William F. Buckley, Jr. has died at the age of 82. I always found it fascinating to listen when Buckley spoke. Much of what he said, for me, walked the fine line between intellectual genius and laugh out loud temerity. Given the breadth of his intellect, I often wondered how often he made comments simply for the sporting value they might afford.
Some time ago, I did a posting that was intended to mimic Buckley's expansive use of language and to satirize current news and events. At the time, I chose the President's questionable handling of the war in Iraq as the topic. Basically, I created a question and followed it up with my tongue-in-cheek version of an answer William F. Buckley might have given.
With that said, the following was my imaginary question:
What would Bill Buckley say about the apparent inability of President Bush to acknowledge mistakes made in the execution of the war in Iraq and his unwillingness to move forward with evaluating alternative plans?
And my fabricated answer was:
The President, while seemingly embrangled in a sempiternal belligerency, appears to be ensnared by the conflation of narcissistic ideation and a religiose neocolonialist predisposition.
In truth, Buckley did conclude that the war in Iraq was a failure and stated the following in that regard:
"One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed - different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgement of defeat."
With Mr. Buckley's passing, we'll only be able to imagine his responses to the issues that may confront humanity in the future. Regardless of one's political persuasion, that will certainly present a measurable void.
The following is a compilation of some of Buckley's notable quotations:
William F. Buckley, Jr., Gratitude:
Materialistic democracy beckons every man to make himself a king; republican citizenship incites every man to be a knight. National service, like gravity, is something we could accustom ourselves to, and grow to love.
William F. Buckley Jr., Up From Liberalism:
I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth.
Sep. 08, 1964 - from his column in National Review:
I profoundly believe it takes a lot of practice to become a moral slob.
Nov. 01, 1997 - from a speech delivered to the International Conservative Congress, as quoted in National Review Magazine:
We are so concerned to flatter the majority that we lose sight of how very often it is necessary, in order to preserve freedom for the minority, let alone for the individual, to face that majority down.
William F. Buckley, Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495:
Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy ... and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with 'scientific support' ... fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others. ... The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.
"All that is good is not embodied in the law; and all that is evil is not proscribed by the law. A well-disciplined society needs few laws; but it needs strong mores."
"If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all."
"Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years."
The following video offers a sampling of Buckley's many appearances on the Charlie Rose Show.
Charlie Rose: A Retrospective On William F. Buckley, Jr.