NET Journal; 253; The Conservative Mr. Buckley
wayne WNET, the conservative Mr. buckley one hour October fourteenth nineteen sixty nine. Take one Public
television network. Another uh highly placed uh political chairman invited by Mr. Buckley to appear with him refused and Mr. Buckley was asked why his reply was why does baloney reject the grinder? [static] Bill Buckley [Applause] [Bill Buckley] Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen and thank you Mr. Wilson, that was a very nice introduction. On the other hand if it hadn't been I would have smashed you in the goddamn face [laughter] [laughter] [laughter and applause] [Buckley] I am very happy to be here and most grateful to you
for your hospitality so far. [laughter] I am now a days very well known known and you got about three years ago when a letter only took three days to arrive from one end of New York to my office. That's merely to Mr. William Buckley New York City. But two or three weeks ago a letter took only twelve hours to arrive addressed merely to the insufferable Mr. Buckley. [music playing] William F. Buckley, Jr.
a leading conservative was brought up in Sharon Connecticut and in a winter home home in Camden South Carolina.These were the settings for an important value he learned in his childhood. It is a thesis of the literature of protest against the weight of physical america is shaping up that external harmony is necessary for the repose of the soul. But I do know that it so for some people, for instance myself, not necessarily for those people who uh according to fashions book, are the most to be admired in the human race. These last include the inner directed types of whom the absent minded professors most widely characture example what generally oblivious to external surroundings who could not care less for the one two or a dozen trees grow in Brooklyn.
One's own experience I think counts greatly. Mine during my childhood was a continuing confrontation with beauty. I do not know whether I had recognized it as such or even what I had thought back about it as such except that my father was constantly calling attention to it. He bought a large house in Sharon Connecticut drawn into that little town for the simple reason of its extraordinary beauty. He went to Paris and Switzerland and London for protracted stays when I was a boy but kept popping back to Sharon where we settled more or less permanently during the early thirties spending what is in Camden where my father undertook the rehabilitation of a derelict antibellum house which is surrounded now the fruit of his diligent division little terraces the flaws red and white and latin though I remember as a boy, my older brothers and sisters giving vent to their
underworld amusement because notwithstanding my father's vigilance a point of xavier have had the nerve to raise its head smack in the middle of a bed of red azaleas [audience laughter] quite against my father's orders which no vertebrate had ever been known to defy but such acts of insorbidination were rare even among the flowers, the shrubs, and the trees which performed prodigies under his direction in Sharon we lived among many acres of green on a property called Great Elm after a tree of noble girth and stature reputed to be the largest elm in Connecticut under whose irenic shade a treaty with the indians were said to have been concluded shortly before the revolutionary war the town itself was is an elongated rectangle with rows of majestic elms going the length of it and extending a mile or more to the south.
The garden club once classified it after Litchfield as the most beautiful town in Connecticut and it was I think a source of constant pleasure to my father who loved it even as he loved loved the trees on his own property which he looked after with pride and loving care as he did his flowers here in Camden. The Dutch elm disease struck down Sharon before he died and one of the first casualties was the great elm. no new the pain he experienced on account of its loss because when the time for fortitude came as when there was a death or illness in the family he fell into a preternatural silence and the decision was made to cut the tree down but he saved the trunk which stands even now about twenty feet high to remind someone by its enormous
waistline, of the splendor of its maturity. All those elms, the whiteness of the town for coordinated vision did I think communicate something to our lawless brood indeed so much so that most of my many brothers and sisters continue to live there and continue to care about the elms and the shrubs and the flowers in the stillness and the town which continues to look as though it had been hewn out of a single pleasant dream. [Narrator]: William Buckley and his wife Pat and his son Christopher no longer live in Sharon. now he spends a great deal of his time in new york city where he works in editing his magazine National Review, writing his newspaper column, and conducting his television program Firing Line. He was enough concerned about the problem of new york to run for mayor in nineteen sixty five, and New York continues to be a subject that he frequently writes and talks about. [Buckley]: It is instructive to meditate upon the rise of
crime and our apparent acclimation to it. I remember making a conscious attempt to take note of activities in New York City on a single weekend last November. It was a fun weekend; one twenty-two year old student strolling along the West Side was accosted by three Negro youths; did he have a cigarette, sorry he didn't, so they stabbed him to death. A seventy eight year old man was beaten up in his apartment on the east side by a white assailant just in case anyone believes that crime in New York is regionalized or the monopoly of any single race. And and in the bronx a husband was tied down while a visitor sodomized his wife, burgalized the apartment, and the day's work being done left. But the husband, wrenching loose his bonds, rushed out with a shotgun and winged the assailant who
subsequently discovered by the police who had merely to follow a trail of blood. a cabdriver age twenty two was killed by three young men and a plainclothes and spot early sunday morning a sixty year old man running hard after an amazonian lady wearing only his undershorts. She had transpired had broken into his apartment. All one hundred and seventy five pounds of a rifle that is one of eight dollars threatened him with a knife and now seizing the initiative he was running after her a policeman took charge arrested the lady and then escorted the gentleman home. As they reached his apartment building a half dozen young loiterers made cracks about his semi nudity and the plainclothesman explained who he was and why the gentleman who accompanied him was wearing only shorts. Whereupon the youths fell on the policemen and beat him, up but they did not kill
kill him. The quality of mercy is not absent from ?fun? city. Indeed they're those maintain that is more fun to maim than to kill. Not everybody takes that position. New York is very diverse, one of its charms [Narrator]: Burkley's concern with crime in America doesn't taken down a one way street in fact it takes him very often to trenton state prison but to visit convicted murderer Edgar Smith was trying to win his freedom a pursuit which Buckley helps to the extent that Edgar Smith has called him his best friend in the world and has said that if he is ever freed he owes more to Bill Buckley than anyone in the world. At the death house Buckley talks about his visits there. [Buckley] Right now it's empty because too many people were sentenced to death at a rate greater than the rate of execution. So they were all moved out the traditional death house and taken to another wing of the prison.
