The person who has made the greatest influence upon me, politically and intellectually speaking, passed away today. He is best known, I suppose, for his political magazine, National Review and for hosting of Firing Line but he also authored a number of non-fiction books on political philosophy, lexecography et al. as well as a series of novels about a CIA agent’s adventures. Unknown to me til today, he was also an accomplished pianist and harpsichordist…who knew?

He is in large part, though not single-handedly to be sure, responsible for making conservatism — the ’stupid party’ as it was dubbed by J. S. Mill — intellectually respectable for no one who sat through a segment of Firing Line, particularly after taking a view opposing Bill’s, could, with any intellectual honesty remaining intact, call William F. Buckley, Jr. stupid — more typically they would wish they had an unabridged dictionary of the English Language at hand to understand the full nuance of what he had just said. He is said to be the greatest debater to have graced Yale University — and to have said that the second greatest had been John F. Kerry!

William F. Buckley, Jr. has perhaps had greater influence on conservatism and conservatives in America than any other person.

I think I’ll go order a copy of God and Man at Yale: The Superstitions of Academic Freedom from, renew my lapsed subscription to National Review Digital and cherish the sense of both gratitude and loss.

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