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William F. Buckley, RIP

I guess that William F. Buckley’s connection to Britain would be considered slight. As he writes – "When I was twelve I was packed off to a British boarding school by my father, who dispatched every fortnight a survival package comprising a case of grapefruit and a large jar of peanut butter. I offered to share my tuck with the other boys at my table. They grabbed instinctively for the grapefruit—but one after another actually spit out the peanut butter, which they had never before seen and which only that very year (1938) had become available for sale in London."

While in London, he passed Heston aerodrome "at the very moment in 1938 that Neville Chamberlain returned from Germany waving his piece of paper and proclaiming "peace in our time"? His father stopped to see what was going on - and Bill was firmly hostile to appeasement of any kind thereafter."

When he grew up, Buckley became a business man, writer, and publisher; he founded National Review and kept it sailing strongly for fifty years; he sailed himself, and wrote books about his adventures; and he wrote fiction spy novels – his first was called Saving The Queen. Any one of these careers might have satisfied other men.

His prose style and fundamental idea is encapsulated in his remark – "The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry."

We did not always agree with his ideas, but William Buckley had lovely common sense and courage and blazing happiness. He was lonely at times carrying the banner of liberty, but he never faltered. RIP.


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