- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2008


William Buckley, 82, who died yesterday at his home in Stamford, Conn., was a prolific author and writer who was indispensable to uniting traditionalists and libertarians in making conservatism a major intellectual force in the United States. He wrote 45 books, both fiction and nonfiction. Mr. Buckley founded National Review, which became one of America’s pre-eminent political magazines. For the past 35 years his twice-weekly column was syndicated in hundreds of newspapers across the United States.

While in his 20s, Mr, Buckley was recruited into the CIA, and he later served in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations. While in his 40s, he ran for mayor of New York. He also spent 33 years as moderator of “Firing Line,” a popular weekly television show on PBS. And that only scratches the surface of what Mr. Buckley did in his remarkable life.

Perhaps Mr. Buckley’s most enduring legacy is the work he did in building the modern conservative movement that came to be a powerful force in the Republican Party and in 1980 saw one of its own, Ronald Reagan, elected president. In 1955 Mr. Buckley founded National Review, a magazine he vowed would stand “athwart history yelling Stop!” confident that “a vigorous journal of conservative opinion” could make a critical difference in American culture and politics. On Sept. 11, 1960, a group of young conservative leaders meeting at Mr. Buckley’s home in Sharon, Conn., adopted a statement of principles for the modern conservative movement emphasizing: the importance of a free-market economy; the belief that “liberty is indivisible, and that political freedom cannot long exist without economic freedom”; that international Communism is “the greatest single threat to these liberties”; and that “the United States should stress victory over, rather than coexistence with, this menace.”

In short, Americans who believe in limited government or the concept that liberal elites should not have a cultural monopoly, owes William F. Buckley Jr. debt of gratitude. So, thank you WFB.

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