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Unified Patriots by Vassar Bushmills

The Well Tempered Claviar

I was married in March, 1968 and was able to leave my small one-room affair for a real apartment. With a TV even. We would live there until I finished law school in 1971. And it was there I discovered “Firing Line” on the local public access station. It was that show that introduced me to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #2 .

William F Buckley loved Bach.

It was in that same apartment that I watched WFB take apart Gore Vidal during the GOP and Democratic national conventions. You see, Buckley’s “National Review” was a child of the 1950s and the Cold War. I doubt if any man ever hated Joseph Stalin more than William F Buckley, Jr.

Although Stalin was just as dead as Adolf Hitler, unlike Hitler’s monument to himself, Stalin’s was still alive and kicking, Buckley (and most conservatives of that era) considered Stalinism to be a very real threat, the Vietnam War its latest iteration. A few right-wing baiters drew notice of this deference paid to Stalin (their secret hero) versus Hitler, so tried to paint conservatism as “Nazi”.  So when we are called “Nazi” today, it’s nothing new.

Gore Vidal showcased this tact in this memorable “discussion” with Buckley during the Democratic convention in Chicago. (Fireworks start at 10:02 mark.)

So I was a fan before I ever really seriously read WFB’s magazine. Thank Bach and his well-tempered claviar.

I read NR as often as I could get my hands on it, at the post library in Japan but didn’t subscribe until I came back to Arizona in ’76. Reader-friendly, if you liked an article and wrote to say so, the author would send back a short reply.

Including Buckley[…]

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