He was born and educated in England but became an American citizen and patriot. He was an egalitarian moralist and left-wing political radical. He was involved in the political and revolutionary currents of his time, almost always on the side of reason and universal freedom. He made his living as a brilliant political essayist, pamphleteer, and controversialist and often quarreled in print and elsewhere with former comrades in arms. He wrote a best-selling critique of religion in defense of rationalism as the basis for political, social, and moral life. He was to some Americans a national treasure. He was to others an obnoxious pest. I’m talking about Tom Paine. With an appropriate change of tense, I might be talking about Christopher Hitchens.
Read the rest of Jerry Weinberger's City Journal article.