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tv   Alvin Felzenberg Discusses A Man and His Presidents  CSPAN  July 15, 2017 3:30pm-5:07pm EDT

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>> book tv is on twitter and facebook and we want to hear from you. tweet us, /book tv or post a comment on her facebook page, /book tv. >> good afternoon and welcome to princeton university. i have the honor to be the director of the james madison program in american ideals and institutions are present , the sponsor of this afternoon's event. i'm delighted to welcome you to princeton. we have not only students and members of our faculty here, but gas from the community and as far away as new york, maybe further and
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we are always delighted to welcome our visitors and we also want to welcome our viewers by c-span. c-span is here to cover this afternoon's conversation. after we talk for a bit we will open the floor for q&a and we will ask those who have questions to come down to the microphone that are here and ask your question from the microphone. speaking to the microphone so we can pick you up and remember you will be on screen as well as having your voice heard, so smile, looked pretty. [laughter] >> the madison program here at princeton is dedicated to providing our students and members of our community with the best possible civic education. we believe as madison thought that only well educated people can permanently be a free
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people and so we want to do our part by contributing to the education of our fellow citizens, students and others when it comes to fundamental questions of american constitutionalism and basic political thought. of course, like princeton university as a whole we are nonpartisan organization and we welcome all points of view. in fact, we encourage a wide diversity of viewpoints we believe what many people preach, but perhaps are not so strict about actually practicing as well as preaching and that is the true civil engagement of ideas, true civil dialogue including or perhaps especially among people who disagree. we know in our society there are people who disagree, reasonable people of goodwill that disagree about many issues and has always been the case in the us, but we believe in common that the way to handle disagreements is by
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engaging each other in civic civil discourse by doing business in the currency of electoral discourse consisting of reason and arguments of it evidence, so we are proud here to be contributing to that mission and by doing that-- i'm delighted to welcome back to princeton one of her most distinguished sons, alvin felzenberg who earned his master's degree and phd from princeton university. he earned his bachelor's degree from rutgers university just up the road, so he is new jersey through and through. he's a lecture at the school for communication at the university of pennsylvania. he served as the principal spokesman for 911 commission. he served into presidential administrations, held
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several high-level post with the us house of representatives and in the 1980s was new jersey's assistant secretary of state in the administration of governor king. he's been a fellow at the institute of politics at harvard john f. kennedy school of the permit and has taught here at princeton, john hopkins and george washington university in washington dc. he's appeared as a commentator on major public affair television shows including cnn's crossfire as you can see he survived crossfire. c-span washington journal, altogether more dignified place to be a commentator, msnbc's "morning joe", npr-- [laughter] >> 's are, are nonpartisan. talk of the nation and multiple others. 's writings have appeared in the "washington post", weekly standard candidate christian science monitor and is regularly cribbed tribute did to national
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review online. and politico. the book that we will discuss today is his new book "a man and his presidents: the political odyssey of william f. buckley jr.", which is published by yale university press. if you keep writing books we will keep that in conversation. governor tom kane, the governor of the new jersey statehouse to 911 commission published by rutgers university press in 2006, so please join me in welcoming doctor alvin felzenberg. [applause].
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powell william f buckley was the grand man of the modern conservative movement. i don't think it would be entirely unfair to say he was the founding father of the modern conservative movement and yet some of my students i might even say many of my students, perhaps most including my conservative students don't really know who william f buckley was, which makes me gasp since those of us of a certain age william f buckley was a fixture in our homes through his television program firing line, which aired for what seems like generation, 34 years on pbs and a fixture in our lives, not only the lives of conservatives, but of liberals as well. he was a famous practitioner of the kind of civil discourse engagement of ideas that we stand for here at the madison program at princeton. his guests on firing
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line included, not only fellow conservatives of various stripes, traditionalists and libertarians and moderate republicans and so forth, but also people in the liberal and further to the left side of the spectrum. in fact, i think his favorite guest host subbing for him was michael kinsley who is a famous and is a famous liberal commentator, so why don't you say word about why our students should care about william f buckley. who was william f buckley? >> first of all, it's a great honor to be back at the madison program and in this room. are given many lectures in it, most recently, so it's a pleasure to be back. william f buckley to start i think was probably the most influential private citizen in american history if you think about this.
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never had a government job, had a few honorary commissions he served on ran for office one time, got 13%. he pushed his when the public stage at the age of 25 when he decided to write a book that criticized of all things yale university. his first major opponent was he oh university. yale university made one major mistake that i tell my students not to do. the more powerful subject should never try to squash at the time a minor critic. gail as one new yorker put out reacted to his criticism with all the rigor of an elephant terrified by a little mouse and of course that american sense of fair
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play a young journalists , you know him as the host and founder of 60 minutes, mike wallace. had mike wallace on a radio show, 9053 and one of the first questions was, why is yellow-- it yale university picking on you. pick a fight with someone bigger and you launch a career in many many ways. .com. i would say that as a commentator, as a political figure of his time and something i discovered as i rarely get into the papers as a political operative. he was second to none. the only person i could think of who is very close to buckley was probably frederick douglas in the last century. i say that because he was an editor. he was a writer. he formed organizations. bill buckley was not just a column list picks someone asked me this
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morning who was like bill buckley today and i can't think of any, must right now who goes out there and whenever there is a cost is out there. he founded cpap, the american conservative union and young americans for freedom. whenever there was a cause, he was out there mobilizing. he was a campus politician and on many of those traits he brought into the public square in many ways on behalf of other candidates. because he was a charismatic personality with extraordinary sense of erudition and wit, he was able to mobilize audiences, particularly younger people he loved to talk to young people. he hit 70 campuses a year in his prime. that plus a biweekly newspaper column, editing a magazine, running a show. presidents all came a core team.
