, 2022-07-15 13:21:25,
The founder of Conservativism’s most important journal, the National Review, William Buckley made intellectual conservatism respectable for the first time in a generation, uniting the warring tribes of the American right and gave encouragement to an entire generation of conservatives.
On his television show “Firing Line” (1966-99), he became the most feared antagonist of American liberalism. Kind and generous in private, Buckley could be sarcastic and merciless on the air, skewering liberal beliefs and arguments with his brilliantly analytical mind. A man of culture, a gifted writer and brilliant debater, Buckley was also a sincere Catholic who defied many of the stereotypes of Irish-American Catholics.
Buckley had a unique upbringing which shaped his worldview. Born in Manhattan on Nov. 24, 1925, he was the sixth child of Will Buckley, a Texas Irishman who made in Mexican oil during the military dictatorship of Victoriano Huerta but then lost everything when he was expelled by leftist general Alvaro Obregon. Subsequently Buckley Sr. made his fortune back in Venezuela. Buckley’s father rescued priests during the Mexican revolution and brought up his children to think of themselves as counter-revolutionaries. Moving with his father to France, Buckley began his formal schooling in Paris, where he attended first grade. By age 7, he received his first formal lessons in English at a day school in London; his first and second languages were Spanish and French.
William F. Buckley Jr.
Buckley Sr. resembled his contemporary Joseph Kennedy in that he was a self-made Irish multi-millionaire, anti-communist and isolationist, who had a fierce determination that his children must succeed in competition with the Protestant elite. Buckley’s father, however, was an ugly bigot who sent his children (not including Bill) to burn a cross, the symbol of the Ku Klux Klan, on the lawn of a Jewish hotel. Like Kennedy, he was also an Anglophobe. William rejected his father’s anti-semitism, but was also ambivalent about the English, even if he spoke with a slight English accent, acquired at the English Catholic public school he attended from 1938 to 1939. He had many English friends, especially the historian Alistair Horne, and was deeply influenced by his father’s friend Albert Jay Nock, a…
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