Friday, January 12, 2018

What Would Bill Buckley Think of His Party Today?

The founders of modern conservatism would not recognize it today. The infusion of libertarian selfishness, social issues and populism are a far cry from Burke and Oakeshott.

Yet if we look at the individual that many consider the father of modern conservatism, William F. Buckley Jr., we see the accumulation and formation of all of today's social issues. We see the influence of religion in politics, homophobia, racism and even populism. Because while Buckley was often seen as part of the NY elite, it was Buckley who said, “I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory, than by the faculty of Harvard.” Buckley said that in 1963 and 54 years later he seems to have gotten his wish.

What Buckley did understand, far ahead of almost anyone else, is the media and how to use its many parts. I’m sure if he was still with us, he’d be tweeting today.

Alvin Felzenberg, who served in two presidential administrations and was the principal spokesman for the 9/11 commission, looks at Buckley in A Man and His Presidents: The Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley Jr.

My conversation with Alvin Felzenberg:

** Mr. Felzenberg did this conversation from a crowded and noisy resturant, and we apologize for the background noise, particularly between 8 and 10 minutes in. Thanks for understanding.