I would like to preface this by conceding the fact that Buckley was further to the right than most Americans. But that doesn’t cut the mustard with the Right Stuff crew. His support for Pinochet and Franco was right-wing and his appreciation of the finer points from Burke and Kirk was commendable. Compared to the average media commentator there were many redeeming qualities in Buckley, but the way he treated paleocons and other radical rightists was unforgivable.
While Buckley was a remarkable intellectual in the midst of an intellectually bankrupt society, even he couldn’t escape from the leftist matrix; he was a half-assed reactionary at best. History has been a grand march leftward and Buckley, like most all of us, couldn’t help but be sucked into the vortex of leftist degeneracy. He was lured by the siren’s call of Democracy, Liberalism, market egalitarianism, enlightenment thinking, altruism, etc… the sub-ideologies that compose what we here at TRS describe as “leftism.”
Like so many intrepid souls before him, Buckley was unwittingly suckered into embracing ideologies hostile to (civilized) life. The man and his magazine were peddling poison from the enlightenment era, but who could blame him after all… it is our inescapable zeitgeist. From the great Lothrop Stoddard:
“The dead hand of false doctrines and fallacious hopes, lies, indeed, heavy upon us. Laws, institutions, customs, ideas and ideals are all stamped deep with its imprint. Our very minds and souls are imbued with delusions like ‘environmentalism’ and ‘natural equality’ from whose emotional grasp it is hard to escape. Mighty as the new truth is, our eyes are yet blinded to its full meaning, our hearts shrink instinctively from its wider implications, and our feet falter on the path to HIGHER destinies.”
The reason that Buckley is a leftist is the reason that most of us are leftists. To associate with polite company in modern America is to be (or at least feign being) a leftist of some sort. Try reading one of our articles out loud in your college classroom and see what happens (hint: expulsion). Buckley was a rightward leaning leftist, but a leftist nonetheless. The center-right of today was the center-left of a generation ago and the far right of today would have been considered moderates half a century ago. Bill Buckley would be seen as a radical left-winger compared to the average 19th century American, someone like John C. Calhoun would have eaten him alive.
To be the RIGHT STUFF one must be a transcendent reactionary. A monarchist, an elitist, and a realist when assessing the human condition; highly dubious of populist movements like Liberalism, Communism, Democracy as well as an ardent opponent of the egalitarian universalist utopian ethos so pervasive in the western world today.
Let’s examine the leftist positions of Buckley.
1. Practicing Roman Catholic
Buckley was Catholic, a devotee of the religion of pity wherein the weak are elevated over the strong. Although it is one of the more preferable forms of Christianity, with its explicit support of hierarchy and traditional values, it still promotes a dysgenic normative system. A twisted inversion of cats chasing dogs and wolves being devoured by sheep. Striving for Christian equality is a costly revolt against nature, for when we pursue equality we inadvertently embrace bloodshed and chaos. That is not the way order is maintained.
This is not to say that all religion should be shunned, Jonathan Bowden’s paganism would be more conducive to an elitist right wing society. Christianity is a leftist religion, largely due to the fact that Jesus was a Jewish Utopian Communist. A related sin of Buckley’s, which is commonplace among Christian conservatives, were his attempts to ostracize and silence those that openly criticized Jews.
2. Member of Liberal Elite Class
With over a thousand episodes of “Firing Line” Buckley was a de facto member of the mainstream media. He endorsed Joseph Lieberman, one of the most prominent defenders of the status quo. In the seventies Buckley served as a delegate to the United Nations. To be a power broker of this magnitude in a world gone left implies something.
In his biographical article “The Politics of William Buckley: Conservative Ideologue as Liberal Celebrity” Joseph Epstein argued that liberals deeply respected Buckley and often wanted to debate him. This was probably because he didn’t fundamentally challenge their narrative. Buckley typically couched his arguments in a liberal fashion, merely pointing out that the policies espoused by the far left never delivered the intended consequences. Rarely did he directly challenge their desired outcomes (equality, liberty, fraternity) although he did mock their contradictions. Onlookers could walk away thinking that the leftist in the debate was only somewhat wrong, instead of entirely mistaken. Buckley was a Classical Liberal or Burkean conservative. Both are forms of old leftism. Edmund Burke was a supporter of the American Revolution. Classical Liberals denigrated the Monarchy. New leftism can’t be fought with old leftism; the antidote is to be a hardcore traditionalist.
3. Revolutionary War
Buckley was a quintessential American, and America is simply a leftist experiment writ large. A red pill eating reactionary realizes that the American Revolution was a rebellion that should have been put down for the good of the Western world. The failure of the British to do so marks the decline of the great empire. The Declaration of Independence is nonsensical and was thoroughly rebutted by Thomas Hutchinson’s “Strictures upon the Declaration of Independence”. The taxes imposed by the King were more than reasonable, and his hands off attitude towards the colonies left little to be desired. The revolution was fought against a rather benevolent monarchy for the phantasms of equality, Liberalism, and Democracy.
4. Civil Rights Act, Human Neurological Uniformity, and Slavery
Buckley is famous for opposing civil rights legislation and then later backtracking when public opinion was entirely opposed to his previous position. Eventually Buckley became an outright supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and his national holiday. A philosophy of fashion, influenced by democratic tastes, how left-wing of him. If he lived long enough, say to 2030, he would support gay marriage… because that’s where the crowd will reside.
He claimed that the white South had “the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to affect a genuine cultural equality between the races.” The implication here is that culture is the deciding difference between whites and blacks. If only the degeneracy peddlers like LiL’ Wayne and his ilk were removed from the scene, then blacks would be reformed. The imminent success of the swarthy races is just a cultural revolution away. This is naivete.
When considering all of this, as well as his purges against Neo-Confederates, it goes without saying that Buckley was opposed to the institution of slavery. However, reactionaries worth their salt understand that attempts at mass manumission result in disaster. Man’s natural state is slavery; we are unhappy because we are too “free.”
5. Support for Allies in WW2
National Review is considered the “flagship publication of post-World War II conservatism,” and World War 2 was a war fought for, and won by, leftism. Post World War II conservatism is like post-orgy-virginity, it makes no sense. The cherry has been popped. World War II demolished all significant anti-Democratic sentiment in the west. It was a clear victory for Communism. For William F. Buckley to support American involvement in World War II (with its corresponding support for the USSR) and to label himself a conservative anti-communist… is an insane contradiction.
Some will ask that since practically everyone is now a leftist of some sort, how is this condemnation noteworthy? It is more than instructive; it allows us to take a glimpse at the reality of western politics, a continuous lurching leftward. This criticism of Buckley and other so called “conservatives” is necessary to accurately characterize our political state of affairs in a historical context. It is worth pointing out that the Western world has shifted left, especially since fallacious stories about conservative revolutions and the looming threat of fascism are constantly thrown about. There was no right wing revolution; the drift leftward has been all encompassing and dominating. Those that see fascists around every corner are delusional paranoids. We are all pinko secular humanist now. This becomes clear when you realize that so-called conservative icons are actually leftists themselves. Get the fuck out of here with your Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Sean Hannitys, Bill O’Reillys, and William F. Buckleys. The Right Stuff stands nearly alone.