The IM Saturday Monks Brunch “A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words” Edition
Now in God’s Care: Charles Krauthammer
Finally, only words will do to say “Rest in peace” to remarkable writer and commenter Charles Krauthammer, who died this week at age 68 of cancer. Here are some excerpts from a tribute by Peter Wehner, a longtime friend of Krauthamer, called “The Example of Charles Krauthammer.”
His thoughts about baseball are enough to make me admire and respect him.
It is a shattering loss. Charles, who received the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, was not only an elegant writer; he also had a beautiful mind: precise, logical, subtle and blessedly free of cant. He loathed trendiness and the fads that sometimes sweep over the culture.
Like any good columnist, Charles had deep convictions — on the uniqueness and greatness of America, his devotion to democratic pluralism, and his support for Israel and Zionism; on the wonder and joys of physics, chess and baseball, especially his beloved Washington Nationals. (We once exchanged thoughts on an upcoming Super Bowl, but he couldn’t help concluding this way: “Of course, the whole damn game is just a prelude to the beginning of spring training. We must keep things in perspective.”)
…In an age when political commentary is getting shallower and more vituperative, we will especially miss Charles’s style of writing — calm, carefully constructed arguments based on propositions and evidence, tinged with a cutting wit and wry humor but never malice.
There’s another quality of his that we will miss: intellectual independence. Charles started out his political career as a centrist Democrat yet ended up as a conservative and a fixture on Fox News. But he situated himself in a particular school within conservatism, one that is temperamentally moderate, deeply suspicious of ideology, aware of the complexity of human society, and empirical in the sense that he was constantly testing what he was saying against what was actually happening in the world and the effect it had. Charles had no interest in being a member of a political team; his goal was to better understand reality.
Political tribalism is rotting American politics; it needs more people who reject partisan zeal and can speak honestly about their own side’s blind spots and defects. Charles, alert to the maladies of the American right, was a fierce critic of Pat Buchanan in the early 1990s, when Mr. Buchanan was bringing conservative audiences to their feet with a nascent version of the ugliness and divisiveness that has come to characterize the Republican Party under President Trump. This helps explain why it was no surprise that Charles has been a harsh critic of Mr. Trump, who is an anathema to everything Charles prized.
…John F. Kennedy said, “The Greeks defined happiness as the full use of your powers along the lines of excellence.” Charles Krauthammer lived a happy life.