Steven L. Bachman gives a fitting "tribute" to the legacy of William Buckley:
The recent passing of William F. Buckley, Jr. brought the expected torrent of praise-in-memoriam; exalting Buckley as the Intellectual Godfather of Modern Conservatism, and crediting him with providing the ideological ammunition for a generation of "conservative" thinkers, pundits, and politicians. Indeed, if there is one thing that Bill Buckley deserves great credit for, it is for leading the way in laying the intellectual foundations for the transitional road from the Old Right philosphical principles of individualism, to the overt and fawning collectivist statism of the modern-day conservative movement.
For the last American century -- beginning with the interventionist foreign policy doctrine of Woodrow Wilson, through the passage of the Income Tax and Federal Reserve Acts, FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society, and culminating in the "compassionate conservatism" of G.W. Bush's No Child Left Behind federal education take-over, massive prescription drug entitlements, and multi-trillion dollar foreign interventionism -- the federal government of these united States has grown into a monstrous, centralized, power-usurping, freedom-trampling Leviathan. Prior to the 1950's, there was one remaining pocket of resistance; one "remnant" ideological vanguard, that stood in defiant opposition to the incessant growth of centralized government power, and the increasing public acceptance thereof. This remnant was generally referred to as the "conservative" movement, and regarded as "obstructionists" by those who wished to increase the power of the state and to use the coercive power of government to remold society along so-called "progressive" lines. This group, led by the likes of Senator Robert Taft and author John T. Flynn, understood well the tendency of state power to grow and become increasingly invasive of individual liberty in times of war, and they understood that the powers the state assumes and justifies as "temporary" and "necessary for national security" during wartime, are never easily relinquished once the alleged "threat" has subsided. They knew the truth of the maxim that "War is the health of the State," and they held tight to the Jeffersonian claim that individual liberty cannot long survive in a militaristic imperial state.
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