Please allow this brief aside for a brief remembrance of William F. Buckley, Jr. Below is a copy of an e-mail I sent to those at National Review and National Review Online.
When I think to what William F. Buckley meant to me, I set aside the political influence. When in college, back when I was a haphazard pot-smoking hippie redneck with ill-considered radical libertarian leanings, he was foremost an example of a fine man.I can remember sitting around a coffee table with some like-minded friends, and some leftist ones, and we all agreed. His interests expanded beyond politics, his humanitarian instincts were obvious even to those who disagreed with his policy positions, and almost without fail he was exceedingly gracious and kind.The young men around that table would not generally be expected to receive warm welcome in stereotypically conservative company, but we all concurred in our high estimation of him. My estimation has only increased over time as maturity has taught me how challenging and difficult being right with the world can be.Today is indeed a day for both sadness and celebration. Not too much of the former, though. As my own father observed upon the death of his dad, a full and righteous life lived to its natural end is the most any of us can hope for in our brief time here. Mr. Buckley most assuredly achieved this, as the testimonies of those closest to him will surely show.
Of course, his politics informed me as well. More and more over time, in fact. But if I learned anything from him it is this: Life is much more than politics and haggling over ideological nuance. We all owe him a debt of gratitude, both Left and Right.