Kenneth Minogue, longtime professor of politics at the London School of Economics, died Friday, age 83. He was a leading conservative political thinker of our time—no, he was a leading political thinker, period, of our time, whose classic, The Liberal Mind, written a half century ago, remains must reading. Here's a taste of Minogue, courtesy of Steven Hayward at Powerline:
“There were giants in the earth in those days.” The death on December 19 of Robert Bork—superb legal scholar, preeminent constitutional thinker, principled public servant—calls to mind the other giants of American conservatism who have left us in the last decade: Bill Buckley and Irving Kristol, Milton Friedman and James Q. Wilson, Richard John Neuhaus and Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. They were the greatest conservative generation. They rode into the valley of liberal orthodoxies and emerged sometimes triumphant, always unbowed. When can their glory fade? They left our nation stronger and better for their efforts.
I know a gaffe when I see one, having made many myself, and Romney’s 47 percent remark was no gaffe. It was an expression of a belief so deeply held, and so thoroughly validated in the circles in which Romney travels, that it required no fact-checking.
I woke up this morning to about ten emails from journalist friends asking if our mutual friend, Andrew Breitbart, was really dead. “Really” was the operative word. Some meant it in the traditional sense: Is it possible for the human inferno that Breitbart resembled to have actually been extinguished at age 43, leaving his elegant wife Susie and his four beloved children behind? Several, however, meant it as in: Is Andrew really dead? Many of us didn’t know if we could trust the announcement, thinking this could be another Breitbart caper, as he always had two or three in his back pocket.
I suspect many of Andrew Breitbart's friends thinking today about how they’ll remember Andrew will picture him charging through the lobby of a hotel followed by opponents hoping to trip him up, supporters cheering on the confrontation, or journalists taking it all in. Some will recall seeing him give a speech to hundreds of conservative activists as he did in Michigan last Saturday. Many will remember having drinks or dinner or coffee with Andrew and a large group of people crowded around a tiny bar table or spilling out awkwardly into the aisles of a restaurant.
Andrew Breitbart died suddenly last night, much, much too young. He was a good and loyal friend, a happy and exuberant warrior, and a talented and dynamic force on behalf of causes he believed in, and the country he loved. May his memory be a blessing.
Here’s a moving tribute by Andrew’s good friend Jonah Goldberg, who happened to be at the Fox studio when the news broke this morning: