RIP William F. Buckley


I just heard the sad news.  Growing up I really didn’t know much about him, what he did or who he was, mostly getting my images of him from Saturday Night Live skits and other slapstic routines that made fun of his demeanor.  The last few years I have take a pretty good dive into some of his books and am very glad I did.  Thank you William for a life well lived.

10 thoughts on “RIP William F. Buckley”

  1. A&L has a series of links to obituaries; an especially moving one is “The Unbought Grace of Life” by Myron Magnet (City Journal). He conclydes, describing the trajectory of his understanding of the man:

    I saw his character become ever more clearly the unmistakable, irreplaceable Buckley: witty, cultivated, playful, urbane, gracious, brave, zestful, life-affirming, tireless, and gallant—the incarnation of grace. He taught many not only how to think but also how to be.

  2. A few more words.

    I find myself unusually emotional about this death. Not sad. He was old, he died at work, he did all and more than all. Even without sadness, I grew up with National Review, and “Bill Buckley” was a presence, and I and many others will feel his absence.

    The shape of postwar American politics would have been very different, and much to the worse, if this one person had not existed, or if he had decided to follow a conventional and easier path in life.

    The impact one dedicated person can hive, for the good, is too little understood, too little appreciated.

    The impact of ideas and inspiration that PRECEDE poltical action are also hard to discern in the historical record. But ideas do have consequences. And the bearer of ideas, his charm, his force, his persistence, his ability to bring people together, all matter too.

    What a country, that we can have someone like him come along and accomplish as much as he did.

    God bless him.

  3. I feel somewhat emotional myself Lex – I haven’t been this emotional about a political/world figure dying since Reagan (who was influenced immensely by Buckley). I wrote little in my above obit since others will do so much better than myself. In his honor I have decided to move the four books of his works that I have in my stack to the top of my reading list. I think he would have liked that. The first will be The Making of a Mayor – the story about how he ran for mayor of NYC – and amazingly got 10% of the vote.

    The texts of Buckley’s debates are very interesting as well – he was a devastatingly effective debater. I recently read “Let Us Talk of Many Things” which is a collection of his speeches. Wonderful as well, and I think I will re-read that one.

  4. One of my favorite Buckley anecdotes regards his meeting, possibly mid 1950’s, with Ayn Rand whose first statement to the young Buckley was ” You aahr too intelligent to believe in Gott”.

    Buckley reminisced ” That was quite an icebreaker”.

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