It’s a sad, sad day. I don’t think any one person, aside from my father, has done more to help shape my political world view than William F. Buckley. I have been a subscriber to National Review for over 30 years, since I was a teenager, and still read every issue from cover to cover. Even though I no longer identify as ‘conservative’ (or ‘liberal’ or ‘moderate’) I still connect with the clarity of thought and beneficent reasoning found within the pages of that magazine.
No matter where you stand on the political playing field, you are doing yourself a disservice if you haven’t read any of his essays or books. If you realize (whether you voted for him or not) that Ronald Reagan made a tremendous impact on the world then you need to realize that he would have never been elected if not for Bill Buckley.
Though the ‘godfather’ of modern conservatism, Buckley exuded a genteel manner of purpose, and counted among his friends some of his greatest political adversaries. He was passionate, intelligent, educated, witty, and possessed the greatest vocabulary of anyone in letters today. If all you know of conservatism is what you see on TV or what you hear on the radio, then you will be surprised by Buckley’s well ordered reasoning and his respect for the opposing point of view.
I don’t count too many men or women as great. Buckley was one of them.