Conservative columnist and editor William F. Buckley Jr. died today at age 82; he suffered from diabetes and emphysema. Buckley founded the opinion magazine National Review, hosted the show “Firing Line” and wrote 45 books. The author of God and Man at Yale and defender of Joe McCarthy was “replete with $10 words and a darting tongue,” the New York Times eulogizes.
Buckley knit together libertarianism, free-market theory, and anti-Communism, earning praise from Ronald Reagan for giving the world “something in its weariness it desperately needed.” Arthur Schlesinger Jr., meanwhile, called him “the scourge of liberalism.” But, in truth, many liberals respected the magnet for controversy and many righties disliked him. The aesthete’s “greatest achievement,” the Times concludes, “was making conservatism respectable.”