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Irving Kristol And The Power Of Ideas


While the vast majority of American Jews are still to be found on the left, Kristol nevertheless must be credited, along with his fellow neocon pioneer Norman Podhoretz, with creating a lively debate about the follies of liberal orthodoxy and the perils to Jewish interests and specifically to Israel of Jews being trapped in a politics governed by knee-jerk support for any one party or ideology. Though the battle to open up Jewish minds on that subject is still very much an uphill climb, Kristol’s penetrating insights have ensured that it is one that continues to be fought.

Neoconservatism continues to flourish in the formidable intellectual institutions that Irving Kristol helped build and the writers, thinkers and policy wonks deeply influenced by his thought and his example that labor in them. More importantly, his ideas helped shape the blueprints for a conservative political revival in the future.

For if there is to be yet another renaissance on the right, as there surely will, it can only be one whose character will be informed by Irving Kristol’s optimism about America, its faith, its potential and its people. May his memory be for a blessing.

About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com, where this first appeared. He can be reached via e-mail at jtobin@commentarymagazine.com.


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