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Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics by Charles Krauthammer
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“To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“IN DEFENSE OF THE F-WORD I am sure there is a special place in heaven reserved for those who have never used the F-word. I will never get near that place.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“The greatest threat to a robust, autonomous civil society is the ever-growing Leviathan state and those like Obama who see it as the ultimate expression of the collective. Obama compounds the fallacy by declaring the state to be the font of entrepreneurial success. How so? It created the infrastructure - roads, bridges, schools, Internet - off which we all thrive. Absurd. We don't credit the Swiss postal service with the Special Theory of Relativity because it transmitted Einstein's manuscript to the Annalen der Physik.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“I don't really care what a public figure thinks. I care about what he does. Let God probe his inner heart.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“Politics is the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians. Fail to keep them at bay, and everything burns.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“Don't touch my junk, you airport security goon--my package belongs to no one but me, and do you really think I'm a Nigerian nut job preparing for my 72-virgin orgy by blowing my johnson to kingdom come?”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“Religion--invaluable in America's founding, forming and flowering--deserves a place in the schools. Indeed, it had that place for almost 200 years. A healthy country would teach its children evolution--and the Ten Commandments.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“Krauthammer’s Law: Everyone is Jewish until proven otherwise. I’ve had a fairly good run with this one.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“Know thyself' is a highly overrated piece of wisdom. As for knowing the self of others, forget it. Know what they do and judge them by their works.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“You can have the most advanced and efflorescent cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away. This is not ancient history. This is Germany 1933.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“In 1857, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney handed down the Dred Scott decision upholding and extending slavery. Taney’s opinion was, it is generally agreed, “the worst constitutional decision of the 19th century” (the words are Robert Bork’s). Yet there is a curious and little known fact about Judge Taney. More than 30 years earlier he had freed his own slaves. Today, therefore, we would say that while he was “personally” opposed to slavery he did not want to “impose” his views on others.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil. For the first side of this equation, I need no sources. As a conservative, I can confidently attest that whatever else my colleagues might disagree about—Bosnia, John McCain, precisely how many orphans we’re prepared to throw into the snow so the rich can have their tax cuts—we all agree that liberals are stupid. We mean this, of course, in the nicest way. Liberals tend to be nice, and they believe—here is where they go stupid—that most everybody else is nice too. Deep down, that is. Sure, you’ve got your multiple felon and your occasional war criminal, but they’re undoubtedly depraved ’cause they’re deprived. If only we could get social conditions right—eliminate poverty, teach anger management, restore the ozone, arrest John Ashcroft—everyone would be holding hands smiley-faced, rocking back and forth to “We Shall Overcome.” Liberals believe that human nature is fundamentally good. The fact that this is contradicted by, oh, 4,000 years of human history simply tells them how urgent is the need for their next seven-point program for the social reform of everything.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“For the purposes of a pluralist society, the Bible is not about fact. It is about values. If we were a bit more tolerant about allowing the teaching of biblical values as ethics, we’d find far less pressure for the teaching of biblical fables as science.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“Two decades ago, however, socialism and communism died rudely, then were buried forever by the empirical demonstration of the superiority of market capitalism everywhere from Thatcher's England to Deng's Dhina, where just the partial abolition of socialism lifted more people out of poverty than ever in human history.
