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William F. Buckley (1925-2008)[Thomas Sowell]
GOPUSA ^ | March 6, 2008 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 03/05/2008 6:36:40 PM PST by jazusamo

Writing in 1954, Lionel Trilling said that most conservatives do not "express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas."

One of the perks of being a liberal is disdaining people who are not liberals. However, as of 1954, Trilling's dismissive attitude toward conservatives' intellectual landscape was painfully close to the truth.

Trilling wrote ten years after Friedrich Hayek's landmark counterattack against the left in his book "The Road to Serfdom." But that was a book with great impact on a relatively small number of people at the time, though its influence spread around the world over the years.

Trilling also wrote eight years before Milton Friedman's first book aimed at a popular audience -- "Capitalism and Freedom" -- and a quarter of a century before Rush Limbaugh pioneered conservative talk radio.

They say it is always darkest before the dawn. One year after Lionel Trilling's dismissal of conservative intellectual thought, William F. Buckley founded National Review, the first in a series of conservative journals of opinion that would build on its success.

In short, Bill Buckley revitalized conservatism, with his wit, his intellect, and his inimitable mannerisms that made him a TV icon as a guest on many programs, even before he created his own long-running program, "Firing Line."

Some people like to believe that objective forces shape history but the right person in the right place at the right time can change everything. William F. Buckley was that person when he burst on the scene at the nadir of conservative thought in the 1950s.

There were of course conservative journalists before Buckley, including irrepressible black conservative journalist George Schuyler who was writing decades before Bill Buckley.

In a similar vein, there were ballplayers who hit home runs before Babe Ruth, but not nearly as many home runs. William F. Buckley revolutionized the conservative intellectual scene as much as Babe Ruth revolutionized the way baseball was played.

Today we take it for granted that there are conservative journals of opinions like The Weekly Standard, The American Spectator, City Journal and of course the National Review.

We also take for granted that there are dozens of conservative talk radio programs, led by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, as well as conservative columnists like Charles Krauthammer, George Will and many others.

But these things didn't just happen. Somebody had to lead the way and that somebody was William F. Buckley.

The difference today is more than quantitative. The way the liberal media operate is very different, now that there is a conservative media -- not as large, but large enough to puncture the liberals' pretensions and expose what they conceal.

There was a time when Walter Cronkite's version of what was happening in Vietnam was enough to force a change in policy more disastrous than the Communist offensive which Cronkite depicted as a big loss to American military forces, when in fact the American military inflicted a crushing defeat on the Communist guerrillas.

Imagine how differently that war might have turned out -- how many millions of people in Southeast Asia might not have been slaughtered by Communist governments there -- if there had been a sizable contingent of conservative journalists to tell a very different story from that told by Walter Cronkite and the liberal media.

By the same token, think how successful Cronkite's successor, Dan Rather, might have been with his fake documents about President Bush's National Guard service, broadcast on the eve of the 2004 elections, if the fraud had not been exposed immediately by conservatives on the Internet, on talk radio, and in newspapers.

In addition to his own personal contributions to the intellectual diversity of American life, William F. Buckley's pioneering opened the way for many others to add greatly to our intellectual diversity, the only kind of "diversity" that liberals seem to dislike, especially on our college campuses.

--------

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His Web site is www.tsowell.com.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial
KEYWORDS: conservatism; sowell; thomassowell; tribute; wfb; williamfbuckley
RIP, Mr. Buckley
1 posted on 03/05/2008 6:36:41 PM PST by jazusamo
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To: AbeKrieger; Alia; Amalie; American Quilter; arthurus; awelliott; Bahbah; bamahead; bboop; ...
*PING*
Thomas Sowell

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Recent columns
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Please FReepmail me if you would like to be added to, or removed from, the Thomas Sowell ping list…

2 posted on 03/05/2008 6:38:17 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: jazusamo

Thanks for posting this.


3 posted on 03/05/2008 6:39:29 PM PST by Dante3
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To: jazusamo
RIP, Mr. Buckley

And bless you, Mr. Sowell.

4 posted on 03/05/2008 6:41:08 PM PST by Zevonismymuse
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To: jazusamo
By the same token, think how successful Cronkite's successor, Dan Rather, might have been with his fake documents about President Bush's National Guard service, broadcast on the eve of the 2004 elections, if the fraud had not been exposed immediately by conservatives on the Internet, on talk radio, and in newspapers.

Man, he came so close to mentioning FR...I wonder if the windows shook over at HQ.

