Resilience + Intelligence=Something Special

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer died last week.

I will miss him.

Not because we shared common views on politics—we didn’t. But because he was an intelligent and brave voice and those are rare traits in these days of belligerence, alternative facts, echo chambers and blind loyalty.

Mr. Krauthammer did not follow anyone blindly. He was conservative, but independent.

He had people he admired but his admiration was rooted in ideas and ideals and that’s a welcome approach that helps to avoid a cult of personality.

Krauthammer was in Boca Raton two years ago to keynote the annual Boca-Delray Community Event of the American Friends of Magen David Adom (Israel’s Red Cross).

I had a chance to attend but had a conflict. I’m sorry I missed it. I didn’t know his voice would be silenced so soon. At 68. Cancer is just terrible. .

There are scores of great writings from the Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, but here are two of my favorites.

“You can have the most advanced and efflorescent of cultures,” he wrote in the introduction to his memoir, “Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics” (2013). “Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away. This is not ancient history. This is Germany 1933.”

How true, we’d be wise to listen.

 

As someone who was paralyzed while a young man in medical school, Krauthammer was an inspiration and a living lesson in resilience. He loved the Bernard Malamud book “The Natural” in which the protagonist Roy Hobbs is shot by a crazed fan which derails Hobbs’ baseball career.

 

“No one knows why Hobbs is shot,” he wrote. “It is fate, destiny, nemesis. Perhaps the dawning of knowledge, the coming of sin. Or more prosaically, the catastrophe that awaits everyone from a single false move, wrong turn, fatal encounter. Every life has such a moment. What distinguishes us is whether — and how — we ever come back.”

 

In those few beautifully written sentences, Krauthammer covers fate, human vulnerability and resilience.

It’s sad that he’s gone. It’s nice to read someone you disagree with but respect. Someone who challenges your beliefs, makes you think and makes you believe that intelligent and respectful debate is still possible.

Rest In Peace. And thank you.

Comments

  1. True words…we all need to use our intelligence to think and be guided by principles. Most truly independent thinkers can lean in one direction, but are open to opinions and thoughts that challenge!

  2. Bill Wood says:

    I’m a pretty conservative guy so I generally agreed with Krauthammer – He spoke in ways that I envied… I was never a great debater so I loved it when he expressed opinions that I may have had in my head but couldn’t seem to translate to my mouth 🙂

    I will miss him…

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