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people wanted his endorsements as much as they ever cultivated anyone and again, it's too bad that he did not live a few more years to really perfect his skills on the internet. you mastered every form of communication in his time. wherever you were, he would find you or you would find him whether it's on your car radio, newspaper, whether it's watching pbs, whether news is being made that he is now residing on ray board, nixon administration that kind of thing. he had a tremendous impact and we still see it today. now, my students, same thing as yours, when he died they knew that an important person died because they kept getting little messages on the internet, whatever it was. so, this is a important person that america
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should stop and take note up, but they could not remember why he was a important person, so i thought what a next ordinary life to bring back to open it up for a new generation to reintroduce it to a new generation. the rest of us have nostalgia. >> let's begin by talking about that first book, that bombshell book called "god and man at yale" and it was in indictments of the al university. why? of course, he was a student at yale university and i noticed when i went back and looked at some of the reviews and which were written by the great and good, the lost establishment of the united states, that the reviewer's were outraged for among other reasons because buckley had accused gail of abandoning its christian heritage and of adopting a sort of new religion, a pseudo- religion of the liberal secular is a
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man so the responses of some of the great and good word this is outrageous. the sub started by the way who is a catholic, this upstart topic at yale at our university comes in and accuses us of the bandaging christianity or do one thing you know about yell it's not abandon nor will it ever abandon its christian heritage. >> well, let me begin by saying that you go down to the jefferson memorial comic record of jefferson and buckley would agree with that, but he would also say even a greater republican-- [inaudible] >> he explained it like this, imagine a wheelchair-bound person is that cross the street and a passerby appears and he pushes the wheelchair in the way of
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an oncoming bus. terrible end to the story. tragic, but imagine the person is halfway across the street. the light changes and a bus is approaching the person and a good samaritan appears to pushes the wheelchair out of the way of the oncoming bus. happy ending. well, therefore, both stories have a few things in common and there's a wheelchair. there's possibly a good samaritan or a bad samaritan. that doesn't make the motives equivalents and what bothered him, he thought at yale as it was teaching in the era after one or two where first about economic department-- remember he was born in 1925. , coolidge is in the white house or didn't say much and didn't think he had to impose himself every five minutes on the american people like other presidents.
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in fact he was known for not saying very much at all. the government did much less. america thought it had learned from its crusade in europe and decided not to repeat it. the world was at peace in the country economic situation was booming. well, as bill was getting older he's witnessing by the time of his teen years administration coming to power, a completely new world when he returned from the army 1945. suddenly we are talking about mixed economies, not free market, which he thought was really secularism by another name. we had the aggressive kind that we saw. remember that parades of the gis coming home after world war ii. so, we had that form of tyranny, but then we had the midnight kind, the
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kind that gets elected in a free democracy, but suddenly feels it has to run more and more of that economy and they were teaching this at yale. very few free market economists were around. all the textbooks talked about successful societies have excessive welfare state and regulatory state and he had an issue with that. not that they shouldn't teach it, but that was all he thought they were teaching. more importantly in the relations department he did not feel they should teach one form of religion and that is to be a religious school, but he did feel that christianity or are judeo-christian tradition was superior to the other forms. why? because it informed our founding nation, informed the founding documents. we were a judeo christian society. judeo-christian teachers that we are all made in god's image and
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therefore the source of all freedom. all freedom from government interference. all equal in the eyes of each other, in the eyes of the state, in the eyes of god and that's what he believed. he said it's great to have other religions and learn about other religions, but don't tell us that some of the traditions of the samoa islands or other traditions that talk about untouchables and god knows what is the same as ours. we should teach there is a difference. there's not a moral equivalence. that obviously got him in to a great deal of trouble. that was the name of the book. there is a fighting song which is now that yale and commend the last nine is for god, core, man and gail. teetered to god and man at jail meaning that say killer humanism is
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pushing man into the center between god and of course, yale. a bit of a play on words. why is this important? i mean, other than the religion department why was this important? what was going on at that time, too famous espionage cases were going on, one in the uk. you have heard of the cambridge five, names like kim silvey, these were the best and brightest of their generation. recruited by communist cells to first about infiltrate intelligence to help the britts crack code and do many things to win the war and also to share whatever information they possibly could because after all he was alive with the uk and we get rid of the menace, hitler and we can now bring heaven on earth in the form of marxism.
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they learned marxism theory in the 30s around the time of the purges. what happened in the united states? in my generation probably the vietnam war was probably the most galvanizing issue for those of us who were politically engaged. bill kristol likes to say tommy where you were in vietnam and i will tell you how you voted the next five elections and in 1945, four to six, 47, 48 we had what was called that his case use a very prominent person, had the best possible education you could get. harvard law school clerk to oliver wendell holmes. you can do better than that. social friend of franklin l upper roosevelt, groomed to be future cabinet member or maybe even head of the united nation's.
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well, he's accused in 1948. bill would have been i think a sophomore then, maybe a junior of having been a spy for the soviet union and his accuser was a fellow named whittaker chambers and chambers was a former communist, the go to guy for the communist party and eventually leaves the party work well, buckley comes to the conclusion that we need sterner stuff. they are getting to the prime of their youth. may have singled out the kind of kids that go to gail in 1948, so a lot of this is going on. even though then i would say the student body at yale was homogenous enough. lets face it, it was all white, all-male and probably all of alumni children, so it wasn't what you would see now. the breakdown of the campus 46 thomas 60% for
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doing and 40%-- 60% for doing and 40% for truman. on the faculty, mind you come on the faculty it was between harry truman and not tom dewey, but wallace. if your students don't know who henry wallace is then we have to have a chat with the professor. franklin roosevelt-- >> think bernie sanders and you got it. >> think bernie sanders with a red star inside his coat jacket that you didn't know about. wallace was rather weird if you-- if the current administration ever decides to appoint people and some of you get tapped, they ask a lot of questions. maybe even your religion henry wallace was the secretary of agriculture at the franklin roosevelt.
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his religion was mystic. i mean, there are people that talk to plants, trees. his was mystic and i could see franklin roosevelt shaking his martini glass saying what the hell is that, but in any event he became a pretty good politician. roosevelt was pretty good at handling congress. he was good at handling republicans because his father had been agricultural secretary and roosevelt decides when james garner, by the way roosevelt first vice president james garner, former speaker of the house. you have your all democrat coalition between a northern liberal and southern conservative in his seat again with kennedy and johnson. garner decides he will not only oppose roosevelt for the nomination, but he's going to run against him.
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roosevelt, i see the vice president has thrown his bottle into the ring and he runs with wallace and a winning third term and everything is fine. we talk about the change of the party system. are franklin roosevelt, four time candidate for president in the middle of a world war is playing poker on the white house mayflower and sitting with him as a fella named kelly, labor leader. mayor of chicago, another union leader and a governor and they tell him, you know we can't sell your friend held-- henry wallace in the war >> what were. >> were of chicago where people live, where polls and ukrainians and many people think he's too close to the red and you can't run with him, so he dumps henry wallace in the middle of a world war. imagine this.
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we nominate a president, we think and then we wait around to see what name will be on the list for vice president. these bosses had the power to tell franklin you can't run with him. roosevelt dies and truman is now president. wallace begins to criticize truman's tough cold war policies and truman fires him and he runs for-- glad we are getting to this because here's the beginning of buckley watching this as he is in jail and wallace runs as a party candidate. now, buckley knows wallace will not be presidents, but he's terrified that may be wallace will get one or 2% of the vote. he's terrified probably 60 to 70% of that one or 2% of the vote will be artists, writers. ideas matter.
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ideas have consequences. wallace won't be important, but his followers will be around for a long time and i'm going to set up my movement to resist that can push the kind of politics i want, so even though he is technically support he do we had he's a member of big l republican club he's going around to various radio stations debating the faculty. the fact that the communist party was openly and now, we know he was the director of moscow openly running a presidential campaign and they got too many intellectuals and they figured they had to do the same thing. and my talking too much? >> well, you have us to an interesting points because one of the remarkable things about buckley taking charge of the conservative movement as a young man was he faced a movement
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or he encountered a movement that he sought to transform a movement and there really was a motley crew that included-- how should we say at some cranks and a few. >> people who hated each other more than they hated the other side. >> one of the things buckley did quite remarkable achievement especially given his youth was to marginalize , sidelined the john berkshire, the anti- somatic, it was a purge of these elements of the movement to establish the modern conservative movement and this was before you get the rise of neo- conservativism with lots of jewish american standards coming. you have catholics moving into the conservative movements with catholics were still affect democrats by a large. how on earth did he pull that off at his age? >> well, to begin with they were a desperate lots. if you are around in
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1948, first of all there is no movement, so what was a conservative to begin with? well, probably his ideal of a conservative was robert who was the senator from ohio. he was famous. he didn't quite fit the view of conservativism as we'd define it. he had some peculiarities are? name: to think of conservatives as small government, limited federal role and he was that, but. [inaudible] >> he wanted a department of education on the grounds that if the segregationist or educating children we will do it. we have able to do it.
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if they won't integrate, we will educate. he tried to be president for or five times in various primaries. what else did you have? the problem with taft in 48 was buckley said this loudly that once stalin got the balm our idea about limited government we had to have some exceptions because as long as the cold war is going on we have to have -- we have to resist and nato is an issue in the last campaign. tasks opponent and 52 is eisenhower and eisenhower sees taft and he said i will not run for president. i will endorse you. but, i did run nato for four years and if you endorsed nato i will not run and taft would not support nato and buckley
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writes his editorial for that day old daily news saying maybe he will change his mind so the best man in america can be president. then who else did you have? .. the democratic party was a
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combination of northern liberals like hubert h. humphrey from minnesota and -- certainly weren't liberals. segue -- segregationist like am irvin. >> one of the more coastally, genteel. we're talking about people like senator jim eastman of mississippi who used the n-word to the face of certain congressmen. a guy indiana. rankin from mississippi who didn't care what he said on the house floor. some really nasty people. sam irvin, people forget, but -- in watergate, i'm just country lawyer. i don't know how to deal with this -- no one ever writes he was the author of the southern manifesto, which all the southern senators signed as a way of resisting the brown
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decision. no one speaks about that because it takes a. from watergate. >> like remembering the role of j willum fulbright. >> he was probably the most effective chairman of the senate foreign relations committee in northern american history of he did more to destroy lyndon johnson's presidency and question the vietnam war in eelite circles than any other person. beyond kennedy want fulbright be the secretary of state and didn't think a democratic president dare start off his first 100 days with a fight with the naecp of the segregationases so he endwood a nonentity secretary of state, dean rusk. so i read a book called "the best and the brightest toy.
