Friday, January 2, 2009

Three Questions I Never Got To Ask William F. Buckley, Jr.

Beloved by the far right and hailed as conservatism's intellectual (an oxymoronic term) voice, William F. Buckley died without ever answering hard questions. There are three I would have asked, and I'll supply the answers I think Bill would have given:

1) You've never spoken publicly about your work with the CIA and the nefarious connections by which your family accumulated its fortune. Why?
Bill's response: You've committed a logical fallacy; to wit, you have adduced subjective opinion from objective fact.
The truth: Billy worked under E. Howard Hunt in the 1950s before using his family's wealth to start up the National Review and a neo-fascist organization called Young Americans for Freedom. Much of his family's wealth was derived from their oil company, Pantipec Oil. The president of Pantipec Oil was Warren Smith. Two men who worked for Smith at Pantipec were CIA contract agents, George deMohrenschildt and Jack Crichton. DeMohrenschildt, identified as Lee Harvey Oswald's best friend in Dallas by the Warren Commission, was a rabid anti-communist/oil geologist who mentored Oswald in Dallas's right Russian community. Crichton sat on the board of Dorchester Gas with a man named D.H. Byrd. Byrd, owner of the Texas School Book Depository, close friend of Texas oil millionnaires and LBJ, and founder of the Civil Air Patrol, made a fortune off the Vietnam War after JFK's assassination. LBJ started up the Vietnam War for real, and Byrd's Ling-Temco-Vought got a fat defense contract for building fighter jets.

2) Do you now denounce your racist diatribe from the August 24, 1957, issue of National Review?
Bill's response: I never laid claim to that piece, and, what's more, I have recanted those words.
The truth: Buckley never issued a retraction or recanted this editorial which ran in NR:
"The central question that 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..."

3) In your televised debate with Gore Vidal on Aug. 28, 1968, you, the supposed master of detached and civil rhetoric, resorted to obscenties and coarse name-calling. Was this an admission that Gore had, indeed, kicked your ass?
Bill's response: Fuck you, leftist.
The truth: Buckley lost his temper, called Vidal "a queer," threatened to punch him "in the goddamned nose," and accused him of being "plastered."

Nonetheless, the right wing shed huge crocodile tears over Bill's passing in 2008.


Jack Jodell said...

Good questions, Tim, and answers Buckley could very well have given. While his style was less coarse and confrontational than today's Limbaugh, Coulter, or O'Reilly, the substance of what he spoke and wrote was every bit as offensive. To be honest, I couldn't stand William F. Buckley. I found him to be condescending, pretentious, and pseudo-intellectual. I hated his style of speaking and his phony aristocratic demeanor. I once knew a younger guy who put on those same airs and conducted himself very similar to Buckley. I'm happy to say that one time I threw up on him by accident (or WAS it an accident?) UGH! :)

ConScope said...

Buckley had some problems with J. Edgar too..

tlees2 said...

Vidal called Buckley a "crypto-Nazi" or "crypto-fascist". I think it was the former. Buckley really flipped out then.