Sean Hannity just had George Will on his radio show, talking about Will’s new collection, One Man’s America: The Pleasures and Provocations of Our Singular Nation. The collection is dedicated to WFB and I just picked it up after Sean’s interview and (re)read the first two columns, on Bill. One was from 2005, on the occasion of his 80th (seems like yesterday). The next column was Will’s beautiful tribute after WFB died this year. In it, Will offers this instructive reminder:
Before there could be Goldwater’s insurgency, there had to be National Review magazine. From the creative clutter of its Manhattan offices flowed the ideological electricity that powered the transformation of American conservatism from a mere sensibility into a fighting faith and a blueprint for governance.
Before there was National Review, there was Buckley, spoiling for a philosophic fight, to be followed, of course, by a flute of champagne with his adversaries. He was 29 when, in 1955, he launched National Review with the vow that it “stands athwart history, yelling Stop.” Actually, it helped Bill take history by the lapels, shake it to get its attention and then propel it in a new direction. Bill died Wednesday in his home, in his study, at his desk, diligent at his lifelong task of putting words together well and to good use.
That’s, of course, what conservatives need right now: to regain our fighting faith, to reconstruct a blueprint for governance. And then conservatives will be confident again. But only the Right ideological electricity will do it — and that does not require reinventing the wheel, it requires study and commitment to principle.
While we work to defeat Obama on the road to November, let’s be sure not to get lost.