by Jack Hunter
I have long had mixed feelings about William F. Buckley. Buckley undoubtedly transformed and elevated American conservatism to new heights, as he also squelched and damaged the movement in many ways. Regardless, Buckley's death is the most significant passing for conservatives since Reagan's and I will get to my own thoughts on Buckley and his legacy at a later date.
In the meantime, take a gander at London's The Spectator columnist (and co-founder of The American Conservative along with Pat Buchanan) Taki Theodoracopulos' tribute to his late, dear friend. "Taki" is hands-down one of my favorite writers and thrills me today as Buckley himself likely did for earlier generations:
"Even toward the end, when neocons had not only captured the White House but also the magazine that gave me my start, National Review, he would try and appease me when I’d complain about scum like Frum and other self-publicizing careerists. At his 80th anniversary at the Pierre, he placed my wife next to him and me next to Pat. Some neocons nearby turned green. The supercilious look he affected served him well throughout the years, but never have I had a friend whose heart was that of an angel, and he was as close to a second father to me as it is possible to be. Rest in peace, dearest Bill, you did, after all, believe in the afterlife and now you are back with your darling Patsy."
And for another perspective, one that I happen to agree with despite my own amendments and counterpoints, Dylan Hales of the Charleston-based blog The Left Conservative writes:
"William F. Buckley, the founder of National Review magazine, died today at the age of 82. Though it is undeniable that Buckley is one of the three or four most important figures in the post-WWII conservative movement, it is equally undeniable that Buckley is in large part responsible for the degradation of the populist impulse of the American "Old Right". While it is impossible to imagine a conservative movement in this country achieving the visibility and successes it did minus Buckley, it is also impossible to imagine the emergence of a dominant bureaucratic elitism at the vanguard of conservatism without Buckley’s influence."