Irving Kristol, 1920-2009

Irving Kristol

Irving Kristol was a CCNY Boy, not a Chicago Boy.

Kristol was a Neoconservative when the “neo” part meant something. It started out as an insult, by former liberal friends, who derided Kristol and others for going where the evidence took them, and turning against their former views and former colleagues. The Neoconservatives were the people associated with The Public Interest magazine in the 1960s, mostly Jews from New York. The leading figures were Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Nathan Glazer and their circle. These guys followed a half-century course from Left to Right. They started out as Trotskyists at City College in New York in the ’30s and ’40s. Kristol describes that period here. They were anti-communist Social Democrats associated with Irving Howe and Sidney Hook in the 1950s. As the Democrat party undertook to build the Great Society in the 1960s, they became social planners. As that program failed, and Vietnam failed, and the McGovernite New Left began to take over the party, they became Scoop Jackson liberal hawks who were increasingly dubious about government social programs as well as staying hawkish on defense issues. As Jimmy Carter attempted to go beyond detente to something like appeasement, some switched parties and became Republicans. They were hawkish on defense and unideological and undogmatic critics of social programs that did not work. Kristol was the main figure in this intellectual odyssey. He and his colleagues added a critical infusion of intelligence and policy expertise to the conservative coalition that elected Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Perhaps Kristol’s most important contribution was his editorship of The Public Interest, which he described here. Recently, the complete archives of the Public Interest became available online.

Rest in peace.

UPDATE: Helen weighs in, with many good links.

Lewis vs Haldane

J B S Haldane was an eminent British scientist (population genetics) and a Marxist. C S Lewis was…well, you probably already know who C S Lewis was.

In 1946, Haldane published an article critiquing a series of novels by Lewis known as the Ransom Trilogy, and particularly the last book of the series, That Hideous Strength. Lewis responded in a letter which remained unpublished for many of years. All this may sound ancient and estoteric, but I believe the Lewis/Haldane controversy is very relevant to our current political and philosophical landscape.

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What Edmund Burke said

I am not sure how much of it has made its way across the Pond but there is a bit of palaver going on about the only thing that might interest our so-called representatives in the House of Commons, their remuneration. The trouble with the debate is that nobody can really agree or even understand what it is MPs are supposed to do. We know for certain that they do not do the two things that are definitely part of their job: legislation and holding the government to account. But beyond that it is all a bit muddy.

Here are links to two postings, one on Your Freedom and Ours, in which I discuss (well, rant about) MPs, their claims to more money and their complete lack of responsibility. The other one, on the Conservative History Journal blog, goes back to what Edmund Burke really said to the electors of Bristol when he became their Member of Parliament. It is not quite what many people think.

Well, at Least We Know ABC is Immune to Intellectual Embarassment

Creeping Chavezismo in the MSM in regard to President Obama. From Drudge:

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care — a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm! Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special — ‘Prescription for America’ — originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.

Imagine if ABC news delivered a report on religion from the Vatican and excluded non-Catholics. What message would that send? This is an amazing level of sycophancy toward a president by a major media outlet, even a Democratic president.Let us hear no more whining about bias on FOX or talk radio, this stunt by ABC amounts to unpaid advertisng and a de facto government TV program. Why is this happening? Simple Obama-worship at ABC? Unlikely.

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