Hitchens speech transcript:
I’m not as I was. Some of you I’d urgently felt I ought to do while saying, and one mustn’t repine or relate to self pity about that, but at this present moment I have to say. I feel very envious of someone who’s young and active and starting out in this argument.
Just think of the extraordinary things that are happening to us. Go for example to the Smithsonian museum, To the new hall of human origins, magnificently curated and new in exhibition. Which Shows among other things the branch, or branches along which perhaps three, certainly three, maybe four if you count Indonesia, humanoid shall we say anthropoid species, died out, not very long ago within measurable distance of 75, 000 years or so possibly destroyed by us possibly not, we don’t know. We know they decorated their graves, we think they probably had language ability, we don’t know if they had souls, I’m sorry I cant help you there But I so envy those who could glimpse.
I’ve only mentioned three or four of the things that have magnetized and charmed and gratified me to think about in the recent past, and how much I hope that each of you form some such ambition this evening and carries it forward, In the meantime, we had the same job we always had, to say as thinking people and as humans that there are no final solutions, there is no absolute truth, there is no supreme leader, there is no totalitarian solution, that says if you would just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you would just give up, if you would just abandon your critical faculties, the world of idiotic bliss can be yours but we have to begin by repudiating all such claims grand rabbi’s, chief ayatollahs, infallible popes, the peddlers or surrogate and mutant quasi political religion and worship.
The dear leader, the great leader, we have no need for any of this, and looking at them and their record and the pathos of their supporters I realize that it is they who are the grand imposers and my own imposture this evening was mild by comparison, Thank you very much.