But this is the death house as it was occupied until it suffered the population explosion a year or two ago. I went through there to see Edgar Smith that first time. He had been there for ten years accused of killing a girl in nineteen fifty seven. But he argued his own case so ingeniously before the court that just before it came time to execute him he always came up with something that caused the mechanisms to stop and he's to a lot still arguing his appeal in fact recently had a victory in the supreme court ordered a hearing. This is a picture of them taken during the during the trial. He was young and sassy, an ex-marine; confident of his own vindication. Made an awful fool himself.
Under the circumstances, signed a confession that he later repudiated. There he is is being taken to be arraigned after spending seventeen hours being quizzed by the police, who were sure that they had their man, in fact that ?of course? now, so many doubt have arisen concerning his guilt, that very few people are prepared to say unequivocally say that he's guilty. I myself say think he's innocent. He had that general sort of smart-aleck look that antagonized the prosecutors, the judge, and so on. That ?has? is obviously not not intended as a place for people to stay for very long, but intended as a place to in which to grow up. Nevertheless, that's what happened to Edgar Smith there. But in ten years in the prison, he's developed his mind remarkably. Belongs to Mensa, which is limited to the top one-per cent iq people in America. And then, of course, he wrote
a best seller about his case, published two years ago. is eight feet. The idea is, of couse, to have nothing in it. They're all identical, just that one mattress and bed and the wash stand. You're allowed to write five letters per month to your family, maximum. As many as you, of course, wanted to your lawyers or to parts of your professional helper[s]. The lights were always shining in corridor, the idea being to illuminate all of the recesses of the place, so that the patroling guards could always be on the alert against any attempt of insurrection. How in fact they could manage such a thing, I don't know.
Once a week you shower. March out of your cell under guard,?stick? under the shower then march right back. Right next-door to where he was is the execution chamber. They've actually ordered a new electric chair New Jersey, for some reason. Odd inasmuch there hasn't been an execution since nineteen hundred and sixty and sixty three; that's the chair that Bruno Hauptmann, Lindbergh's child's killer was executed at that famous day in the thirties. The actual electricty comes in from on top chair, shoots through from ancillary areas of the room. That's the restraining harness that keeps a prisoner up on the chair. There's no actual electricty that shoots up into him from the chair itself. It comes in rather through a sort of a skullcap device; comes in off the ceiling. Capital punishment, let's face it, is a dead letter. If tomorrow the
Supreme Court abolished it on the grounds that it has become unusual punishment. Not even the John Birch society would fault the court's reasoning. There weren't any executions at all last year only one the year before. A half-dozen the year before that, notwithstanding that the population of the death houses is an all-time high. The Sirhan trial under existing law, required the authorities of the state of California to insist that Sirhan premeditated the death of Senator Kennedy and therefore that he earned the death penalty as prescribed by the law. But wha- what's going to happen? Will Sirhan go to the gas chamber? Obviously not a chance that he will; because the- the techniques of gluing up the mechanisms of justice are, are so highly refined nowadays that almost everybody gets into the act, conspiring to make the
killers approach to the chair, uh, sort of a asymptote curve. It occured to me that certain reforms can only be initiated by conservatives, or rather, consummated by conservatives. Just as certain others, only by liberals. Only liberals, for instance, ?inaudible? likely to succeed in say, decreasing taxes for the upper-middle class. By the same token, only conservatives are likely to to succeed in reforming the penal code to the apparent advantage of a, the killer, i.e., by abolishing capital punishment. To abolish capital punishment isn't necessary to come out in direct opposition to capital punishment. It's perfectly consistent to approve of capital punishment, conceived as the all but automatic punishment for anyone who kills somebody else and [at] the same time advocate the repeal of existing capital punishment
laws on the grounds of their fomalistic survival is obviously, at this point of the game, a net disadvantage to the processes of justice. everyone seemed to take it for granted that William F. Buckley jr has a strong definite opinion on every subject. So, wherever he goes he has to have an answer about every question. [Buckley]: That's part of an extremely complicated ideological development. is It is, in some senses, a reaction against the notion that the Soviet Union is the enemy. So that a- a sort of a consistent iconoclasm attempts to make some members of the hard left and new left not only here, but for instance in England and in France, a- side with the Soviet Union in that particular situation. So, it is a combination of the ?inaudible? of iconoclasm, ?inaudible? about a moment ago, plus also a ?inaudible? a, a uh, not so much an inability as
