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William F. Buckley, Jr. Quotes


An American author, conservative journalist and commentator. He founded the influential conservative political magazine National Review.
(1925 - 2008)

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A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'
[Politicians]
 

Age of Conformity. One must recently have lived on or close to a college campus to have a vivid intimation of what has happened. It is there that we see how a number of energetic social innovators, plugging their grand designs, succeeded over the years in capturing the liberal intellectual imagination. And since ideas rule the world, the ideologues, having won over the intellectual class, simply walked in and started to run things. Run just about everything. There never was an age of conformity quite like this one, or a camaraderie quite like the Liberals'.
 

All adventure is now reactionary.
 

All that is good is not embodied in the law; and all that is evil is not proscribed by the law. A well-disciplined society needs few laws; but it needs strong mores.
 

Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich.
 

Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great.
 

Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.
 

Everything I do and say and the way I do and say it annoys me.
 

Government can't do anything for you except in proportion as it can do something to you.
 

I am, I fully grant, a phenomenon, but not because of any speed in composition. I asked myself the other day, "Who else, on so many issues, has been so right so much of the time?" I couldn't think of anyone.
 

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.
[Work]
 

I profoundly believe it takes a lot of practice to become a moral slob.
 

I will not cede more power to the state. 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.
 

I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.
 

I would like to electrocute everyone who uses the word "fair" in connection with income tax policies.
 

I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would affront your intelligence.
 

I would rather be governed by the first three hundred names in the Boston telephone book than by the Faculty of Harvard University.
 

I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.
 

I've always subconsciously looked out for the total Christian and when I found him he turned out to be a non-practicing Jew.
 

Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.
 


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