reading and great wit are treasures to me and a lot of others. And my own sense from being friends with him for over two decades is that, deep down, his impulse is less hostile to God than to organized religion. He's an anti-clericalist in a long British tradition. Besides, I'm also not in a mood to lambaste atheists these days. I disagree with them, as my long dialogue with Sam Harris testifies. But given the extremes that organized reigion has recently embraced, especially in Islam but to a lesser extent in Christian fundamentalism, there's a reason for an atheist revival. Whatever point anti-theists want to make has been more than eloquently made for them these past few years by the idiocy of so many "believers."