Among the ranks of the ex-Leftists, most of whom are readily forgotten, Christopher Hitchens stands out as someone determined to do just that. Rejecting the well-worn paths of hard-right evangelism and capitalist "realism," he identified with nothing outside his own idiosyncrasies. A habitual mugwump who occasionally masqueraded as a Marxist, the role he adopted late in his career - as a free radical within the US establishment - had ample precedents from his earlier incarnation. It wasn't the Damascene conversion he described. His long-standing admiration for America, his fascination with the Right as the truly "revolutionary" force, his closet Thatcherism, his theophobia and disdain for the actually existing Left had all been present in different ways throughout his political life. Post - 9/11, they merely found a new articulation. For all that, the Hitchensian idiolect was a unique, marketable formula. He is a recognizable historical type - the apostate leftist - and as such presents a rewarding, entertaining and an enlightening case study.
RICHARD SEYMOUR lives, works and writes in London. He runs the Lenin's Tomb website, which comments on the War on Terror, Islamophobia and neoliberalism. He is the author of The Meaning of David Cameron and American Insurgents: A Brief History of American Anti-Imperialism.