a refusal to condemn the activity of the Soviet Union. It's part of the left or the hard-left syndrome. [Interviewer]: Do you find that the existence of a military industrial complex as being threatening in the United States? [Buckley]: Inplicit in the charge that we are governed by industrial military complex is that we could acomplish what it is we want to acomplish a lot cheaper. Now, I have never seen a persuasive demonstration of this and I very much for somebody to come forward and say, "Look, you don't need to spend 80 billion dollars; you can do it for 40 million dollars, here's how." Now, if that ever happened, uh and if someone ever made his case persuasively, but we ended up spending 80 billon dollars anyway, then I'd become very much sus- very suspicious about the military industrial complex. But I find in the same people who criticize the military industrial complex or simultaneously coming as something, which is disharmonious with their thesis ?inaudible? that were not powerful enough to undertake even such engagements as we knew. So Mr. Fulbright on Monday will criticize
was a modernist joke on button on tuesday would all of them listen to not strong enough do we need to do he knows that when the National Guard comes to remove them there's going to be a- violence, correct? But he prefers that violence to following the law; ?inaudible" the law because he believes that a more dramatic point is ultimately going to be made, is that correct?. [Female voice]: You're much better-looking; much younger-looking than on television, and were [interrupted by Buckley]: ?inaudible? [Female voice]: You know it's true and we're glad to have you here. [Male voice]: As an opponent of violence, which you seem to be, I'd like to know what you think of the minute man organization, which in my opinion, seems to be potentially very violent. 2: What do you think of the slow violence that created American ghettos? [Buckley]: Well, the answer is, of course I am opposed to violence and I am opposed to, uh the minute men
and uh, I- I joined with you in classifying them has a potential, rather than an actual threat, because I'm not aware that they've shot anybody or even strung anybody up. Now, I don't know what you mean by using violence in the way that you do use it, as having contributed to the ghetto. I'm not aware that, um, it is violence in Harlem that caused six hundred and fifty thousand Negroes to go there during the past 12 years. Presumably if there was violence there ?inaudible? would keep them away, wouldn't it? [Male voice]: American society, in my opinion, that has forced the Negro into the ghetto [?] violence and discrimination of the economic ssystem. [Bickley]: Now you're changing terms. "Discrimination," I agree with you. [Interviewer]: Right. [Buckley]: But discrimination is not violence unless you're using violence so loosely that I don't follow your argument. [Woman's voice]: You don't call being killed in Mississippi violence? [Buckley]: Yes, I do. [Woman's voice]: All right then, that's one of the things that forced them up North. [Buckley]: Now, wait a minute. [Laughter] [Buckley]: Now, what are you going to do with this figure? There is about ten times as much violence in Harlem,and Bedford-Stuyvesant ?then? as there is in Mississippi. And I'm citing James Baldwin and Martin Luther King and Adam Clayton Powell. Now, why don't they ?all go? back to Mississippi then, huh? [applause and laughter] [Buckley]: Look, let's not ?inaudible? mis-understand each other. There's nothing
to be gained by it is there? Now, I concede that there has been been violence in ?inaudible? Mississippi. I hope my ?inaudible? as clear as your own. I do not think that the violence in Mississippi is you know
we [Female voice]: learn how to read But, uh, that's not my point. I simply say that violence in the South was definitely one cause of the Negro fleeingthe the South and going to the North. That's now Klu Klux Klan, was to a considerable extent, tamed, and violence decrees that lynchings were reduced to about one every other year- [Female voice]: ?The tactics? have changed. They don't anymore go out and shoot people on the street. No, they bomb churches and they kill little children and they threaten and they rape little girls and they do other little you know
he came to me the role of violence in creating a ghetto,my answer is "I can't." [Male voice]: You can't? [Buckley]: No. [Male voice]: My opinion is that violence in the economic system has created the economic plight of the Negro, which has driven him North and ?inaudible? in the ghetto. Now I['d] like to know what you think created the ghetto. [Buckley]: I think if you use the word "violence" with such slothenlyness as to render yourself unintelligible- [Crowd laughter] [Male voice]: ?inaudible? as you care to. But I would appreciate a direct answer. [Buckley]: I've seen slums all over the world. I've seen ghettos all over the world. I've seen them in Miami, I've seen them in Hong Kong, I've seen them in London, I ve seen them in Paris, and in Rome.
