The Corner

WFB Standing Athwart History

I would dearly love to stick around the preliminary Irish wake here in the Corner. But I have to leave for Chicago. Still, I thought I might post a link to a piece I wrote about WFB when he turned 80 and the magazine turned fifty. Bill wrote me a very sweet and grateful note about the column and I was giddy that he’d even read it. Anyway, there’ll be plenty more to say, by everyone. Here’s the conclusion for those who don’t want to wade through it all:

But I should say this: William F. Buckley understood that conservatism can only be a partial philosophy of life, because any calling which claims to be a whole philosophy of life is not one at all. It is a religion, and in all likelihood a false one. Armed with this conviction, he changed the world by arguing with those who could not comprehend that a man could be joyful, charming, generous, and passionate about hobbies and people far outside politics while walking against what all the right people insisted was the tide of All Good Things. In this he remains the archetype for conservatism, properly understood.

Conservatives believe in dreams but we don’t believe they can ever be made reality in this life. Nonetheless, when Bill Buckley once asked, “Have you ever seen a dream walking?” he may not have realized that for conservatives, at least, he was the answer to his own question.

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