The Corner

Still Funny, Still True

I was taking a crowded #4 train to midtown when a perfect stranger asked me, over several heads: “What would Bill Buckley think about the Tea Party?”

“He would support it,” I said.

“Even with the anti-intellectual antics? He was pretty erudite, wasn’t he?”

Without inquiring what the stranger meant by anti-intellectual antics — interest in the Constitution is not, in and of itself, proof of anti-intellectualism — I admitted that Bill was indeed pretty erudite, then quoted his line about preferring to be governed by the first thousand people in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard.

I had to repeat the line over the rattle of the rails, but it got appreciative laughs from the stranger and several bystanders.

I got off at Grand Central.

Richard Brookhiser — Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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