home I'm suggesting to you that violence of the kind that you're talking about didn't create this, a whole lot of other things created. [Narrator]: Buckley's impressions of ghettos like Watts, were sharpened and during a recent tour arranged by Whitney Young in the urban league. Buckley was among eight or ten leading journalists who spent a week learning firsthand about ghetto life and problems. [Buckley]: ?inaudible? ?Watts? as almost everywhere else we found the black leaders bright, passionate, [a] little cynical, talented. One of them gave up a job as landscape engineer to join the Watts development group. Another had been an aeronautical engineer; proud man who knew they had made it in the competitive world, who could have ?accordingly? ?inaudible? the ghetto world without anybody suspecting that they turned ?to? to social work, because the marketplace in the room for them. There's a dawning consciousness of the political way up the ladder to ?inaudible? with the ghettos. Strategically it may be dangerous because the temptation is pretty universal
to substutute political for economic means of self-?advancement.? But there are tactical rewards in human pride and faith in the political system, which are considerable. ?inaudible? Also in Los Angeles there's Ron Karenga, the head of an organization called "Us," the meaning of which he keeps obscure. He likes to speak genially about his philosophy, which is composed of agglutinations of social cliches, sort of neatly and amusingly strung together. He always gets a headmasters reception; his disciples on ?either flight? laugh adoringly at every witicism including not a few which are stillborn. A confidence man - there's much of that and by no means all the blacks in Los Angeles take him seriously. Though they do not disparage one another, they feel the sense of community, the sense of common purpose. The structure, the omnipresent occurs to obstinate, filthy rich, miserly, racist structures the
common enemy. They struggle with it each in his own way, some choosing the superstitious neo-nonesense of Ron Karengo, others the hardheaded wiry idealism of people like Ted Watkins and Henry Talbert, and viewing words make one feel no turning gradually resources of human spirit and altogether convinced that they are many of them engaged in efforts which distinguished the best of the white men that under other circumstances in California a hundred and more years ago. They tend to use the word "racist" freely. What is the nature of racism? I do believe that the man was never born who is not a racist under one of the definitions so freely used in the ghetto. A favorite maxim there is that capitalism is racist. Once again, unintentionally embedded in that phrase is a form of racism. The notion that black entrepreneurs cannot produce a successful mousetrap. Why can't they? ANd the
answer's "of course, they can." And the ancillary supersition that it is exploitative of the people to produce a mousetrap cheaper than the one which people are currently buying, is one of those delusions of socialism on which people have wasted their energy and spirits [for] so many years. Quick, before the superstition hardens. Black leaders ?should? point out that if one is serious about abolishong poverty, one should encourage the preservation of economic institutional arrangements, which have graduated more more people out of poverty, than any other arrangements in the history of the world. The quality and the energy and the charm of the black leaders is, in all of these cities, is a major marvel. A quite extraordinary cultural and ethnic achievement. Anyone expecting to hear a better speech, better organized ideas, greater enthusiasm in the graduate schools of the Ivy League, has a pleasant surprise surprise coming to them. The black
people, graduates of ghetto schools - in some cases graduates of no schools - through their wit and grace, singing their song in a strange land, have made a triumphant entry on the scene. [Narrator]: William Buckley and Urban League director Whitney Young, who sponsored the tour agree on preferential treatment as an antidote for years of slum deprivation. But Buckley does not agree to a lessening of standards. [Buckley]: As I guess you know, I myself have ?inaudible? preferential hiring. [Whitney Young]: Other voice]: Yeah. [Buckley]: And preferential treatment for always with some attempt to continue to maintain standards. [Whitney Young]: Oh yeah. [Buckley]: It is one thing to go out and recruit more people than would normally flow into Yale University. It would be another thing entirely, to depreciate the standards of Yale University sufficiently to give people a synthetic notion of progress who have made it. [Whitney Young]: I think I would agree with that, providing I could participate in the establishment of the standards. [Buckley]: Why? [Whitney Young]: The criteria. Because, I think oh two minutes that it took me to bone
white, urban, middle-class, Northern norms. I think that black people, uh, have something to contribute that is not normally perceived in the regular standardized tests. [Buckley]: In what field? [Whitney Young]: Oh, in many fields. [Buckley]: Such as? [Whitney Young]: Well, I would say, in the field of language, I think in the field of sociology, [Buckley]: Give me an example. [Whitney Young]: ?inaudible? [Buckley]: In what sense of would you change the standards of the English department at Havard University? How is this a black/white matter? [Whitney Young]: It isn't so much the standards that I'm talking about ?is it? I'm raising questions whether the tests that I've given would not eliminate the people who come from the ghettos or from rural areas in Mississippi.?Through? the language used in the test may be unfamiliar, but not to me be an adequate index of the potential of the contribution that that youngster could later make. [Buckley]" But- is- wouldn't this be an indictment of secondary school ?education? ?inaudible? When you send black students from the ghetto to Havard
University, mustn't one see to it that they are at least moderatley well-equipped to begin to achieve these standards and ambitions of the curriculum? [Whitney Young]: Yes, providing you would help Harvard to understand how the standards they have set, based on say their own relevance to the domestic community around them, has itself been lacking. I'm saying that the sooner these universities begin to see that they're not just giving something to black kids. But black kids are giving something to them, even though their English might not always be be correct. It's better to say "I is rich" than "I am poor." [Buckley]: Well, I- no. I see your point. But I do think that uh, some universities ?or? resist and for reasons I find altogether plausible, a socialization of their function, uh, uh, some universities conceive of themselves as places where you go to study what Aristotle said.
And never never mind whether Aristotle was conscious of the bad uh, ?Attican? living conditions of the Helots. Uh, and you might say, and in fact it is said that such education is irrelevent. But the dreadful alternative is turnng over the curriculum to revolutionists who believe in the ideoligization of the education so there ?inaudible? always to proceed as it did in Soviet Russia towards the making of grand idealogical points. And this I think you resist. [Whitney Young]: I think professors resist having to to do a new outline for next year; not being able to use the same old lectures. I think they resist teaching things that may in the current society that may shift in chains that may somehow make questionable their credibility. [Buckley]: Oh, come on, come on. [Whitney Young]: Now it's easy to- [Buckley]: If you're talking about lazy professors ?inaudible? professors... [Whitney Young]: I'm talking about- [Buckly]: ?inaudible? society. But if you got a professor that say, whose responsiblity is to teach
18-century European intellectual history, uh, is it really necessary for him him to become involved in America's problems of the here and now. I say as a human being it is, but not as a professor. [Whitney Young]: No, I'm saying at the same time, that you have a course in 18th century. [Buckley]: Yeah. [Whitney Young]: You should also have courses dealing with the present. I think that many professors prefer to deal with the abstract, the dead, the historical. [Buckley]: ?They'd be killed? [Whitney Young]: Yeah, but because they don't ask that talk glibly about the democratic process, and talk about the voting and the use of the democratic machine to bring about change. And, if you took one of those professors and asked him to go into a ghetto and organize the voters, he'd be lost. ?inaudible?
