Columnists: The Sniper

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From Tom Paine to William Lloyd Garrison, from William Jennings Bryan to Henry Wallace, American ideologues have been a humorless lot. In their devotion to a special set of principles, they have rarely cultivated the art of laughter—especially at themselves. It is perhaps symptomatic of the times that today's leading U.S. ideologue of the right is celebrated for his wit. At 42, William F. Buckley Jr. is that contradiction in terms, a popular polemicist.

Daily, Bill Buckley stands at some conservative Armageddon, but not as the leader of an army or...

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