Thursday, February 28, 2008


Last night's ABC News broadcast included a tribute to William F. Buckley (video here). At about 1:09 in, there's a clip from a debate Buckley had on ABC in 1968 at the time of the unrest surrounding the Chicago Democratic convention.

Here's how it came out in the tribute last night:

ABC ANCHOR CHARLIE GIBSON: ... He charmed and exasperated and never backed down from a fight, like this one with Gore Vidal in 1968:

VIDAL (on film): ...the only crypto Nazi I can think of is yourself.

BUCKLEY (on film): Stop calling me a crypto Nazi, or I'll sock you in your goddamn face...

As Ann Coulter delightedly notes (in a riff she's stolen a couple of times herself), this is how the exchange actually went (emphasis mine):

In a famous exchange with Gore Vidal in 1968, Vidal said to Buckley: "As far as I am concerned, the only crypto Nazi I can think of is yourself."

Buckley replied: "Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a crypto Nazi, or I'll sock you in your goddamn face and you'll stay plastered."

Why leave "you queer" out? Buckley wasn't ashamed of it. (Coulter gleefully adds: "Years later, in 1985, Buckley said of the incident: 'We both acted irresponsibly. I'm not a Nazi, but he is, I suppose, a fag.'")

Not only did he suggest tattooing the HIV-positive in the 1980s, he proudly repeated the suggestion three years ago (declining to identify himself in a way I'm sure he thought was arch):

Someone, 20 years ago, suggested a discreet tattoo the site of which would alert the prospective partner to the danger of proceeding as had been planned. But the author of the idea was treated as though he had been schooled in Buchenwald, and the idea was not widely considered, but maybe it is up now for reconsideration.

Hey, ABC -- show the man for what he was.


A much more honest tribute to Buckley shows up at the message board of the Stormfront White Nationalist Community -- a link to an article on Buckley and National Review from the neo-Nazi American Renaissance. Although it expresses regret for dangerous backsliding toward racial decency on Buckley's part in recent years, it commends him for his early racialism:

...passages from some back issues could have been lifted right out of American Renaissance.

...Mr. Buckley's magazine stood firm. A book review from the July 13th issue of ... 1957 ... by Richard Weaver was called, "Integration is Communization." Mr. Weaver found Carl Rowan's
Go South to Sorrow "a sorry specimen of Negro intellectual leadership," and went on to express deep suspicion about the whole integrationist enterprise:

"'Integration' and 'Communization' are, after all, pretty closely synonymous. In light of what is happening today, the first may be little more than a euphemism for the second. It does not take many steps to get from the 'integrating' of facilities to the 'communizing' of facilities, if the impulse is there."

...In a column written five months before the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and called "The Issue at Selma," [Buckley] ... sympathized with the Southern position writing, "In much of the South, what is so greatly feared is irresponsible, mobocratic rule, and it is a fear not easily dissipated, because it is well-grounded that if the entire Negro population in the South were suddenly given the vote, and were to use it as a bloc, and pursuant to directives handed down by some of the more demagogic leaders, chaos would ensue." He also warned of "a suddenly enfranchised, violently embittered Negro population which will take the vote and wield it as an instrument of vengeance, shaking down the walls of Jericho even to their foundations, and reawakening the terrible genocidal antagonisms that scarred the Southern psyche during the days of Reconstruction." ...

In an April 8, 1969 column called "On Negro Inferiority" Mr. Buckley wrote about the furor caused by Arthur Jensen's research about race and IQ, calling it "massive, apparently authoritative." Mr. Buckley even bragged that "Professor Ernest van den Haag, writing in
National Review (Dec. 1, 1964) ... brilliantly anticipated the findings of Dr. Jensen and brilliantly coped with their implications."

The late Revilo Oliver, classicist and outspoken racialist, made regular appearances in the early NR. Mr. Buckley thought so highly of him he put his name on the masthead and invited him to his wedding....

That's only a tiny sample of the riches the American Renaissance article has on display.

Ann Coulter, in her tribute, says, "there was a lot more to him than a bow tie and a sailboat." I'll say.

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