Things That Matter
Charles Krauthammer
Contributed by Nina Calhoun
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Chapter 7

Krauthammer dedicates this chapter to discuss the issue of citizen and state extensively. He initially talks about the French Revolution. In particular, the author focuses on the Bastille after the war was lost. The governor of the region, Bernard-René de Launay chose to surrender instead of torching the city using a mountain of the gunpowder he had in his possession. His decision to surrender cost him his life, as they murdered him in cold blood - his head was chopped off by a cook with a pocketknife (Krauthammer 101). The writer also mentions the American Revolution and that of the Soviet Union. Americans were right to choose liberty whereas the Soviet went wrong by choosing the state. The French wanted both aspects, and it became too much for them.

Besides, Krauthammer talks about Obama’s take on individual and public achievements. To Obama, any realization witnessed in the nation receives a push from the government considering the various things provided by the government such as infrastructure. On the contrary, Krauthammer thinks beyond that scope (Krauthammer 103). He understands that the different resources may be available and still people may fail to achieve anything. However, their self-drive, determination, hard work and the social circles profoundly influence the accomplishments made by people. The issue surrounding the constitution also baffles many individuals, especially the politicians. Many still debate on the constitution as people previously discussed on the ownership of the American flag (Krauthammer 105). The author seems to think that constitutionalism is the intellectual complement and spiritual outcome of the originalism movement in jurisprudence. Apart from that, he also talks about the myth of the angry white man, a metaphor signifying the white man involvement in political issues. This comes into the picture considering the continued struggle between the Democrats and the Republicans (Krauthammer 106). Finally, he mentions the issue of the fake promises always given by the politicians who end up failing to deliver. These politicians are never afraid of badmouthing each other, but abandoning the citizens is their specialty.


The relationship between the state and the citizens began long ago during the revolution eras. Different people around the globe fought for their countries, trying to remove the bad rulers and in the efforts of changing the systems. The use of France, Bastille, in particular, shows how the revolutions were challenging and bloody. People had no fear of committing murder for their freedom; essentially, they saw it as the only way (Krauthammer 102). Today, politicians say anything to have the vote of the citizens. They then fail to deliver their promises after entering the offices, with most choosing to embezzle public property and income. The use of ‘the angry white man’ metaphor is a way of showing how white individuals always like to receive the leadership they deserve. In addition, it may mean their belief in white supremacy in the United States (Krauthammer 108). Again, the achievements of different individuals by receiving some influence from the state of the nation; however, the people have to work for themselves to acquire any possessions. The resources cannot bring any achievement into a person’s house. The individual has to get up and put the necessary effort until he or she achieves anything. On constitutionalism, the document is supposed to guide people on how to relate with each other publicly, and appropriately. It also equals all people by putting them under the same rule of law.

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