Author Topic: "It Was a Wonderful Life"  (Read 758 times)

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Offline EasyAce

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"It Was a Wonderful Life"
« on: June 08, 2018, 04:18:47 PM »
With weeks to live, by his own announcement, Charles Krauthammer's farewell provokes sorrow but appreciation.
By Yours Truly
https://www.themaven.net/theresurgent/community/it-was-a-wonderful-life-EimbLtxnfkKOsVxg0rEOOw/

A young man who refuses to let paralysis thwart him from medical school to complete his education as a psychiatrist does not mature into an elder lacking courage. And that very courage enables Charles Krauthammer to say farewell, with uncommon gratitude, to we who have savoured his murderously elegant puncturings of pretense and solipsism, in our politics and our culture.

"I leave this life with no regrets," he writes in a farewell from his catbird seat at the Washington Post. "It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended."

Long ago I read a novel about Navy aviators in the Pacific in World War II, an early scene of which involved a gunnery exercise during which one of the youthful squadron unintentionally shot down the veteran pilot flying the target tow plane. When their carrier captain held an inquiry, their squadron commander said of the fallen tow pilot, "He died doing something he wanted to do, something he believed in."

Krauthammer isn't going to die quite the way that tow plane pilot died, in the middle of doing his job, but if the squadron commander meant to say the pilot died during or after living the life he intended then Krauthammer is dying well, as well as courageously.

No cancer is an unarmed enemy, and Krauthammer's in his abdominal region seemed beaten until returning with a vengeance a mere month ago, fanning out to enough of his body elsewhere to leave him like a flier shot liberally in the sky and seeing the ocean onrushing as he approaches it and death at once. " My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live," he writes matter-of-factly. "This is the final verdict. My fight is over."

He took up punditry and exercised a charming refusal to permit the push, pull, and posturings of our politics to claim his every thought or impulse, even as he knew it claims too many of the nation's. He wrote of the strategic mischief in the latest political panacea and the growing pains of the Washington Nationals with equal virtuosity and passion. He lamented the misbehaviours of the political class with the same depth as he savoured the rise of the Nats from also-rans to perennial contenders.

He began his life of punditry as a liberal believing foursquare that American liberalism had not forsaken John Stuart Mill's classical individualism---until American liberalism did just that. "Modern liberalism's perfectionist ambitions . . . seek to harness the power of government, the mystique of science, and the rule of experts to shape both society and citizen and bring them both, willing or not, to a higher state of being."

His medical education and early psychiatric practise yielded in due course to political activity, writing speeches for Walter Mondale while he still held the vice presidency, then joining The New Republic on Ronald Reagan's inauguration day, going forth from there to become one of Time's revolving back-page essayists and, in time, a syndicated columnist rooted at the Washington Post. "When a young journalist asks me today, 'How do I get to be a nationally syndicated columnist?" I have my answer: 'First, go to medical school'."

Krauthammer's was an uneasy liberalism tethered tighter to the ancient Truman-Kennedy-Henry Jackson anti-Communism than to the about-face (his words) their party turned after 1981, and he rejected the reflexive Democratic opposition to "every element of the Reagan foreign policy that ultimately brought total victory in the Cold War." A man who is trained thoroughly to know and understand the human mind is not a man who flinches when his fellows question his sanity, as surely they must have when Krauthammer wrote the preponderance of those New Republic editorials denouncing the Democrats' "foreign policy of retreat."

As with Reagan after the 1940s, so could Krauthammer argue plausibly that he had not left his party but his party had left him, whether in retreat before genuine geopolitical strategic threats, in indifference or misinformation regarding terrorism, or in metastatic fealty to Leviathan. "I found my eventual political home," he wrote, "in a vision of limited government that, while providing for the helpless, is committed above all to guaranteeing individual liberty and the pursuit of one's own Millian 'ends of life'." The left left him even more hastily than his party did.

He could be dazzling when right and dazzling when wrong. He was one of those dismissing even becalmed critics of George W. Bush as suffering Bush Derangement Syndrome, a disease now so liberally diagnosed by the fan clubs of any president or politician as to render it meaningless and its deployers vacuous. But he formulated what ultimately became the exit strategy by which Mr. Bush's sadly underqualified Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers withdrew from consideration.

He recognised only too acutely Barack Obama's floutings of the constitutional prescription by way of his chronic executive orderings: "If the law is not what is plainly written but is whatever the president and his agents decide, what's left of the law?" The latter question is likely what rendered Krauthammer skeptical at minimum regarding the advent of Donald Trump, to whom he has not exactly warmed even while rejecting the hingeless among Mr. Trump's critics.

