Suicide of the West (Reconsidered)

The elegant duplex maisonette at 73 East 73rd Street in Manhattan, formerly the residence of the late Mr. and Mrs. William F. Buckley, Jr., was recently bought by Mr. and Mrs. Mark Rockefeller, son and daughter-in-law of the late Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.  A writer for the New York Times, describing the architectural and decorative renovations made by the couple to the Buckleys’ old home, noted in paragraph two the irony inherent in this devolution of ownership: The political quarrel between Bill Buckley and Nelson Rockefeller became one of the most famous political rivalries of the second half of the American Century, when Buckley supported Barry Goldwater for the Republican presidential nomination at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1964.

The irony is mitigated somewhat by the eventual political cooperation and deep personal friendship between Mr. Buckley and Governor Rockefeller’s protégé, supporter, and political advisor during his run for the presidency, Henry Kissinger, who later became the architect of a policy of détente with the Soviet Union and the instigator of the Nixon administration’s rapprochement with communist China.  Buckley’s admiration for Kissinger was not widely shared on the American right, including importantly James Burnham, a senior editor and staff writer at National Review whose biweekly column, The...

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