Thursday, February 28, 2008

He Made It Cool To Be A Conservative

There is a moment that many conservatives of my generation share, a moment that we owe to William F. Buckley. It goes something like this:

You're at a party in the '80s or early '90s with your smart, liberal friends. Some political issue comes up, and you discover to your own surprise that you are holding the floor alone. Five people are arguing, shouting, screaming at you, and you are answering every argument and...winning? Could it be true.

Then it dawns on you that you've already heard their arguments, and the answers. You know why their position makes no sense. You're not winning. The ideas, facts and logic are winning. And you got them all from Bill Buckley and National Review.

It wasn't that you were a better debater or had brilliant insights. It's that you had the advantage of being exposed to the wit and wisdome of WFB. That's to him, you really were the smartest person in the room. Your liberal friends, hobbled by their exposure to the feeble intellects featured in the New York Times, never had a chance. Buckley had them outnumbered, all by himself.

My colleagues at National Review share their thoughts today. It is today's "must-read."
UPDATE: This Charlie Rose WFB retrospective is good, too.