[May 8, 2016] Ideas! Where we get them, how they develop, who argues for what, and how well ideas are argued have always been at the core of the understanding of any society. No contemporary writer has been more significant and coherent than Charles Krauthammer; political commentator, syndicated columnist, former psychiatrist, confined to a wheelchair, and even loves dogs and baseball.
Any leader worth their salt is captivated by new and emerging ideas that allow us to see the world differently and understand it better. In this, Krauthammer helps. He has commented that the current political ideology of the United States is one that puts forward the notion that success is not so much a function of the individual as it is enabled by the collective effort of the government and social solidarity.
In dissenting to this view, he believes that such ideology is a dangerous misunderstanding of America’s success and that personal drive and individual spirit accounts for the achievements of America. This view could be seen as a kind of Tocquevillian America where individual spirit and strength lies at the heart of a country and where the chances of success are greatest. No surprise that people from all parts of the world desire to come to American, not for its government programs, but for the opportunity it provides.
If anything, Krauthammer is a realist. He has written numerous times on foreign affairs of America in an attempt to explain the historic rational behind its strength and growth. He was able to clearly summarize major viewpoints of modern world leaders in an article he wrote called Democratic Realism.1 In it he discusses America’s unipolar power position in the world and the threat of an enemy that does not retreat. He believes that America can use its power wisely – not limited by illusions and fictions – but only by bringing freedom as an antidote to nihilism.
Krauthammer is a prolific writer and, some say with reason, a ruthless critic of our political senior leaders. He will not let a mistake go by without comment; especially those based on poor judgment or moral ineptitude. Case in point, he has said that information from the White House obtained from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit is “the smoking document” that proves the administration intentionally covered up the truth about the 2012 attacks in Benghazi.
Many label Krauthammer as politically conservative but I think that is a little too simplistic. To get an idea of this thinking, see his speech at Hillsdale College (a YouTube video 50:16 minutes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPdM_JgcFlw
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