5 posted on 03/05/2008 6:42:14 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (the model prescribes the required behavior. disincentives ensure compliance.)
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To: jazusamo

A giant writing of a giant.


6 posted on 03/05/2008 6:43:11 PM PST by Old Mountain man (Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice!)
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To: the invisib1e hand

I thought so too. :)


7 posted on 03/05/2008 6:43:28 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: Buckhead

Ping


8 posted on 03/05/2008 6:47:46 PM PST by listenhillary (Michelle Obama - America is Just Downright Mean)
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To: Old Mountain man
A giant writing of a giant.

So much said with so few words!

9 posted on 03/05/2008 7:03:12 PM PST by ScratInTheHat (Don't like my immigration stance? I'm dyslexic. PC keeps sounding like BS to me!)
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To: Old Mountain man
A giant writing of a giant.

So much said with so few words!

10 posted on 03/05/2008 7:03:13 PM PST by ScratInTheHat (Don't like my immigration stance? I'm dyslexic. PC keeps sounding like BS to me!)
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To: jazusamo

I’m sure Dr. Sowell remembers the classic SNL episode where Eddie Murphy played him, while Robin Williams played William F. Buckley.


11 posted on 03/05/2008 7:07:20 PM PST by Clemenza (I Live in New Jersey for the Same Reason People Slow Down to Look at Car Crashes)
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To: jazusamo

The quality and quantity of Sowell’s thoughts is not directly proportionate to the brevity in which he expresses them. Good read!

I don’t know what the heck it is, but time seems to stand still when I read Sowell’s articles.


12 posted on 03/05/2008 7:07:46 PM PST by Gene Eric
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To: jazusamo

William F. Buckley’s pioneering opened the way for many others to add greatly to our intellectual diversity, the only kind of “diversity” that liberals seem to dislike


The money quote.

Well done, Monsignor Sowell.


13 posted on 03/05/2008 7:12:47 PM PST by Senator Goldwater
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To: Blue Highway

ping


14 posted on 03/05/2008 7:47:31 PM PST by perfect stranger (Nobama)
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To: Clemenza

I didn’t see that but wish I had. I looked to see if it might be on you tube but didn’t find it.


15 posted on 03/05/2008 7:56:57 PM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: Gene Eric

“...I don’t know what the heck it is, but time seems to stand still when I read Sowell’s articles....”

Me too. It is the recognition of simple, yet universal truths.


16 posted on 03/05/2008 8:18:28 PM PST by Islander7 ("Show me an honest politician and I will show you a case of mistaken identity.")
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To: jazusamo

Bump for later reading.


17 posted on 03/05/2008 11:07:27 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: jazusamo
There was a time when Walter Cronkite's version of what was happening in Vietnam was enough to force a change in policy more disastrous than the Communist offensive which Cronkite depicted as a big loss to American military forces, when in fact the American military inflicted a crushing defeat on the Communist guerrillas.

. . . think how successful Cronkite's successor, Dan Rather, might have been with his fake documents about President Bush's National Guard service, broadcast on the eve of the 2004 elections, if the fraud had not been exposed immediately by conservatives on the Internet, on talk radio, and in newspapers.


18 posted on 03/06/2008 3:23:38 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (The Democratic Party is only a front for the political establishment in America - Big Journalism.)
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To: jazusamo
>"By the same token, think how successful Cronkite's successor, Dan Rather, might have been with his fake documents about President Bush's National Guard service, broadcast on the eve of the 2004 elections, if the fraud had not been exposed immediately by conservatives on the Internet, on talk radio, and in newspapers."

Successful enough to force Mc Insane upon us!
Just because we can catch them in the act doesn't mean they aren't gonna do it!

19 posted on 03/06/2008 6:28:31 AM PST by rawcatslyentist (Glittering prizes, and endless compromises, shatter the illusion of integrity!)
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To: the invisib1e hand
"Man, he came so close to mentioning FR...I wonder if the windows shook over at HQ."

I wonder if he's on here?

Tom?

Thomas Sowell? Are you reading this?

20 posted on 03/06/2008 6:40:37 AM PST by Designer (We are SO scrood!)
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To: Designer

I believe you’ll bring a smile to Dr. Sowell’s face if you haven’t already. :)


21 posted on 03/06/2008 8:09:24 AM PST by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: Designer

“Thomas Sowell, please pick up the white posting window. Mr. Thomas Sowell.” < / tinny airport voice >


22 posted on 03/12/2008 7:43:03 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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