Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. WWKD: What Would Krauthammer Do?

 

I think it’s good to have heroes, people you can look up to and admire for the virtues they epitomize. I haven’t had many, a handful of iconic thinkers from my formative years, none who really stand out now as I look back on them. My father, still living, towers above the rest, a man of endless decency, generosity, and integrity: if I had to name a hero it would be him. And if I felt compelled to ask advice, it’s his I’d seek for anything within the scope of his formidable common sense and practical wisdom.

But today we find ourselves faced with strategic choices of historic weight, the outcomes determined by issues of epidemiology and biology that have even the experts at odds with each other. Whom do we trust, as we negotiate this treacherous ground between soaring pathology and spiraling economic collapse?

This evening, for the first time in my life, I found myself wanting the counsel of someone no longer with us. The thought popped into my head unbidden, and caught me completely by surprise: What Would Krauthammer Do?

He could have offered no sure answer, no more than anyone else can. But it would have been nice to hear his thoughts.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 12 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    And Thomas Sowell is retired from syndicated writing. Maybe @peterrobinson can snag him for an interview soon.

    • #1
    • March 29, 2020, at 6:18 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Henry Racette: Whom do we trust, as we negotiate this treacherous ground between soaring pathology and spiraling economic collapse?

    Henry,

    You have framed the question honestly. That is half the battle. We don’t have conclusive results yet but we do have some strong inferences. Just like we don’t have Krauthammer to comment on this but we do have the memory of his level headed perception of just this kind of problem.

    A prayer would be in order. I think we are going to make it through this OK. I’m not Krauthammer but that’s my opinion.

    Regards,

    Jim 

    • #2
    • March 29, 2020, at 12:14 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I’m looking to someone who says, “let’s continue to reassess the situation as we accumulate more information,” which is the way all decisions about what to do should be made.

    There’s another president who’s saying this. Oh, yeah. It’s Donald Trump.

    • #3
    • March 29, 2020, at 12:33 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  4. Rodin Member

    The beauty of imagining what Charles Krauthammer would say is that it exactly comports with my own insights.

    But seriously, as medically trained and a psychiatrist, Dr. Krauthammer’s advice would have been particularly valuable. My general impression is that he would have understood the risk/reward challenge that the various states’ epidemics represent. If the data he credited pointed to the overwhelming of health care he would undoubtedly have supported short term aggressive steps to slow the spread. But he would be harsh on the political posturing that we have seen. And he would have been mindful of the long term emotional challenges that physical isolation present for many people. In sum, I think he would be in accord with President Trump’s instincts even as he would feel chagrin at the President’s manner at times. Krauthammer considered President Trump a vulgarian, but I think he would find the President’s leadership in the main more commendable than contemptible.

    Or maybe that’s just me, again, thinking I can channel.

    • #4
    • March 29, 2020, at 12:53 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  5. jemcnamara63 Member

    Rodin (View Comment):

    The beauty of imagining what Charles Krauthammer would say is that it exactly comports with my own insights.

    But seriously, as medically trained and a psychiatrist, Dr. Krauthammer’s advice would have been particularly valuable. My general impression is that he would have understood the risk/reward challenge that the various states’ epidemics represent. If the data he credited pointed to the overwhelming of health care he would undoubtedly have supported short term aggressive steps to slow the spread. But he would be harsh on the political posturing that we have seen. And he would have been mindful of the long term emotional challenges that physical isolation present for many people. In sum, I think he would be in accord with President Trump’s instincts even as he would feel chagrin at the President’s manner at times. Krauthammer considered President Trump a vulgarian, but I think he would find the President’s leadership in the main more commendable than contemptible.

    Or maybe that’s just me, again, thinking I can channel.

    Can’t disagree with your observation. Dr. Krauthammer, from what I have inferred from his writings/musings over the years, was astute, empathetic and very much a pragmatist. The clarity of Charles would be a welcomed perspective.

    The struggle point for all is the uncertainty and that clinical immunology matters don’t jibe with political or economic objectives. This is the perfect storm and therefore allows for a host of assumptions that are speculative at best. Assuming that COVID-19 will play out in a similar way as H1N1 is nothing more than assumption, thus we are left with speculation and that is something the medical profession does not enjoy providing. Yet it is what the political and economic environments require.

    There will be ample opportunity to perform a post mortem on the effectiveness of the Administration and the various Medical Agencies. Unfortunately, all of those will be framed accordingly to serve the purposes of the entities that will drive their political agendas. Thus, as Peter Robinson quipped in November of 2019 the media bias will not serve the interests of the public and will only stoke the flames of division.

    • #5
    • March 29, 2020, at 1:17 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    I’m looking to someone who says, “let’s continue to reassess the situation as we accumulate more information,” which is the way all decisions about what to do should be made.

