In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the first hints of political conservatism wiggled their way into the American conscience.
Through books like Richard Weaver's Ideas have Consequences, F.A. Hayek's Road to Serfdom, Whittaker Chamber's Witness, Robert Nisbet's Quest for Community, and, of course, Russell Kirk's groundbreaking conservative hagiography, The Conservative Mind, the intellectual conservative movement in American began to take shape.
Then came William F. Buckley Jr.'s God and Man at Yale, published in 1951. With his powerful indictment against Yale's reigning liberal ideology, Buckley established himself among the pantheon of conservative leaders at just 26 years of age. For the next 57 years Buckley was the preeminent spokesman for conservatism in America, channeling conservative ideas beyond the academy and Capitol Hill into the living rooms of the American public.
George Nash, historian of the American conservative movement, stated that Buckley was "arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century.... For an entire generation, he was the preeminent voice of American conservatism and its first great ecumenical figure."
For more on the life of William F. Buckley Jr., we invite you to read this entry in the American Conservative Encyclopedia.
Today, on the fifth anniversary of his passing, the Editors of the Intercollegiate Review celebrate a life dedicated to promoting our vital mission. We remember the founding president of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and founder of National Review. We salute a man who, with an acerbic eloquence, managed to shape the conservative movement and, in the process, elevate political discourse in America.
UPDATE: Check out this post from National Review's Jack Fowler, entitled "Bill Buckley and Final Truths" and featuring a nugget of WFB gold: "[I]f it is 'reactionary' to hold a truth that will be valid for all future time, then words have lost their meaning, and men their reason."
For some classic Buckley moments, check out these clips from the famed Firing Line.
Buckley goes toe-to-toe with a young Congressman Ron Paul:
A young Christopher Hitchens meets his match: