William F. Buckley has died

by Henry on February 27, 2008

The “NYT obituary”:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/27/business/media/27cnd-buckley.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin is here.

Update: “Rick Perlstein”:http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/why-william-f-buckley-was-my-role-model writes that William F. Buckley was his ‘role-model.’ It’s an interesting piece.

I’m hard on conservatives. I get harder on them just about every day. I call them “con men.” I do so without apology. And I cannot deny that William F. Buckley said and did many things over the course of his career that were disgusting as well. I’ve written about some of them. But this is not the time to go into all that. My friend just passed away at the age of 82. He was a good and decent man. He knew exactly what my politics were about—he knew I was an implacable ideological adversary—yet he offered his friendship to me nonetheless. …

Then came a very nice column. The passage from my book he reproduced quoted a “liberal” reporter on Goldwater: “What could such a nice guy think that way?”

Why did I love WFB? Because he never would have asked such a silly question. The game of politics is to win over American institutions to our way of seeing things using whatever coalition, necessarily temporary, that we can muster to win our majority, however contingent—and if we lose, and we are again in the minority, live to fight another day, even ruthlessly, while respecting our adversaries’ legitimacy to govern in the meantime, while never pulling back in offering our strong opinions about their failures, in the meantime. This was Buckleyism—even more so than any particular doctrines about “conservatism.”

Nice people, friends, can disagree about the most fundamental questions about the organization of society. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We must not fantasize about destroying our political adversaries, nor fantasize about magically converting them. We must honor that some humans are conservative and some humans are liberal, and that it will always be thus. …

Buckleyism to the end: friendship, and adversarialism, coinciding. All of us who write about politics, may that be our role model.

Update 2: See “Brad DeLong”:http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2008/02/a-historical-re.html and “Patrick Nielsen Hayden”:http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/009999.html#009999 for different perspectives.

More from Dan Hardie on the subject of Iraqi employees of British forces; specifically on those ex-employees who are currently stuck in Iraq and neighbouring countries, waiting for the Borders & Immigration Agency to process their applications. Absolutely scandalous. Once more, the Parliamentary switchboard is 0207 219 3000 and it is really not difficult to put a (polite) call in to your MP on the general theme that the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister have made a public commitment to helping the employees, and delaying the asylum and resettlement applications for these people is as bad as abandoning them.

Dan writes, below the fold:
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