Writes the typically irreverent and fiesty Justin Raimondo, Old Right historian and founder of antiwar.com:
“The death of William F. Buckley, Jr., is, for me at least, the closing of a chapter in my own history, both personal and ideological. Buckley, you see, was my childhood hero.
I have to add, however, that Buckley appeared to have second thoughts about relegating his legacy—his magazine, that is, and the mantle of “mainstream” conservatism—to the War Party. This piece, acknowledging that the Iraq war—and the greater project of “transforming” the Middle East at gunpoint—was and is a failure did not go down easily with the neocons, who didn’t dare grumble all that audibly when it came out. Buckley’s intellectual honesty prevented him from swallowing the Party Line, and his stature on the Right stopped the David Frums of this world from declaring him an “unpatriotic conservative” on account of his realistic dissent.
So let us mourn the passing of good ol’ Bill Buckley, who, for all his flaws, managed a signal achievement: when statist liberalism was the only known alternative to socialism, his bright repartee lit up the intellectual darkness and attracted us intellectually adventurous youth to a counter-culture that would come to challenge the heretofore unchallengeable status quo. To his soul, I tip my hat and say: God speed, and thanks.”
Read Justin Raimondo’s “William F. Buckley Jr. – R.I.P.” John Derbyshire, one of the few genuine conservatives left at National Review, writes:
“I have been a regular National Review reader since the mid-1970s, but did not actually meet Bill Buckley until 2000. To me, an unknown (and in fact, at that point, still part-time) writer, he showed unfailing kindness and generosity. So it continued through subsequent years. I learned a lot from Bill, and owe him a lot. We all owe him a lot, as of course does his country. How to repay the debt?
It is the mark of a really good writer that offhand scraps like that linger in your memory for decades, coming to mind when summoned by circumstances. I have a score of similar gems from Bill’s work lodged immovably in my brain. They form the smallest part of the debt, but are nonetheless precious. A marvelous writer; a true gentleman; a great American.”