Asked as a young man what he specialized in, Daniel Bell, a member of the second generation of New York intellectuals who came bursting out of City College in the 1930s blurted out, “I specialize in generalizations!” It was said with youthful intellectual exuberance at first, and then wryly repeated as the years wore on and his social theorizing grew in richness and audacity.
There has been a flurry of obituaries and appreciations of Irving Kristol in recent days. And rightly so. Whether you admire his conservative ideas or loathe them, his mark on American politics is undeniable. He was, simply put, a key architect of the conservative revolution of the 1970s and 1980s that altered the Republican Party, and with it the American political landscape.