Name: Hitchens, Peter
Occupation: Journalist/foreign correspondent/author
Q: What makes an idea “dangerous”?
A If you espouse it publicly, you will be derided and quite possibly subject to career damage in the media or the academy. Modern liberal societies don’t imprison people for breaking their speech codes, but they punish them by excluding them from broadcast media and attacking their livelihoods.
Q: Which technological or scientific advancement excites you most?
A.The bicycle. An invention of great beauty and simplicity which has always been beneficial and continues to be beneficial, and which has no evil application.
Q: Which social or political movement scares you most?
Q: What’s the one thing you wish society better understood?
That freedom of speech means freedom for those whose ideas disgust or enrage you, or it means nothing.
Q: Will the defining catastrophe of the next decade be natural or man-made?
It is man-made, the general triumph of the autonomy of the individual is destroying the fabric of all the most advanced societies, which were built on self-sacrifice. We see the consequences in public and private debt, and most strongly in the neglect of children by affluent adults, but in many other aspects of Western life as well.
Q: What question have you been dying to ask someone (and who)?
I would like ask Aldous Huxley if he thinks ‘Brave New World’ is now coming true.
Q: What question have you been dying for someone to ask you?
Why do your books sell so many millions of copies?
Q: If you could outsource one part of your life, what would it be?
The hangovers I get if I drink more than one glass of wine in an evening.
Q: What’s your favourite book and why?
Great Expectations, full of truth and utterly English.