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if -- brightest ." and you knowned full product and mcnamara. this is the contract that buckley -- >> that's the context his finds himself. >> he wants a conservative movement. wants the movement to be free of the anti-semitismites. and and he wants that movement to win control of one of the political parties, right? and the obvious candidate for that role is the republican party. but he runs into a big problem right away, learned from your book, because eisenhower does decide to run for president. taft won't go along on -- >> won't yield. >> and here is the conservative republican, william f. buckley, at odds with the first
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republican administration since franklin roosevelt came into office. >> now, remember this, republicans -- they lost five elections in a row from 1932 to 1948. weren't supposed to lose 1948 but document dewey was begin the same advice hillary was, sit on your lead and harry harry truma- truman is not supposed to win. ow won't find a single poll that had him ahead. but in any event they're stuck now. and republicans, like buckley, and people who supported taft on the domestic side -- wanted to shrink the new deal and get back to what life was like before the great american -- get rid of these agencies and taft was the guy to do that. now they get eisenhower. now, eisenhower was a very shred politician. weren't apparent at the time. everybody thought he was an mam
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tour but he was a lot shredder than his critics, and the let the party talk about roleback, rollback of what? of the welfare state at home. which republicans sported, and rollback of the stalinist encroachment abroads. buckley wasn't sure what to do about stalin. he didn't believe the nato argument and thought he would do better than stevenson on foreign stay. >> adlai stevenson. >> the reluctant candidate of 1921 whose bus is outside and checked -- we are not trying to remove stevenson's name from anything on campus. he is okay. okay. adlai can stay. but the thought that ike would be tougher on the cold war an --
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but he had some doubts about the domestic agenda, and ike proved him correct. ike, i discovered a letter eisenhower wrote to his brother basically say we just can't come and here and dismantle social security and farm subsidies and federally subsidized mortgages and this other snuff one day or one d other stuff in one day or one administrationment the american people have gotten used to and it support and if it i do that i won't have the opportunity to push through the tough defense strategy i want, which is a nuclear umbrella, the same strategy that went through the reagan era, to craft the back of the -- crack the back of the soviet menace. he says we have to compromise. buckley decides, has the gall to decide that became the mouth
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that scared the elephant. they were just a warmup act for five star general, who won the big one. hello. and he writes a note to one of his friends, eastman, and he says, don't tell anyone but my goal is to move eisenhower of the conservative movement. hello. hello. >> right. >> well, this is some significance to national review because he didn't wasn't to say this openly at the time, because -- >> compounded national review -- founds the magazine which became the flagship journal of the conservative movement. >> what he does do -- before i get to ike. found "national review company and wants to it be the functional equivalent on the right of what the new republican and maybe sat review and great journalists started by walt
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lippmann. started calling himself a democrat and advisors said, dreadful name. a lot of the new freedom which wilson passed in his first term and child labor, eight-hour day, federal reserve. these things were first introduced by walter lippmann's new republican. buckley studied the other side very well and he said we need something for us. we need a policy journal for us that can give ideas to the next conservative president, thinking there would be one, and they found "national review" and becomes a place for conservatives of both parties, if you want, and all per situations to find out -- persuasions to find out what is going on. and a couple of months in, it becomes very clear that the administration is not going the way he wants.
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and at the tells -- he has to be really careful with this because half of his donors -- all of his donors are republicans, except for the southerners, and as lot of them were going into the administration, and the administration is defining itself as conservative. what do we mean by conservative? well, think of eisenhower, okay? stalin. cares about balanced budget, slow and steady. talks about no drama -- "drama obama," there was even less drama with eisenhower. said to have eight years of standing still. that's the caricature of the era. not the reality but the care could tour of the era. he appointed a billionaire to the cabinet, "the new york times" wrote an editorial head hat ten cabinet depths.
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he said nine millionaires and the plumber. that's it. if you were running -- a manufacturer you where were runa large energy company. you were conservative and you had the administration on your side. well, buckley hated big business just as much as he hated big labor. he said they were crony cappists and trying to take over the administration to get friendly tax deals, friendly drilling deals. >> nothing changes. >> but he has to be careful because he wants a magazine that will be openly pushing the administration to the right but he also has most popular president at that point in american history, and as i pointed out, ike could afford to ignore him. i coo ike could just good out and play golf and everything is fine. the american people would agree with him.
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if you look at the gallup poll, which is what drove buckley nuts, and you look at eisenhower's ratings it was a steady line help fell under 50% once in a recession for bat month and then the second time near the end, for about a week. it was a solid ryan of -- solid line of 50%. presidents would kill for that now. buckley is very, very careful. if he walked up the alligator too much you might lose donors and readers. but nevertheless he kepted agitating and acknowledge daying and when ike went out of office he was thrilled. the says we can aiming at democratic administration from the same angle. even nelson rockefeller, who he pillaged for being like a democrat the way he ran new york but they said he hates the russians just as much as we do. we want to talk about how hi is running number.
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he was delight it. once this happened the fight it on to take over the republican party, as you say. without ike, who is a centrist, moderate, we now can find a way of having -- take over the conservative -- the republican party with a conservative nominee, mr. goldwater, we can now re-align the party and get the southern democrats who say air conservative to join with us and we already hold the midwest and can become a new majority. his goal all through this. this goal in the 1940s and thought it would be taft. he was quite shocked when eisenhower threw his hat in the ring but goldwater will pick up where taft is concerned. wasn't even concerned that goldwater won six states because he said all movements start this way, and he wrote, year before i was born, calvin coolidge won,
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one of the largest landslides in american history. america was a conservative. no welfare state no big arm. eight years later franklin roosevelt wins the election. so let us build. >> you needed the depression in there. >> but that's what he wrote. take heart in this. we will be back. of course, you know about nixon's southerning extra and they're back. four short years. nobody saw it when goldwater went down that nixon would be president and we'll be talking southern strategy, and ripped nixon with a more moderate stance -- >> let me ask you about that. what was buckley's attitude toward nixon? although nix nixon was reviled by the left for his accepting of anticommunism, he was more
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liberal in most ways than ike. what was buckley's attitudes toward system. >> when nixon passed away, buckley said that it's amazing how conservatives clung to nixon in all of his battles even though he did very little for the movement. he said what is it about this man and why so many of my friend cling to him? he said, back to the hiss case, when whittaker chambers, let's say, outed algier hess in public -- turns house that hess was guilty. >> we know this. >> espionage. >> document said gorbachev and nelson hand over to our state department in that little window where the -- we that in this little window and they turned over some documents and it is --
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burden of proof is now on the other side. but they're probably m still some defenders of algier hiss around but the burden has shifted. when chambers outed his, at laid stevenson, john foster dulles, dean atchison, one former secretary of state, future, are all testifying at character references. the man looked like cary grant. he was charismatic and this other fellow, chambers, row row tend ex-overeight, mixed career, not very successful, and who do you think that the establishment, hollywood, "washington post," "new york times," believes? well, it was one freshman congressman on this committee,
