WAS BUCKLEY, ON BALANCE, BAD FOR AMERICA? Although I admire William F. Buckley Jr. enormously, I'm a committed liberal. I believe Buckley and the conservative movement were wrong about many important issues, such as the civil rights movement, for example. Indeed, even Buckley, looking back, agreed he was wrong on that issue. More controversially, I believe that Buckley and National Review were wrong about basic Cold War strategy — they wanted to roll back communism rather than contain it — and about the Vietnam War, although it must quickly be added that Lyndon Johnson and other liberals were wrong on that issue too. America may well have been better off if conservatives had supported the civil rights movement and opposed American intervention in Vietnam.

WHY HAS THE AMERICAN LEFT NOT PRODUCED A FIGURE OF BUCKLEY'S STATURE IN THE LAST HALF-CENTURY? Buckley was unique. He wrote a syndicated column carried by 350 newspapers, produced 56 books, was perhaps the most sought-after speaker in the nation, hosted an enormously popular weekly television show on PBS, founded and edited National Review — and found time to run for mayor of New York City and sail across oceans. Sometimes he made us gasp. Often he made us laugh. There is no other figure on the left or the right who matches him.

David Scharfenberg

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: This Just In , Books, Roger Williams, biography,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY DAVID SCHARFENBERG
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIBERAL WARRIOR  |  April 10, 2013
    When it comes to his signature issues — climate change, campaign finance reform, tax fairness — Whitehouse makes little secret of his approach: marshal the facts, hammer the Republicans, and embarrass them into action.
  •   AT BROWN, A WIN FOR CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVISTS  |  April 11, 2013
    A key Brown University oversight committee has voted to recommend the school divest from coal, delivering a significant victory to student climate change activists.
  •   HACKING POLITICS: A GUIDE  |  April 03, 2013
    Last year, the Internet briefly upended everything we know about American politics.
  •   BREAK ON THROUGH  |  March 28, 2013
    When I spoke with Treasurer Gina Raimondo this week, I opened with the obligatory question about whether she'll run for governor. "I'm seriously considering it," she said. "But I think as you know — we've talked about it before — I have little kids: a six-year-old, an eight-year-old. I'm a mother. It's a big deal."
  •   THE LIBERAL CASE FOR GUNS  |  March 27, 2013
    The school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut spurred hope not just for sensible gun regulation, but for a more nuanced discussion of America's gun culture. Neither wish has been realized.

 See all articles by: DAVID SCHARFENBERG