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Daniel Krauthammer Statement On His Late Father



Daniel Krauthammer and his father

Daniel Krauthammer: How would my father, Charles Krauthammer, respond to the current political situation?

Daniel Krauthammer and his fatherAfter my father’s posthumous book, “The Point of It All,” was published last year, I spoke and was interviewed all over the country to promote it.

Thousands of people who followed his commentary approached me, and there was one question in particular that they wished they knew the answer to: “What would Charles say about this?” My father’s voice is more than ever missing.

My father played a unique role in his public life. He wasn’t just another commentator.

Many people who read his columns and watched his television commentary regarded him as a reliable source of information.

“I often found myself hoping Charles would… write about some particular issue I was struggling with so that I would know what to think about it,” one colleague said. “

I feel lost without him,” his admirers would say over and over.

I understand that feeling better than anyone else.

But learning that so many others feel similarly lost, adrift in a world that has become even less navigable in the time since he left, even less clear in its truths and falsehoods, was both moving and enlightening for me.

Our politics has become more ruthless, and our discourse has become more shrill and unkind.


In contrast, my father stood for something very different: he was an example of a better kind of politics and a higher level of discourse.

That is why, whether they agreed with his conclusions or not, so many people looked to him to help them work out their own ideas about what was going on in the world.

They had faith in him. I believe he earned and kept that trust by embodying several key tenets of free and open debate.

First and foremost, he was truthful. He said what he thought. To please anyone or to reflect public opinion, he did not pull punches, change his stance, or mouth party tropes.

His positions were always consistent. He would not change them to keep up with changing trends.

And it’s remarkable to see how unwavering his reasoning remained on so many issues over nearly four decades, as his book vividly illustrates.

Second, my father was a rational person. He’d explain why and how he arrived at his conclusions, taking you through each step of reasoning and evidence to his final conclusion.

He was adamant about making the best case he could for the positions he believed were correct, as well as addressing the most compelling objections and counter-arguments he could find on the opposing side.

This intellectual rigour improved the debate quality for everyone who participated in it.

It aided others in determining not only what to think, but also how to think about important issues.

Those who agreed with him had a better understanding of why.

Those who disagreed would be confronted with a powerful counterargument, forcing them to better defend and appreciate their own positions.

Those in the middle could see which principles, assumptions, or empirical evidence they found convincing and which ones they didn’t.

My father’s third goal was to persuade. This may appear to be self-evident, but it is not.

Many politicians only want to rally supporters who already agree with them, discredit their opponents, or intimidate their opponents.

It’s not easy to persuade others to change their minds of their own free will.

In the end, democracy’s success and survival are dependent on the use of persuasion rather than force.

It requires bravery, restraint, and perseverance. That is the level of commitment required of both leaders and citizens in a democratic society.

It necessitates a democratic mindset. It also necessitates personal virtue.

The Founding Fathers were well aware of this. John Adams wrote, “Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private virtue, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics.”

After the Constitutional Convention, the American people had “a republic, if you can keep it,” as Benjamin Franklin is said to have said. This democratic republic could only be saved by republican virtue.

My father exemplified these qualities. And, as many who knew him and saw his impact on our country have noted, his public greatness was inextricably linked to his personal goodness.

The most important aspects of my father’s life were neither political nor public.

He did not, however, make a big deal about his personal virtues or his personal life.

His calling was politics and the service he provided to our democracy.

And he’d like his memory to be based on it. However, I believe we owe it to him, and to ourselves, to recognise how deeply his democratic spirit was rooted in his humane soul.

His commitment to human liberty, freedom of conscience and thought, and democratic pluralism was unwavering.

But, without his honesty, decency, magnanimity, bravery, and humanity, he could never have been such a powerful, resonant, and sorely missed voice in our politics.

Perhaps his friends and colleagues put it best when they wrote, “He was… a giant, a man who not only defended our civilization but represented what’s best in it.”

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