[Buckley]: Why shouldn't he be lost? Why shouldn't he be lost? There is room in any civilized society for people, whose total preoccupation with their own intellectual concerns, in fact removes them from a lot of what is going on. Now, I don't regret this, because it seems to me that for instance if T. S. Elliot has spent most of his time, uh, uh, uh, lifting the working class out of the ghettos of England he might not have written us what he was uniquely in a position to give us; his patrimony ?inaudible? patrimony, uh, for you to say that uh, a history professor, who teaches democ- or political science ?inaudible? ought to know, uh, how to go and ?train people in the? ghetto to register, is in my judgment, to use the dreaded word, irrelevent. wheeler yeah of the asthetic. The uh, [Buckley]: Who says we have? [Whitney Young]: Well, we obviously have. We obviously have, because of our inability to deal with the real problems of human relations. [Buckley]: I would say we havent had enough of history. If we have had more of history,
we would have developed a great historical memory. If we had done so I think that we would have been more greatly aware of the extent of the subtle privations that were imposed on the people who were out and that they would have been a better awakening to social consciousness. I believe that the better educated a man is, the more civilized he is. The more civilized he is, the more he despises things like bigotry. Now, I know that there are tons of exceptions. There are the PhDs, who are among the most bigoted lot in the whole world. But as a ?general proposition?, this is true. But to take a university and say in effect that it becomes an act of private indulgence to concern yourself with uh, the age of Plato, or the uh, or the regency in England. Because that way, you don't communicate with ghetto, strikes me as very, very short-sighted. [Narrator]: The National Review, a magazine founded by William Buckley, is dedicated to his conservative principles; that staff and contributors are a whose who of conservatism.
With Buckley at this editorial meeting, are James Burnham the author and political philosopher; Bill Rusher - publisher, lawyer, activist; and Buckley's sister Priscilla, who is managing editor of the magazine. [Male voice]: We have here various countries disintegrating during the course of the week; Argentina, Curaçao, so on. [Buckley]: You know David Rockefeller, uh, about a year ago, pitched ?inaudbile? on behalf of his brother to a glossy gather of rich matrons. He said, "You know, here's one way to look at it; my brother is the only person, who for instance,could make a tour of Latin America ?unmolested?. [Laughter] [Male voice]: Can we use that? [Buckley]: Why not? [Narrator]: His three times a week column "On the Right" appears in over three hundred newspapers throughout the country. [Sound of typing] [Narrator]: In one of these columns he recently wrote about the detractors of
America and patriotism. [Buckley]: The disposition to think ill of America is related to the general disposition to think ill of America. I found myself twenty-four hours after the tragedy of Memphis Tennessee debating on the subject of civil rights before an audience of six-thousand, against Mr. Julian Bond, in Nashville Tennessee. Mr. Bond, who began the evening's discussion, punctuated his manifesto against America with the heroic ?tropy? "all this was killed last night at Memphis." By all of this, he meant, indeed he said that he meant the old adage which america has ever claimed for itself any pretensions that we have for justice; any that we have for the rule of law; any that we have for equality, compassion, mutual esteem, love. The audience cheered him. That young audience thus sought to atone for the crime against Martin Luther King, by offering its own body prostrate once again for reasons both pathological and sublime in expiation. Its
own innocent virginal original body unflexed to the scourges of Julian Bond. There is sense in which that was a chivalrous reaction, young and generous. But I do not understand that as an adequate explanation for the more considered reaction older America. I ?charge? this reaction - the blaming of all of America for the murder of Martin Luther King, to be philosophically dangerous. A blood guild is the matrix of genocide. I asked the audience of six-thousand people ?inaudible? they were representative of America. Were they rich men in the audience? Poor men? Old, young all the young, southerners, easterners, westerners, midwesterners, Catholic Protestant Jewish, college graduates, high school dropouts? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, allright then; raise your hands those of you consider yourselves implicated in the assassination of Martin Luther King. "I am filled with shame and loathing for my race," says the featured correspondent of Time Magazine. Why? Their ?at? national not one
person could be got to profess satisfaction from the great perversion at Memphis. Who is it that we americans are busily engaged in blaming? Not when you come down to asking individuals about it when you pose the question directly to six thousand members of the community of Nashville, Tennessee. Not them! Not one maybe sure of the editors of Time Magazine; they surely are blameless. It is always those other people; those people whose ranks yield fort the John Wilkes Booths and the Lee Harvey Oswald's. Those few who roam about the country seeking the destruction, not only of individual souls, but of the soul of America. Me I say this: the more significant by far and the ghastly executions of John Kennedy and Martin Luther King - acts committed by isolatable and isolated men, more significant by ?inaudible? is the spontaneous universal grief of a community which in fact considers itself agrieved. That is the salient ?inaudible? of ?an? America, not that
