Consider the statistics. During his nearly 60 years in the public eye, William F. Buckley Jr. published 55 books (both fiction and nonfiction); dozens of book reviews; at least 56 introductions, prefaces, and forewords to other peoples’ books; more than 225 obituary essays; more than 800 editorials, articles, and remarks in National Review; several hundred articles in periodicals other than National Review; and approximately 5,600 newspaper columns. He gave hundreds of lectures around the world, hosted 1,429 separate Firing Line shows, and may well have composed more letters than any American who has ever lived.
He seemed to be the embodiment of Anthony Trollope’s aphorism: “There is no greater human bliss than twelve hours of work, and only six hours in which to do it.”
William F. Buckley Jr. was arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century. For an entire generation he was the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure. He changed minds, he changed lives, and he helped to change the direction of American politics.
He gave us his words — and his ideas and his example — and now, in words, we reciprocate. What memories we conservatives have and what a legacy to treasure. But even superlatives cannot do full justice to the life and achievements of our friend and paladin, Bill Buckley.
– George H. Nash is author of The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America.