tv Alvin Felzenberg Discusses A Man and His Presidents CSPAN May 13, 2017 8:23pm-10:01pm EDT
>> thank you all for coming. once again, the signing line will form down the aisle to my right and wrapped around the back of the church.if you would like to join that line from the center aisle or the aisle to my left make your way to the back of the church. thank you so much.[inaudible conversations] >> booktv is on twitter and facebook. we want to hear from you. tweet us, twitter.com/ t.v. or post a comment on our facebook page. facebook.com/booktv. >> good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to princeton university i am robert and i am the director of the james madison program in
american ideals and institutions here at princeton. the sponsor of this afternoon's event. i'm delighted to welcome all of you to princeton. we have not only students here and members of faculty but guests from the community and as far away as new york. maybe further. we are always delighted to welcome our visitors. we want to also welcome our viewers by c-span. so i want to let folks in the room know that c-span is here to cover this afternoon's conversation. after alvin felzenberg i speak we will open up the floor for q&a. we will ask those with questions to come down to the microphones that are just here. and ask your question from the microphones. speak right into the microphone so we can pick you up. member that you will be on screen as well as having your voice heard.
so smiled, looked pretty and - [laughter] >> the massive program here princeton is dedicated to providing our students and members of the community with the best possible civic education. we believe that as madison taught only a well educated people can permanently be a free people. so we want to do our part by contributing to the education of our fellow citizens. our students and others. when it comes to fundamental questions of american constitutionalism and basic political thoughts. of course, like princeton university as a whole we are a 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 special among people who disagree.
we know that in our society there are people who disagree. reasonable people of goodwill that disagree on many issues. this is always been the case. but we believe in common that the way to handle disagreement is by engaging each other. with civic civil discourse. by doing business. and the currency consists of reasons and arguments and evidence. so we are proud at the madison program to be contributing to that mission and by doing that we hope to do for the common good of the united states. i'm absolutely delighted to welcome back to princeton one of her most distinguished sons, alvin felzenberg, who earned his master's degree and his phd from princeton university. he earned his bachelors degree
from rutgers university just up the road so he is new jersey through and through. al is a fe annenberg school of communication at the university of pennsylvania. he served as the principal spokesman for the 9/11 commission. he served into presidential administrations. held several high-level posts with the united states house of representatives. in the 1980s he was new jersey's assistant secretary of state in the administration of governor thomas h kane. he has been a fellow at the institute of politics at harvard's john f. kennedy school of government and has taught at yale, princeton, johns hopkins and george washington university in washington d.c.. he has appeared as a commentator on major public affairs television shows. including cnn's crossfire, as you can see you survived crossfire.c-span's washington journal an altogether more dignified place to be a commentator. msnbc's morning joe and pr's
talk of the nation. and multiple others. his writings have appeared in "washington post", the weekly standard, the philadelphia inquirer, boston globe and the christian science. his regularly contributed to national review online. a journal whose significance we will be exploring in this conversation. us news.com and politico. the book we will be discussing today is his new book, a man and his presidents, the political odyssey of william f buckley junior which is published by yale university press. his other rays include the leaders we deserve and the few we didn't. subtitles rethinking the presidential rating game which was published by basic books in 2008 and was a conversation between the two of us here at princeton after the publication of that book. if you keep writing books we will keep having conversations. and governor tom kane.
-- it was published very appropriately and 2006. please join me in welcoming doctor alvin felzenberg. [applause] >> william f. buckley was the man of the conservative movement. i think it would not be entirely unfair to say he was the founding father of the movement. some of my students i might even say many of them perhaps, most of my students including my conservative students, do not really know who william f. buckley was. which was, it 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 it seems a generations. 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 and engagement of ideas that we stand for here in the madison program at princeton. his guests on firing line included not only fellow conservatives of various types. traditionalists, libertarians and so forth but also people on the liberal and farther to the left side of the spectrum. in fact, i think his favorite guest host subbing for him was -- a famous liberal commentator. so why don't you say a word about why our students should care about william f. buckley. who was william f. buckley? >> first of all, is a great honor to be back to the madison program. and in this room.