we read the a banned execution of the kennedys and martin luther king but that we bread the most widely shared and the most intensely felt sense of grief; such grief over the loss of Mr. Kennedy and Mr. King, as is felt over the loss friends. That is what I judge to be newsworthy datum; a point I stress not because I feel the need to flatter the United States of America, but because I feel the need to reassure the United States of America, which is the land where I was born and choose to live; which is the land where you were born and choose to live. ?Of? which land I feel increasingly needs us all as her devoted bodyguards, even as Messrs. Kennedy and King needed more body guards than they had at the crucial moment in their histories. She needs us, however quarrelsome, however disparate our views, however pronounced our separations. I feel that we should be grateful, whatever our differences, to be facing the sea - this sea - this enemy, in this ?bark?. I do believe that the time is overdue to
profess our continuing faith in this country and in its institutions. [Male voice]: ?inaudible? place where it becomes obsurd. [Narrator]: Buckley is perhaps best known as an anti- communist, and his right wing philosophy, as expressed in the National Review and his column, is put to the test of debate most often with leading liberals like Norman Mailer on his television program, "Firing Line." again so the un is also which is that given this country there were so far and more discovery was extraordinarily are agreeable genial what you know in so many ways with easy as a lot of us very much a marathon we around burning children in asia is a lot makes him such as these you know i would not wish to say he was a period of hitler in that category is a shocking than
that i would say it was a very shocking thing to say on the circumstances diggin with inventing your adjuster of the city around burning june but there's a sense in which im on well everyone I think what ?inaudible? ought to be mature enough to recognize is one of things that makes war despicable is that war's despicable. And if you could have very pleasant wars in which women and children and men over twenty-nine and under nineteen were never hurt. And that all deaths should be neat and ?Pontilius?, then we might be able to speak about wars with our senses, but the very fact that children get burned in a war is simply about with actual existence on nothing else than that well if you're trying to insinuate ?that,? then I think you should be apologetic for having done so, that Lyndon Johnson attempts to burn children because this is how he satisfies his perversity. So then you need to write another book ?inaudible? [Norman Mailer]: The thought of the ?inaudible? is that there is a way to have the kind of war you talk
about, a clean war. ?War by now? ?inaudible? image. In other words, short of a nuclear war, in which of the real exchange of power to what one could do funny and physically dominate over another country. ?The? sort of war ?inaudible? now, are really wars, which in effect state, "Keep your peace; we are stronger than you; do not move in on us, do not invade, do not attack." If we could just adopt a little convention to have to recognize the ground wars ?by now? and air wars which are short of nuclear wars, a fought for image, we could ?buy a track of land in the Amazon? [Buckley]: Why do you call it image? For instance, when Israel tries to rebuff the Arabs, do yo call it middle class desire no i don't uh, I uh, well I am perfectly- [Buckley]: ?inaudible? ?You started out by? ?saying? all wars nowadays are fought for image, except for nuclear wars, so I brought up the Israeli war. Now you say, "Except it." Are you going to wrench everything as ?inaudible?. [Mailer]: I didn't say all wars, I said all our wars. Alright, I was imprecise. All our wars are fought for image.
All are wars ?of? Communism are fought for image. We obviously can't have a war with Communism, which is going to dominate Communism. We're not capable of defeating the Communists any more. And the Communists are not capable of defeating us any longer, in a ground-air war. It would have to be a nuclear war for one side to win and obviously, so it seems very little left. Let's go on and finish one point ?more?- [Buckley]: Sure, sure [Mailer]: I don't wont to leave all these points behind like Castro israel would have it he either right to separate wars to stick to one more thing that war that war because they don't do that then you have to argue that was a real disability or wars that because of that then you end up with wrestle with with the military some passages and i think that like is more active than that i think that because i believe this because service on what politics that other young man was weak but this country is not an ignoble work because you thought of it as tragic i was asked to die in a war which is a is absurd anyway then say well who might decide that war and it was absurd what we have on the ground was absurd one about on the reasons why the rate of people at the opposite level three people of cuba have been great in those
additional security protection units big factor there that is their number reasons for one is a calf to let them about not keep him from going out he he allowed them to leave the nose lovely little guerrilla that's historically inaccurate a very sad and i'm i believe that he would love to me with a property castro was not allowed in my view was probably has been extremely erratic in the flow of people realize that for instance he makes them go to ?Madrid?, which means that anybody who leaves has to be capitalized to the to the tune of about eight-hundred dollars for a ticket to Madrid, on over to North America, which is a form of torture ?inaudible? [Norman Mailer]: ?inaudible? No I would not admire that, and in fact if I ever talk to him, I would talk to the same and say, "Why do do that?" I wouldn't say "cut it out," I say, "Why do you do that?" [Buckley]: What would he say? [Mailer]: I'd be interested in his reply; might be different than yours. [Buckley]: I hope so. [Mailer]: But, at any rate, the reason I admire him, the man has a- an heroic quality, because of the Cuba- I believe believe a Cuban ?under? Batista was far worse, than it is today. I think it was an ugly upset, obscene, disgusting place. I think today I have a hunch there are any number of aspects of Cuba that I would detest. I think
