Friday, September 18, 2009

Irving Kristol, R.I.P.

I've written before about the bizarrely rigorous intellectual training of Irving Kristol, who was strangely airbrushed out of TNR's recent reference to the New York Intellectuals. Happily, Kristol got to see the extension of the journal he founded, The Public Interest, just before he died. Here is Kristol on capitalism:
Just as a victorious Christianity needed the Old Testament in its canon because the Ten Commandments were there - along with the assurance that God created the world "and it was good," and along, too, with its corollary that it made sense to be fruitful and multiply on this earth - so liberal capiltalism needed the Judeo-Christian tradition to inform it authoritatively about the use and abuse of the individual's newly won freedom.
That is not an irresponsible endorsement of capitalism, but a robust, religiously informed critique of capitalism, one that sees the free market as a penultimate, limited good; but I wouldn't count on hearing too much of that take on Kristol in the days to come.