i see -- it is a pleasure. william f. buckley in short i think was probably the most intellectual private citizen in american history. he never had a government job, he had a few unheard commissions. he ran for office one time. he got 13 percent. he forced his way onto public stage of the age of 25 when he decided to write a book that criticized of all things, yale university. he is a major opponent of yale university. they made one major mistake i tell my students this not to do. the more powerful subject should never try - at the time
minor critics. yale reacted to his criticism. with all of the rigor, and of course the americans sense of fair play, a young journalist also same ages william f. buckley, you know him as the host and founder of 60 minutes. mike wallace. he had mike wallace on a radio show 9053. and one said why is yale university picking on you? [laughter] you know pick on someone bigger and you launch a career. but i would say that as a commentator, as a political thinker at the time and something i discovered is a really get into this is as a political operative, he was second to none. the only person i can think of
it was very very close to buckley was probably frederick douglass in the last century. he was an editor. and he was a writer. he formed organizations. bill buckley was not just - someone asked me this morning. i cannot think of any columnist right now who goes out there and wherever there is a cause he is out there. he founded cpac, the american conservative union, americans for freedom. wherever there was a cause he was out there mobilizing. he was a politician and many of the straits he brought into public square in many ways in behalf of - because he was a charismatic personality, with extraordinary sense of wit, he was able to mobilize audiences. specifically young people. he loved talking to young people.
he did 70 campuses a year. that plus a biweekly newspaper column, editing a magazine, running a show. people wanted his endorsement. as much as they ever did. and again, it is too bad that he did not live a few more years to really perfect his skills on the internet. he mastered every form of communication of his time. wherever you where he would find you. or you would find him. whether it is on your newspaper or whether it is watching pbs. where the news was being made that he is now residing in honorary board it would be front page news. that kind of thing. he had tremendous impact. and we still see it today. my students, same thing as
yours good when he died, they knew that an important person died. because they kept getting the messages on the internet. whether they subscribe to the new york times or "washington post" or whatever it was.and so this was an important person in america should stop and take note of. but the couldn't remember why he was important. so i thought when extraordinary life to bring back. to open it up for a new generation. the rest of us have some nostalgia. >> let's begin by talking about the first book. the bombshell book. it was called god and man and yale. it was an indictment of yale university. now why? >> of course he was a student at yale university. i notice when i went back and looked at some of the reviews which were written by the great and the good of the establishment of the united states. that the reviewers were
outraged among other reasons, because buckley had accused yale of abandoning its christian heritage.and adopting a sorted new religion. a pseudo-religion of liberal secularism.and so the responses of some of the great and the good were this is outrageous. this was a catholic by the way. this catholic at yale, and howard university comes and accuses us and one thing that we know about yale is that it will never abandon its christian heritage.well, let me begin by saying that you go down to the jefferson memorial, there is a great quote - of his. -- buckley would agree with that. but he would also say even opponent would say, what is moral equivalency?
he explained it was a test. imagine a wheelchair about to cross the street. and excessive by peers and he pushes the wheelchair in the way of an oncoming bus. terrible end to the story. but imagine the person that is halfway across the street. the light changes and a bus is approaching and a good samaritan appears and pushes the wheelchair out of the way of the oncoming bus. a happy ending. well, therefore, both stories there is a wheelchair, there is possibly a good samaritan or a bad samaritan. that doesn't make the motives equivalent. what bothered him he thought as he was teaching, this is the year after world war ii.
where if first on the economics department. member who was born in 1925. and -- was in the white house. he didn't say much he did not think he has to impose himself every five minutes -- on the people. he wasn't saying much at all. the government did much less. america thought it had learned from its - from europe and he was trying hard not to repeat it. and the country's economic situation was booming. well, as bill is getting older, he is witnessing by the time of his teen years the administration coming to power. a completely new world. when he returned from the army in 1945. where suddenly we are talking about mixed economies. not free markets. which he thought was really you know socialism by another name.