?inaudible? [Buckley]: This is very fashionable. I hear ?inaudible? very, very often and I think it is thoughtlessly said. For instance, uh I hope you remember that the National Review loathed Batista. But, under Batista at his worst, there were certain things that you could do. For instance, you could found an opposition newspaper. For instance you could publish a book; for instance you could join labor unions; for instance you could strike; for instance you could travel in and out of the country; for instance you could practice your religion freely. Now it seems to me that here's a list of six things, which even up against the personal vulgarity of Batista, made life in Cuba a hell of a lot preferable under him than under his successor. [Mailer]: ?Inaudible? different middle classes in Cuba. be rebuilt one of whether this very low literacy rate has improved literacy rate enormously enormously a lot of the figures the citizen to prove that last year of
pretend he isn't. [Buckley]: No, no. I don't ?contend? that, but for you to say that after all poor people don't really need freedom, whether economic or political [Mailer]: ?But? also I'm saying the opposite of that I'm saying that [Buckley]: You're saying that in effect ?inaudible? ?giving? them middle class values. [Mailer]: The poor people [Buckley]: Joining labor unions. You're supposed to be for that, aren't you? [Mailer]: No, well, that's one point we're talking ?inaudible? The poor people, uh, never had any freedom. [Mailer]: freedom under Batista. They had the freedom to starve in one place. They had the freedom to beaten in half to death by the local police. [Buckley]: That isn't true, you, uh. I gather you think it's true because I'm sure you wouldn't say it otherwise. ?Any point in fact? isn't true, you know. The only people who were beat up by the Batista police were people who wanted to replace him. He was a a despot. I don't deny this. But, I'm simply saying that since, uh uh, most people do not want to replace the government and since in point of fact it was a middle class who led the movement against Batista; not the lower class in one of activity or grass enjoyed a great many things which were tangible things and which are not that is allowed to enjoy and you have problem as though era of the fifties as a period during which the poor people just simply had half of the manner they ?intended? the rest of the time in
doesn't just been elected it is male a melodrama other than that makes it much easier for you to justify again the main execution you're having a substantial committee would have tackled by questions of it and call it simply the test kits that seizes is a mild his viewers of make it less of a level of this year one of our what a terrible witness i thought i'd seen everything i hoped i have a new student world one reason but the old time champion of robbery was as yet uncommitted as letter to a seventeen year old liberal blog called ricky i have the black student union has touched of disorders in a los angeles high school in a demonstration against quote racist training example that training is the inclusion in the curriculum of the music of johann sebastian bach you describe i'm asked
it has gotten older variant called qr codes in the world of music he explains the school's keep imposing middle class values and teachings about bartok i sat next to a middle class french how closely other they will amount to me this it's not like all about like asking a ditch like oil fresh available trees when suddenly i realize that you figure that you're just like that bob was a box for such as the romanian market only doesn't like bob wise want to listen to a bunch of them be disturbed about oneself not about work remarkable thing about young it isn't one supposes that he doesn't like bach probably as neville and douglas ball is that as all those natural more as he made about barbie has become the laughingstock of his fellow students attend just is one thing and the late publisher of the new york times doesn't know mozart called the greatest genius who ever lived in
an old bed of these parties will do more to elevate the human spirit than all the black student unions born and unborn as not so much contemptable as pitiable, condusive of that kind of separation one feels from animals rather than from other human beings. George Tyrell once observed that there is as much difference between a Christian a pagan as there is between a pagan and a dog. low point somehow survives exaggeration those who are allowed to be given to those who believe the box and not get mired in particular spot once he's over and over again the use of broad middleclass value as it don't turn been playing bach one is practicing a middle class yes as ricky what's the only coach of the schools deal with this was that while we had taken since then go portuguese is about land values as what did he didn't think of his ears added
to prosecute that augurs know more likely that our teacher is the one supposes avalanche that art teacher having spent years in cultivating his admiration for the masters can only hold the attention of the children by telling them about how Van Gogh cut off his ear and sent it to the prostitute. By teaching the federalist papers by recounting that Hamilton, who was killed in a duel, the middle class values we're supposed ?contend?, one wonders what exactly they are, ?Bach? and Van Gogh talk about though so middle class values are often unimpeachable stopped materialism liberties be as never ceases demanding material benefits; color t.v. But nothing is so popular in a good ?riotous? color t.v. and whiskey. Whiskey? It is disdained by Elijah Mohammed but it is not by any means universally abhorred by the new left. ?Thrift?; is that a middle-class value? Perhaps. And without it there would be no
surplus. And if there was no surplus, ?Rickey? would be having to pay for his own education, which come to think of that he would be manifestly better off without. ?Quotes? teaching of history is not factual, he complains. George Washington was a slave owner. They don't include black people in history books. But if they don't don't believe it you know it is very depressing because a rhetorical escalation is totally out of hand, if Bach is a ?ponk?, then the human dislocation is total and nothing at all is with striving after; not peace or freedom, or even good relations between the races. [Narrator]: Johann Sebastian Bach recently made the cover of Time Magazine because of his newfound youthful audience. That the most conservative composer who ever lived should find enthusiastic acceptance on the college campus must be a source of some encouragement of the man who considers him the greatest genius who ever lived.
