Thursday, February 28, 2008

William F. Buckley: Remembering a Prick

William F. Buckley should be remembered for what he was -- an asshole conservative who legitimized being a racist bigot, by simply defending his neanderthal ideals with a charming smile, a British accent and better vocabulary than the average neanderthal.

This is the William F. Buckley I knew growing up:

(Concerning the methods used in the south to keep blacks from voting)
"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 believes that the South's premises are correct. . . . It is more important for the community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority." -- William F. Buckley, from a A 1957 editorial of The National Review titled 'Why the South Must Prevail'' (8/24/57)

William F. Buckley, in 1968, during a debate with writer Gore Vidal.

(Vidal, who is gay, called the conservative a “pro-war-crypto-Nazi,”)

"Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in you goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered"

Ah, Elegant, Erudite, and positively Buckley.

If you get a chance to see the video of William F. Buckley debating famous M.I.T. Professor Noam Chomsky on the Vietnam war, you will see how much Buckley was really mostly about using his vocabulary to skirt around issues. This debate is one that clearly shows that Buckley did not know what the issues were, and as soon as Chomsky tries to get beyond the slogans and one-liners of conservative pundits, and actually discuss the issues, Buckley tries to cut him off and stop him from explaining what the issue are. You can see Buckley trying in vain to make it sound like our invasion of Vietnam and the war was all about altruistic intentions and good will, and how we were there for only the best of mutually-beneficial intentions. Chomsky pretty much politely cleans his clock by using actual facts, reports, and statistics.

William F. Buckley -- should be remembered for what he really did -- he legitimized being an elitist, racist, knee-jerk-anti-communist, bigotted conservative, by being eloquent, graceful, genteel, and erudite.


GamingAsshole said...

I've never heard of this guy, but no surprise the media around my area hasn't even mentioned this guy, yet he heavily influenced American politics. I bet if they did cover it, they wouldn't cover the racism (like no one mentioned Falwells racism), or just lightly bring it up, like the reports I saw of Jerry Falwell just being accused of being goofy at times when it came to all the anti-gay rhetoric and the Teletubbies incident.

GamingAsshole said...

Well, I was watching Real Time with Bill Maher (yeah, I was bored) and they mentioned Huckley in passing, and man the criticisms made against him were simple and short, and some of the people on the show were actually promoting the man as if he actually gave fair time to criticism against him and was responsible for the anti-iraq war movement. I don't know much of this guy, but from what you said Psycho Dave, I'd assume what these guys said about him are wrong.

David W. Irish said...

Well, probably not.

One thing that Buckley did, towards his old age, was becoe more moderate.

For example, he DID change his views on civil rights, but it took the horrors of anti-Civil Rights violence (like lynchings, blowing up black churches, and riots) to convince him that his previous views were not right. He didn't really suddenly not become a racist. What he did was acknowledge that there was a middle ground, and that black people did, in fact deserve to be treated more fairly.

On TV and radio intervierws, he adopted a very congenial and Avuncular persona, and refrained from actually promoting right wing ideology (He discussed politics, but refrained from his old cheap shots) This is what saved him from skewering in the media.

Also -- the Right wing in America became more fascistic and crazy since Reagan. Buckley's views seemed to be more and more moderate than right wing, in the eyes of many of the far-right nut-jobs that now dominate the airwaves. Compared to Pat Buchanon, Karl Rove, Cal Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter, Buckley seems like a tree-hugging hippie by comparison. IN fact, just before he died, the differences between his ideology and the far right became so wide, that he was, in fact, a voice of moderation, speaking out against Bush and the politics of fear.

So I guess this should be a post-script to my original article. On the one hand, I acknowledge that Buckley was far saner, and far more realistic and practical than any of the far-right wing whack-jobs that populate the air waves and government. On the other hand, Buckley rose to fame on a steady reguimen of racist, sexist, and crypto-fascist ideology, and we should not forget him at his worst.

GamingAsshole said...

Oh, well okay. My bad. I never heard of him before you brought up him up, so I had no idea that in his later years he changed his views. Sorry.

TiradeFaction said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TiradeFaction said...

We should all be happy about this, he was an exceptionally intelligent conservative. The right, which has no surplus of intellectual resources, is certainly worse off without his voice. ;-)