24 October 2008

We Miss You, Bill Buckley

If William F. Buckley, Jr. is spinning in his grave, it's not because his son, Christopher, endorsed Barack Obama, but because the movement he dedicated himself to--American Conservatism--seems to be dissolving. And this collapse is most pronounced in the journal Buckley founded, The National Review, which Wikipedia defines as "the center of intellectual activity for the American Conservative movement in the twentieth century." Buckley's periodical has recently taken a turn into train wreck territory. Columnists are turning on each other (e.g., Frum facing attacks from his pro-Palin colleagues), they're entertaining wacky suggestions (e.g., donating to the Obama campaign under the names of Wright and Ayers and publicizing said donations), carrying forth on tired accusations (e.g., Wright/ Ayers/ Socialism /etc), and trying to present crackpot theories as credible allegations (I refer here to the Berg suit, which claims that Obama isn't a US citizen. NRO is now pushing it). They're also descending nto high school territory: Mona Charon claims that people who question or critique the $150,000 Palin wardrobe are just jealous.

I didn't always agree with Mr. Buckley, but I always appreciated his contributions to our political discourse. If ever we were in need of the sagacious Mr. Buckley, that time is now.

Aside: The New Yorker's George Packer has a shortish piece on what looks to be the end of the Conservative era is well worth a read. Here it is.

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