February 28, 2008

William F. Buckley

I'll post some original content on here soon. However, I don't have the expertise or knowledge to comment on the death of William F. Buckley. There are plenty of tributes and obituaries worthy of your time, just not from me.

Despite this, Ezra Klein's comments resonated with my sense of a current conservative anti-intellectualism. I believe new media is slowly elevating our national discourse away from cable news and conservative radio, however we are far from a nation where being a political thinker "made you a cultural figure."

As a slightly more general point, in the last two or three years, a whole host of giants have passed away, men who were political thinkers at a time when that made you a cultural figure. John Kenneth Galbraith, Milton Friedman, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Norman Mailer, and now, William F. Buckley Jr. Gore Vidal is just about the last of their number left. And that's a shame. They would write serious books of political analysis and sell millions of copies -- they were the writers you had to read to call yourself an actual political junkie. Now, the space they inhabited in the discourse is held by the Coulters and O'Reilly's of the world. Where we once prized a tremendous facility for wit, we're now elevating those with a tremendous storehouse for anger. Run a search on quotes from Galbraith, Buckley, or Friedman, then do the same for O'Reilly and Coulter. We're really losing something here.
-- The American Prospect, February 27, 2008

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