A number of years ago I had the privilege of introducing Irving Kristol at a conference and spending some time with him discussing the issues of the day. He was one of my favorite essayists and intellectuals and I was a subscriber to his The Public Interest magazine until it ceased publication several years ago. He was, of course, a founding neo-conservative and the father of William Kristol, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2002.
Shortly after his death a couple of weeks ago, David Brooks captured some of his best thought as follows: “In responding to Dostoyevsky’s Antichrist who flaunted a banner that read ‘first make people prosperous, and then ask of them virtue’, Kristol argued that this sentiment was the great seduction of modern politics–to believe that problems that were essentially moral and civic could be solved by economic means. They can’t. Political problems, even many economic problems, are, at heart, ethical and cultural problems.” This thinking may be more relevant now than ever. RIP