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named richard nixon, and he had taken a number of courses at duke law school on perjury, among other things, and he didn't like the way hiss denies the various questions. do you know whittaker chambers? the answer would be, i don't know anyone by that name. nixon goes home and says he is stayed up all night on this. did he have another name? ah-ha. so he says to chambers, what was your name in the communist party, and he gives him another name. he brings hiss back. do you know a man named -- i have to tax my memory, this guy's line. and this is one bet nixon made that paid off. as an irony, given what happens. nixon and lying and other things later on. nevertheless, nixon believes him
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and becomes a worry to the right. invited -- eisenhower didn't luke the politics and nixon goes to all these governor conferences conferences and is picking up delegates. of course, with buckley, there was no compromise because mixon couldn't do anything right as vice president because he was ike others -- ike's understudy. so, "national review" is not very kind to nixon because he is eisenhower's understudy. they say -- the don't quite court wallace who says there's not a dime between nixon and kennedy. they take the view we're not a republican organization, there's not as much of a differs between
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nixon and kennedy, who was running on nixon's right, claiming there was a missile gap, attacking eisenhower for losing territory to the communists, particularly 90 miles everybody the shower, promising to get rid of castro. they tried many times. but that was the relationship. now, what is interesting, out of office, because of the place to have a little reflection here. out of office realizes that goldwater went down by the biggest margin in history. nixon made sure that he campaigned for goldwater in 40 state us, going to collect delegates. rockefeller is taking a walk and henry cabot lodge. these are the the alternatives. i'll endear myself to the goldwater swing and got the nomination and i'm going to get
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those delegates, as many as i can. and it becomes a fight in 1968 twin rockefeller who i mentioned before, who certainly "national review" is not going to support, and nixon, which has an ewan uneasy for him but stood up for goldwater when the others didn't, and a young fellow name reagan. this is the pre-obama era. buckley thought it was impossible for a man to go into politics, be in government one year and get the nomination, and buckley said, if we nominate reagan, and they nominate humphrey, we lose with a conservative devoce -- devoce in a row, that's hold reagan for another day and he writes a series of columnses that are signals to various conservative
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movement little, and gets a great deal of criticism from the reaganize that reagan would be better for another time. it split to board of "national review." one of the few times bill rusher threatened to quit. he was proud he opposed nixan every time he ran for public office. pushing bill not to support nixon. >> bill rusher was a publishinger of "national review." >> buckley was ready to split the magazine and does nixon two favors in 1968. one is he makes nixon respectable for other conservatives. if buckley is supporting nixon he can't be a -- second he had this fellow named george wallace, the segregationist
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governor of alabama, running on the third party ticket. and getting votes of northern democrats, many of them labor union people, and campaigning as a conservative in his own right. what does buckley toy? the only thing george wallace is a right winger on is race. let me tell you why. but a of the welfare populace and says let's look at wallace's budget. he's for every federal program. 60% of the alabama bug comes from washington. he is a fake conservative. the only thing he does to get people to support him in a big way is he doesn't want black people to get benefits from the largest from washington, and calls him a phony and says real conservatives want fewer programs and he writes this article that those of you
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tempted to support george wallace and call yourself asivetive and saying they're ain't a dime's differs between the two parties, vote for me, buckley counselor -- counters by there's a lot of difference. how the runs the state, and opposed to minorities and that makes nixon respectable a second time. >> remarkable to think that george wallace was competing with whom in these southern states? robert f. kennedy. that was the situation. that brings the racial issue up. buckley was not a racist and he is the guy who drove the racists out of the conservative movement. said no room for you people here. and yet, like goldwater, who was in the a racist, he, buckley,
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and goldwater, opposed the '64 civil rights act, which i think played a very significant role in giving conservatives, including conservatives who themselves had been activists in the civil rights movement, people like richards john new house and marian glen don and leon capps, gave the conservative movement the reputation for being if not racist, at least against the differ man dismantling of -- so what about buckley and goldwater refusing to support thesive civil rights act. >> "national review" begins in the mid-1950s and it's not around in 1954 but also opposed the -- and this is not "national review's" finest hour them
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finest hour was in the last few years, but buckley was operating under many, many forced. let me explain this. both his parents are southerners, texas and south carolina. their lineage was the genteel southerner who said, we can take care of our problems, thank you very minute. -- thank you very much. we'll take care of our community, thank you very much. these were people referred to i- very, very wealthy people in the south, endowed many of the institutions. irvin, you mentioned. i don't believe in lynching. i believe in running the south the way we have had had it. he way my grand daddy give it to
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me. buckley writes a very unfortunatedder toal that even goldwater doesn't go along with. the editorial says that the white race should continue to determine policy nor south because it's the more advanced race, and what do we mean by advanced in we have asive rights organization that call this south in the national association for colored people they're admitting he -- they're not advanced and only when the southern people are coming around and see that education has been extended to the point where the -- we can have a biracial government shall that be. you're a conservative in 19 57 and lived outside the south that would have appalled you. certainly appalled icen hour and
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nixon, who nixon was trying push the civil rights bill. >> which did pass. >> did pass. the one would really meat it ineffective is something who we now see as the great face of civil rights, lyndon johnson. it had a voting rights and he put a jury amendments which says if you're accused of stopping voting rights, then you have to have a jury trial by your peers, well, who is going convict a southern registrar for denying african-americans the right to vote. a nothing bill. but that happened at the very last minute. that editorial, if you wanted to find where conservatives were, barry goldwater supporters voted for the bill and buckley opposed. senator nolan, the republican leader and suppose owed be the conservative candidate against nixon, he support the bill. what was left of the taft fashion supported the bill.
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that was not a very happy moment for "national review" looking back. well there was a cover on the magazine. buckley's brother-in-law, and debating partner, and they have a rather heated editorial meeting and he says, we say we believe in struck instructions, lit recall view of the constitutional. can't ignore the voting rights and can't use race as a reason and what about the fourth amendments and the enough and what the hell is the matter with grow buckley then writes a clarifying editorial, saying, well, my problem with voting righted is this. my problem here, is you want to extend them with federal force. we have too many stupid people
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voting in the north now. right? look at jersey city, right? look at fraud in philadelphia. look at ballot stuffing. the last thing we need is more of it. i'd be very happy to disenfranchise many white votes and allow educated black voter to vote in the south and that's where we are moving. and one issue. but bill comes around. now, to understand why he comes around, can do this very quickly. you have to understand what eggs going on in southern white politics. they have all these runoff elections in the south. these things are descend tentents -- descendents of the white primary.
