- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 1, 2017

Conservative columnist George Will says the ideological movement he’s called home for decades has been hijacked by “scowling primitives.”

A new biography on the life of William F. Buckley Jr. prompted one of conservatism’s most famous faces to blast those who commandeered what National Review’s founder built in the 1950s.

Mr. Will wrote for The Washington Post that “A Man and His Presidents: The Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley Jr.” offers keen insight into how the movement has been taken over by a group Mr. Buckley once referred to as “American right-wingers who specialize in ignorance.”

“Today, conservatism is soiled by scowling primitives whose irritable gestures lack mental ingredients. America needs a reminder of conservatism before vulgarians hijacked it, and a hint of how it became susceptible to hijacking,” Mr. Will wrote Wednesday.

The pundit agreed with author Alvin S. Felzenberg’s assertion that “Buckley walked a tightrope between elitism and populism,” but lamented the inability to resolve the problem.

“To his credit, [Mr. Buckley] befriended Whittaker Chambers, whose autobiography ‘Witness’ became a canonical text of conservatism. Unfortunately, it injected conservatism with a sour, whiney, complaining, crybaby populism,” Mr. Will wrote. “It is the screechy and dominant tone of the loutish faux conservatism that today is erasing Buckley’s legacy of infectious cheerfulness and unapologetic embrace of high culture.”

Mr. Will has been a regular critic of President Trump, prompting Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs to call his actions a “personal jihad” against the president.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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