Farewell to the Godfather

Christopher Hitchens, "Farewell to the Godfather," Slate, September 20, 2009.


The neoconservative faction, or should we say movement, is generally secular and often associated with the name of Leo Strauss. Kristol was one of those who never minded saying that he was a Straussian, and Strauss is unusual among the pillars of American conservatism in having been decidedly skeptical about religious faith. Here again, Kristol appears to have been contradictory between an abstruse, elite intellectual and the popular will: If I understood him correctly, he believed that religion was a useful tool for making people behave well, quite independent of whether it was true or not. If that should turn out to have been a paradox with a dry hint of cynicism, he very probably derived relish from it.