Charles Krauthammer passed away and with him America lost a chunk of reason and propriety, resources it no longer has in abundance. America lost an invaluable resource and cultural guide. It is no coincidence that as Dr. Krauthammer receded from public life due to illness, public discourse continued its death spiral. Perhaps we can use his passing as a call to reform.
Many will and already have written kind words of the doctor. His resume was impressive, his writing unparalleled, and his voice the hallmark of lucidity and respect. I did not agree with him on many issues, but we all agree that his writing was special.
For novices like me who dabble in punditry, if Krauthammer were Picasso, I am still drawing with stick figures.
The strength of his writing was in his reasoning. His analytical skills came from an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Imagine that? There is a nexus between reason and writing clarity. Moreover, there is a nexus between knowledge and reason.
Krauthammer was a thinker. He thought often about complex issues. He then set out to find answers, challenge conventional wisdom, and like most great minds, he spent more time testing his own conclusions to ensure their soundness.
His writing was cast in moral conviction, rather than a need to be haute, bombastic, preachy, or superior. Krauthammer eschewed the prurient political urge to be a provocateur, something the weak like me really can’t do as well, if at all.
He didn’t need to be heard or read. He wanted to be respected for the power of his reasoning and not the fire his prose could give to the unwashed masses. He tried to elevate public discourse by writing in a style that reached people of every educational background, distilling the complex into crisp, sound explanations with the heft of common sense and the hue of moral authority.
Few can do that … if any.
He wrote to inform, not to belittle or prove himself superior. He had a strong emotional IQ, and he didn’t need to be liked, followed, or accepted. He needed to find answers that made sense for the human condition.
Where do we go to find more of that?
The bright young conservative Ben Shapiro wrote a wonderful tribute to Krauthammer at his Dailywire. It is worth the read, as is much of his work. Shapiro could be that next voice of reason too. I am optimistic about his vision and unbridled effort to stay true to principles over party and political personalities. He does it better than me, though neither of us is the good doctor.
For the many pundits, journalists, commentators, and political pugilists, Krauthammer should be our model. Rather than trying to be heard over the din with yet another outrageous story, headline, or claim, why not stand out from the crowd with the power of persuasion born of reason and girded by an unwavering moral clarity?
It’s a challenge to take the road nearly never traveled.
Consider this, however; In a time when reason and propriety are in short supply, we can ill-afford to lose the man whose supply of both was bountiful. We may never write like Charles. We may never think like Charles. But nothing should stop us from thirsting to be informed like Charles. That’s a great starting place.
For the friends and family who lay to rest a loved one, we pray your grief is soon assuaged by the loving memories of the man you knew best. Thank you for sharing him with us. We will try to be better in his example.
Author: Richard Kelsey
Richard Kelsey is the Editor-in-Chief of Committed Conservative.
He is an Attorney, a former Assistant Law School Dean, Law Professor, and Virginia state court law clerk. Dean Kelsey was also the CEO of a technology company specializing in combating cyber-fraud. He is a regular commentator on legal and political issues in print, radio and on TV.
Rich graduated from George Mason law school, clerked for the Arlington Circuit Court, and later joined an AM LAW top 10 law firm practicing commercial litigation. He left the firm to be counsel and CEO to a consulting firm, rising to CEO of Turiss, LLC, a technology firm specializing in computer forensics, digital investigations, and fighting cyber-fraud through civil intel services and new technologies. Upon the sale of the company, Kelsey returned to Mason Law, where in the years before his return, he both taught at the school and served as President of the Law Alumni Association. Kelsey was the Assistant Dean for Management and Planning.
At Mason, Dean Kelsey taught legal writing and analysis and an advanced litigation seminar. In 2014 he was elected by the graduating class as the faculty speaker at their graduation. While serving the former George Mason Law, Kelsey conceived of, planned, and brought to fruition Mason’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, known as CPIP.
Rich has appeared on radio, TV, and in print hundreds of times as both a legal expert and political and legal commentator. He provided the legal analysis for all stages of the Bob McDonnell trial and appeal for numerous outlets including NPR and WMAL. He writes on occasion for the American Spectator and CNSNews.com. He returned to private practice in September of 2016, and he is working on a book/expose on legal education.
In his free time, Rich is part of the baseball mafia of Northern Virginia, serving on numerous boards and as a little league and travel baseball coach.
Rich has many opinions, and they are his own. His Twitter handle is @richkelsey.