Irving Kristol, whose views helped shaped modern conservatism, died yesterday at age 89 in Washington D.C. from complications of lung cancer.
The NY Times' obituary says that he "helped revitalize the Republican Party in the late 1960s and early ’70s, setting the stage for the Reagan presidency and years of conservative dominance... He was commonly known as the godfather of neoconservatism, even by those who were not entirely sure what the term meant. In probably his most widely quoted comment — his equivalent of Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame — Mr. Kristol defined a neoconservative as a liberal who had been 'mugged by reality.'"
Kristol was born in Brooklyn, attended City College where he became a Trotskyist, questioned liberalism in the 1960s and founded the magazine Public Interest and then fully embraced conservative ideals in the early 1970s. He once said, "Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a neo-something: a neo-Marxist, a neo-Trotskyist, a neo-liberal, a neo-conservative and, in religion, always a neo-orthodox, even while I was a neo-Trotskyist and a neo-Marxist. I’m going to end up a neo. Just neo, that’s all. Neo-dash-nothing." Kristol's son William is the editor of The Weekly Standard and cheerleader of Sarah Palin.