RIP William F. Buckley, Jr.

William F. Buckley, Jr has died at age 82. While the news is too recent for much reaction, National Review Online does note that he died while at work in his study, exactly how they think he would have wanted it.

Buckley’s great achievement, as noted by The New York Times, was to make conservatism “a system of ideas.” We might not agree with many of his ideas, but Buckley was the type of person to turn to in order to hear opposing viewpoints argued with intelligence and wit. In a day before blogs and twenty-four hour political coverage, The National Review and Firing Line provided intelligent discussion of politics regardless of whether I agreed with Buckley’s viewpoints. Buckley’s works also provided for an education in the English language along with politics.

Buckley’s attitudes provide an important contrast to the manner in which the conservative movement has degenerated in recent years. Contrast Buckley’s attitude with those ranging from Ron Paul to even Glenn Beck who would grant legitimacy to extremists which Buckley had ostracized. The New York Times notes:

National Review also helped define the conservative movement by isolating cranks from Mr. Buckley’s chosen mainstream.

“Bill was responsible for rejecting the John Birch Society and the other kooks who passed off anti-Semitism or some such as conservatism,” Hugh Kenner, a biographer of Ezra Pound and a frequent contributor to National Review told The Washington Post. “Without Bill, if he had decided to become an academic or a businessman or something else without him, there probably would be no respectable conservative movement in this country.”

Buckley not only rejected extremists such as the Birchers. In recent years he has rejected the biggest mistake made by the Republican Party writing, “One can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed.” Buckley’s death will certainly be a tremendous loss to the conservative movement.

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  1. 1
    Ken McCracken says:

    Thank you for a respectful obit.

    It was a classy thing to do.

  2. 2
    Chuck Adkins says:

    Thank you for keeping it civil. More than I can say for some of the Liberal Bloggers. Like wonkette. Bastards.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    I haven’t checked out Wonkette, but that certainly is not the site to go to for civil or rational liberal discussion. Their goal is actually the opposite, but their type of writing doesn’t go over as well with regards to a recent death.

  4. 4
    Mike Butcher says:


    A true Conservative. He will be missed.

  5. 5
    Christopher says:

    May Buckley rot in hell and walk with El Diablo.

    I still remember back in the early 1980’s (I was in college at the time) when this vile bastard called for victims of HIV/AIDS to be tatooed so they could easily be identified from the general population.

    William Buckley, Jr. was a piece of shit.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:


    Conservatism is often a struggle against the modern world with an inability to handle change or new problems. Unfortunately over reaction to change in the world is a common fault among conservatives. Such inappropriate reaction to HIV was common among conservatives. I’m sure you saw the reports on Huckabee’s previous ideas on handling the problem.

    Such inappropriate reaction by conservatives has been quite common regardless of the problem. With Communism we saw them respond wit McCarthyism. After 9/11 we saw Iraq and the Patriot Act. They respond to climate change by denial of the science and creating a fantasy that climate change is some sort of liberal religion.

  7. 7
    Joseph Amato says:

    February 28, 2008
    In light of the reflections of WFB Buckley demise. I find that reading and enjoying the narratives of this Times blog that I am very appreciative of one important ingredient. Is Buckley a narcissistic reductionism mind as to such a vast global landscape in the post World War II and Cold war era? Must I caution my reflections of the debates presented to be inclusive of what is it that Buckley gave to our culture. It does seem that he was an extreme evocative expression of his own brand and sculptured point of view on the rightness of the Western Culture that Americanism Inherited. Yet with blatant denial of the Jefferson or shall I say Jeffersonian democracy that was envisioned by our illustrious founding father and his democratic mind. It seems that the pain of William F. Buckley sociology and theology was the deeply rooted a dysfunctional Reformation enlightened arch. The great beacon of his interpretive light on the hill in his view of the American psyche was too narrowly defined and really nearly became – if you will a allegorical Frankenstein monster. Where is Goethe when we need him?
    Mister Buckley never asked this question, but went to his end in the illusions of materialism and a somewhat distorted catholic universal dogmatism.
    A real consequence of intellectual excesses and over indulgences that many of the privilege indulge and offer to the world and only if you prefer the theological and political dietary offerings. With Buckley’s Jesuit and parochial fixations and his quest to find a dogmatic singularity of universal authority to his delight worldview and with the honors of Yale – Lex Et Veritas – would implore and seal his own imprimatur to his proxy righteous political camp and archaic banner. All the time WFB is attempting to create in own soul and mind to his followings what can only be described as New Holy Roman Empire enthroned by his own words and image and later incarnated in the guise of Ronald Reagan and Bush our compassionate conservative.
    We find that the natural and social Machiavellian world is truly more dynamic and fluid and just as Mister V. Putin, Osama bin Laden’s, Raul Castro, and any number of developing of Africa nations are expressing their – shall we say dangerously anarchism and beyond moralistic narcissisms and here Buckley was right.
    The American liberal experiment allows for all the explore their democratic Whitman soul and live out their lives to the fullness and even if they will never be fully appreciated by the ultimate diversity of pluralism and humanism that make America a true home to all minds big and small.
    Joseph Amato
    Manhattan, New York City

  8. 8
    newslamp says:

    Whether you liked him or not, at least WFB had journalistic integrity.

  9. 9
    Joseph Amato says:

    March 3, 2008
    Ref W F Buckley RIP maybe?
    Reformation and Counter Reformation derisions are alive and well.
    The Calvin earthly prism is much to bright for derision toward political avatars such as Buckley. Where unification of Holy Mother the Church and mainstream Protestants are ever vigilant as water and oil in the great holy fire of individualism banner of the conservatives ideas of the rights of man and freedom on earth.
    Some things money can’t buy.
    As we then approach the Nuvo Crusades in the new millennium it just to overwhelming for the high priest of the right, WFB.
    Oh, that the world knew how we loved the dialectics of the cold war conflagrations of the post two worlds wars century. Where the churches and all faiths were under the dragon of nuclear holocaust and Armageddon and the eternal cycle of return to alternative justifications and faithful marches.
    Let’s not forget that all is ultimately myth and for the modern free market capital versus
    underclass apologetics ala Calvinism redemption this two is in inclusive as say for example the multitudes such as in tribalism and Muslims mass global populations with a reading level of average of a five-year-old child.
    Mister William Francis Buckley carved out his Christian knighthood yet it is old royalty that honors royalty and so you have the chatter of the underprivileged and unenlightened uninitiated into the hierarchy of Dante’s Divine heaven.
    Joseph Amato, Manhattan NYC

  10. 10
    Ed Seagraves says:

    Mr. Buckley’s death is a great loss for America!
    He understood that conservatisim is a state of mind and of principle. Most Americans know they cannot spend their way out of debt, Yet our gov’t seems to think they can. He also understood that ALL other Governments that become top heavy, trying to GIVE all to everyone throughout history have failed.
    Free means someone else pays for it or you do but don’t know it. If the government could do thing better that the private sector why does the defence department bid out ALL of it equipment. then why does it take hours and hours at the social security office to answer 1 question? He understood that wealth re-distribution will not work, as example the economic stimulus package. Taxes returned to the population to spur our economy forward. lower taxes means more disposable income for everyone. less government is the only way to achive that. We all agree that the un-ablebodied should be not left alone, however the gov’t shouldn’t make otherwise useful persons useless. The Gov’t can’t make you happy,it can only frustrate you at best or make everyone equally miserable. Conseratism means personal responsibility.
    Not the Gov’t responsible for your every need. they screw it up all the time.

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