A Born Teacher

Daniel Oliver, Claremont Review of Books, April 2008.


George Will called National Review the most consequential journal of opinion ever. It remade America by reinvigorating its spirit of enterprise and renewing its courage to resist and overcome Communism. Every fortnight, NR published good copy by good writers. It promoted Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. But the key was editor William F. Buckley, Jr., who founded and nourished the conservative movement.

Bill Buckley died on February 27 at the age of 82, at his desk, hard at work on tomorrow (in this case, another book—his 56th) yet more prepared for this day than anyone of his friends had ever known. His health was as dreadful as his spirits were cheerful—he had emphysema, diabetes, could barely walk, couldn’t climb stairs, had fallen a few weeks before and broken his right wrist—but he worked on, almost compulsively. Why? “My father taught me that I owe it to my country. It’s how I pay my debt.” For a book-length disquisition, see his Gratitude: Reflections on What We Owe to Our Country (1990).

Claremont Review of Books