On June 21, a commenter on this earlier post of mine said that Mark Twain belongs on the greatest Americans list. Today, John makes the case for William F. Buckley and says that Bill deserves to be judged as one of the greatest Americans.
I plead ignorance. After living in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for two-thirds of my life, I simply didn't have the option of learning about Americans, great or otherwise. Though, over the past 4 years, I've read a little US history and the 20 greatest Americans according to myself represents that limited knowledge.
Sad to say but I haven't read any work of Mark Twain. I have seen him quoted on many occasions. That's about it. When it comes to modern conservatives, I mainly read JWR, NRO, and FrontPage. Therefore, I do not know much about many older conservatives or conservative writers who had a big influence in recorded history.
Further thoughts: William F. Buckley could be likened to Grant and Sherman. Hear me out. We, well most of us, don't doubt the greatness of Lincoln or Reagan. But, their ultimate victory mainly depended on other distinguished men. In Lincoln's case, the successes of the Northern armies commanded by Grant and Sherman, gave Lincoln political capital. In Reagan's case, the conservative movement's sharpest pen and the founder of NR gave Reagan intellectual and political capital.
I am not saying that Lincoln was politically dumb or that Reagan was stupid. I am simply giving proper credit to those who ensured the ascendancy of great men.