Wednesday, February 27, 2008


A Giant of the Right has passed away. William Frank Buckley, author, TV personality and conservative commentator, was found dead at his desk - as befits him - in the study of his Stamford, Connecticut home this very Wednesday, February 27. William F. Buckley's signal achievement in life was the foundation of the renowned political rightwing magazine National Review in 1955 in New York, from which he retired as an active editor only 35 years later, in 1990. Under his guidance, National Review formulated the ideological basis for modern conservatism, which is essentially a marriage between traditional conservatism and libertarianism. The role of Buckley in paving the way for the "Reagan Revolution" can therefore not be underestimated.

Buckley's yeoman's work at NR and his countless columns as a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist did not prevent his versatile personality of manifesting itself in other arenas. He was a staunch defender of Joseph McCarthy and in 1964 strongly supported the presidential candidacy of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. In 1965 he ran for mayor of New York City (and lost to democrat John Lindsay), and from 1966 to 1999, he hosted the television show Firing Line . As a novelist he wrote a series of novels around the character of CIA agent Blackford Oakes, a reminder of his brief stint as an undercover CIA agent in Mexico City in the early fifties. Apart from this series, he wrote together a stunning number of books on writing, speaking, history, politics, and sailing. To complete the image of a pure western conservative, he was a practicing Christian who often attended Latin Mass in Connecticut. In 1991, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George H. W. Bush. William F. Buckley was married to Canadian-born Patricia Alden Taylor, who gave him a son, Christopher Buckley, and who died last year after a long period of illness.

I have been looking for some quotes that might best typify this apparently Great American Personality of the Right. As a European, I must confess I am not all that well acquainted with WFB's work, but then I had the misfortune of growing up in a poisonous socialist environment, where anything that reeked of another opinion than the Dogmas of the Leftist Church was either downright rejected, and as such I was first tempted to choose this quote:

“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

... or, if it is not simply rejected, it is invariably labeled Nazism, whereby our moral betters time and again forget that it's actually them who are the ideological confrères of that repulsive brand of leftism. I was reminded of that when I came across the famous exclamation Buckley made in a heated encounter with leftozoid douchebag Gore (what's in a name) Vidal, who called him "a proto- or crypto-Nazi":

“Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I will sock you in your goddamn face, and you will stay plastered.”

Honestly, I don't mean to offend gay people. I'm just quoting the man who may (probably) or may not have harbored less nice feelings about you. Anyway, when I pondered my fate as a small business owner working his ass off for the benefit of the common good and the monthly check of the imam next door, I decided I'd post this money quote:

“Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich.”

In the end however, recognizing at last a Fellow Christian (who, I am convinced, was convinced, as I am convinced, that we christians can never be really good christians), I was won over for this humble jewel:

“You cultivate the essential virtues: high purpose, intelligence, decency, humility, fear of the Lord, and the passion for freedom.”

Rest in Peace Mr. Buckley. I will pray for you.


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