William F. Buckley
Freedom makes life possible.
The Man. The Legend.
Tossing the pigskin.
When asked what he would do if he won the 1965 election for mayor of New York City.
Cracking jokes with Walt Crowley and John Carlson.
I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arrived at yesterday at the voting booth. That is a program of sorts, is it not? It is certainly program enough to keep conservatives busy, and liberals at bay. And the nation free.
Up from Liberalism, 1959
Taking a break with a cigar and Coca-Cola.
I get satisfaction of three kinds. One is creating something, one is being paid for it and one is the feeling that I haven’t just been sitting on my ass all afternoon.
William F. Buckley
By William F. Buckley
I’ve always liked the exchange featuring the excited young Darwinian at the end of the 19th century. He said grandly to the elderly scholar, “How is it possible to believe in God?” The imperishable answer was, “I find it easier to believe in God than to believe that Hamlet was deduced from the molecular structure of a mutton chop.”
That rhetorical bullet has everything — wit and profundity. It has more than once reminded me that skepticism about life and nature is most often expressed by those who take it for granted that belief is an indulgence of the superstitious — indeed their opiate, to quote a historical cosmologist most profoundly dead. Granted, that to look up at the stars comes close to compelling disbelief — how can such a chance arrangement be other than an elaboration — near infinite — of natural impulses? Yes, on the other hand, who is to say that the arrangement of the stars is more easily traceable to nature, than to nature’s molder? What is the greater miracle: the raising of the dead man in Lazarus, or the mere existence of the man who died and of the witnesses who swore to his revival?
The skeptics get away with fixing the odds against the believer, mostly by pointing to phenomena which are only explainable — you see? — by the belief that there was a cause for them, always deducible. But how can one deduce the cause of Hamlet? Or of St. Matthew’s Passion? What is the cause of inspiration?
This I believe: that it is intellectually easier to credit a divine intelligence than to submit dumbly to felicitous congeries about nature. As a child, I was struck by the short story. It told of a man at a bar who boasted of his rootlessness, derisively dismissing the jingoistic patrons to his left and to his right. But later in the evening, one man speaks an animadversion on a little principality in the Balkans and is met with the clenched fist of the man without a country, who would not endure this insult to the place where he was born.
So I believe that it is as likely that there should be a man without a country, as a world without a creator.