No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, you must acknowledge that William F. Buckley was perhaps America’s dominant public intellectual of the last 50 years.
He founded National Review in 1955, and became an architect of modern conservativism.
Mr. Buckley died today of emphysema. He had smoked cigarettes as a young man and cigars as an older man.
When I was a youngster, I would occasionally watch “Firing Line Debates” on TV. I had no idea what anybody was talking about, but the sophisticated use of language and the engagement with big ideas intrigued me.
Buckley late in life shocked some conservatives by strongly advocating the legalization of drugs. Follow this link to watch a half-hour TV program from 1996 in which Buckley makes his case. (“... the war against drugs is futile.”)