Wednesday, February 27

William F. Buckley (1925-2008)

One of the pioneers of modern Conservatism, William F. Buckley, has died at the age of 82. He was the founder and editor of the National Review Magazine, was a nationally syndicated columnist, and was the host of Firing Line, one of television’s longest-running talk shows. He was also the author of more than five dozen best-selling books in almost every conceivable genre--indeed, he was still at work when he was found today at his desk. Many credit "his sharp wit, his polysyllabic exuberance, his refined demeanor, and his perspicacious mind" with helping to "elevate Conservatism to the center of American political discourse."

According to the New York Times, though "the more than 4.5 million words of his 5,600 biweekly newspaper columns, On the Right, would fill 45 more medium-sized books," his greatest achievement "was making Conservatism--not just electoral Republicanism, but Conservatism as a system of ideas--respectable in Liberal post-World War II America." I disagree. His greatest achievement was simply that as the tireless mentor to two generations of thinkers, writers, politicians, social reformers, moms, dads, cousins, and neighbors, most of whom he never met, he nevertheless made himself a beloved friend.


Unknown said...

With Mr. Buckley's passing, you may now hold the title for 'polysyllabic exuberance.' Man, I feel weaker every time we lose one of these giants and pillars. God has blessed us with many great thinkers in our time, but He only gives them to us for a time.
What's your favorite Buckley book?

Inexorably diminished, although quite thankful,

gileskirk said...

Ben: I have always loved (and helped to get reprinted) the Blackford Oakes spy novels. But, my favorite non-fiction books are A Hymnal: The Controversial Arts and Right Reason, though I do have a real soft spot for Gratitude: Reflections on What We Owe to Our Country and Happy Days Were Here Again.

Lawrence Underwood said...

Mr. Buckley's death leaves a large void among those of this nation that knew how to think critically within a set of moral standards and communicating it with well thought language. I will sorely miss him.

Thankfully he was a voluminous writer.

I'm really beginning to wonder if we will ever have strong conservative voices in this nation again who are not beholden to party.

Jeff Miller said...

The first book I read by WFB was Up From Liberalism. For me, reading about early-mid 1950s liberalism while living in the context of Clintonian insanity was absolutely amazing.
From there, I read several other titles and have always considered his work to be in a class of its own.

I met Mr. Buckley once. He was very kind and signed a couple of volumes of mine. I will miss his perspective very much.

mozart said...

Read "The Unmaking of A Mayor," Buckley's hilarious and poignant account of his entry into the NYC mayoral race years ago. What a man he was.