The word has come that William F. Buckley, Jr. has died.
The case can be made for Buckley as the most influential journalist of the second half of the 20th century. He was most responsible, first, for separating conservatism from the outright bigots and John Birchers, and second for making the defeat of imperial communism seem achievable--which, in the end, it was. When the cracking of the Soviet Empire finally occurred in the 1990s, when what Buckley had envisioned as far back as the 1940s finally happened, it happened with such a thoroughness and such a repudiation of the past that many were drawn to believe it was inevitable. It was not. The defeat of the Warsaw Pact happened because men like Buckley were able to give voice to an idea, and because men like (to list a partial honor role) Eisenhower, Dulles, Kennedy, Rusk and Reagan put that idea into action.
Update: Welcome, Irish Trojan readers. Anyone influenced by Buckley's words and works will be at home here.