“America today,” writes George Weigel, “badly needs the wisdom and example of a Midge Decter,” referring to the legendary writer and editor who died last May. He reflects on her rare combination of virtues:
And while Midge was a happy Jewish warrior for cultural sanity, sound politics, and a society that lived freedom in solidarity, she was also clear-eyed and unsentimental about the enduring effects in public life of what her Christian friends—and there were many of them—called “original sin.” I once complained to Midge about some political perfidy or other, some betrayal of principle or trust, and she replied, with a kind of grim smile, “Think low, George. You’ll rarely be disappointed.”
As a matter of prudential judgment, she was right: the human capacity to muck things up is virtually limitless. But while hard experience and the cardinal virtue of prudence might dictate “thinking low” and not expecting too much in the political arena, Midge also challenged us to aim high: to live and organize and argue for the good things, the permanent things, the noble things. Thinking low didn’t mean aiming low. And while Midge fought hard, she also fought clean, with a joie de combat and brio that kept those of us fortunate to be in her orbit energized.
A true daughter of Israel who loved her Christian friends and helped them make better Christian arguments in the public square, she now rests in the bosom of Abraham. As Elisha asked of Elijah, may we be blessed with a portion of her spirit.