Arnold Beichman has died, at age 96. One somehow thought he would live forever. He certainly was forever young—and entirely in the good sense: He was young in energy and enthusiasm and zest for life. He was at the same time wise in the ways of the world. It’s a rare combination. And I very much agree with what John Podhoretz writes in his lovely appreciation of Arnold: “Whatever Arnold Beichman had in him, if they could bottle it and we could take it, we would immediately lead lives of energy and purpose, high good humor and great good feeling, and a sense that, though there were very dark forces at work in the world, the world itself was a wonderful place and one should embrace it and drink it deep to the dregs, and then drink the dregs and relish them too.”
He and Carroll were friends of my parents, and also friends to Susan and me—and friends to many at the magazine. One of the treats of spending some time at the Hoover Institution, as several of my colleagues have over the years, was getting to visit with Arnold. I still remember Vic Matus coming back from a week at Hoover a few years ago and regaling us at our Monday editorial meeting with his report of conversations with Arnold about Trotsky and Trilling and New York in the 1940s.
Well-deserved and more extensive tributes to Arnold will be appearing over the next few days. I’d simply say this: Arnold loved life, and he loved liberty, and he loved America. And we loved him. What a man!