Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rod Dreher on Bill Buckley: He was a Good Man

Alas, we now see the true greatness of a man who was a genuinely caring human being. Not trumpeting his righteuousnes like a Pharisee, others remember the good Christian that he was:

Joseph Sobran:

Over the years I came to know another side of Bill. When I had serious troubles, he was a generous friend who did everything he could to help me without being asked. And I wasn’t the only one. I gradually learned of many others he’d quietly rescued from adversity. He’d supported a once-noted libertarian in his destitute old age, when others had forgotten him. He’d helped two pals of mine out of financial difficulties. And on and on. Everyone seemed to have a story of Bill’s solicitude. When you told your own story to a friend, you’d hear one from him. It was as if we were all Bill Buckley’s children.

It went far beyond sharing his money. One of Bill’s best friends was Hugh Kenner, the great critic who died two years ago. Hugh was hard of hearing, and once, after a 1964 dinner with Hugh and Charlie Chaplin, Bill scolded Hugh for being too stubborn to use a hearing aid. Here were the greatest comedian of the age and the greatest student of comedy, and Hugh had missed much of the conversation! Later Hugh’s wife told me how grateful Hugh had been for that scolding. Nobody else would have dared speak to her husband that way. Only a true friend would. If Bill saw you needed a little hard truth, he’d tell you, even if it pained him to say it.
I once spent a long evening with one of Bill’s old friends from Yale, whose name I won’t mention. He told me movingly how Bill stayed with him to comfort him when his little girl died of brain cancer. If Bill was your friend, he’d share your suffering when others just couldn’t bear to. What a great heart — eager to spread joy, and ready to share grief!

Compared with all this, the political differences that finally drove us apart seem trivial now. I saw the same graciousness in his relations with everyone from presidents to menials. I learned a lot of things from Bill Buckley, but the best thing he taught me was how to be a Christian. May Jesus comfort him now.

Bob M's post:

"Even when I disagreed with Mr. Buckley, I respected him for his erudition, his thoughtfulness, wit, and his great civility (with the one exception of the time he threatened to flatten the overbearing and smug Gore Vidal who had called him a "crypto-fascist" during a debate on ABC.

Mr. Buckley's reasoned and respectful rhetoric is a quantum leap above and beyond the ranting and railing of right-wingnut radio which engages in low insult and self-righteous vitriol.
I shall miss him.

(And let's face it, his unique speaking style was amusing to listen to. I always got a kick out of listening to him.)"

Read Rod's post here

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