Emotions and moods play a tremendous role in life. What happened Buckley, because he did do some very good intellectual work in his life when he was young, is that he lost sight of what was serious and not serious after he became a celebrity.
You deal with raw human nature a lot when you are a celebrity. You must train yourself not to emotionally react to being rudely treated.
I saw Buckley in person on more than one occasion where he was treated to rude personal assaults by politicized left wing clowns. He treated their assaults with good humor.
But this is precisely where Buckley went wrong. You become plastic at the moment you license yourself not to react genuinely. You lose your internal navigation as to what is serious and to what is not serious.
This is precisely what separates real leaders from the fakes. And the vast majority of our “leaders” are fakes.
I visited the Dallas Book Depository once that has now weirdly become a shrine. I was taken there unwillingly. I never would have gone there willingly.
It was a bizarre experience. The “highlight” of the tour was to shown the window where Oswald was located with his rifle. The Depository is full of pictures of the extended Kennedy family in their “royals” modality. Juxtaposed next to these pictures are the film clips and pictures of John Kennedy’s murder that we are all familiar with.
I realized something then: What was fake at the Depository was any genuine respect for the Kennedy’s. What was real was an enduring and deep hatred and resentment of them. Why celebrate anybody’s murder in such a fashion? You can’t lay something like that off to “media culture” alone. It almost made think that Marxist class hatred theory might be right. I left there thinking I’d had my face rubbed in raw political reality.
Rivers run deep in human life. Once you loose sight of that you become plastic. You lose sight of what is real.
That is what happened to Buckley.