Poor Kathryn Jean Lopez, whom I once all too accurately described as the stable maid at NRO's The Corner. Apparently the Princes would not work over Christmas Week. Why should they, being subsidized by the Goldman Sachs crowd?
Perhaps she got the same attitude:
We frequently run a best-of-the-year-that-was on NRO during the final day of a given year. This year, even with all that happened, a link to our WFB memorial archive seems most appropriate.
But I must be fair. Like a loyal estate worker, KJL seems genuinely affected by Bill Buckley's passing. And she is a woman of sensibility, as this and this show. She is moved, probably, because she does not comprehend what a disaster to the Conservative movement Buckley actually was. Also, of course, like most of the NR hacks, because she is not a serious conservative.
As Peter Brimelow said in his definitive VDARE.com appreciation of Buckley
...his personal failings...ultimately accounted for the four-decade fizzle of his once-brilliant career—and for the fact that, regularly credited with the making of the modern conservative movement, he must also be indicted for its breaking.
Above all, he must also be indicted for the breaking, through out-of-control post-1965 mass immigration, of the nation that some of us thought the conservative movement was sworn to defend.
Kathryn Jean gets a little emotional (could something have been left over from NR's Holiday Party?):
The more you reread Bill, the more you long to emulate the style. The more you want to protect the legacy. The more you want to do what he did....Whether you or a man or woman of faith or not, is there little doubt WFB's life story is that of one who did what he was born to do?
The latter thought might be right. Buckley's last important public act was to wreck what Tom Piatak recently pointed out here was the best chance of escaping from the disastrous cycle of Bush Presidencies, the Buchanan campaign in '92. Peter Brimelow attributes to jealousy
the fratricidal savagery of Buckley's 1992 attack on Pat Buchanan, a fellow Irish Catholic conservative who had dared to make the jump from pundit to presidential candidate. As a much-celebrated Catholic, Buckley must have known that Envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. But that does not mean he was immune.
There is also the question of the debauching of National Review. As Peter said:
Why did Buckley...let his magazine, founded to oppose the (Eisenhower!) Republican Establishment of its day, and which he claimed in its 1955 Mission Statement "stands athwart History, yelling Stop", be so completely captured by a combination of Republican publicists, Israel-First Likudniks and the cultural establishment?
Because the fate of National Review matters (mattered). And not just on immigration reform. As long-time NR Board member Neal Freeman wrote in the American Spectator, explaining his resignation:
"I thought then and I think today that if NR had opposed the [Iraq] invasion it could have made a decisive difference within the conservative movement and, radiating its influence outward, across the larger political community."
For the plain fact, politely unmentioned in most Buckley obituaries, is that Buckley and National Review have been complicit in leading the conservative movement, the Republican Party and the country into utter disaster. Conservatives have essentially nothing to show for their moment in power except two completely unexpected colonial wars in the Middle East. And this year's elections are widely expected to be a generational catastrophe.
Maybe Kathryn Jean Lopez is right. There probably hasn't been anything in NR this year more significant the old Bill Buckley Archive. The Conservative movement is crouched in shattered ruins, looking out over a desert of a New Year. And the shortcomings of Bill Buckley and his minions bear much of the blame.