    There’s another president who’s saying this. Oh, yeah. It’s Donald Trump.

    Thanks so much for posting this! We were wondering what was going on at the college. We did hear that the NLS scheduled for April has been moved to September. Before that, we will be continuing to fund our endowed scholarship. Now, more than ever.

    • #6
    • March 29, 2020, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. She Reagan
    She Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rodin (View Comment):
    Or maybe that’s just me, again, thinking I can channel.

    No, I think you’re on the right track. Here’s what “my boyfriend” (which is what I always called him when he came on TV) had to say about Ebola, back in 2014. A very different illness, and also one which caused something of a panic to start out with. The money quote, IMHO:

    In the face of a uniquely dangerous threat, we Americans have trouble recalibrating our traditional (and laudable) devotion to individual rights and civil liberties. That is the fundamental reason we’ve been so slow in getting serious about Ebola.

    He doesn’t spare the “authorities” either.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/commentary/ct-ebola-threat-charles-krauthammer-perspec-1017-20141016-story.html

    Oh, how I miss his sane, rational, measured, knowledgeable voice amidst, and athwart, the sea of tongues.

    • #7
    • March 29, 2020, at 2:04 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. jemcnamara63 Member

    She (View Comment):

    He doesn’t spare the “authorities” either.

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/commentary/ct-ebola-threat-charles-krauthammer-perspec-1017-20141016-story.html

    Excellent response!! 

    • #8
    • March 29, 2020, at 2:19 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: Whom do we trust, as we negotiate this treacherous ground between soaring pathology and spiraling economic collapse?

    Henry,

    You have framed the question honestly. That is half the battle. We don’t have conclusive results yet but we do have some strong inferences. Just like we don’t have Krauthammer to comment on this but we do have the memory of his level headed perception of just this kind of problem.

    A prayer would be in order. I think we are going to make it through this OK. I’m not Krauthammer but that’s my opinion.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Jim,

    I have absolutely no doubt that we will make it through this. My greatest long-term concern is that we will end up with more, and not less, government when it’s over, and that would be unfortunate. I continue to think the epidemic will burn out sooner than a lot of people believe — far sooner than the worst-case scenarios — in part because most projections of catastrophe fail to pan out.

    We lack data. Until we know the true profile of this contagion in the general population, we won’t really know what we’re doing.

    H.

     

    • #9
    • March 29, 2020, at 2:44 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  10. Gary Robbins Reagan

    I terribly miss Charles Krauthammer. His was a voice of clarity and courage. He never pulled a punch. He never took Trump’s criticism personally.

    Of course, when I read the title of your post, my first thought was “ What Would Reagan Do,” but that is a whole different topic….

    • #10
    • March 29, 2020, at 2:55 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Joshua Bissey Coolidge

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: Whom do we trust, as we negotiate this treacherous ground between soaring pathology and spiraling economic collapse?

    Henry,

    You have framed the question honestly. That is half the battle. We don’t have conclusive results yet but we do have some strong inferences. Just like we don’t have Krauthammer to comment on this but we do have the memory of his level headed perception of just this kind of problem.

    A prayer would be in order. I think we are going to make it through this OK. I’m not Krauthammer but that’s my opinion.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Jim,

    I have absolutely no doubt that we will make it through this. My greatest long-term concern is that we will end up with more, and not less, government when it’s over, and that would be unfortunate. I continue to think the epidemic will burn out sooner than a lot of people believe — far sooner than the worst-case scenarios — in part because most projections of catastrophe fail to pan out.

    We lack data. Until we know the true profile of this contagion in the general population, we won’t really know what we’re doing.

    H.

     

    Unacceptable! I command you to panic!

    • #11
    • March 29, 2020, at 8:50 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette

    Joshua Bissey (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: Whom do we trust, as we negotiate this treacherous ground between soaring pathology and spiraling economic collapse?

    Henry,

    You have framed the question honestly. That is half the battle. We don’t have conclusive results yet but we do have some strong inferences. Just like we don’t have Krauthammer to comment on this but we do have the memory of his level headed perception of just this kind of problem.

    A prayer would be in order. I think we are going to make it through this OK. I’m not Krauthammer but that’s my opinion.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Jim,

    I have absolutely no doubt that we will make it through this. My greatest long-term concern is that we will end up with more, and not less, government when it’s over, and that would be unfortunate. I continue to think the epidemic will burn out sooner than a lot of people believe — far sooner than the worst-case scenarios — in part because most projections of catastrophe fail to pan out.

    We lack data. Until we know the true profile of this contagion in the general population, we won’t really know what we’re doing.

    H.

     

    Unacceptable! I command you to panic!

    Okay, okay. Hang on…

    Wait for it…

    Shoot. I’m sorry. I just can’t quite get there.

    • #12
    • March 29, 2020, at 8:54 PM PDT
    • 1 like