Archive for March, 2008


Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Last week, William F. Buckley Jr. passed away at age 82. I decided to wait to post my tribute until after taking in the media’s presentations of theirs. The fascinating Feb 27 transcript from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show I think was the best.

I had lunch with a friend last Thursday who said that he couldn’t recall an instance of Buckley influencing him on any issue. Come to think of it, neither can I, other than the first time I ever paid attention to WFB when he debated Ronald Reagan on the Panama Canal and won me over to his position. It remains my only recollection of the former president losing a debate. By the time I started reading National Review in the late 1980s, I was firmly in the conservative camp, and inclined to hold similar views to Buckley’s.

Perhaps Buckley wasn’t widely read, at least by most Americans. But what he did was influence the influencers, including the one who had the most influence on my political thinking – Ronald Reagan.  His writing and television appearances revealed an interesting fellow that I would like to have known, though in a way, I did, through his work at which he was so prolific. And that’s another fascinating aspect of Buckley – for a man who didn’t have to work, he was so highly prolific, reminiscent of Isaac Newton, though even Newton tailed off in the second half of life. Buckley’s book Windfall : The End of the Affair, recounting his last trans-Atlantic sailing excursion, remains one of my favorite reads.

It is sad to see him go, even more so in that, like so many great ones who have passed in the last few years, there has not as yet emerged anyone in the next generation who can replace his value to America and to freedom.

Rest in peace, WFB. In days ahead, we shall meet after all.