The Dichotomy of a Man

In the biography, William F. Buckley, author Jeremy Lott writes a compelling story of Buckley as the `Patron Saint of the Conservatives’.  Throughout this work, the author depicts William F. Buckley as a prophet who sounds the clarion call: warning society of the need to preserve and protect conservatism from the impending doom of liberalism and secularism.  Through a careful examination of William F. Buckley’s faith and his views on government and societal issues, Lott painstakingly illustrates how the early influences of young Buckley- his Protestant heritage, Catholic upbringing, strong family ties and strong sense of patriotism- shape him.

This candid tale of William F. Buckley provides a deep and rich professional history yet is does not provide personal insight of the man and his faith. Although Buckley is passionate about his cause to preserve conservative values, he seems to be more self-governed than God-governed in his actions. At times William F. Buckley appears to be disconnected from his faith in his behavior towards in politics and those who do not share his opinions. From the author’s writing, we learn that Buckley is at time can be rigid and less than tolerant of others’ viewpoints on the issues of the day; therefore, to associate him as a modern prophet is indeed a stretch of the imagination.

There is an inherent conflict in Buckley the man and Buckley the conservative-  one in theory and the other in practice-  seems diametrically opposed.  Although it is clear that William F. Buckley has made significant contributions to the conservatism movement.  It is more fitting to categorize this biography as a mainstream personal or political history than one bearing emphasis from the Christian perspective. It is a good read for those who are interested in American social and political history.

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