By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

William F. Buckley Jr., 1925-2008

The great William F. Buckley Jr., founder of modern conservatism, has died at the age of 82. His magazine, National Review, is assembling a tribute.

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  1. Anonymous

    And as one might expect, the Globe does not disappoint,From AP: “Conservatives had been marginalized by a generation of discredited stands — from opposing Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to the isolationism which preceded the U.S. entry into World War II. Liberals so dominated intellectual thought that the critic Lionel Trilling claimed there were “no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation.””Conservative=Reactionary?No Pearl Harbor?Bill, you will REALLY be missed.

  2. Suldog

    He will definitely be missed. Agree or disagree with his views, he was an erudite spokesman and a consummate gentleman. I hold a particularly warm place in my heart for him because of his writing on the death of Peter McWilliams, and his reasoned stance on drugs overall.<

  3. Anonymous

    The most interesting thing about Buckley is what an unlikley TV star — and he was one — he made. The matted, sweaty bangs, the windy, self-satisfied bloviation, followed suddenly by that disturbing death-rictus grin — he was a collection bizarre tics and behaviors that would seem to have precluded a TV career of any kind. Of course, that was somewheere between the Ed Sullivan/Edgar Bergen and Ryan Seacrest/Pamela Anderson TV eras. Who is Buckley’s modern TV equivalent? Culturally, if not intellectually, I guess Simon Cowell fills that role — someone Middle America can find arch and “classy.”The other amazing thing about Buckley is how he maintained his pop culture rein as America’s most visible intellectual, given how often he was wrong about things – not just the regular stuff the conservatives got wrong, but outlandish stuff, like defending Joe McCarthy long after everyone else had quietly sidled away, or on tattooing AIDS victims, etc. In this way he was much like his TV contemporary The Amazing Kreskin.Bob in Peabody

  4. another face at zanzibar

    Although he was my political opposite, I always enjoyed Bill Buckley. He loved a good debate, and the ones he hosted on PBS, some with Michael Kinsley as moderator (there’s the hat-trick, Dan), were terrific. You could see the twinkle in Buckley’s eyes when his opponent made a good point; you also knew he was ready with a deft comeback. Some are saying that he gave birth to the modern conservative movement, but I disagree. His kind of conservatism is a thing of the past. Read “Up from Liberalism” and you’ll see how different he is from anyone today who calls themselves a conservative. The main difference? He had a wit!

  5. Anonymous

    For a local angle, I always wondered what Brudnoy (and obvious admirer) thought of his tatoo the HIV+ statement. If anyone else had said it, I think we would know David’s view.

  6. John, Austin Fitness training

    I once saw Buckley debate John Kenneth Galbraith in New Orleans – truly exciting to watch. Buckley walked up to the taller of the two podiums leaving the shorter podium to the 6’9″ Galbraith. The moderator informed Buckley that Galbraith’s podium was too short. Buckley replied, “That alright by the end of this debate that short podium will be plenty tall enough for Galbraith.

  7. Don, American

    Rest in Peace.

  8. Peter Porcupine

    In lieu of a tribute – an appreciation….

  9. Anonymous

    check out the column he wrote after the My Lai massacre (he blamed the massacre on the free speech movement at Berkeley). Or read his article from c1975 on the advantages of invading some middle-eastern county (“say Libya”). Unlike Vietnam, the middle east has no jungles, he reasoned, so it would be pretty easy to hold a country and take their oil. Civility, wit, and erudition are all fine, but if you want to praise an intellectual, you should have some first hand experience with his views. Bob Gardner Randolph

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Bob: Buckley was the founder of modern conservatism. By definition, that means I’m going to disagree with 99 percent of what he wrote and said. (He was also a major coddler of Joseph McCarthy, by the way.) But he was also the kind of ideological opponent that liberals could fight without having everyone hate each other’s guts. That’s completely missing today, unfortunately.

  11. Anonymous

    Dan: (If I’m the Bob you’re replying to, as the two Bobs here are the critical voices on Buckley).On reflection, you are right about the civility angle. (And I brought up the pro-Joe McCarthy angle in my post).I actually enjoyed watching Buckley, but he was a bizarre visual. And my point was not that he was wrong when conservatives are wrong (There are plenty of liberal corollaries: hell, I probably would have voted for Clement Atlee if I were living in England in 1945.) The weird thing was how often he was so wrong even when most conservatives were getting it right.But was he preferable to Rush Limbaugh? You bet.And you didn’t laugh at the Kreskin thing? I must be slipping.Bob in Peabody

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Bob in Peabody: I was responding to Bob in Randolph. Sorry not to be more clear.

  13. io saturnalia

    Bob,FWIW, I LMAO at the Kreskin krack.But you probably saw that coming.

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