The Point of it All - A Lifetime of Great Loves and Endeavors
Charles Krauthammer
Contributed by Jerrold Mcmenamin
Chapter 14

Chapter 14: Democracy and Its Discontents

Krauthammer is trying to create a defense for fanatics in this chapter. Ideally, he discusses the two side of extremists and their actions. He mentions the case of liberating laboratory animals to the issue of nuclear safety. He thinks that extremists are good for society since they keep the rest of the people honest. However, it is unwise for extremists to have power, but instead, they should be given the floor first before other people. Apart from that, the author discusses the issue of capital punishment. He notes that the constitution allows states to practice the death penalty on 16-year-olds and the mentally retarded murderers. Although he deems the decision correct, the author claims that it is wrong and should be applied for deterrence and justice issues. Nonetheless, he is sure that deterrence cannot work since the death penalty does reduces murders in the states and countries that practice it.

The author also touches on affirmative action, and he believes that the Supreme Court got it right this time. This is after it “upheld a Michigan referendum prohibiting the state from discriminating either for or against any citizen based on race” (Krauthammer 241). Krauthammer deems this the appropriate action since discrimination based on racial lines is absurd, “incoherent, disingenuous, intellectually muddled and morally confused” (Krauthammer 241). While referring to his previous analysis on Bush syndrome, Krauthammer feels obligated to discuss the idea of Trump syndrome. This refers to the decision made by Trump on climate change. The author thinks that withdrawing America from the Paris agreement was a traitorous act of war against the American people. In addition to that, the author builds a discussion on the challenges limiting the democracy of America with regard to the presidency of Donald Trump.


Just as the title says, every article in this chapter is about democracy and the challenges it possesses. The points on extremism and people gathering in groups to demonstrate shows the real power of democracy. The author sees it in two ways, both the positive and the negative effects. This is similar to the issue of capital punishment and the extremes the form of punishment goes in its attempts to deliver justice. Although the constitution is allowing the practice to prevail, it is still unethical to use the death penalty on kids of 16 years old or the individuals with mental issues. This is not just about ethics but also for humanity issues. Sixteen years is a very tender age. The individual, in spite of the heinous criminal acts, has many years ahead, and he or she can change if the system applies in the correct way. In addition, the mentally ill criminals may have done horrifying acts without their willingness or desire to do such acts. Therefore, the author is just trying to ensure that justice prevails but in line with ethics and humanitarian concerns.

On the affirmative action, Krauthammer understands the importance of diversity and people of different origins living together harmoniously. His work here is relevant considering the diversified American culture and the people, and he is advocating for equal treatment for everyone, thus shunning discrimination based on color. Lastly, he writes a lot about Trump considering that the president has done different questionable decisions during his term. It is not only on the Paris deal but also on other deals such as KORUS, NATO and many others involving international trade. The author is just showing his concern on behalf of the American people and the American nation.

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