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the republicans didn't count. african-americans couldn't vote. so you had these battles between the genteel noblity of the south and the wallace types, right? probably -- the welfare popless and they were the one whose race-baited and criticized the old order for being too benign and thing that should be going to us, they're allowing african-americans to have them. that what was happening. very unpleasant experiences in buckley's own family with these kind of welfare populists. he had an uncle -- a little about becomeley's family -- an uncle whose was the family historian, and a grandfather who was the sheriff of duval county, texas. he knew wyatt earp. buckley's grandfather knew wyatt
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earp, knew the guy who killed billy the kid me, bounty hunter. imagine this. the old, old texas. and he was a cowboy, of course in a very protestant southern state, and catholics weren't treated very well, and he went to mess. he became the sheriff with the vote of mexican-americans and would go to five masses on sunday, and masses were cheap, and everything was fine for the first two or three times with that, and suddenly the powers that be want to put an end to this. so uncle claude, the family historian, writes, they finally had enough of grandpa. so they rounded up -- terrible word -- wounded up all the white trash they could find to beat these people at the polls, and grandpa was turned out. they had some experience with
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the violence and had some experience their kind of people wallace was incited. so there's a change in the south and he thought he might be able to appeal of the better angels from sam irvin, george wallace is coming in, i can go state-by-state. and the violence that they resist -- used to resist the civil rights, begins to turn buckley around. so. >> so it's bull connor unleashing the fire hoses and the dogs on the children. >> yes. one more thing, you can't study buckley without appreciate his deep and abiding catholic faith, and when martin luther king assassinatedded and everybody is talking about the horror of the tragedy, we must remember king
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was a man of the clothe, and he was -- of the cloth and he had a cat chris -- cataclysmic conversion after the birmingham church bongs on a sunday morning. a week after the march on washington, bomb goes off in birmingham, alabama, condi rice knew some of the four girls who were murdered. and buckley just loses it. he writes a very, very searing editorial, blaming wallace for inciting this kind of hate. and then -- which i didn't know this until i started to research. i knew a lot of buckley. he writes his mother letter and he says, you good to mass every day. you tell to us pray every day. where in our religion does it support this kind of system that
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none of us queried. you never questioned it, dad never questioned it. never questioned: 47 years old. there was no religious sanction for this. how can we support it? and he -- the public buckley is not there yet, but the private buckley is going through a great deal of inner turmoil, and so by the tomb you -- time -- you mentioned the civil rights bill which is different from brown and the other decisions. they said they head constitutional questions. by of '65, they don't oppose the vote right act remember he says let's see how it goes. the brought it on themselves with this kind of resistance, the murder of the civil rights leaders and people have a right to march maybe they shouldn't have a right to volt. they have the right to march and not be mowed down in the streets. >> this is fascinating.
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did buckley or anyone in the family have any reaction, was there any comment, did you find anything even private in reaction to the archbishop of new orleans, joseph rumble, ex-communication of lee an at the perez, the boss of new orleans, and the other segregationist politicians in louisiana in the late 1950s? >> i looked. i did not find any correspondence on this but die know -- i do know his mother was eloise steiner, and her father was a very wealthy textile merchant in the south. there are streets and boulevards named in their honor. i couldn't find anything about that, but i would be very surprised if they did not know about it or not -- >> on the issue of race the biggest this happeningment the
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fascinating thing is bozells influence. he was -- excuse the expression -- a fanatical hack. what was that -- buckley was, i would say, mainstream catholic, bozell was a much more aggressive catholic. the named his own magazine "triumph. >> yes, and formed his own resistance to the abortion movement, and in several of his relatives were arrested outside abortion clinics. >> so a lot stronger on issues of racial justice than buckley and is pushing buckley -- >> a lot of it was push, pulp from bozell, push from what was going on with the violence, and a lot of it was pull and a lot of it was prayer and reflection,
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and his mother throws her hands up, i've never had a question like this, i have to pray on this. but knowing bill, i think i come to know him, i'm sure he spoke to many other theologians. >> i'm sure of it. >> it's beginning to gnaw at him. bozell is an interesting, which him that meet at yale and oz ell is a mainstream protestant, a liberal democrat, new federalist, within 18 months hearses catholic, he is a conservative republican and he marry's buckley's favorite sister. >> wow. >> talk about who what influencing whom? but now it's ten years later and he is saying, you know,ow talking about strict construction, read what the thing says. right?
