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Feb 27 2008

William F. Buckley, Jr. (1925-2008)


852-william-f-buckley.jpg

A great American and founding father of the modern conservative movement died today, William F. Buckley, Jr., He founded National Review magazine in 1955, wrote a newspaper column syndicated nationally in over 300 newspapers, hosted Firing Line from 1966 to 1999, authored over fifty books and frequently lectured publicly. Buckley was also an accomplished pianist and harpsichord player. He was married to his wife Patricia, who died just last year, for 57 years.

853-let-us-talk-of-many-things.jpgI had the tremendous opportunity to meet William F. Buckley, Jr., in 2001. He autographed his then recent Let Us Talk of Many Things, a collection of 95 speeches organized by decade covering issues and controversies which shaped the politics and culture of our nation. If you haven't read any of Buckley's work and/or don't want to wade through a lengthy tome, this book is a terrific read as the speeches average only about five pages and vary so much in topic that there is plenty to interest anyone.

I remember occasionally watching Firing Line on PBS while still in grade school in the 70s (yes, I was that weird). I certainly won't pretend I understood everything, either the topics or his legendary vocabulary, but I could tell that William Buckley was someone from whom I could learn a great deal. Over the years, there is probably no other conservative thinker that I have read and listened to as much or as closely, although George Will comes close.

854-buckley-autograph.jpg

Here are a few of my favorite quotes of William F. Buckley, Jr.:

"I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University."
"Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view."
"I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said."
1965, When asked what he would do if he won the race, Buckley issued his classic response: "I'd demand a recount."
When asked if he had "referred to Jesse Jackson as an ignoramus," Buckley said, "If I didn't, I should have."
Leonard Bernstein complained about the smearing of the word "liberal," Buckley said: "Lenny does not realize that one of the reasons the 'L' word is discredited is that it was handled by such as Leonard Bernstein."
When challenged on President Reagan's intellect, Buckley said: "Of course, he will always tend to reach first for an anecdote. But then, so does the New Testament."
Posted by Don |

3 Comments

  1. #1
    eileen christofi said on February 29, 2008 | Reply

    does anyone out there know William F. Buckley's funeral arrangements??

    christoe@pbcc.edu

  2. #2
    Don said on February 29, 2008 | Reply

    Don't know the exact details, only that Mr. Buckley once said that he would want the music of Johann Sebastian Bach played at his funeral.

    Also, his parents are buried in the Quaker Cemetery of Camden, South Carolina.

  3. I too watched "Firing Line" When I was too young to fully understand, but I knew that guy was smart. I remember exalting when he would verbally thrash someone's argument, or make observations so pertinent on an issue that it appeared he had a deeper understanding than his "expert" guest.
    I submit that he was a true conservative, a rare breed these days. Wise men such as he are not attended to enough now. See for example here:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/buckley/buckley200406291207.asp

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