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September 20, 2009

Irving Kristol, RIP

I missed his passing two days ago. New Ledger explains his influence and importance to the conservative movement and tributes he man himself.

The WSJ also notes his passing:

Perhaps the greatest gift of the gifted Irving Kristol, who died yesterday at 89, was prescience. This does not mean predicting the future. Prescience, a more useful gift, is seeing the direction in which the future is headed.

In his early years, Kristol saw that the Marxism which fascinated him and many others at mid-century had no future, and he embraced the ideals of the West, holding them tight for a lifetime. Later as a Democrat, he saw that many of the social welfare policies of the 1960s would fail, and so he undertook a long, unsparing critique of his own party's most cherished ideas. Later still, as a Republican, Kristol realized that his party's economic ideas were moribund, and he turned his energies to leading the pro-growth, "supply-side" revolution that culminated in the historic Reagan Presidency.

Irving Kristol is most often credited with leading the movement in American politics that came to be called neoconservatism...

In late July 1998, he wrote a piece for the Journal titled "Politics Reaches an Endpoint." In it he described the evolution of the Democratic Party into what it remains today. In typical fashion, Kristol made his argument by looking for a counterintuitive truth. Here, it was that George McGovern had "won" the 1972 election:

"He did not win the White House but he won the Democratic Party. Again, it was his nomination that was the crucial event, not the election. His nomination meant that the left-liberal wing of the Democratic Party had finally seized control, ousting the more 'centrist' wing that had its base mainly in the South and West. Can anyone imagine Lyndon Johnson being terribly concerned about discrimination against homosexuals in the military, fighting tooth and nail against tax cuts or vetoing legislation limiting late-term abortions?"

The Weekly Standard (edited, of course, by his son Bill) has posted a 2005 column from Kristol, defining the sub-movement he created.


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posted by Ace at 10:09 AM

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