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what is the matter with you? and we're going to throw this out and say we can't use the 15th amendment because the south -- what do you do with the first and fifth and how many others. he comes up with that one. we can mention madison when we began. madison and jefferson joined at the hip. the jefferson quote is a nation that expects to be ignorant and free expects what never was and never will be. you find the same quote you had with madison. so, yes, last thing i want to make here, buckley was not a great believer. he was not antidemocratic, not in favor of tyranny. god knows. but did not believe that democracy could solve all ills. he did not believe that expanding the franchise would necessarily lead to a nirvana. he wrote a paper at the age of a
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for his headmaster and says this all very nice and the ideal jim you're telling us about. what post war germany will be like, i don't really know if i can buy into this. after all, these news reels you talk to us see every -- take to us see every sad, time marches on, the henry lying pictures of the week. i see these nuremberg rallies. they're not being forced and dragooned and now are going to see a lot of both. we can have the same thing by election. so what are we going to do? he didn't worship the franchise per se but wasn't against it. but he was not thinking it was cure-all, so he talks about -- wrote an editorial in knowledge in review when voting rights act is being enforce for the fir
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time in august of '65 and takes about the great hope he cease in peoples faces when they go to vote. talks about the religious roots of the sill rights movement -- civil rights movement. another indirect influence, whittaker chambers. buck lee loved music, loved opera, loved chambers, and when he was a freshman, "time magazine" made marion anderson the person of the year, and henry luce asked whittaker to write the peace. 12 years after eleanor roosevelt allowed astor to sing the lincoln memorial. a decade after. and she has had every possible -- and chambers writes, african-americans are the --
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both the mose despised and the most religious of any people on earth. so in 1969, the head of the urban league, whitney young, and daniel patrick moynihan, organizes a tour of urban america for white journalists, and they visit six towns, and buckley meets some rather charming community organizers and radicals for the fir time. and he writes that he sees a little bit of himself, except for background, obviously. they're just like we are. they're sassy, they're cynical about what bureaucracy can do for communities. they want self-help movements
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'they want to teach their own children. the want to start businesses. they don't want washington breathing down their throat. where with we herd that's before? he said out of the ranks comes a president in ten years, he quotes chambers, but he doesn't quite quote it literally, meaning that quote stuck in the back of his head for 35 years or so. and he is writing this column in a plane or on a train or the back of a car, where he would write in the back seat of his old car, bang, bang, bang, and i don't know -- we don't have time, we don't have google, but this will have to do, and i got out the "time" magazine and the column and he missed a few word but is seared on his memory and used it in 1970. by now, life is a little different. left out the mayoral run. >> when he ran for mayor of new
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york, got 13% of the vote but shook things up. think laid a foundation authorize in the emergence of the modern dismovement as a movement that actually elect people to office. with that, al, think it's time to open the floor. we'd ask people to come down to the microphone so that we can see you as well as hear you, and while people consider what questions they might ask, i'll just add a little coda to the discussion. so buckley in a certain sense aimed to be an inside player, aimed to be an insider. >> yes. >> and yet, as archaic, -- as a catholic and conservative catholic, he knew he would always in the america that was his america, always be something of an outsider. so he couldn't really be fully and completely an insider. >> right. well issue start the book by
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quoting one of his brothers, and it's interesting. wherever they happened to live they were sort of in exile. you have this texas oil man, bringing his family to connecticut. so they were southerners and catholics in an all new england town. but then they spend the winters in columbia, eventually, south carolina, and they're not even yankees. now they're surrounded be was 's but a -- wasp but different ones. they go to britain, where the father is trying recoup some lost investments, and they're catholic, and so this is a great story. i love this story. they're going to archaic, going to a catholic boy school, st. john, and it's right next to eaton. so, he is told that previous
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headmaster writes a letter to the headmaster of eton, challenging the eaton boys to a soccer match. the head minister of eaton writes back, what is st. john? only a mile away, and the headmaster responds and says, what eaton used to be, trading ministers with a king, in other words, for the catholic king and he develops this tremendous admiration and affection for british catholics. these are a persecuted minority that can't -- unless anyone votes for parliament until the 1850 and other even beyond that, yet they are the descendents of the most hate kings of britain. who is nominated -- when it's
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put on masterpiece theater? william f. buckley, jr. so, all the time they were kind of he exiled to their own land t they had 11 children they built their own fortress. >> we have a question over here. the book is fantastic. a lot of what you're talking about touch thorns caricature of bill as an elitist but i'd like to discuss bill as a populist and in two waysment one is the famous quote about the -- >> telephone director. >> and the second is his mayoral run, and how he connected with the cops, the bus drivers, just like his brother did several years later when he ran.
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so i'd like your take on bill the populist and how maybe that as precursor to -- >> well, one of the tensions that very difficult to resolve is when is the -- an elite exist when is hey populist? what is the solution to the current curriculum problems in yale. have to go to the alum. not populist, but when he sees the internal communist threat and he sees that the entire establishment is fighting whittaker chambers, and he says, how are we going deal with this? well, we'll have the public demand that congress do something about security.
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you have to good to primaries and work the organization through goldwater. remember what i said earlier, about to the nuremberg rallies. he hated the mob and he saw wallace. so he never really resolve that. what i think he wanted -- this line you gave me, one 0 the most quotable buckley wrotes i report by gord govern bid the first two names in the boston phone book than the first two hundred names the boston -- harvard faculty directory. if you go the populist route you don't have the ability to ex-communicate people. he wanted -- calls himself the -- he knew it was his movement, and if i can write
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robert welsh on the virtues of the movement, and -- all these people he fought, i have to have an elite to do it. and i have to have other people like ronald reagan and george bush the elder, have to get them to sign on with me. if i just do it, it is a fight between me and ralph. if they do it he's now fighting the leading conservatives in the world. so he never quite resolved it. david of the mob, but -- terrified of the common did not want a liberal ethreat take every institution and ram things down people's throat. think he saw populism has a halfway house to get elite installed. >> shy tell you i am a princeton
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graduate but i spent a great teal of time up at yale. in the department of psychiatry up there. was there when things began to explode very roughly between the yale population and the black population, which surrounded yale. and as we went through vietnam, things became greater and greater, with more tenseness going on. and so a number of things happening. the issues with vietnam and were you going to be drafted? what would happen is the women would come out and they would say that they would talk a guy back and would -- >> the draft card? >> the draft card, yes. >> burning the draft card? >> and if a guy would -- she'd take him up to his room and you
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can figure out what happens from there on. >> okay. in the interest 0 others could -- is that question? >> the other thing is, what exploded, the whole thing erupted, a massive demonstration, people being -- we had to bring in not only the police but -- probably know the story -- >> yes. >> you know the story very well. i was there in the middle of that and i had to takeaway -- by chance i had the -- going over to the stand where all the lemonade was, found one gal who was bringing in a pistol, and fortunately we discovered that, and we picked the guy -- we found out who was bringing it in and they were both black and if that exploded -- >> the situation for the universities around the country got very dangerous. we had the situation of the
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shooting at kent state, racial violence, guns and violence on both sides. >> talking about you had two violent confrontation, when is when george wallace was asked to address the yale political union, and the city of course was not pleased, as you can imagine, and then you have the black panther trial, and very unfortunate things he said that inflammed the enemy. >> we don't want that to come back. no violence. >> thank you for coming and talking. i was curious if in your research at all you found how buckley's faith enter acted with his politics, how he kind of rationalized the conservativism with the deep christian sentiments of love thy neighbor, care for the poor and disabled.
