by Rod D. Martin
February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley’s passing today surprised everyone, and greatly saddened millions who have been touched by his life.

Perhaps the greatest sadness in this — for Buckley is surely with his Lord this day — is that it is mere millions and not billions who will miss him; for surely the entire world has benefited from his wisdom and tireless advocacy for freedom, the transformative global change his ideas begat, and the spread of a renewed belief in liberty which had been all but exhausted when his work began.

From Prime Ministers to Presidents to a little girl — my Sherri — sitting with her daddy watching Firing Line, those indelibly marked by his insight are all around us, in a world far better than that which Whittaker Chambers and Joseph Schumpeter imagined possible, believing in the inevitability of Communism as surely as they passionately promoted a different path. They did not believe their work could bear fruit; but Buckley did, the impetuous youth standing up in his day to an older, tireder generation, “standing athwart history crying ‘Stop!'” And stop it did: with the collapse of not only the Soviet Empire but the Keynesian and socialist mire into which the West had fallen too, and the rise of a new dawn of freedom, all made possible because someone not only nurtured the ideas but provided the hope required for victory.

The left, now at least nominally led by Barack Obama, preaches “change” and “hope” too, but the change they preach is a return to the old lost path, one of serfdom, of drones, of cogs in a statist machine. You can call it socialism, you can call it fascism, but what it is, on its very best day, is bleak, and dark, and hopeless.

It is up to us to stop this false hope, this “change” for change’s sake; and not just when it appears in one party, but wherever it shows its face. It is a task worthy of the great Buckley. It is our duty to rise to the occasion, to fill his shoes, and to triumph. His whole life was spent to make that possible. Now it’s up to us.