we had the aggressive time that we saw. remember the parades and the gis coming home after world war ii. well - we had that form of tyranny. the kind that gets elected in a free democracy. within suddenly - they were teaching this at yale very few free-market economists were around. although the textbooks talk about the societies and excessive regulatory state. he had an issue with that. that that they should not teach it. that's all he thought that they were teaching.more importantly, and when the religion department, he did not feel that they should teach one form of religion. but he did feel that christianity or judeo-christian's were superior to the other. why?
because of the form of our founding nation. the form of the founding documents.we are a judeo-christian society. judeo-christian teaching. if we are all made in god's image and therefore the source of all freedom. all freedom, we are all born equal and are all equal in the eyes of each other.in the eyes of the state. and in the eyes of god. that is what he believed. he said it is great to have other religions. it is great to learn about other religions. but do not tell us that some of the traditions of the summerow islands that they were running about or other traditions that talk about untouchables and god knows what is the same as ours. we should teach that there is a difference. there is not a moral equivalence. that is obviously what got him into a great deal of trouble.
and that was the name of the book. because there is a fighting song which is now the yale anthem. the last line is god for man and for yale. he turned it into god and man at yale meaning that secular humanism is pushing man into the center between god and of course yale. it was a little bit of a play on words. okay. why was this important? i mean other than the religion department and why was this important? what was going on at that time, to famous espionage cases were going on. one in the uk. you heard of the cambridge five. names like kim filby and - these were the best and brightest of the generation. recruited by communist self. they do things possible to info great and help the brits and do many things to win the war and
also to share whatever information he possibly could with stalin because after all he was alive with uk. and so we get rid of the immediate menace of hitler. with no brain the arm of pure marxism. they learned that there in the 30s. just around the time -- what happened in the united states? probably the vietnam war was probably the most galvanizing issue for those of us that were politically engaged. they say tell me where you were in vietnam i will say how you will vote in your next elections. in the 1940 546, 47 and 48 we had what was called the - case. he was very prominent person had the most best education that you could get. harvard law school clerk to
homes. social friend of roosevelt. a future cabinet member may be the head of the united nations. well, alfred hest - bill would have been a sophomore them. i've having been a spy. and his accuser was whittaker chambers.and chambers was a former communist. the go to guy for the communist party. and eventually leaves the party. well, buckley comes to the conclusion that we need sterner stuff! they're getting to the prime of our youth. they've singled out the kind of kids that will go to yale in 1948 for this kind of activity. even though then i would say
the student body at yale was more homogenous than now, it was all white, it was all-male. the breakdown of the campus, 60 percent for - 40 percent for treatment. , faculty, mind you, on the faculty it was real tight between harry truman and not tom dooley. harry truman and - >> my students do not i who that is. >> will then we need to have a chat with them. >> bernie sanders and you have got it! quest bernie sanders was red star. if some of you ever come of the
current administration averages as you point people and some of you get - for the senate committee asked lots of questions. maybe your religion. henry wallace was a secretary of agriculture under roosevelt. his religion was - you figure that out. he called himself a mystic. and you can see franklin roosevelt, he became a pretty good politician very good at handling republicans because his father had been a secretary. and roosevelt decides that when james garner by the way, roosevelt, vice president was the former speaker of the house. so you have your own democrat coalition between the northern
and southern conservative. you'll see again with kennedy and johnson. so he decides he's not going to oppose the nomination but is going to run against him. so he said i think the vice president has done his bottle into the ring. and he runs with henry wallace. they were in the third term and everything is fine until then. we talked about the change in the system. we have franklin roosevelt four times, in the middle of a world war is playing poker on the white house, -- there is a labor leader sitting with him, the mayor of chicago, and other union leader and a governor. and they tell them you know we can't -- where real people
live. the ukrainians and many other people. they think is too close. and you cannot run with him. so he dumps henry wallace. in the middle of the world war. imagine this. we nominate a president where we think we do and then we wait around and then there was a time that -- these buses had the power to tell was what they can't run with him. so roosevelt dies and truman is not present. wallace begins to criticize truman's cold war policies good and truman fired him. and he runs work, i'm glad reagan for something because here is the beginning. wallace runs. now, buckley noted wallace going to be president.
