Rumbles Left and Right: A Book about Troublesome People and Ideas

Rumbles Left and Right: A Book about Troublesome People and Ideas

Rumbles Left and Right: A Book about Troublesome People and Ideas

Rumbles Left and Right: A Book about Troublesome People and Ideas

Excerpt

A born debater, Mr. William F. Buckley, Jr. has made himself into a formidable knight-errant of twentieth-century politics and letters. This book, Rumbles Left and Right, though on the surface a collection of his occasional pieces, really amounts to more than a series of jousts with the men- at-arms of liberalism and radicalism. Through these essays runs a strong consistency: a concerted assault on the fallacies of a decadent age.

The controversies with which Mr. Buckley deals may be forgotten a generation from now, if not sooner; some are dusty already, perhaps. Yet, as Mr. T. S. Eliot observes, there are no lost causes, because there are no gained causes. And the follies which Mr. Buckley scourges rise ghastly from their graves in every generation. The reader of this book, then, is to take these essays not as ephemera, but as political and social criticism worthy of survival in their own right. It is not inconceivable that, thirty years from now, Americans seeking to understand the curious moods of the 50's and 60's may find in Rumbles Left and Right a sturdy thread to lead them through the Minoan labyrinth of political and literary controversy in the times of Eisenhower and Kennedy. As Pope immortalized in The Dunciad a crew of poetasters who otherwise would have been snuffed out like tallow drips, so Buckley may preserve in the amber of his humorous invective a collection of insects that otherwise would have been consigned to the trash burner of remorseless fate. Yet I doubt . . .

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