William F. Buckley, Jr., RIP
Kathryn Jean Lopez has the sad news that “William F. Buckley Jr., died overnight in his study in Stamford, Connecticut. After year of illness, he died while at work.”
Sad news, indeed.
More from AP:
Author and conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr. has died at age 82.
His assistant Linda Bridges says Buckley died Wednesday morning at his home in Stamford, Conn. She says he had been ill with emphysema and was found dead by his cook.
Buckley became famous for his intellectual political writings in his magazine, the National Review, and his frequent television appearances, including on his own long-running “Firing Line.”
I grew up on “Firing Line” and read National Review for years until finally tiring of the magazine’s stilted style and assumption that I was an old money Catholic who spoke Latin fluently. I even read and enjoyed Buckley’s Blackford Oakes spy novels. His recent autobiography, Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography, was also well worth a read.
Buckley’s intellectual leadership, judgment, and tone were cornerstones in building the modern conservative movement. His good sense in denouncing the John Birchers and distancing himself from the excesses of Pat Buchanan and others earned him respect on both sides of the aisle.
UPDATE: The New York Times, which presumably keeps obits ready in circumstances like these, has the first long form report I’ve seen.
William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, famously arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn.
Mr Buckley, 82, suffered from diabetes and emphysema, his son Christopher said, although the exact cause of death was not immediately known. He was found at his desk in the study of his home, his son said. “He might have been working on a column,” Mr. Buckley said.
Mr. Buckley’s winningly capricious personality, replete with ten-dollar words and a darting tongue writers loved to compare with an anteater’s, hosted one of television’s longest-running programs, “Firing Line,” and founded and shepherded the influential conservative magazine, National Review. He also found time to write more than 45 books, ranging from sailing odysseys to spy novels to celebrations of his own dashing daily life, and edit five more. The more than 4.5 million words of his 5,600 biweekly newspaper columns, “On the Right,” would fill 45 more medium-sized books.
Mr. Buckley’s greatest achievement was making conservatism — not just electoral Republicanism, but conservatism as a system of ideas — respectable in liberal post-World War II America. He mobilized the young enthusiasts who helped nominate Barry Goldwater in 1964, and saw his dreams fulfilled when Reagan and the Bushes captured the Oval Office. To Mr. Buckley’s enormous delight, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., the historian, termed him “the scourge of liberalism.”
In remarks at National Review’s 30th anniversary in 1985, President Reagan joked that he picked up his first issue of the magazine in a plain brown wrapper and still anxiously awaited his biweekly edition — “without the wrapper.” “You didn’t just part the Red Sea — you rolled it back, dried it up and left exposed, for all the world to see, the naked desert that is statism,” Mr. Reagan said. “And then, as if that weren’t enough,” the president continued, “you gave the world something different, something in its weariness it desperately needed, the sound of laughter and the sight of the rich, green uplands of freedom.”
Much more at the link.