Missing Irving


Am having much fun going through a new release of Irving Kristol essays that have not before appeared in book form. The older they are, the more interesting — not least his 1952 piece on McCarthy and the liberals.

But this conclusion to a 1984 piece called “Reflections of a Neoconservative” really captures the man’s sensibilities and ability to write without cant:

[F]or myself, I have reached certain conclusions: that Jane Austen is a greater novelist than Proust or Joyce; that Raphael is a greater painter than Picasso; that T.S. Eliot’s later, Christian poetry is much superior to his earlier; that C.S. Lewis is a finer literary and cultural critic than Edmund Wilson; that Aristotle is more worthy of careful study than Marx; that we have more to learn from Tocqueville than from Max Weber; that Adam Smith makes a lot more economic sense than any economist since; that the founders had a better understanding of democracy than any political scientists since; that … well enough. As I said at the outset, I have become conservative, and whatever ambiguities attach to that term, it should be obvious what it does not mean.

This former Trotskyite has left America many wonderful legacies — not least a grandson who is an officer in the United States Marine Corps now fighting in Afghanistan.

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  1. Profile Photo Member

    Conservatives are often accused of being anti-immigrant, which is nonsense. I find most immigrants to be among our most conservative citizens. It takes generations of climbing, before having the opportunity to steep in the laziness of the left.

    Third generation Cuban-Americans are often left-leaning, but I have never met a lefty from the first or second generation.

    The Kristol family appears to have risen up through the progression far enough to have seen back to the roots that may have compelled their forebears to come here. Just guessing that they may have come from Russian jewish stock, it’s interesting that they have a scion that has now joined the fight, next to Russia.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Contributor

    A gorgeous quotation. Just gorgeous.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Member

    Yes, I’m afraid that quote will force me to buy the book.

    • #3

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