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January 30, 2017

Gratitude is important for two reasons. First, it is so seldom expressed and, second, it is easily recognized. Oddly, two examples occurred recently within a month and a few days of each other.

Matthew Continenti, editor of the Washington Free Beacon , published a tribute to Bill Gavin on December 23 and Reagan biographer, Craig Shirley gave testimony to his gratitude to Arthur Finkelstein on January 26.

In an essay titled The Return of Street Corner Conservatism, Continenti reminds us of a little book of Gavin’s that has value today. And Craig Shirley gives testimony to his gratitude in a National Review essay that he titled, Not Just Good at National Politics, but the Best.

I took notice because I knew both Gavin and Finkelstein and I feared that Craig Shirley was writing Finkelstein’s obituary. I feared that a friendship that began in the 1970s had ended. Finkelstein is little known intentionally, as this essay explains. But Gavin, who died two years ago, is known to a host of former members of the staff of former Senator James Buckley.

Finkelstein and Gavin were intimately connected to Jim and Bill Buckley, so these two essays tell us a great deal about the nature of conservatism, its appeal to great souls, and to our understanding of the great debt we owe to Bill Buckley who brought the two of them–and us–together.


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