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William Buckley

Posted by Bob on February 28th, 2008 under History


William Buckley belonged to that almost extinct species, people I could get mad at.

It always puzzles me when people get personally mad at Bush or some other contemporary figure. It is like kicking a washing machine. These are totally plastic people, and we know where every utterance of every public figure today comes from.

Buckley INVENTED respectable conservatism. Almost everything he said since 1970 was pure plastic. Every non-liberal spokesman today is a pure plastic Buckley.

I am incapable of getting really mad at a non-liberal public figure in exactly the same way I am incapable of getting personally involved with a sewing machine. I could have gotten mad at Singer, but if I got upset at the sins of sewing machine, I’d turn myself in for treatment.

Unlike Buckley, today’s plastic conservative deals with all disagreement the way his liberal masters do, he screams for a lynching. I upset Buckley terribly. I insulted him in my first books so much that his close friend William Rusher had to except himself from what I said in his Foreword to that book.

But the point is that Buckley was Rusher’s employer. He did not get mad at him for doing that Foreword. He published a review of that book in National review, his wholly owned publication, called “Read This One!” Then he published a front page article attacking me in National Review, cartooning me and making Pat Buchanan look like a minor figure behind the Ultimate Villain Whitaker.

Liberals are nice about allowing respectable conservatives to attack them, but conservatives earn that by leading the lynch mob against people like me.

That never occurred to Buckley.

With his death, I am left with no living on whom to vent my fury. A man can get mad at the puppeteer, but nothing is quite as unsatisfying as yelling at the puppets.

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  1. #1 by Dave on 02/28/2008 - 12:15 pm

    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.

  2. #2 by AFKAN on 02/28/2008 - 11:45 pm

    Bob made an interesting point that deserves elaboration.

    Bob wrote:

    Buckley INVENTED respectable conservatism. Almost everything he said since 1970 was pure plastic. Every non-liberal spokesman today is a pure plastic Buckley.

    in reply:
    That is a fascinating cultural moment.

    Remember, the Great 1968 Conventions were past, as was the Buckley/Vidal debates – which, at least in part, are on YouTube.

    Color television was becoming very widespread, and Buckley knew this as well as anyone. He also knew, acutely, that people LISTENING to the Kennedy/Nixon debate on the radio thought Nixon had won. People WATCHING it on television thought Kennedy had won. (I suspect this is true for the last Clinton/Obama debate, as well. All I head was “how Presidential he looked, and sounded.”)

    So, Buckley realized the world has changed, in 1970, and went into cruise control mode, becoming, in his later years, all but a parody of himself, with the continued unquestioning support for all things Israeli, which is to say, all things Jewish.

    I often suspected National Review was something, but not much, more than a false flag designed to act as a lightning rod to insure nationalist sentiments were expressed in a harmless, clever, and diverting manner, and never rose to the level of political effectiveness.

    In this I recall a conversation in the BBC production of “Reilly, Ace of Spies,” where Reilly asks Dzerinsky about his lack of concern for a White Russian charity.

    Dzerinsky replied, in effect, “We founded it, and we control it. It’s a useful way to see what our Opposition is doing.”

    I felt the same way about National Review, and, for all of their criticism of the John Birch Society’s alleged “anti-Semitism,” I can only recall the painful realization of Dr. Revilo Oliver that it was all a facade, and was controlled by the Jews.

    As was National Review, and Buckley…

    Bob wrote:

    Unlike Buckley, today’s plastic conservative deals with all disagreement the way his liberal masters do, he screams for a lynching. I upset Buckley terribly. I insulted him in my first books so much that his close friend William Rusher had to except himself from what I said in his Foreword to that book.

    in reply:
    Today’s “plastic conservatives” are simply showmen, entertainers who would as soon be pitchmen for Studebakers, in an earlier time, as representatives for an alternative cultural philosophy.

    Studebakers, or Dzerinsky…

  3. #3 by richard on 02/29/2008 - 12:37 pm

    “The central question that emerges … is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.” (National Review, August 27, 1957).

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