Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I am sorry to see that William F. Buckley, Jr. died today. He surely counts as one of the most influential Americans of the second half of the 20th century, giving form and shape and intellectual heft to a conservative political movement that would eventually replace the statism that dominated American politics, with short breaks, from the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt forward. That conservative era that Buckley helped birth may itself be in twilight; if we are indeed in an era of resurgent statism, we will all certainly miss Buckley's great wit and intellectual leadership, but perhaps it is better for him that he will not have to see it.
Anyway, there are many commemorations of Bill Buckley's life today, but Joe Lieberman's is certainly the most heartfelt you are likely to read from a liberal. The Wikipedia entry is pretty interesting as well; he led a life anybody would envy.
Anonymous--yes the "MSM" (can you be anymore Lil Rascals tree house NO GIRLZ AL'OWD code with that crap?) covered it. Covered it well. Just not as much as Health Ledger, and that, for the millionth goddamn time, is the true media bias, not "pro-liberal."
That said, Buckley is to the current crop of conservative "journalists," pundits, talk show hosts, bloggers, talkradio spewere (thankfully chastised by McCain) and authors what humans are to capuchin monkeys. Yeah, we're both primates, but...well, you get the idea. I was showing my class excerpts from his shows, including classy, very cool debates with prominent liberals like Noam Chomsky or Nader. Amazing stuff.
Aamzing guy. More reasons to be sad about the current state of affairs, and that's something to which all of us can add an Amen...
Actually, Chris, I agree with most of that. Very few people on the left or right have the confidence now to engage in a civil way with their counterparts on the opposite side. Now, I think one of the reasons for that change is that punditry has become, er, democratized. Buckley was a smart guy, but he also evinced a preppy WASP reserve that allowed him to sit there and have a civil conversation with somebody, think in his head that the other guy is an idiot, and still not be impolite or disrespectful or even agitated. That ethos, in general, is dying, or at least it no longer dominates our national discourse just as "establishment" WASPs no longer run most other things.
By , at Thu Feb 28, 10:38:00 AM:
I do hope this means you will aspire to a Buckley-esque demeanor with your future comments. Will you rise to the occasion and put away your flamethrower - putting away childish things - so to speak? Think of the possibilities...