William F. Buckley

post date: February 27, 2008
I can’t remember exactly when I first heard of William F. Buckley or when I first saw an issue of National Review, but I know it must have been in 1966 or thereabouts. I was a teenager at the time and far disconnected from life outside the small town in Alabama where I grew up. This is what I do remember. David Neal and I both discovered Buckley at about the same time, we began to read National Review, and lo, our eyes were opened. We would read the magazine and then we would talk politics. Those were heady days.
In one of his books he recorded his personal statement of faith, a brief account that, if memory serves, was written on Christmas Day wherein he describes the wonders of a gift he had received, an electronic instrument that allowed you to plot a course across the ocean from one point to another. After explaining how the thing worked (this was in the mid-70s, long before the age of personal computers), and how amazing it was to see the precise course churned out by the little machine, he remarks, "All this from the hand of man." But if man can tell us how to find our way on earth, God can tell us how to find our way home to heaven. He said it more beautifully, of course. And he closed by saying that when his earthly life has come to end, he may be found guilty of every delinquency regarding the Star of Bethlehem, save doubting that it was ever there.
Over the years he wrote many obituaries for National Review, always with RIP in the title. It seems fitting to end the same way. William F. Buckley, RIP. Rest in peace.


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