Benjamin Schwarz, literary and national editor of The Atlantic Magazine, in which the essay was published, writes in a separate article on the essay:
This essay epitomizes Christopher’s approach as a writer and critic. He was generous and took in many facets of his subject. But he knew that the received wisdom was usually wrong, and he was unafraid to make final and devastating judgments.
Cuddly contrarian that Hitchens was, more probably a case of being "eager" than "unafraid".