William F. Buckley Jr. was a 21-year-old Yale sophomore when he met Willmoore Kendall. It was the fall of 1947, and Buckley had enrolled in the first political-science seminar that Kendall, age 38, taught at the university. The young man watched as the tall, rakish professor paced back and forth in the classroom, interrogating his students in an unmistakable voice that combined the slang and southern accent of his native Oklahoma with the donnish mannerisms he’d picked up as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford.
Buckley fell hard for this brilliant, charismatic, and troubled figure. He and Kendall shared tough anti-communism, opposition …
This article appears as “The Wisdom of Crowds” in the November 15, 2021, print edition of National Review.
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