"I have my eccentricities," he wrote, in the introduction to Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics, whose subtitle's running order tells you everything you ought to know about his priorities and what ought to be ours. "I've driven from Washington to New York to watch a chess match. Twice. I've read Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. Also twice, though here is a public service---to reassure my readers that this most unread bestseller is indeed as inscrutable as they thought. And perhaps most eccentric of all, I left a life in medicine for a life in journalism devoted mostly to politics, while firmly believing that what really matters, what moves the spirit, what elevates the mind, what fires the imagination, what makes us fully human, are all of these endeavors, disciplines, confusions, and amusements that lie outside politics."

The angels of the Lord should only shepherd our Charles to a gentle, warm, "Welcome home."

Offline Sanguine

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2018, 04:23:38 PM »
Beautiful, Ace.
There are no safe spaces in real life.   - LMAO

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See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.

Offline Lando Lincoln

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2018, 04:23:58 PM »
So nicely done.  Thank you.  I am sincerely grateful.
For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons. Nat Rev

Offline EasyAce

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2018, 04:26:53 PM »
Thank you both!

Online mystery-ak

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2018, 04:47:28 PM »
Beautiful....thanks @EasyAce

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Offline EasyAce

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2018, 04:54:16 PM »
You're welcome, @mystery-ak :)

Online Bigun

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2018, 05:43:35 PM »
So nicely done.  Thank you.  I am sincerely grateful.

I concur.   All counts.   Well done Ace!

Offline EasyAce

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2018, 05:55:42 PM »
Thank you, my friend!

Online Oceander

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2018, 07:52:11 PM »
Very well done.  Thanks.

Online Jazzhead

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2018, 08:33:49 PM »
A great essay about a great man.  Thanks, Ace.
"He was born poor, he died rich, and never hurt anyone along the way"

   - Duke Ellington, upon hearing of the death of Louis Armstrong

"Not forever.  Just for now"

    - Jay Farrar

Offline EasyAce

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2018, 11:41:53 PM »
Thank you both!

Online Frank Cannon

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2018, 11:50:14 PM »
 :thumbsup:
Two Liters Is A Soft Drink, Not An Engine Size.

Offline EasyAce

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2018, 12:20:46 AM »
 :thumbsup: in thanks, Frank!

Offline corbe

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2018, 10:32:55 AM »
   Thanks again @EasyAce for sharing with us your very insightful musing.
No government in the 6,000 years of modern mankind history has led its people into anything but the history books with a simple lesson, don't let this happen to you.

Offline EasyAce

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2018, 11:02:13 AM »
You're welcome @corbe

Offline AmericanaPrime

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2018, 10:13:13 AM »
Our dialogue as a nation will be worse off without him, for sure. He always had a way of framing things to make you think a bit differently.

Great piece, thanks.
Visit my website @ AmericanaPrime.com!
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Offline EasyAce

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2018, 12:27:46 PM »
Our dialogue as a nation will be worse off without him, for sure. He always had a way of framing things to make you think a bit differently.

Great piece, thanks.
@AmericanaPrime
Thank you, too!

Offline Smokin Joe

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2018, 05:51:22 AM »
Well said, @EasyAce !
How God must weep at humans' folly! Stand fast! God knows what he is doing!
Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression
And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. Nehemiah 4:14 (KJV)

About the only "Big" Liberals don't revile is "Big Government"

Online GrouchoTex

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2018, 07:51:17 AM »
A very nice piece written for a brilliant man.

Offline EasyAce

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2018, 11:54:30 PM »
Thank you both!

Offline EasyAce

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2018, 07:09:43 PM »
Dr. Krauthammer died today, the Washington Post confirmed. Faster than I thought he might die when I read the column that prompted me to write the essay above.

RIP to a man who invariably civilised the day's or the week's events in his writings and his discourse.

Online Bigun

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2018, 07:40:11 PM »
Dr. Krauthammer died today, the Washington Post confirmed. Faster than I thought he might die when I read the column that prompted me to write the essay above.

RIP to a man who invariably civilised the day's or the week's events in his writings and his discourse.

 :amen: Dr. Krauthammer will be greatly missed!

Online Oceander

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2018, 08:13:15 PM »
R.I.P.

Online andy58-in-nh

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2018, 08:18:02 PM »
Greatness of mind, tempered by humility of spirit and gentility of nature. RIP, Charles.

You will be missed, and your memory cherished by those who were fortunate to have known and loved you. 
We are entering revolutionary times. The law is no longer equally applied. The media are the ministry of truth. The Democratic party is a revolutionary force. And it is all getting scary. -VDH

Offline mountaineer

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Re: "It Was a Wonderful Life"
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2018, 08:24:50 PM »
They had a moment of silence for Dr. Krauthammer at the Washington Nationals game tonight.
“Hell hath no fury like a vested interest masquerading as a moral principle.” - Ryan T Anderson


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