The Weekly Standard has a collection of links about Irving Kristol, who died Friday. James Q. Wilson has a piece in Monday's Wall Street Journal that makes a broader point: "If neoconservatism does have any principle, it is this one: the law of unintended consequences. Launch a big project and you will almost surely discover that you have created many things you did not intend to create. This is not an argument for doing nothing, but it is one, in my view, for doing things experimentally. Try your idea out in one place and see what happens before you inflict it on the whole country."
National Affairs, the new magazine that is an heir to Kristol's Public Interest, has posted an essay of Kristol's from Fall 1975 "On Corporate Capitalism in America." Kristol wrote then, in words that could have been written now, "No other institution in American history -- not even slavery -- has ever been so consistently unpopular as has the large corporation with the American public. It was controversial from the outset, and it has remained controversial to this day." Later in the same essay, he wrote, "the large corporation has gone 'quasi-public,' i.e., it straddles, uncomfortably and uncertainly, both the private and public sectors of our 'mixed economy.'" The "danger" of this, he wrote, is "that the large corporation will be thoroughly integrated into the public sector, and lose its private character altogether," a development that he said would "constitute a huge potential threat to the individual liberties American have traditionally enjoyed."
Two things I take away from Kristol are, first, the possibility of a large influence with a small circulation, and, second, the way things can turn around rapidly. For much of the time Kristol was writing, the Soviet Union controlled huge parts of the earth, and the Johnson and Nixon administrations were seeking to expand vastly the role of government in domestic policy. He lived to see the Soviet Union collapse and the ambition of government in domestic policy become more modest, and he could know that he had at least something to do with both of those changes.