Wednesday, February 27, 2008
William F. Buckley, Jr. Dies
William F. Buckley, Jr., the Godfather of the modern Conservative movement, has died at the age of 82. Bloomberg:
William F. Buckley Jr., the syndicated columnist and intellectual whose studied mannerisms, verbal flourishes and polemics energized the American conservative movement for a half-century, has died. He was 82.
Buckley died overnight in his study in Stamford, Connecticut, according to the National Review Online. His son, Christopher, told the New York Times that Buckley had suffered from diabetes and emphysema, although the exact cause of death was not known. Buckley was found at his desk and might have been working on a column, his son said.
``If he had been given a choice on how to depart this world, I suspect that would have been exactly it: at home, still devoted to the war of ideas,'' said Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of the Web site.
Buckley harnessed a belief in individual liberty, limited government and the defeat of communism into an organized voice of the right in the National Review, the biweekly opinion magazine he founded in 1955. He was also host of the Emmy Award-winning television program ``Firing Line'' for 33 years.
His column, ``On the Right,'' was syndicated nationally in 1962 and appeared in some 300 newspapers. In 1966, he began ``Firing Line,'' pitting liberals against conservatives, in which he played both host and interlocutor.
While his detractors came largely from the left, and included author Gore Vidal, Buckley was also criticized by supporters of ``Objectivist'' conservative Ayn Rand and the ultra-right John Birch Society.
During one of his most notable debates on ABC at the 1968 Democratic National Convention with Vidal, Buckley responded to being called a ``crypto-Nazi'' by saying, ``Now, listen you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I'll sock you in your goddamn face. And you'll stay plastered.''
In December 1999, he closed down "Firing Line" after a 23-year run of guests ranging from Richard Nixon to Allen Ginsberg. "You've got to end sometime and I'd just as soon not die onstage," he told the audience.
"For people of my generation, Bill Buckley was pretty much the first intelligent, witty, well-educated conservative one saw on television," fellow conservative William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, said at the time the show ended. "He legitimized conservatism as an intellectual movement and therefore as a political movement."
Buckley so loved a good argument — especially when he won —
Rest In Peace.
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