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Charles Krauthammer
1950 -

American syndicated columnist (Washington Post, TIME), former editor of The New Republic, Oxford University Commonwealth Scholar, Harvard M.D., Honorary Doctor of Letters (McGill, 1984), recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary (1987)


The uniqueness of the 20th century lies not in its science but in its politics. The 20th century was no more scientifically gifted than the 19th, with its Gauss, Darwin, Pasteur, Maxwell and Mendel -- all plowing, by the way, less-broken scientific ground than the 20th. No. The originality of the 20th surely lay in its politics. It invented the police state and the command economy, mass mobilization and mass propaganda, mechanized murder and routinized terror -- a breathtaking catalog of political creativity. And the 20th is a single story because history saw fit to lodge the entire episode in a single century. Totalitarianism turned out to be a cul-de-sac. It came and went. It has a beginning and an end, 1917 and 1991, a run of 75 years neatly nestled into this century. That is our story. And who is the hero of that story? Who slew the dragon? ... victory required one man without whom the fight would have been lost at the beginning. It required Winston Churchill.

Dec. 31, 1999 - commenting on TIME magazine's choice of Albert Einstein rather than Winston Churchill as the Person of the Century, in "Person of the Century", Washington Post
One modern conceit is that the inner man is more important than the outer man. The second conceit is that somehow, thanks to Freud and modern psychobabble, we have real access to the inner man. As a former psychiatrist, I know how excruciatingly difficult it is to try to understand the soul of even someone you have spent hundreds of hours alone with in therapy. To think one can decipher the inner life of some distant public figure is simple folly.

Oct. 19, 1999 - from "We should judge politicians by their deeds", Detroit News
I donít really care what a public figure thinks. I care about what he does. Let God probe his inner heart. Tell me about his outer acts... "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.

Oct. 19, 1999 - from "We should judge politicians by their deeds", Detroit News
We know that El Nino is caused by a decrease in the trade winds that blow east-west across the Pacific from Peru to Indonesia. To explain El Nino by global warming, you have to show that global warming caused these trade winds to cease. Well, there is no evidence for this proposition either. If anything, points out William Nierenberg at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, global warming is supposed to be the cause of increasingly violent weather: stronger winds and more storms--hence the field day environmentalists had blaming last winter's storms on global warming. Moreover, global warming is about general planetary warming but is perfectly useless when it comes to making reliable predictions about regional effects, such as waters warming in one area of the Pacific Ocean.

Nov. 17, 1997 - from "Hell, Highwather and Hype", TIME magazine
The ease with which politicians, popularizers and even scientists can be caught up in popular enthusiasms for one doomsday or another should give us pause.

Dec. 5, 1997 - from "Global Warming Fundamentalists", Washington Post
There has been a very slight warming of the earth's atmosphere in this century (although one still has to explain why satellite and balloon data show no net temperature rise in the past 19 years). But first, it is not clear how much is caused by natural variation only. Second, even assuming a substantial human contribution, it is not clear what, say, a doubling of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions would do to temperatures.

Dec. 5, 1997 - from "Global Warming Fundamentalists", Washington Post
The truth is not what happened. It is what sells.

Aug. 31, 1998 - describing the attitude of the Clinton White House in "Finally, the telltale lie", TIME magazine
At the start of this century there were (as a percentage of the population) 50 percent more foreign-born U.S. residents than there are today. And yet the Irish and Italians and Jews and Poles and Chinese and Japanese of that immigrant wave assimilated so remarkably into the American mainstream that today they are the American mainstream. The problem today is not unassimilable immigrants but an American educational elite that, in the name of ethnic authenticity and multiculturalism, would like them to be unassimilable. Hence the imposition of such devices as bilingual education -- a euphemism for slighting and delaying English instruction -- that not just celebrate but perpetuate ethnic separatism. California's Proposition 227, effectively abolishing bilingual education, marks a welcome resurgence of American common sense. Immigrants are our future. We owe a duty to them -- and to ourselves as a nation -- to make them American as quickly as possible. We'd better. Immigrants are the magic cure -- the American cure -- for the birth dearth.

Feb. 17, 1998 - from "Saved by immigrants", Washington Post
The critics say that to fail to portray [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] in a wheelchair is to give in to his false--i.e., nonmodern--consciousness about disability. On the contrary. It is to celebrate his ethos of bold denial. Denial is not in great favor today. It is considered unhealthy, an almost cowardly psychic constriction. The mantra today is that all must be dealt with, talked out, coped with, opened up, faced squarely. This may work for some. But it has become something of a religion. And if its priests are so correct about the joys of catharsis and the perils of denial, how do they explain how the champion denier of our century, Franklin Roosevelt, lived such a splendid life? Roosevelt's denial of his disability was more than just a denial of crushing adversity, more than a jaunty, smiling, damn-the-torpedoes refusal to dwell upon--indeed, fully acknowledge--his physical reality. It was a denial of self, a strange notion for us living in this confessional age when self--self-exploration, self-expression, self-love--is paramount. Roosevelt's life had a grand outer directedness. He was not searching for the inner Franklin. He was reaching for a new America. It was the outer Franklin he cultivated, and it is that Franklin, the one who saved his country, that we honor and remember.

May 5, 1997 - from "The dignity of denial", published in TIME magazine
Middleness is the very enemy of the bold.

quoted in Readers' Digest
[The] Artic National Wildlife Refuge is the poster child of cake-and-eat-it-too eco-petulance. It's a place so remote and so desolate that not one American in a million will ever see it. Exploration would affect no more than eight percent of the refuge. Rather than disturb the mating grounds of caribou, however, our exquisite environmentalists have prevented exploration of what could be our next Prudhoe Bay. And for reasons of nothing less than hysteria, they have also blocked the one supply side solution to the environment vs. energy conundrum: nuclear power. Nuclear is the one mode of electricity generation that avoids nearly all traditional environmental damage--the noxious gases, the particulates, and best of all, carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas. Nuclear waste is not a trivial problem, but it has the distinct advantage of being concentrated and not dispersed in the atmosphere. Yet the allergy to nuclear is so extreme and irrational that even in the midst of this crisis, no one dares mention it as a long-term alternative.

Feb. 18, 2001 - from "Supply and demand realities", which helps explain rocketing electricity and gas prices, published by the Washington Post Writers Group