The Family Way

Jacob Weisberg, "The Family Way," The New Yorker, October 21 & 28, 1996.


Someone imperfectly versed in the idiosyncrasies of American political life might have found Irving Kristol’s seventy-fifth-birthday party a bit peculiar. Gathered to celebrate the occasion at the American Enterprise Institute, in Washington, last year were some hundred and thirty luminaries of the high-minded right—Jack Kemp, George Will, William Bennett, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Antonin Scalia, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Robert Bork, among others—all dressed in their evening finery. But here they were calling one another “Comrade,” quoting Trotsky, and trading knowing references to the left-wing sects of nineteen-thirties New York—the Lovestoneites, the Schachtmanites, the Shermanites. In a convivial mood, the guests raised their glasses to Kristol, read from his early radical writings, and recalled his heroics, such as the time he jumped on the back of a policeman during a 1939 protest at City College. Finally, Kristol himself rose, and spoke with pride about his Communist past.

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