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Charles Krauthammer, MD, Psychiatrist; Journalist; 1950-2018

About Charles K.  |   Jay Nordlinger |
The National Review

Editor’s Note: Jay Nordlinger wrote about Charles Krauthammer and his posthumous collection in the February 25 issue of National Review [1].
Below, he expands that piece, in the style of his Impromptus column.

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2019/02/25/charles-krauthammer-book-point-of-it-all-review/ [2]

Charles Krauthammer wrote steadily for almost 40 years — but he was not a book-writer. He wrote essays, columns, speeches, etc. This is true of other top-rate and influential writers as well. Isaiah Berlin, for one. Irving Kristol, for another. Krauthammer was a good friend of the latter’s. And appreciations of both men — Berlin and Kristol — appear in a new Krauthammer collection [3].

Here is another sentence, or a few more:

The late Irving Kristol, father of neoconservatism, famously gave “two cheers for capitalism.” How about Krauthammer? He admires Kristol no end and has much in common with him. But he will go as high as “2.8 cheers” — impressive for someone who once supported LBJ’s Great Society.

The Point of It All is very wide-ranging, a true Krauthammer sampler. This is Krauthammer in full, or very nearly so. It is a book that says, “This is what he believed. This is who he was.” As such, it is invaluable.

In 2017, he made a controversial statement, and utterly characteristic:

Some claim that putting America first is a reassertion of American exceptionalism. On the contrary, it is the antithesis. It makes America no different from all the other countries that define themselves by a particularist blood-and-soil nationalism. What made America exceptional, unique in the world, was defining its own national interest beyond its narrow economic and security needs to encompass the safety and prosperity of a vast array of allies.

Them’s fighting words — but Krauthammer did not shrink from a fight, when the topic mattered. He was princely in manners, but no violet.

He did not write those words in recent years, but rather in 1990.

• I’m reminded of something. Let me give you a little biography (his). The below is from that 2009 piece I wrote about him:

Krauthammer was born in 1950, in New York City. But, when he was six, his family moved to Montreal, where he grew up. He later realized that he could not stay in Quebec, to make his career. The reason was this: He thought he would like to have a role in public life — maybe something in government. And, to be blunt about it, Quebec was no place for a Jew with that kind of ambition. Its political culture was more like that of Europe than like that of English Canada or America. A Jew was always an outsider, or even an “alien” element. Besides which, Quebec’s politics were consumed with one issue: separatism, independence. To Krauthammer, this was “one of the most trivial issues on the planet,” and certainly not one to spend a life or career on. Krauthammer retains a deep general admiration for Canada, whatever its flaws and annoyances. . .

So, Krauthammer has his enthusiasms. One of the best collections I know is called, in fact, “Enthusiasms.” It is by Bernard Levin, the British journalist, and it was published in 1983. The book  [7]has chapters on cities, walking, Shakespeare, music, and more.

Would you like to know whom the book is dedicated to? Arianna Stassinopoulos, now Huffington. (I asked her once, “How does it feel to be the dedicatee of such a great book?” It felt good.) . . .

Reading Charles, I had the sensation of reading an old conservatism, even if it is recently “old.” You could even call it a paleoconservatism.

Writing the obvious is an underappreciated act — because the obvious is not apparent to all, ever.

I intend to refer to it for many years to come — going to the index and asking, “What did Charles have to say about this? Anything?” (The answer will probably be yes.) Journalism is ephemeral, by nature. “It’s fish wrap by Friday,” goes an old saying. Rick Brookhiser once pointed out to me that the very word “day” is in journalism (jour). It’s meant to last a day.

This makes me all the more grateful for, and delighted with, The Point of It All. It is Charles bundled up — a permanent, portable Charles. In addition to being a stellar book, it is a great service.

Read the entire interview and comments at https://news.yahoo.com/charles-k-113050405.html;_ylt=Awr9KRGtfHRc3UkAaHBXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyaGc2dGVoBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjcwMTNfMQRzZWMDc2M- [8]

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