The Buckley Effect

The Economist, February 28, 2008.


Few intellectuals change the political weather. Even the most successful—an Arthur Schlesinger, say, or a J.K. Galbraith—usually tilt into the prevailing wind and enjoy the sail. William F. Buckley, who died in his study this week, aged 82, was a weather-changer.

When Mr Buckley decided to make his name as a conservative intellectual the phrase was an oxymoron. Dwight Eisenhower’s Republican Party was as adamantly middle-of-the-road as it was middle-brow. Ike did not take it as an insult when people said of him that “his smile was his philosophy”.

The Economist