Tag: William F. Buckley

There Goes a Young American


The sun sets on my 20s.

In 1964, Jack Weinberg gave a simple command: “Don’t trust anybody over 30.” In his mid-20s at the time, Weinberg had just graduated from UC Berkeley, where he had been a student activist. He turned 30 on April 4, 1970. But the phrase he bequeathed hardly died with the end of his 20s. It has, instead, become a timeless refrain of youth the planet over, a shorthand valorization of the superiority of young people and novelty against the stodginess of their elders and the inheritance of the past.

A reflexive rejection of what has come before fits uneasily with conservatism, concerned as it is with historical reverence. Indeed, in the 1955 mission statement of National Review (for whose website I am submissions editor), one of William F. Buckley’s main complaints about contemporary America was that, rather than embrace its past, it was “tormented by its tradition of fixed postulates having to do with the meaning of existence, with the relationship of the state to the individual, of the individual to his neighbor, so clearly enunciated in the enabling documents of our Republic.” (Buckley was 29 when he wrote these words.)

Are Trump Supporters Ready for Change?


Most food packages come with one of two expiration dates. One says “best if used by” a date after which the quality slowly declines. The second one says “use by” or “expires by,” after which the product may be hazardous to your health.

It appears that Donald Trump may have hit his expiration date. It is hazardous for Republicans to nominate him for another White House run.

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In September 1992, William F. Buckley had Rush Limbaugh as his guest on Firing Line.  Grab a fine adult beverage, a fragrant cigar or a warm cup of tea and cozy up to a discussion that could have happened earlier this week.  Primarily discussing women and their roles in America, this interview gives the lie […]

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National Review artist Roman Genn came to America from the Soviet Union in 1991. In this episode, he compares the ideology he left behind with that which has gained a strong foothold in this country. His analysis, which comes at a pivotal moment, is worth hearing. And then there are the laughs, which are always plentiful when Roman and Dave have the chance to commiserate. Then, Ricochet Member Boss Mongo (a.k.a. Lt Col Brendan Welsh, US Army Special Forces Retired) drops by to discuss what sorts of national security threats await the new Biden Administration (hint: America’s adversaries are “giggling like little girls.”).

Otherwise, studio lighting issues, wardrobe changes, and unexpected guests dot the landscape of this rather unique episode. Enjoy!

What Would Buckley Say?


National Review is not only the birthplace of the Never Trump movement, but also the “Reagan, Never Again” Reform Conservative movement. National Review without William F. Buckley isn’t National Review.

I don’t blame NR for publishing its famous “Against Trump” issue. They thought, with good reason, that Trump would push the Republican Party to further to the left than even another Bush. At the time of that issue, Trump might have actually been further to the left than he was by the time he became President.

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“Mighty Ira” is a recent documentary about Ira Glasser, head of the ACLU from 1978 to 2001. The film’s main focus is on the ACLU’s defense of the Nazi march in Skokie, IL in 1977. However, most of the documentary is a biography of Glasser, from his upbringing in Brooklyn, his trauma of losing the […]

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Roman Genn arrived in America in 1991, fresh after departing his native Soviet Union, where his caricatures resulted in what he refers to as, “many unpleasant encounters with police officials.” He sat down with our own Dave Carter for a freewheeling exchange about life in the US, where his immense talent and sense of mischief have flourished on the cover of National Review and many other publications. The conversation crosses continents and covers everything from the reaction of various public personalities and US presidents to Roman’s art, to his deployments with US Marines to the middle east, and much more. Dave reports that the only thing that caught him off guard was Roman’s irrepressible sense of humor, which caused face cramps on the part of our host from all the laughing.

Ricochet Member Lois Lane was kind enough to drop by and talk about her recent post, “Eating Out in a Restaurant in the Age of COVID-19,” and share her experience as college professor, teaching history and English. It’s a captivating discussion that you’re sure to enjoy.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America learn from the late National Review founder William F. Buckley that the left drew a moral equivalence between the USSR and the United States during the Cold War, and they warn President Trump not to make the same mistake. They also compliment Chris Wallace of Fox News for asking pointed questions about election meddling to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but they fear the interview and Putin’s weak answers will soon be forgotten. And they fret that the left has taken fair criticism of the Trump-Putin summit to preposterous extremes by labeling it as morally equivalent with 9/11, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Kristallnacht.

