Saturday, June 26, 2004

LRC picks
Up from classical liberalism
Bill Buckley’s betrayal of the real American right

All that’s missing here is Buckley’s CIA connection - he was an agent (whence he got some of his ideas for Blackford Oakes - fluent in Spanish his whole life, B was useful in Latin America) and the NR was a front op for them.

He clearly understands the Old Right (like Reagan did, even though as an ex-Democrat Reagan arguably was a kind of neocon all along - at least he was a nice fellow) and authentic Catholicism, and I enjoyed Nearer My God, but it seems he doesn’t believe in either.

In its choice of editors and contributors, National Review, like Freeman, represented a cosmopolitan conservatism at considerable distance from the anti-semitic and paranoid Right...

That ‘cosmopolitan’ air is part of the man’s appeal, at least to me - as St Josemaría Escrivá once wrote, Catholicity means thanking God for the glories of all cultures, including of course historic Europe’s - but how ‘cosmopolitan’ or un-paranoid is crushing another country that’s no threat to yours and in so doing pissing off most of the rest of the world? (The stance of NR re: Iraq.)

The Old Right Buckley and the US government were dealing a death-blow to here were painted as Nazis (as they are in the excerpt) because they weren’t paranoid about World War II and wouldn’t bend either to British spies or to the Communists (both very active in the States), rightly saying it wasn’t America’s war. (Like us, they weren’t pacifists either - the military should have been strong enough to defend America’s neutrality. John Flynn and America First were right all along.)

In addition... [NR]...went out of [its] way to recruit a group not represented on Freeman and sometime attacked on its pages -- traditionalists and southern agrarians. Richard Weaver (see the IC review)...readily agreed to be listed...Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, a monarchist, became [NR] correspondent in Vienna... Russell Kirk balked at being listed even as a contributor, because he didn't want to appear...with Meyer, who had savaged his book... but he agreed to write a regular column.

Recruiting those who today are ‘this blog’s kind of people’ to get cred with real conservatives. Gotcha. Buckley was a snake all right - smart.

Brother-in-law L. Brent Bozell, Jr. ... Needing space and time to write what is still a great book on the Warren Supreme Court, Bozell took his family to Spain. Wowed by the Carlists he met, his Catholicism (he was a convert) began to foment. Struck by an idea that there should be a journal of radical Catholic thought not tied to notions of American Federalism, Bozell enlisted aid from Buckley (which he initially received).

But it was clear that Bozell thought outside of the right-wing establishment. After a series of rebuffs by Buckley in effect, warning both privately and publicly that his sister's brilliant husband had become eccentric over the Catholic Thing, Bozell organized
Triumph magazine and struck out on his own. For ten years (and a peak subscription list of 30,000) Triumph inveighed against abortion, pornography, and gnosticism, and attracted great thinkers like Jeffrey Hart and Frederic Wilhelmsen.

Sounds like a noble cause and parallels, if I may say so, the difference between this blog and what is passed off as conservatism in most quarters today. Re: pornography, of course it’s the church’s place to ‘instruct the ignorant’ why it’s wrong (basically it’s a scam that takes people’s money by taking advantage of their problems, driving them farther down into addiction - it’s a dead end in all respects) but that said, people have the right to be wrong as well as right so this blog takes a libertarian view on the government trying to enforce morality. (This isn’t US ally Saudi Arabia. No morality police.) It’s been around since the fall of mankind - deal with it like a grownup.

Frank Meyer, however, if not more perceptive, more clearly nailed Wills' shift from Right to Left, as, "bilious in its view of Mr. Nixon...and the America of self-reliance...the book echoes with the curiously mixed accents of Bayard Rustin, Malcolm X, and Tom Hayden."

Perhaps true but hypocritical of NR to say so, because like Nixon they were talking up the America of self-reliance while at the same time tearing it down.

The Buckley career careened: the run at NYC mayor, the USIA appointment, the UN run, the ‘Firing Line’ success, the best-selling spy novels, and the charisma -- just a bit affected.

Of course I like the way he sounds and to be fair to him I don’t think it’s affected. (I like his style but, it turns out, don't like many of his views.) He faced that accusation head-on in an interview once, explaining that he spent a good part of his boyhood at a Jesuit boarding school in England. ‘So how am I supposed to sound?’ His half-English voice is real and he never lies about his origins. (It's as real, and for the same reason, as the Texan twang of George W. Bush, who's really a Connecticut Yankee by birth like his dad.) Of course badly done put-on accents are odious (Loyd Grossman, call your office) but I’ll argue that this reverse snobbery, part of the same movement as the war against RP in England itself (even Prince William sounds Mockney to me), is part of the demolition of the old order (yes, Christendom) under way at least since World War I.

One sees this shift in the changing attitude of American soldiers. In American Cæsar, the late, missed William Manchester noted that doughboys were proud to serve under the aristocratic MacArthur. GIs weren’t - they made fun of him. (Stupid since despite his shortcomings - he attacked the Bonus Army in DC during the Depression and got off scot-free for the Japanese destruction of the Philippines whilst the general/flag officers at Pearl Harbor got scapegoated - he was a excellent soldier, winning battles with minimal loss of American lives.) In Lord Mountbatten’s day, sailors were proud to serve under a titled captain. Same idea.

Appleton, Wisconsin sees Fahrenheit 9/11
Haven’t seen it yet but so far I think the criticism of Mr Bush’s continuing to read aloud to schoolchildren after being told about the attack is uncalled for. Whether he foreknew or not, what was he supposed to do, freak out?

There was tumultuous applause at the end, punctuated by a moment of reflective silence as we read the dedication card invoking those murdered by terrorists on 9/11, and those murdered through state terrorism in the aftermath. [End.]

A punto.

It will be all but impossible for anybody who sits still and watches this film to view Bush the Lesser as anything other than a petty, spiteful, dim-witted, bloody-handed little fool – and the figurehead of a murderous power elite.

...the largest immorality of this entire enterprise is the actions of a dishonest president lying our country into war and forcing decent young men (and women) to do immoral things.

The jackpot question to Mr Kerry:

Impertinent sort that I am, I asked, "What's this fellow's position on the war?"
The scribbling stopped, and several sets of eyes focused intently on the hapless volunteer. "Well, um, ah, he thinks we should do something," he began, stammeringly. "Ah, he just thinks we should be more careful." On hearing this, a lady looked at her husband, who had signed the petition, and snapped, "Scratch off your name." I told the volunteer that I'm what most people would regard as an "ultra-conservative – not just a ‘conservative’ – but if your guy came out against the war I'd vote for him, and knock on doors."


The Bush-Lincoln parallel (or Al Gore is right)
Or, I voted for the wrong person in 2000. Never again.

Lincoln essentially declared himself dictator and proceeded to launch a war without the consent of Congress... censor the telegraph

The Internet of the 1860s. Big Brother reads your e-mail.

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