In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 3, 2008 / 26 Adar I 5768

The prince of polysyllabism

By Jonah Goldberg

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | William F. Buckley died this week at the age of 82. He was, among other things, the founder of National Review (my professional home for the last decade), architect and leader of the modern American conservative movement, host of "Firing Line" (where he was the longest-serving television host in history), renowned author of some 50 books — which included spy novels, political polemics, histories, biographies, sailing memoirs and countless animadversions of an acutely sesquipedalian flavor, as the peripatetic proselytizer of polysyllabism might say — harpsichord recitalist, syndicated columnist, esteemed lecturer (he gave some 70 speeches a year for decades), adventurer, father of acclaimed novelist and journalist Christopher Buckley and husband to philanthropist Patricia Buckley, one-time New York City mayoral candidate (when asked what he would do if he won, he responded, "Demand a recount"), mentor to countless young conservatives and inspiration to millions more.

In short, his life was richer and more packed than an overburdened sentence, such as the above.

In the inaugural issue of National Review, he set out to "stand athwart history, yelling Stop."

That rallying cry has always earned the scorn of liberals and leftists who believe in their bones that they are the servants of Progress, and that Progress is something you can't stand in the way of. (Alas, it has also elicited rolling eyes and titters from a new generation of self-described "compassionate conservatives" who believe that the government is there to love you.)

Still, it was the Marxists who best articulated this conviction that with every page ripped from the calendar, humanity was closer to the ideal of universal collective endeavor. They spoke of cold impersonal forces of history moving inexorably toward a utopia where, it just so happened, people like them would be in charge.

But Marxism was merely one expression of this conviction, which had stained the American soul well before Buckley was born. For example, in 1892, James Baird Weaver, the Populist Party's presidential nominee, spoke for coming generations of Progressives, reformers and activists when he proclaimed, "We have tried to show that competition is largely a thing of the past. Every force of our industrial life is hurrying on the age of combination. It is useless to try to stop the current."

A generation later, Harry Garfield, the president of Williams College and director of Woodrow Wilson's Fuel Administration, giddily announced: "We have come to a parting of the ways, we have come to the time when the old individualistic principle must be set aside." Now, he gushed, "we must boldly embark upon the new principle of cooperation and combination."

In 1932, Stuart Chase, the man who reportedly coined the phrase "The New Deal," lamented that the Russians were having all the fun remaking the world. New Dealers spoke of creating a new "religion of government" whereby citizens took it on faith that collectivism was the natural order.

By the mid 1940s, no less than Franklin Roosevelt insisted that the old Bill of Rights, which denied the government the power to meddle in the affairs of men, should be supplanted by a new "economic Bill of Rights" that would hasten the historical rush to collectivism. When Buckley graduated from Yale, he penned a blistering critique of his alma mater,

complaining that it had come to take this collectivist tide for granted, particularly since Yale had abandoned Godly faith in favor of the cold, impersonal forces that seem to go hand-in-hand with atheism (perhaps because those who believe that God is dead consequently believe that man must play God to his fellow men).

Just the year before, renowned literary critic Lionel Trilling had proclaimed in The Liberal Imagination that, "in the United States at this time Liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition." Conservative impulses, he insisted, "do not express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas."

This, then, was the History — with a capital H, bequeathed to it by Hegel and Marx and a thousand other false prophets — that Buckley set about to stand athwart, and eventually to thwart. For Buckley and his band of happy warriors, collectivism in its brutal forms in the Soviet Union was anathema, but collectivism in its genteel form here at home was also folly. "You cannot paint the Mona Lisa by assigning one dab each to a thousand painters," Buckley said.

In his battle with those who believed the Earth moved in one direction, he was the Hercules pitted against the Atlas of collectivism. Few were more successful in the battle. He did not merely "part the Red Sea," as Ronald Reagan once told him, "you rolled it back."

There were so many facets to Buckley's talents, it seems absurd to try to sum them up. A joyous heart, an omnivorous mind, a fearless stomach for battle: this was the anatomy of "WFB." There will never be another. He was, as he might say were he not so modest, a hapax legomenon in the book of life.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.

Jonah Goldberg Archives

© 2006 TMS