Buckley said in effect, Well, there's something known as American conservatism, though it does not even call itself that. It's been calling itself "voting Republican" or "not liking the New Deal." But it is a very American approach to life, and it has to do with knowing that the government is not your master, that America is good, that freedom is good and must be defended, and communism is very, very bad.Heavy? Maybe so, but it's the sort of thing you need to keep top of mind in the face of the throngs of Americans for whom those words are incomprehensible. You know who those people are; they go to Obama rallies and literally pass out with euphoria at the prospect of finally getting a messianic president that promises to turn government into a chronic and benevolent parental authority figure.
When you have it right about laws and kings, and what life is, then your politics become grounded in the facts of life. And once they are grounded, you don't have to hold to them so desperately. You can relax and have fun. Just because you're serious doesn't mean you're grim.
29 February 2008
A Word on Buckley
Hard to comment on the life of William Buckley from my altitude, but Peggy Noonan did a fine job: