“The sloth of a conservative”
Jason Pappas writing at his blog nicely captures what’s wrong with the sainted William F. Buckley:
Antiquated conservatives, like Mr. Buckley, are blind to a threat that dresses itself in religious garb, fails to wage conventional wars, and is, well, conservative in the sense that it looks back to the original practice of what appears, to some, to be just another monotheistic religion. Apparently, Mr. Buckley was a one-shot conservative unable to retool for the coming war. We will have to move forward without him.Pappas points both to Buckley’s intellectual laziness, and to the particular form his laziness takes with regard to Islam, namely his inability to grasp that Islam is not merely a religion (and therefore “traditional” and “conservative”), but a political movement seeking world power and the elimination of everything that is not itself. While Buckley, in the only true political passion of his life, understood that Communism was a threat to the very existence of the free peoples of the West and had to be opposed as such, he makes it clear that he couldn’t care less about opposing the spread of Islam. In a recent interview quoted by Pappas, Buckley suggests, in his inimitably passive, detached manner, that if Americans generally aren’t alarmed by Islam, then there is no reason to be alarmed by it. This is not intellectual leadership; it is a complacent adjustment to opinion polls.
I predict that once the current craze of Buckley hagiography has quieted down, and America finds itself increasingly beseiged by expansive jihadism both within and without its borders, Buckley’s one-shot brand of conservatism will not be remembered with any especial respect.