We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Over many years, the man has been an inspiration through his fiction-writing, his non-fiction, his sailing, his piano-playing, his passion for Bach, his passion for God, his love of life and of freedom and and of his fellow man. And his love for his remarkable wife Pat, who died last year.
Yes, also for his cheerful political energy and pioneering efforts on behalf of Conservative views (he, seemingly single-handedly, made these views respectable), but these efforts were always lower on his list than devotion to God and living - and enjoying - life to the max. A superb human and a superb life.
I am most grateful for the things this brainy, witty, refined and joyful Scotch-loving Connecticut Yankee added to my life, but what I will remember most vividly is his description, in one of his sailing books, of his successful effort to install a piano in the parlor of his sailboat.
It is with a bit more than mist in my eyes that I read of the dead of William Buckley.
I first started reading Mr. Buckley in 1964, the year Goldwater ran for President and Ronald Reagan gave his most moving speech.
It was the year I realized that I would need to carry a dictionary when reading him but that too proved a boon as my working vocabulary exceeded the incoming college freshman by a factor of five.
Once Mr. Buckley attempted to think of another individual who had been as right as he had been on as many topics during his lifetime of analysis, and he said he could not.
This was not vanity but truth. If you read him as I did and then watched the world unfold you could easily see his insight was without peer.
I will miss him on this Earth. He made enormous contributions to conservatism that remain unmatched by anyone I can think of.
It is illustrative of the statement made above that Buckley found no peer in correctly presaging the changes in American policy, either domestic or foreign by what he wrote in his first has provbook, "God and Man at Yale" published in 1951.
In it he describes the damage being done by the faculty and intelligentsia surrounding them in undermining America's folkways and mores. He could not have been more correct as the time since that volume was released proves. We are now a nation with a fading historical memory, grossly distorted prior to it's total destruction and a nation gone bedlamite over an inscription on the Statue of Liberty by Emma Lazarus:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
That may have been all well and good in 1886 but not in 2008 when multiculturalism has changed the temperament of those teeming masses destroying our country.
We have become not a nation but a series of campsites for wretched refuse who refuse to adapt to America but rather want America to adapt to them. That approach will not a nation of strength build.
I discovered Mr. Buckley in my late teen years. I loved the wit, but most of all, most of all, the ability to speak true by his wonderful ability to use the tools of language, and rhetoric. I truly loved the challenge and the laughter. When his program came on tv, I would grab my dictionary and sit down to watch. If memory serves me correctly, I watched cowboys, Buckley, and a little while later, you could see this wonderful gal whacking away at some cooking project (I forgot the 1/2 hour jazz show with Dave on Sunday night). My determination to seek the true was supported, encouraged, and reinforced by Mr. Buckley. I will miss him always--the last few years were an empty silence, as he became less and less visible; warning of it will be like, and I have been sad. ahhm:, exuse me: Do we have a 1/2 hour show on national tv today, one that would set that same high example for our children?
Indeed, a moment of silent reflection on this icon, this man of interest, and a brief remembrance of how closely his life imitated that of his Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, the man from Nazareth, who, it sometimes seemed, died soley for WFB alone.
The body, we are informed, was found by the body's personal cook, who reported the incident to the body's personal butler, who called the body's personal doctor, who pronounced the body dead, upon which news, the body's personal spokeswoman issued a formal statement.
I cannot think of another individual who has been right on some many things as I have, he said, of himself.
Words fit for a tombstone.
During one viewing of Firing Line, my father suddenly sat up in his chair. "Robert, that guy is the most self satisfied son of a bitch I've ever seen in my life."
Alot of vitrol there bob for a great man. The old adage of not saying anything, if you have nothing good to say about somebody might be more appropriate at this time.
I really enjoyed Bill's spy novels with Blackford Oakes and his historical fiction about Elvis, Angelton, and McCarthy.
I think the Barrister did a fine job in a short space, capturing what Bill Buckley's life was all about.
Buckley was a competitive debater. His technique, which sometimes made him look 'self-satisfied', unnerved his opponents as their personal assumptions, cast in concrete and fully reflecting the spirit of the times, were shown to be flimsy and weak intellectual fashions whose time had come and gone. Prior to WFB coming on the scene, people forget that the opposition to the statist steamroller was inarticulate and prone to be characterized by the left as unsophisticated, humorless and 'reactionary'. Any young person who still maintained a shred of common sense was provided with epiphany after epiphany by simply viewing 'Firing Line' during the days of Viet Nam, The Great Society, 1970's New York City, and the closing of the cold war. Buckley was never rattled and history, of course, confirms his earliest positions regarding the issue of the age: Social statism and it's source in nihilistic Marxism.
Our paths crossed a number of time in Stamford and Manhattan over the years. Mr Buckley was an approachable and very kind man. RIP