but he is terrified that maybe he will get 12 percent of the votes but he is terrified from probably 60 to 70 percent of that one or two percent of the vote will be -- and of course yale professors! ideas matter and ideas have consequences. while this won't be important but his followers will be around for a very long time. and i'm going to set up my own movement to resist that and push the kind of politics i want. so even though he is technically supporting this and he is part of the yale republican club, half of the faculty - the fact that the communist party with that openly and now we know that, they were openly running a campaign and he says we have to
do the same thing on our side. >> you have got us to an interesting point. one of the remarkable things about buckley, taking charge of the conservative movement. he faced a movement or have counted a movement that he saw or transformed a movement. there really was a motley crew. that included how shall we say, some cranks! >> more than a few. >> people who have each other more than they hated the other side. >> and one of the things of buckley and did quite remarkably especially given this was to marginalize sidelines the john birchers, the anti-semites, there was a purge of these elements of the movement to establish the modern conservative movement. of course this was before you get the rise of
neoconservatives was alive jewish americans and before you have a lot of catholics moving into the conservative movement. catholics were still ethnic democrats. by and large. how on earth did he pull out off at his age?>> well, to begin with they were, if you are around 1948, first will there was no movement. so what was a conservative to begin with? probably the ideal of a conservative was a senator from ohio. and -- but he wasn't, he didn't quite fit the view of conservatism as we decided. we tend to think of conservatives as small government limited, he is on that. but he also was one of the first senders to say they should be -- because of the neighborhoods and housing that we transfer values to the next generation.
and he wanted an education on the grounds that based on the segregation if they are going to educate children in certain states we will do it! we have a role to do it. if they don't integrate we will educate. that was very early to say 1948. but he was not called mr. conservative. he was called mr. republican. so what else do you have? the problem in 1948 was an buckley said this very loudly that once they got the bond we had had a couple of exceptions. as long as this cold war which john kennedy would call this hard and bitter peace going on, we have to have, we have to resist. and the old isolationism isn't going to work. taft's opponent eisenhower.
eisenhower says i will not run for president. i will endorse you have no problems. if you'll endorse nato i will not run. and r support nato and simply writes an editorial. they say maybe he will change his mind. >> okay. then who else do you have? you have the southern segregationist biblical themselves conservatives because i didn't like -- they were anti-labor union number one. it was a right to work state if you want. or midwestern. and they were segregationist. that was not. so how do you get coalition out of this group of people? it is very difficult. and it is important to remember that this is a time long before
you have the polarization ideologically of the political party. so we now think of republicans and conservatives and democrats as progressives are the liberals. but in those days the professor has already noted the democratic party was a combination of northern liberals from minnesota and southern -- >> he was one of the more courtly. we are talking of people like the senator of mississippi. he is the n-word. and amanda didn't care what he said on the floor. we were talking about some really nasty people. >> but yes, people forget because the left made -- during
watergate. remember? [inaudible] no one ever writes that he was the author of - which all of the southern senators signed as a way resisting. no one talks about that because it takes away from the watergate. >> it's like remembering the role of jay william. now, he was probably the most effective chairman of the senate foreign relations committee in history. he did more to destroy lyndon johnson's presidency and question the vietnam war than any other person. however, john kennedy wanted fulbright to be the secretary of state and he didn't think the democratic president there would start his first hundred days with fight.
so kennedy wound up with -- the book called the best and the brightest when i started my career. you can read all about fulbright and mcnamara. and we can come back to that later. >> so this is the context of buckley finds himself. >> so he wants a conservative movement. once the movement to be free of the segregation and the cranks. [multiple speakers] >> 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. i learned from your book. he runs into a big problem right away.
because eisenhower does decide to run for president. taft won't go along. and here is the conservative republican william f buckley at odds with the first republican administration since franklin roosevelt came into office. >> now remember this. republicans lost five elections in a row 1932 to 1948. they weren't supposed to lives in 1940 but dewey was given the same advice is hillary clinton. but he becomes, -- but in any event, they are really stuck now. and republicans like buckley and people that supported taft wanted to shrink the new deal.
