The man who molded and formed modern Conservatism would’ve been 89 today.
When I first came round to Conservatism a few years ago, I spent hours upon hours watching and reading Buckley. Never have I seen someone so skillfully disarm statist arguments white creating the intellectual and moral case for conservatism. He is my hero.
Buckley’s legacy precedes him: founding National Review, running for Mayor of New York City, writing countless books, essays and arguments, articulating, reasoning, and drawing the boundaries of Conservatism, and of course his show Firing Line (God bless Amazon Prime for cataloguing the episodes).
On Firing Line, WFB sat down with ideological adversaries, whack jobs, Hollywood hot shots, and the likeminded and managed to have civil, honest debate which highlighted differences of opinion and consistently and eloquently define Conservatism. Mostly civil anyway, minus the infamous “crypto-Nazi” debate with Gore Vidal at the 1968 Democratic Convention, which was not an episode of Firing Line.
It’s hard to pick one moment from Buckley’s incredible career. But today, I’ve somewhat selfishly included one of my favorites. A seersucker clad Buckley interviews a plastered, annoyed, and disruptive Jack Kerouac, the Fug’s Ed Sanders and a member of the academy, Lewis Yablonsky who took LSD as research for his book, “The Hippie Trip.” It’s a fascinating snapshot of the counter culture intelligentsia of the 50’s and 60’s.
“The topic tonight is hippies. An understanding of whom we must acquire or die painfully,” Buckley says. Enjoy:
Happy Birthday Mr. Buckley, may we ever make you proud.
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