Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F Buckley dies at his desk....

What a fitting way to go. At his desk writing. His cook found the great man dead probably with characteristic red ball point in hand. The man who pretty much invented modern conservatism in America. The conservatism of small government, fiscal responsibility and big ideas.

Confidant of Reagan and Goldwater, founder of the National Review, author of over 40 books and host of Firing Line on PBS for 29 long seasons.

Buckley espoused the type of Conservatism that even a Liberal like me could respect (although not necessarily agree with). It was intellectually coherent and in the pages of his books beautifully argued (with really really big words). The prose was spectacular and the ideas were grand (albeit not always right - for example he was opposed to the US participating in WW II and to Civil Rights).

It was a conservatism that did not use the word Liberal as a slur because he implicitly understood that as a Conservativesthe essential principle he was conserving was Liberalism. Conservatives who read Thomas Paine and John Locke and the French "philosophes" with a world view informed by pragmatism and libretarianism. Elitist it may have been, although he famously quipped he would rather be governed by the first two thousand people listed in the Boston phone book rather than the Board of Harvard University.

A great teacher has left us. A man who through his writings made America think and inspired a movement is now gone.


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