and they wanted to get back to what life was like before. and now they get eisenhower. eisenhower was a politician, everybody thought he was - but he was a lot shorter than his critics. and he let the party talked about rollback. rollback to the welfare stated home. which all republicans supported. in rollback of the encouragements abroad. to buckley's demise, wasn't sure about what he was going to do about stalin.he didn't believe in nato's argument. but stephenson, democratic candidate, the reductant candidate in 1921 and last i
checked -- [inaudible] that that that he will be tougher on the cold war. but he had some doubts. he had some doubts about the domestic agenda. i discovered later that eisenhower rubbed his brother basically saying look, we just can't come in here and dismantle social security. and subsidies and federally subsidized mortgages and no sudden in one day or in one administration.love, the american people not only have gotten used to it they support it.and if i do that, i will not have the opportunity to pressure the tough defense strategy that i want. and which was basically a nuclear umbrella. basically the strategies that
went over to the reagan era. to crack the soviet menace. terry says were going to have -- so buckley decides that if i take on yale university, and became the mouse to scare the elephant, they were just a warm-up act for five-star general who won the big one. and he writes a note to one of his friends - and he says don't tell anyone but my goal is to read dwight eisenhower and the conservative movement. hello. this is some significance to national review. he doesn't want to say this openly at the time. >> -- what he does do, he found
national review. and wants it to be the functional equivalent on the right of the new republic and maybe saturday review and some journals that were started by socialists. and walter littman started the republic. a lot of the new freedom that woodrow wilson passed and to child labor, eight hour day. federal reserve, a lot of these things for instance were introduced by walter littman's new republic. so buckley studied the other side very well. and he said we need something for us. we need a policy journal for us. that they can give ideas thinking that they would be one. and they found national review. it was for both parties.
and they find out what's going on, and the rest of it. and a couple of months and it becomes very clear that the administration is not going the way he wants and he is to be really careful with this. because having his donors, all of his donors are pretty much republican except for the southerners. and a lot of them have been going to the administration. and the administration is defining itself as conservative. now what do we mean by conservative? think of eisenhower. stalin. -- slow and steady. it talks about no drama obama was even less than drama. to such a degree that for communities to say that they ended up as a standstill.
that is basically the caricature of the era. it wasn't the reality but it caricature of it. the appointed billionaire to the cabinet. the times are an editorial that he had maybe 10 cabinets at that time. visit nine millionaires and a plumber. who is the plumber and who is the head? that's it! if you are a manufacturer, if you are one of the large companies and other things. you were conservative and you had the administration on your side. buckley was, he hated big business. they tried to do from the text deals and nothing changes. none of the issues i found this out. none of the issues ever change. be careful because they would be openly pushing the
administration to the right. but he also has the most popular president at that point in american history. and as i point out, i can afford to ignore it. i can just go out and play golf there and find the american people would agree with that. if you go back and look at the polls which drove buckley nuts, you looking eisenhower's ratings, it was a steady line. i think he fell under 50 percent wants in a recession for about a month. and the second time was near the end for about a week. but it was a solid line of about 60 percent. presidents would kill for that now. if he woke up the alligator too much, you might lose donors, he might lose readers.but nevertheless he kept agitating and when i quit out of office it was throat. because now he said all conservatives could be aiming at them from the same angle.
he said he hates the russians almost as much as we do and we want them to talk about -- once this happened the fight is on to taking down the republican party. without iq was a centrist, a moderate, we nothing find a way we take over the republican party with a conservative nominee. we can now realign the party. we can get the seven democrats say their conservatives to join with us. and we will already hold the midwest and we can become the new majority. [inaudible]
is not even concerned that he won six states because he said all movements start off this way and he wrote a year before i was born, calvin coolidge one one of the largest landslides in american history. america was at peace and the welfare state no-bid armies. eight years later roosevelt wins the 1932 election. -- >> he needed a depression in there. >> but that is what he wrote. >> you know of course you know about nixon's strategy. they are back. for sure yours. nobody saw and for short leaders nixon with the president will be talking about strategy and richard nixon who had to march more moderate stance even liberal stance is now assuring this.
