R.I.P., Irving Kristol

kristolirvingIrving Kristol, called the “godfather of neo-conservatism” by some, died today of complications from lung cancer. He was 89.

John Podhoretz has written a moving and comprehensive account of Kristol’s life and immense 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.

Commentary has collected all of his contributions to the magazine, some 45 pieces spanning 48 years, and posted them online. R.I.P.

FILED UNDER: Obituaries, US Politics, ,
Dodd Harris
About Dodd Harris
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He contributed over 650 pieces to OTB between May 2007 and September 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Amuk3.


  1. TC says:

    Help me out here: Irving Kristol was a former Communist sympathizer who changed tracks and is praised for his influence on presidents. Van Jones is a former Communist sympatheizer who changed tracks – and was run out on the rails as evidence of communist influence in the White House. What explains the difference?

  2. Janis Gore says:

    Mmmm. Mr. Kristol was 89 and Mr. Jones is 41?