A Conversation with Charles Krauthammer

Posted: Oct 23, 2013 8:00 AM

Townhall Magazine’s November 2013 issue is here! Check out an exclusive sneak peek of some of our top stories, and order Townhall Magazine today for these can't-miss articles:

- Guy Benson: A Conversation with Charles Krauthammer - The legendary political commentator talks about his new book, "Things That Matter," hot political topics, and his journey from Democrat to Republican.

- Mark Kakkuri: Anti-Gun Fails - These six recent defeats for gun control advocates show unprecedented movement in advancing gun rights.

- Heather Ginsberg: Daily Surveillance in Your Life - Feel like you're being watched? You are! Townhall breaks down how much surveillance Americans are encountering in their daily lives.

- Daniel Doherty: Serving Military Veterans - With the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), the United States Senate no longer has any World War II veterans.

Remember, our print features are generally 100 percent exclusive ... most won't run in full online!

Excerpted from Townhall Magazine's November cover story, "A Conversation with Charles Krauthammer," by Guy Benson:

Benson: So read a certain way, when you look at the title, "Things That Matter," it can be perceived, maybe, as a pointed title because it at least implies that much of what is discussed inside the beltway and the media. doesn't really matter that much. Was that intended as a quasi-critique at all?

Krauthammer: I think it was, and I think that's [a] very astute reading of it. It's meant to be somewhat ironic. l do have a very long, 5,000-word introduction which is an original piece of writing, which is precisely on that subject of what really matters. And the ironic point I try to make in the essay is that the things that really engage my mind and my passions do not have to do with politics.

Benson: Right.

Krauthammer: They have to do with all the wondrous things, the paradoxes, the mysteries. And the first half of the book is precisely on that. Not on politics, mostly on people, ideas, conundrums. You know things ... like, just to throw something out randomly, curiosities.

Why do we say "women and children"? ?Isn't that an odd thing to say in the age of feminism"? Isn't that demeaning to women? Shouldn't it be "so many children were killed, and so many men and women"? Things like Halley's Comet, Fermi's paradox. I write about those things because they really intrigue me and I find them elegant and beautiful.

But what I argue in the introductory essay is the one thing that dominates everything. The one thing you can't get wrong in a civilization. You can't get your politics wrong, even though it's not exactly the most elevated, elegant and noble of occupations. It's rather scrungy, or sketchy, as my son's generation would say. But in the end, you get the politics wrong, and everything else is wiped out. And it's important to do the politics because it's the foundation of everything elegant and beautiful that a society can build; it has to be built on a foundation of a free and open society.

So that's why politics has that lt place in the trilogy. It's not the thing that deeply engages me for its own sake, but it deeply engages me and I spent my life in it, obviously, because of its importance.

Benson: Well, let's talk about your lite. Your professional journey has been remarkable and very unusual. And I would also argue that your political path has been, to a certain extent, as well. You write that your political sensibilities were awakened upon reading John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty." So, how then, did you begin your political life as a liberal Democrat?

...continue reading in Townhall Magazine's November issue.

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