Irving Kristol, who emerged from the intensely Jewish milieu of New York’s City College to become the godfather of neoconservatism in Washington, died this afternoon at a hospice in Arlington, Virginia. He was 89. His son, William Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard, told The Washington Post that his father died of complications from lung cancer.
Kristol was born in Brooklyn in 1920 to parents who had emigrated from Eastern Europe and worked in the garment industry. His turn from the labor socialism of his childhood to a new brand of conservatism crystallized in the 1960s, in opposition to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs, and his ideas shaped the modern Republican Party under Ronald Reagan. Kristol once said neoconservatism was not a movement but an “intellectual current.”
“His wisdom, wit, good humor, and generosity of spirit made him a friend and mentor to several generations of thinkers and public servants,” wrote the editors of the Weekly Standard in a post on the magazine’s blog.
Allison Hoffman is a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her Twitter feed is @allisont_dc.