Saturday, May 1, 2010

What Would Bill Buckley Think of the Tea Party?

Well, what would William F. Buckley Jr., founder of National Review and arguably the pre-eminent intellectual of the modern conservative movement until his 2008 death, say about the tea party movement? Having just published the first biography of Buckley in 22 years, I make bold to offer the following: • He would applaud the tea party's message of "We want government off our backs and out of our pockets." Throughout his life, Buckley firmly resisted governmental aggrandizement. "I will use my power as I see fit," he wrote. "I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth." • Buckley would like the tea party's determination to place principle above party, any party. He and National Review -- the magazine he founded and edited for 35 years -- did not hesitate to criticize both major political parties and their leaders whenever they deserved it. • Buckley would delight in the tea party's willingness to challenge the establishment. In National Review's very first issue, Buckley famously wrote that his magazine "stands athwart history yelling Stop." The growth of government, he said, "must be fought relentlessly."...more

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