Saturday, March 1, 2008

Requiescat in Pacem

I think that's the way it's spelled. Means "Rest in Peace," and it's the RIP on gravestones. Who's it for? William F. Buckley, who died a few days ago at the age of 82. It's in his honor that I tried the Latin. WFB was intelligent, very well read, and civilized. His only show of temper that I recall was when he threatened (on TV) Gore Vidal with bodily harm when Vidal suggested Buckley was a cypto-Nazi. Buckley frequently used words that nobody else ever used, mainly for their sound effect, I always thought (eleemosynary, jejune). I got one of my greatest insights from his book God and Man at Yale, which is that we deplore certain types of behavior but excuse certain other types based on how we view the world. Liberals have tolerance, all right, but only in a leftward direction. Conservatives have tolerance, but only in a rightward direction. So, Liberals will tend to excuse the actions of, say, a former member of the Weather Underground, because he was acting out of convictions that they themselves also hold, and after all, boys will be boys. Conservatives will excuse the actions of a person who bombs abortion clinics, because he is only helping to preserve life in the long run. And, in the background, we hear the crash of glass houses coming down.

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