Irving Kristol – The man who put ’neo’ into conservatism
Irving Kristol, gemeinhin als “godfather” des Neokonservativismus bezeichnet respektive verschrien, ist gestern Nacht verstorben. Die ersten Nachrufe auf Kristol haben nicht lange auf sich warten lassen.
John Podhoretz, derzeitiger Herausgeber des Commentary Magazine, das Kristol von 1947 bis 1952 selbst herausgab, schreibt:
The intellectual and political life of the United States over the past 60 years was affected in so many important and enduring ways by Irving Kristol that it is difficult to capture in words the extent of his powerful and positive influence. Irving, who died today at the age of 89, was the rarest of creatures—a thoroughgoing intellectual who was also a man of action. He was a maker of things, a builder of institutions, a harvester and disseminator and progenitor of ideas and the means whereby those ideas were made flesh.
The clarity of his thinking and the surety of his purpose were one and the same; they were immeasurably enhanced by a powerful curiosity for the way things worked and the ways in which things could be made to work better. His was a resteless intelligence, always on the move; there was not an idea he didn’t want to play with, and there wasn’t a new idea for a think tank or a magazine or a center for the study of something-or-other that didn’t excite him. He was a conservative by temperament and conviction, but he was an innovator to the depths of his being.
US-Senator Joe Lieberman:
We have lost an intellectual giant. Irving Kristol was an inventive entrepreneur of ideas who was boundless in his wit, creativity, and insight. Irving understood that ideas have consequences – and his immense influence was the result of his unique ability to shape the American political landscape with the power of creative thought. Irving was a genuine patriot who eloquently and forcefully defended America’s values and principles. He leaves us with a great intellectual legacy that will continue to enrich our political dialogue for many years to come. Hadassah’s and my condolences and prayers are with Irving’s wife, Gertrude, his children Bill and Elizabeth, and the entire Kristol family.
The passing of Irving Kristol is a very sad occasion. He was a truly great man, a great intellectual, and a great, patriotic servant to his country. He was also a unique inspiration, to me personally, and to untold thousands of other young people for whom he provided a model of the intellectual life well-lived. He was a deep and fierce thinker, who nevertheless delivered his thoughts in the most amiable fashion, without animus or bile. He was curious and invited others to be curious, to engage in serious dialogue on the important issues of the day.
He was also a creator of communities and institutions. He occupied a unique space between the world of the mind and the world of action. Networks of thinkers, policy-makers, and politicians revolved around him — and not because he thrust himself into their midst but because his mind and character attracted them to him. To go to work for him, as I did fresh out of college almost 30 years ago, was to enter a rich and exciting intellectual universe, filled with learning and integrity and a commitment to the well-being of society. I fear such a universe may no longer exist. But the memory of what Irving Kristol created is enough to warm the soul for a lifetime.
Roger Kimball für Pajamas Media:
Probably Irving’s most frequently quoted mot concerned neoconservatism, the intellectual-political movement with which he is indelibly identified. “A neo-conservative,” he said, “is a liberal who has been mugged by reality.” That was the great gift Irving gave to his, to our, generation: an unforgettable reminder that ideas mattered because of the realities they nurtured or discouraged. He saw with a kindly but unflinching clarity what mischief the seductive lullabies of utopian fantasy had prepared for its acolytes. His passing is a sad loss not only to conservatives to but also to the nation: those eloquent reminders seem fewer and farther between these days, yet are ever more needful. RIP.
To the extent that American politics today consists of two sides—one insisting that the state guide the country forward, the other that the private economy drive the country forward—it is in large part Irving Kristol and his thinkers who defined the order of battle.
Where the next turn in history lies is beside the point. Irving Kristol’s life and career are a compass for anyone who wants to know how ideas and honest inquiry can shape American politics.
Eine Zusammenstellung wichtiger Artikel aus Kristols Feder findet sich beim Weekly Standard. Zu Ehren Kristols wurden zudem sämtliche seiner zwischen 1946 und 1994 im Commentary Magazine erschienenen Artikel frei im Archiv verfügbar gemacht.
Update: Jonathan Adler fürs National Review, Ron Radosh für Pajamas Media sowie eine Zitatsammlung beim Wall Street Journal. Und mit Alan Poseners Kommentar bei der WELT auch eine erste deutsche Reaktion.