“The central question that emerges is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes-the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.”
William F. Buckley — American Man Of Letters
National Review, August 24, 1957
Everybody knows that Bill Buckley died Wednesday. I can’t honestly say that I was overwhelmingly influenced by Buckley, though like all conservatives, I read his columns and watched his ‘Firing Line’ production.
In many ways he was a man of subtle contradictions. On one hand he was the architect of Reagan era conservatism while on the other hand he remained a member in good standing of the Council of Foreign Relations.
On one hand he professed loyalty to conservatism, while on the other hand he gave Joe Sobran the ‘heave ho’ from National Review and embraced Trotskyites neo-cons (non-cons) such as Norm and Midge Decter (nee – Podhertz). Within his lifetime he gathered the conservative movement and within his lifetime he saw it splinter again.
Buckley will always be remembered as erudite, urbane, and witty. He still retains those character traits. Buckley could marshal those traits in defense of convictions, as can be seen above, that still lie outside mainstream America — convictions, that if were articulated today by a well placed conservative, would bring the wrath of the politically correct world down upon them.
Perhaps it is fitting that Buckley should die at the time when it seems that the Republican party, which was the ideological vehicle of ‘Buckleyism’ is officially burying that brand of conservatism underneath the rubble of the ‘conservatism’ of those people, who at the end of his career, he was unwilling to cast out of the movement and who finally took over his magazine.
Conservatives everywhere owe a great deal of gratitude to William F. Buckley, but it should be ‘eyes wide open’ gratitude. Buckley carried the conservative embers for most of his life, but at the end he passed the torch to a group, who are in many ways, the very opposite of what he contended for throughout his life.
We should thank God for William F. Buckley and pray that in our old age we will be able to finish well what we started.
2 thoughts on “William F. Buckley – A Short Requiem In A Minor Key”
You wrote: “In many ways he was a man of subtle contradictions. … On one hand he gave Joe Sobran the ‘heave ho’ from National Review, while on the other hand he remained tight with neo-cons Norm and Midge Decter (nee – Podhertz).”
How is that a contradiction?
You’re right… that’s a mistake. Thanks for pointing it out.
It should have read something like,
On one hand he professed loyalty to conservatism, while on the other hand gave Joe Sobran the ‘heave ho’ from National Review and remained tight with neo-cons Norm and Midge Decter (nee – Podhertz).