Jim Geraghty of Radio America and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome the news that Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker will not become “the Brett Favre of politics” as the senator confirms he will honor his initial decision not to run for re-election this year.  They also discuss efforts by House Democrats to ban every semi-automatic firearm that has a detachable magazine and every one that can hold more than ten rounds, with Jim detailing the random, uninformed approach Democrats appear to be taking on this issue.  They have some fun with the news actress Stacey Dash and former MSNBC hothead Dylan Ratigan are running for Congress.  And they pay tribute to National Review Founder William F. Buckley, Jr. ten years after his death.

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I had a wonderful conversation last night with Cart T. Bogus about a 4-year-old piece – “Burke Not Buckley” – that he wrote for The American Conservative.  Bogus considers himself a liberal, but gave me some wonderful things to think about when it came to Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, and the history of […]

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National Review’s John O’Sullivan


John O'SullivanJohn O’Sullivan joins Whiskey Politics and generously covers many issues, starting with O’Sullivan’s Law: “All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.” We discuss Trump’s UN speech, North Korea (#Dotard!), William F. Buckley, today’s National Review and those opposing Trump, Europe in the age of Trump, why the conservative Australian model for immigration works, the worldwide attacks on free speech, and should Google and Facebook be nationalized?

This week, Al Felzenberg joined Banter to discuss his new book, A Man and His Presidents: The Political Odyssey of William F. Buckley Jr. Felzenberg, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, served in two presidential administrations and was principal spokesman for the 9/11 Commission. On this podcast, he shares little-known aspects of Buckley’s career and details about his close relationships with some of our greatest presidents.

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The Conservative Movement is Dead; Long Live the Conservative Movement


national-review-anniversary-william-f-buckley-r “Only a few prefer liberty — the majority seek nothing more than fair masters.” Sallust, Histories

I have been thinking about what went wrong with the Conservative movement and why in a year where the Democrats nearly handed us the election we failed to capitalize yet again. It dawned on me that so much of the commentary focused on the Republican Party, conservatives in general, the failure of our gatekeepers, our “betrayal” by the establishment, and the inadequacies of the various candidates. What I want to do is look at the Conservative movement and see how it is doing.

The first question I want to answer is what the Conservative movement was and then I want to make the case for why it died and why we need it again. William F. Buckley is widely and, I think, correctly seen as the founder of the Conservative movement. He started the movement in reaction to the progressive consensus of the time that we had moved past the founding documents of America and that we had the capability of remaking society. This progressive consensus was that we could retain democracy and some of the rights promised in the US Constitution but, at the same time, we needed to abandon the restrictions on our power that the Constitution had put in place because we knew so much more than before and there was so much more that we could control. In other words, Liberty was not an important value when it was possible to know what was best for people and we had the ability to guide people to good outcomes.

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The well-known Buckley Rule is to vote for the most conservative viable candidate. That usually works and can help when holding our noses for a guy like Chris Christie (with whom, let’s face it, we agree on 80% of things). But suppose Buckley were analyzing the election of 2016. The viable candidates will be either […]

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Who’s Right? Patrick J. Buchanan or William F. Buckley, Jr.?


buchanan-buckleyOn the prospects for Western civilization, Patrick J. Buchanan said in an interview today with the Daily Caller:

When asked if a Trump victory in the United States, and the success of groups such as the National Front in France could offset this demise [the demise of the West], Buchanan was not hopeful. “Do I think those books stand up very well? Yup,” Buchanan told TheDC. “The West is disintegrating. Its faith is dead. When the cult dies, the culture dies and when the culture dies the civilization dies, and when the civilization dies the people die, and that’s what’s happening to Western civilization.”

The conservative commentator was especially grim about Europe, Buchanan said, “It’s hard for me to see how the Europeans survive whether they have the will just given the trend-lines in terms of population and in terms of immigrants pouring in.”

Film Review: Best of Enemies


BestOfEnemies“Say again, Mr. Vidal? I thought I just heard you call me a ‘pro- or crypto-Nazi.’ Could you please repeat your words clearly for the jury in my forthcoming slander suit?” Alas, you won’t hear words to that effect in Best of Enemies, the engaging documentary about ABC’s ten televised debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley before the 1968 Presidential Election. Unfortunately, Buckley took the bait and called Mr. Vidal a “queer,” and compounded the slur by threatening physical violence.

The man we know as WFB had the decency to later repent. In contrast, we learn that Vidal, in his dotage, would replay the video of that moment to guests in his Italian villa. Lacking footage of these private screenings, filmmakers Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon instead treat us to a clip of Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. I’m not sure how the author of Myra Breckinridge would react to that, but it serves to illustrate the filmmakers’ view of where Vidal wound up.