Home
In this issue
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 6, 2008 / 29 Adar I 5768

William F. Buckley (1925-2008)

By Thomas Sowell


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | 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.

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

Comment on JWR contributor Thomas Sowell's column by clicking here.

Up

Thomas Sowell Archives



© 2006, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles