To return to the Buckley column, Conrad has been a major figure in the recrudescence of conservatism throughout the Western world that Bill and a handful of others began some 50 years ago. That is all the more reason that Bill should have stuck by Conrad. We should stick by our own -- certainly when they are innocent or even when their cases are in doubt. There will be plenty of others to attack them, some from political animus, some from ignorance, some from self-righteous egotism. Standing by a friend under fire is the obligation of friendship. Standing by a friend who shares your values is a defense of those values.
I have considered Conrad's four convictions, and I agree with his appeal. He has not done anything wrong intentionally. He is the victim of prosecutorial excess. If he had done something wrong, it would be for the most part a disagreement over bookkeeping, not the kind of thing that should yank a man of his immense gifts from society and deposit him for years in prison.
Conrad was our friend in good times, and it is his friends' obligation to be his friend during the cruel winds of bad times. If a friend of Conrad's disagrees with this, he should be gentleman enough to remain silent.