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>> i mentioned for the reason that he -- he would say, we believe in tolerance and everyone is free practice anything they want in this country or not. but don't tell me that our country was founded by all the latest editions equally. they're not. come from the true faith which does not believe there is a group of undesirables among human beings, for that animals have the same rightses a people or that -- you want to say what you want. but i believe in a faith that says god created man in his image, gave man the capacity to think and develop his potential, and that whether i'm believing in god or not, einstein perfecting his genius was a tribute to god who created him. or mozart, or king, and that is
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his position and he didn't care if you agreed or not. i feel that our country was founded in a certain way, and, quote mrs. thatcher, the only country formed by an idea, not by race or her ready. but- -- heredity and they were all each other's equal and that idea had tremendous revolutionary impact in places it was not intended. but without that you couldn't have had other groups. that is who he was to his core. he would not compromise on that. the montreal -- the moral equivalency would not -- there's right and wrong and i don't care whether it's politically creque or not. >> think student's question
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recalls for us that buckley emerges in the wake of the protestant social gospel movement, wilsonian progressive's idea that for true christian belief, government must be an instrumentality of bringing aid and comfort to the poor, movement that also begins to -- a bit later, emerge within catholicism. within buckley's own tradition of christianity. what was buck lee's response to the claim that not only must we care for the poor, work for justice, social justice, but that we must use the instrumentality of government to that end, that god's work muss be our own? >> there some great quotes. christ said we should care for the least among us, but with our money, not other people's money
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he believes in tithing. he tithes quite handsomely, and many, many people were the recipients of anonymous gifts. he put god nose e knows how people through college who may not have known about. , descendents from people his parents knew and this was a tradition of the family. he would find people who would strong him on the street and they would thank him for his father's largesse he didn't know about. that's part of it. at the end, though, he did believe that there was role for government and we don't let people die cincinnatis or let people starve. >> the safety net idea. >> his main argument with ayn rand, that we're given these gifts to glorify god. we're not begin these gifts, our
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brain, our capacity to acquire things, to create things, we're given that to glorify him. we're not given that to make selfishness the goal. agreed the goal. -- greed the goal. when he decides to take somebody on, nuclear bomb what's defall -- default mechanism. so here's this lady named ayn rand and writes "atlas shrugged." i'm just -- going to just review it. i'm going to get whittaker chambers and that will get everybody to buy this magazine in times square, get whittaker chambers to blow her up and to attack the atheism and say that the dollar sign is the new swastika in her mind and we'll put the dollar sign as the golden -- on the cover of "national review" with her bowing down to it.
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talk about starting a war. he said he had libertarian streak, certainly, but when it got eight atheism, and self-ishness as a goal, not interested. not interesting in declaring human beings as losers, takers. 47%, god forbid deplorable. wasn't into that. he bought the safety net and raying bought the safety net there are people who can't care for themselves. not monte python and the holy grail. we're all part of the same planet but he thought the new deal stifled incentive. >> can you talk about -- buckley had libertarian bent and the
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cack -- school was -- >> very much. by the way, in god and man, the didn't -- the best stuff is in in the footnote because he no they would -- new they would attack him for bag cack, and i looked through the records recod you have people saying man he would have been better had he gone to forwardham -- fordham or notre dame. what his doing tell us it be christianity. he said my definition of christianity does not come from catholic writings. it comes from the great protestant theologian on the left who was writing speeches for adlai stevenson. fusion. buckley realized the important of a common enemy and if you're a burkan, meaning you believe in institutions, institutions are
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organic things and they adapt, and we accept the best of the old and we create and cause -- you're a libertarian, government, government, if you're a catholic, what do you hate? what is the threat 0 all of you? soviet union, and the soviet anyone is not just aggressive. it just doesn't want to grab your house in new jersey and enslave you, right? it's also an athiest powerment an athiest power, and you may not believe in god, mr. libertarian, but you better be careful because there are a lot of people who might, and so it was a threat to all of these group that may have had complete contempt for each other and he said if the soviet union dissolved they would have prior tensions come back, and comes back on the administration of george bush. george bush 43, because -- why
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are we having crusade inside we thought the world would get better without that's existential threat, and removed the threat. if george bush believed that saddam had the weapon and much better to be embarrassed not finding the weapon than the other way, than ignoring and it having an incident.
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>> >> of a blind interest wary
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we are up against to get the? answer. >> i will try but with the frank myers version although he transferred but in his view about the libertarian and the traditionalist ran in a certain way that was not equal at least they believed that was not the compromise. he was my favorite guy on national radio. >> one time a feature writer on restrictionism. >> but my question is he was excommunicated their reason
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why buckley in his later years became tibia holden and too concerned with is a niche -- with his image what would he say in response?. >> the same charge was made when he would go out around the time with the cemetery that he thought originally and then some of those people that tortured there was a big brouhaha. so had you get reagan to change his mind? some such things like "the new york times" or a the holocaust
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update. we're more vicious comments like that in to cultivate that you wish intelligentsia in he said that was rubbish. >> did he also excommunicate black -- pat buchanan?. >> yes. but what was brought back from the ash heap of history was the statement from 40 or 41 the only people advocating against hitler was that jewish interest of
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the roosevelt administration still basically the israeli government but buckley went ballistic and he is still exceptionally bitter about it. been there were many others. to have a dispute and he gets a letter that basically says you have to stand up to these people but the only problem is that you don't amend your ways. you are not helping me.
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so that attack was also made earlier. >> but you brought up the immigration. ronald reagan was the great amnesty president. and that was with the issue that you raise. >> so let me just announce he will be signing copies of his new book so thanks for coming. [applause]


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