|One Nation, Under God...||
"The real democratic American ideal is, not that every man shall be on a level with every other man, but |
that every man shall have liberty to be what God made him, without hindrance." --Henry Ward Beecher
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Posted 8:52 AM by WiN
Happy 80th, Bill!
Though there will no doubt be hundreds, I can't imagine a better tribute to William F. Buckley Jr. on the occasion of his 80th birthday than this one by one of my favorite 'old time' columnists, William Murchison. I started reading, and enjoying, Bill Murchison's folksy conservatism years ago in my home town paper, the Dallas Morning News, and soon thereafter was introduced to Bill Buckley and his consummate creation, National Review. Although I must admit that I have never quite developed the taste for Buckley's writing that I did for Murchison, the magic of his creation is that it has introduced me to dozens of other writers that I love, such as John Derbyshire, Jonah Goldberg, Michael Leedon, Larry Kudlow, Jay Nordlinger, Ramesh Ponnuru, Victor Davis Hanson and many, many others. And I do willingly confess a weakness for Buckley's fiction, as manifest in his Blackford Oakes novels.
But as to Buckley's contribution to American life, there can be no doubt. As Murchison aptly puts it:
Life would unquestionably be quieter, absent our brother Bill and also more fraught with peril and/or pure tedium. Without Buckley, without his wit, grace and brains, the dominant liberalism of post-World War II America might have washed all dissent out to sea. There would have been no conservative comeback; no Goldwater, no Reagan. The present menace to life and limb would be the Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile, instead of the jihadist suicide bomb. Our taxes would certainly be steeper, our lives more bureaucratized, our hands less free to improvise and invent.And later:
[D]on't you see, that's why they did come and still do -- because a creed of freedom lived out in gratitude to the God whose service is perfect freedom was about the richness of all life. You could speak with a modified prep school accent, like Bill Buckley; or with a Texas twang; or in a language with no resemblance to English. Still, you were conservative. And probably are now -- that is, if you prize the nobly ordered freedom depicted for so long, so ably, so engagingly by Bill Buckley.To which I add, with all my conservative brothers and sisters, Amen.
My Bloginality is INFP
AN OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE OF IRAN FROM THE WEBLOGGING COMMUNITY
We are not politicians, nor are we generals. We hold no power to dispatch diplomats to negotiate; we can send no troops to defend those who choose to risk their lives in the cause of freedom.
What power we have is in our words, and in our thoughts. And it is that strength which we offer to the people of Iran on this day.
Across the diverse and often contentious world of weblogs, each of us has chosen to put aside our differences and come together today to declare our unanimity on the following simple principles:
- That the people of Iran are allies of free men and women everywhere in the world, and deserve to live under a government of their own choosing, which respects their own personal liberties
- That the current Iranian regime has failed to create a free and prosperous society, and attempts to mask its own failures by repression and tyranny
We do not presume to know what is best for the people of Iran; but we are firm in our conviction that the policies of the current government stand in the way of the Iranians ability to make those choices for themselves.
And so we urge our own governments to turn their attention to Iran. The leaders and diplomats of the world's democracies must be clear in their opposition to the repressive actions of the current Iranian regime, but even more importantly, must be clear in their support for the aspirations of the Iranian people.
And to the people of Iran, we say: You are not alone. We see your demonstrations in the streets; we hear of your newspapers falling to censorship; and we watch with anticipation as you join the community of the Internet in greater and greater numbers. Our hopes are with you in your struggle for freedom. We cannot and will not presume to tell you the correct path to freedom; that is for you to choose. But we look forward to the day when we can welcome your nation into the community of free societies of the world, for we know with deepest certainty that such a day will come
A personal note: I have only had one Iranian acquaintance in my life, but I definitely considered him a friend. While I was in college (second time round) I had a part-time job as a self-serve gas station attendant. The senior employee was an engineering student named Rahim. The school I attended had (and probably still has) a significant middle-eastern student population, a lot of them in engineering. This was also during a period (mid-eighties) when Iran was not a popular place to be from (Iatolla Khomeini era). Since he was obviously middle-eastern, people would sometimes ask him, "Where are you from?" to which he would reply, with a sly grin "Persia".
He was not very political, so the topic of Iranian politics rarely came up. Occasionally he would show me some propaganda sheet he had picked up on campus, written in Farsi, and translate some of it for me. He also delighted in the ridiculous political cartoons showing Uncle Sam in various uncomplimentary poses. He seemed to regard the whole thing as humorous, but he got very serious when he spoke on rare occasion about the danger his relations back home faced from the oppressive regime. He had married an American and intended to stay here, at least until things got better back home.
I can't count the number of times he helped me out with work-related situations like swapping shifts and taking over for me in emergency situations. I gladly did the same for him. He was especially enamored with a nice "fuzzbuster" I had that I used for my many trips to Dallas. He borrowed it for a couple of trips he had to make to El Paso, where a former professor was holding a term paper of his "hostage" and he was negotiating to have the paper approved in order to get credit for the course, which was holding up his degree. He returned from his trips singing the praises of the magical device.
I lost track of him, of course, after I quit the job but to this day he is the face of Iran to me - friendly, helpful and a little mischievous, with a heart of gold. I wish him and all the people of Iran good will and the blessings of freedom.