The life of Philip Gold

The ‘Life Lessons’ columnist and cat lover, remembered by his wife.

A DECADE ahead of the times: Philip Gold. (photo credit: Courtesy)
A DECADE ahead of the times: Philip Gold.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Philip Gold left us at approximately 12:30 p.m. on 14 October 2018, dying peacefully at home in Karmiel, after a long struggle with leukemia, aggravated by the legacy of multiple strokes and what was surely chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). He was 70 years and two days.
Philip grew up in Pittsburgh and earned a BA in history from Yale University, then joined the US Marine Corps, in which he served 11 years, active and reserve, ending as a major with a primary specialty in intelligence. He earned his PhD in history from Georgetown University, where he taught for 14 years.
A journalist and a writer, Philip was a syndicated columnist for PRS, an independent op-ed columnist and a staff writer for Insight on the News, the Washington Times Magazine back when the Times was a respected newspaper with a point of view, rather than an ideological rag. He covered national defense, advertising and psychiatry, was a fellow in three think tanks and wrote a regular column – “In Re” – for the defunct Washington Law & Politics, as well as “Life Lessons, about “lighter side of cancer” for The Jerusalem Post.
He also authored seven published books, most recently Yom Kippur Party Goods in 2010, and completed several unpublished works, including a novel of the foundation of the State of Israel, The Former (HaKodem).
A nationally respected and unusually prescient defense analyst, Philip predicted an imminent major terrorist strike in the spring of 2001. A year later, he became one of America’s first conservatives to oppose the Iraq War, due to his ability to read a map, a budget ledger, and a troop basis, in a futile attempt to prevent an utterly wasteful war of choice. Accordingly, he was invited to leave the semi-prominent Discovery Institute in Seattle.
A Goldwater conservative, Philip then broke entirely with conservatism after nearly 40 years, a story told in Take Back the Right: How the Neocons and the Religious Right Have Betrayed the Conservative Movement (2004). Although his book The Coming Draft: The Crisis in Our Military and Why Selective Service Is Wrong (2006) was favorably reviewed by and named one of the 100 best books of the year by The New York Times, his career never recovered.
Such is the price of being a decade ahead of the times, a price Philip paid willingly for the sake of all Americans and their Republic.
Deeply conservative by temperament, Philip took seriously the words of the forgotten father of American conservatism, Russell Kirk, “Politics is the art of the possible.” The conservative says he thinks of political policies as intended to preserve order, justice and freedom.
Progressive by intellect and morality, Philip believed that while the past has value we can use today and in the future, it should be permitted no voice over our lives. He had a deep and abiding respect for the equal human worth of every woman and man, and of the civic value of every American.
Personally, Philip embodied the virtues of kindness, gentleness, compassion, curiosity, modesty, fidelity and decency, as well as exceptional physical and mental toughness. We found happiness late in life together, and I survive him along with our cats, Samantha and Buddy. He is also survived by his sisters/friends Marianne Cochrane Cramer McDonald, Virginia Cochrane Torbert and Patricia Cochrane Gross; and his son by a previous marriage, Jonathan Charles Eggers.
A man of deep integrity, Philip had a delightful sense of humor. A member of that herd of exceptionally valiant cattle – the saving ruminants – we shall not see his like again.