William F. Buckley Jr., R.I.P.

Bill BuckleyIt’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.


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  1. #1 by logiopath on February 27, 2008 - 11:51 pm

    The only WFB work I read was a novel about an American spy and the youthful queen of England. It was a bit racy, but in a tasteful way.

    I would doubt the average American has even heard of Buckley (like one of my coworkers–who is fairly conservative).

    Sad for Buckley’s family.

    I wonder of Gore Vidal is celebrating.


  2. #2 by Christian on February 28, 2008 - 7:36 am

    True, but 82 is not a bad ride. And he crammed a lot of living into those 82 years – crossed the Atlantic by sail 5 times, played classical harpsichord, founded a magazine, hosted one of the longest (if not the longest) talk shows on TV, authored over 50 books, married to Pat for 56 years and father of Christopher. Not bad.

  3. #3 by ric booth on February 28, 2008 - 9:57 am

    I guess I’m an average American. Probably below average actually. I’ve heard the name but never read him. If I were so inclined to do so, what would be one of his signature essays?

  4. #4 by Christian on February 28, 2008 - 11:02 am

    There is a book, “Happy Days are Here Again” that is made up of some of his best essays of the eighties. One of my favorite books is “A Delegate’s Odyssey” about his brief experience as a sub-ambassador at the U.N. in the seventies. What an eye -opener.

    But the best way to access some his writings easily is to go to National Review Online.

  5. #5 by ric booth on February 28, 2008 - 11:28 am

    Thanks Christian.

  6. #6 by logiopath on February 29, 2008 - 8:21 pm

    P. S. My coworker was aware of WFB–he wasn’t paying attention when I saw the article about the death.

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