Skip to main content

Charles Krauthammer, a Genius Gone Too Soon

Charles Krauthammer, who passed away on Thursday at 68, was not just a columnist -- he was a luminary. I came to this conclusion after devouring his bestselling 2014 book, "Things That Matter," which was given to me by my stepfather.

Charles Krauthammer

Krauthammer, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist by profession, always had the most incisive, thought-provoking, and intellectually-rooted approaches to the issues of our time. Whether I was reading his columns or listening to him on a Fox News panel, I knew that I was tapping into a deep repository of knowledge.

Nothing will come close to replenishing the gaping black hole left by Krauthammer's loss, but even so, we can rejoice in the knowledge that his brilliant words will persist even though their writer is no longer with us.

For those who are unfamiliar with Krauthammer's writings, his intellect was on full display in "Judging Israel," an essay that he penned for Time in 1990.

In the piece, which was featured in "Things That Matter," Krauthammer questioned the media's animosity towards Israel, a nation of freedom and prosperity located in a sea of tyranny. It can be read in full here:

Regarding the possibility of a post-Israel future, a possibility amid regional and global cooperation against the state's very existence, Krauthammer wrote,

Israel cannot stand alone, and if it is abandoned by its friends for not meeting Western standards of morality, it will die. ... It is morally absurd ... to reject Israel for failing to meet Western standards of human rights when the consequence of that rejection is to consign the region to neighbors with considerably less regard for human rights.

Krauthammer continued, calling out the hypocrisy of those who criticize Israel's sovereign right to defend itself:

In establishing a Jewish state, the Jewish people made a collective decision no longer to be cried for. They chose to become actors in history and not its objects. Historical actors commit misdeeds, and should be judged like all nation-states when they commit them. It is perverse to argue that because this particular nation-state is made up of people who have suffered the greatest crime in modern history, they, more than any other people on earth, have a special obligation to be delicate with those who would bring down on them yet another national catastrophe.

Ultimately, Krauthammer hit the nail on its head, delivering a rhetorical and logical affront to those who question the moral solvency of Israel:

That is a double standard. What does a double standard mean? To call it a high standard is simply a euphemism. That makes it sound like a compliment. In fact, it is a weapon. If I hold you to a higher standard of morality than others, I am saying that I am prepared to denounce you for things I would never denounce anyone else for. ...  The conscious deployment of a double standard directed at the Jewish state and at no other state in the world, the willingness systematically to condemn the Jewish state for things others are not condemned for - this is not a higher standard. It is a discriminatory standard. And discrimination against Jews has a name too. The word for it is anti-Semitism.

"Judging Israel," with a premise rooted in intellect rather than emotion, perfectly elucidated the conservative perspective with regards to the need for Israeli survival. In fact, the essay had a major role in convincing me that Israel is a special nation that must be protected through whatever means possible.

Every piece penned by Charles Krauthammer was written with the same level of intellect as "Judging Israel." Charles' unwavering brilliance was the catalyst for his ascendancy to the zenith of American conservative intellectualism, and it is also why we will mourn his death in the years to come.