A posthumous collection from the noted columnist, building on and bookending Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics (2013).
As edited by Krauthammer’s son Daniel, who provides an engaging, sentimental portrait of his father at work, this collection of (mostly) magazine and newspaper commentaries highlights the columnist’s abiding interests: overarchingly politics, if politics sometimes filtered through the arts, sciences, baseball, and the like—all things the author considered “fundamentally subordinate” to the larger realm of politics “because of its capacity, when benign, to allow all around it to flourish, and its capacity, when malign, to make all around it wither.” Krauthammer long espoused a kind of classical conservative view that resisted authoritarianism while championing individual freedom. “Freedom is being left alone,” he writes. “Freedom is a sphere of autonomy, an inviolable political space that no authority may invade.” An early hero was Ronald Reagan, whom he considered a kind of intellectual without intellectual credentials or pretenses and whose particular political genius was to restore the faith of a nation in crisis. (Never mind Iran-Contra.) Later in the collection, Krauthammer champions the notion of “constitutionalism as a political philosophy” along the lines of Antonin Scalia’s judicial doctrine of originalism, calling for the least government possible while not hating government as such. It was a stance that, late in his life (Krauthammer died in June 2018), put him at odds with the GOP of Donald Trump, about whom he wrote, “the good news of the early Trump presidency is that America’s political institutions, so decried as weak and pliant, have proved a resilient and powerful check on antidemocratic tendencies in the executive.” Krauthammer also offers a grudging but ultimately generous endorsement of the Washington Nationals: “I want them to win. Why? I have no idea….I’m actually invested in the day-to-day fortunes of 25 lunkheads I never heard of until two weeks ago.”
Vintage Krauthammer, containing abundant examples of his often fierce argumentative style and small-c conservative values.