Perhaps he considers a helpful sign for his own conservative philosophy as he concludes an address to the students at Tulane University. [Buckley]: I suppose in conclusion my remarks must mention, under the strain under the stimulations of the day. the necessity not only regulate our political appetites, but also our other appetites. There are the conventional temptations; sex, booze, drugs, iconoclasm. Each of them potentially a killer; emotionally, physically, intellectually. Unless practiced with reference to standards defined outside the demands of our own senses. Don Giovanni died not only painfully, but a nervous wreck, for the knowledge there was someone somewhere whom he had not seduced. [laughter] [Buckley]: The student pusher who wrote recently in Esquire, "lives in nervous apprehnsion
lest the drug exists, which he has not tasted." I lie sleepless at night worrying that I might die before having the opportunity to incur run for just one more disapproval from the New York Times/ [Laughter and applause] [Buckley]: It is all quite pointless, isn't it? And one has at university a chance, precisely as Russell Kirk told us, to stock up on the intellectual arguments, with which to aprhened the moral norms, one of them being that self-control, is the most exhilarating of pleasures. I can't say that I envy you; so much to do; so many confusing people like myself to hector you along the way and so very necessary to enjoy yourselves as you go, and this surely is a paramount responsibility; your responsibility to find pleasure
and there is nothing to match the sensation of discovering your own powers, of sensing some of the magic excitement that generated the very idea of America, of feeling a little of the spiritual consolation that comes with the knowledge that we are not alone, that the lord of hosts is with us yet. it is it was at the peak [Music] [Announcer]: This is N. E. T., the public television network.
- NET Journal
- Episode Number
- The Conservative Mr. Buckley
- Producing Organization
- National Educational Television and Radio Center
- Contributing Organization
- Thirteen WNET (New York, New York)
- AAPB ID
- NOLA Code
- Episode Description
- This program was originally broadcast November 3, 1969. It was scheduled to be rebroadcast July 6, 1970, but was preempted. NET Journal "The Conservative Mr. Buckley": The personal vision of William F. Buckley, Jr., is seen through a series of film statements encompassing crime, the ghetto, capital punishment, patriotism, communism, and the arts. A renaissance man of American conservatism, William F. Buckley, Jr., is editor of the National Review, syndicated columnist ("On the Right"), host of his own television program ("Firing Line"), and political gadfly (he ran for mayor of New York in 1965). This program is a series of film statements reflecting Buckley's concerns and perceptions about life in America today. The areas include crime and violence, communism, capital punishment, patriotism, the arts, the ghetto and its evolving leadership, and the beauty of unspoiled America. His remarks whether from a podium at Rice University or in a private discussion with Whitney young of the Urban League are urbane, analytical, often biting. Representative quotes follow: After a tour of the ghettos arranged by Young, Buckley notes that the leaders in Watts (Los Angeles) are "bright, a little cynical, with a dawning consciousness of the political way up the ladder." Commenting on the black masses, Buckley says: "Some choose the neo-nonsense of Ron Karenga; many engage in efforts that distinguished the white man at his best in Los Angeles 100 years ago." Of Karenga, director of a self-help group titled "Us," Buckley says, "He affects the manners of an Oriental Satrap." He describes Karenga's rhetoric as "an agglutination of social clich/(c)s." On a visit to death row in Trenton, N.J., Buckley says "Capital punishment is a dead letter. Not even the John Birch Society would fault the Court's reasoning" if the Supreme Court were to abolish the death penalty. Buckley is himself involved in the case of Edgar smith, who has been on death row in Trenton for 12 years since he was convicted of homicide. During a televised debate with author Norman Mailer, Buckley deprecates Castro-style communism, nothing that under the Batista government (which he opposed) "at the worst you could found an opposition newspaper, found a union, go to church, go in and out of the country." He calls Mailer's interpretation of Cuba today "Mailer melodrama, you 're a wonderful writer, but a terrible witness." Buckley reacts with venom to the remark made by a Los Angeles high school student that Johann, Sebastian Bach "that old dead punk" should not be taught. "That is the champion effrontery," says Buckley. "Music has done more to elevate mankind that all the black student unions." He derides "the rhetorical escalation, which is totally out of hand." A case in point: with a group of Tulane University students, Buckley cuts short a discussion on violence in the ghetto, saying "you use the word violence with such slovenliness to render yourself unintelligible." In another scene, Buckley visits his family home in Sharon, Conn., and comments on the satisfactions it afforded him. "it was hewn out of a single pleasant dream," he says. NET Journal "The Conservative Mr. Buckley" is an NET production. This aired as NET Journal episode 253 on November 3, 1969, as NET Journal episode 280 on July 6, 1970, and as NET Journal episode 286 on August 24, 1970. It runs an hour and was shot in color. (Description adapted from documents in the NET Microfiche)
- Broadcast Date
- Asset type
- Media type
- Moving Image
Executive Producer: Perlmutter, Alvin H.
Producer: Steibel, Warren
Producing Organization: National Educational Television and Radio Center
Speaker: Buckley, William F., Jr.
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Thirteen - New York Public Media (WNET)
Identifier: wnet_aacip_2486 (WNET Archive)
Format: 2 inch videotape: Quad
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- Chicago: “NET Journal; 253; The Conservative Mr. Buckley,” 1969-11-03, Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-75-35gb5qv3.
- MLA: “NET Journal; 253; The Conservative Mr. Buckley.” 1969-11-03. Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-75-35gb5qv3>.
- APA: NET Journal; 253; The Conservative Mr. Buckley. Boston, MA: Thirteen WNET, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-75-35gb5qv3