Just as the ash heap of history beckoned, the intellectual left was handed the ultimate salvation: environmentalism. Now the experts will regular your life not in the name of the proletariat or Fabian socialism but--even better--in the name of Earth itself. Environmentalists are Gaia's priests, instructing us in her proper service and casting out those who refuse to genuflect. And having proclaimed the ultimate commandment--carbon chastity--they are preparing the supporting canonical legislation that will tell you how much you can travel, what kind of light you will read by and what temperature you may set your bedroom thermostat.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“International stability is never a given. It is never the norm. When achieved, it is the product of self-conscious action by the great powers, and most particularly of the greatest power, which now and for the foreseeable future is the United States. If America wants stability, it will have to create it.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“Some will protest that in a world with so much human suffering, it is something between eccentric and obscene to mourn a dog. I think not. After all, it is perfectly normal—indeed, deeply human—to be moved when nature presents us with a vision of great beauty. Should we not be moved when it produces a vision—a creature—of the purest sweetness?”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“Obama doesn’t like this terror war. He particularly dislikes its unfortunate religious coloration, which is why “Islamist” is banished from his lexicon. But soothing words, soothing speeches in various Muslim capitals, soothing policies—“open hand,” “mutual respect”—have yielded nothing. The war remains. Indeed, under his watch, it has spread. And as commander in chief he must defend the nation.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“Unilateralism simply means that one does not allow oneself to be held hostage to the will of others.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“To say that all individuals are embedded in and the product of society is banal. Obama rises above banality by means of fallacy: equating society with government, the collectivity with the state. Of course we are shaped by our milieu. But the most formative, most important influence on the individual is not government. It is civil society, those elements of the collectivity that lie outside government: family, neighborhood, church, Rotary club, PTA, the voluntary associations that Tocqueville understood to be the genius of America and the source of its energy and freedom.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“History has blessed us with all the freedom and advantages of multiculturalism. But it has also blessed us, because of the accident of our origins, with the linguistic unity that brings a critically needed cohesion to a nation as diverse, multiracial and multiethnic as America. Why gratuitously throw away that priceless asset? How mindless to call the desire to retain it 'racist.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“You can have the most advanced and efflorescent cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away. This is not ancient history. This is Germany 1933...Politics is the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians. Fail to keep them at bay, and everything burns.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“For the Europeans there really is a peace dividend, because we provide the peace. They can afford social democracy without the capacity to defend themselves because they can always depend on the United States.
So why not us as well? Because what for Europe is decadence--decline, in both comfort and relative safety--is for us mere denial. Europe can eat, drink and be merry for America protects her. But for America it's different. If we choose the life of ease, who stands guard for us?”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“Who else but that oracle of American liberalism, the New York Times, could run the puzzled headline: “Crime Keeps On Falling, but Prisons Keep On Filling.” But? How about this wild theory: If you lock up the criminals, crime declines.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“In a world of terrorists, terrorist states and weapons of mass destruction, the option of preemption is especially necessary. In the bipolar world of the Cold War, with a stable non-suicidal adversary, deterrence could work. Deterrence does not work against people who ache for heaven. It does not work against undeterrables. And it does not work against undetectables: non-suicidal enemy regimes that might attack through clandestine means—a suitcase nuke or anonymously delivered anthrax. Against both undeterrables and undetectables, preemption is the only possible strategy.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“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 antisemitism. Time, February 26, 1990”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“Therefore, good-bye Columbus? Balzac once suggested that all great fortunes are founded on a crime. So too all great civilizations. The European conquest of the Americas, like the conquest of other civilizations, was indeed accompanied by great cruelty. But that is to say nothing more than that the European conquest of America was, in this way, much like the rise of Islam, the Norman conquest of Britain and the widespread American Indian tradition of raiding, depopulating and appropriating neighboring lands. The real question is, What eventually grew on this bloodied soil? The answer is, The great modern civilizations”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
“...every once in a while, a single person arises without whom everything would be different. Such a man was Churchill. After having single-handedly saved Western civilization from Nazi barbarism--Churchill was, of course, not sufficient in bringing victory, but he was uniquely necessary--he then immediately rose to warn prophetically against its sister barbarism, Soviet communism.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“And who is the hero of that story? Who slew the dragon [totalitarianism]? Yes, it was the ordinary man, the taxpayer, the grunt who fought and won the wars. Yes, it was America and its allies. Yes, it was the great leaders: FDR, de Gaulle, Adenauer, Truman, John Paul II, Thatcher, Reagan. But above all, victory required one man without whom the fight would have been lost at the beginning. It required Winston Churchill.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“The more settled and ordered one's life - and in particular one's communal life - the easier it becomes for one's imagination to fail.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
“The most basic parental bond is maternal. Equal parenting is great--it has forced men to get off their duffs--but women, from breast to cradle to cuddle, can nurture in ways that men cannot.”
Charles Krauthammer, Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics

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