>> let me ask you about that. what was buckley's attitude toward nixon. because although he was by the left mainly for excessive anti-communism, he was more liberal in most ways than i could. so what was buckley's attitude toward him? >> well when nixon passed away, buckley said that it's amazing how conservatives clung to nixon throughout his battles though he did very little for them. and he said what is it about this man and why is it that so many still cling to him? and he says back to his case. when whittaker chambers laissez outed - in public your questions up by the minute he was guilty. >> we now know this. we know this. there were documents and.
[inaudible] in that little window. we have this little window. they turned of documents and the burden of proof is now on the other side. but there are probably still some things but the burden has shifted.okay but when they went ahead and outed the committee, remember this man went to home, he's a friend of franklin was about. john foster, one they are all testifying. the man looked like cary grant. he was charismatic and all of the things that you want. and this other fella chambers, rotund, overweight, mixed
career. not very successful. and who do you think that the establishment, hollywood, "washington post" and the new york post believed? well, it was one freshman congressman on the committee. his name is mr. nixon. and he had taken a number of courses at duke law school on perjury among other things. and he did not like the way that they deny the very questions. do you know whittaker chambers? he said i don't know anyone by that name. nixon goes he stayed up all night on this. did he have another name? so he says to chambers, name someone in the communist party. and then he says do you know
another one by -- given to what happened to nixon and things later on. but nevertheless nixon believed him. so he becomes a hero to the right. he invited, nixon gets all of these young republicans and all of these governors conferences and he is picking up delegates. of course, with buckley, there was no compromise because nixon couldn't do anything because he was ike's understudy. >> clip it to your lapel. ask okay. so they're not very kind to nixon but because he's eisenhower's understudy.
so what they do is they say, they don't quite quote - george wallace. but they take the view that we are not a republican organization. we are not going to fall in line. there is not much of a difference between nixon and kennedy. who at that time was running to nixon's right. claiming that there was a gap attacking eisenhower for losing territory for the communists 90 miles off the shore. they tried as we all know it didn't work out very well. but that was the relationship. now it's interesting, out of office this is a good place to have a little reflection here. out of office nixon realizes that there rundown by the largest margin history. nixon made sure that he campaigned in 40 states. i'm going to collect delegates
like he did last time. rockefeller is taking a walk in the sky. these are the attorney this. i'm going to andy and myself. whatever we can say. because i really got the nomination. and i'm going to get those delegates. as many as i can. and it becomes a fight in 1968 between rockefeller who i mentioned before is certainly national review is not going to support. and nixon who has an uneasy history with them but stands up when others didn't. and a young felon into reagan. now, this is -- a young man named reagan. now this is -- buckley said if we nominate reagan and the nominate humphrey and this becomes a fight with his with a conservative.
they're going to say it was the movement. let's all do this for another day. he writes a series of signals to various delegates and conservative movement and he gets criticism for this. that reagan would be better for another time. it split the board of national review. it was one of 100 times that bill threatened to quit. bill was very proud to say he opposed nixon one way or the other every time he ran for public office. he was the one pushing bill not to -- so bill was the publisher of national review and a princeton alumni. >> yes. and he does nixon two favors in 1968. for the relevant period one as he makes nixon respectable to
other conservatives. buckley is supporting nixon camping is modern. he can't be that bad a guy. and second, you have this fellow named george wallace. the segregationist governor of alabama running the third party. getting votes of northern democrats, many of them labor union people and campaigning as conservative in his own right. so what does buckley do? he says the only thing about buckley, let me tell you a call for the welfare populace. he says let's look at the budget. for every federal quote - program 60 percent of the alabama budget, he's a fake conservative. the only thing he does to get people supporting him in a big way is he doesn't want that people to get benefits.
any calls from the phone and he says the conservatives want fewer programs, less government and they don't want -- and he write this article. if those of you that support george wallace in place of a conservative and say. [inaudible] buckley counters this. he says if you look at how he is governed alabama and of president - that makes nixon respectable the second time. >> tina was always remarkable for me to think that that george wallace was competing with whom in these northern states for labor union votes. robert f kennedy. competing with robert f kennedy that was the situation. that brings the racial issue
of. >> yes, sir. >> buckley was not a racist. and do the opposite. he had no room for you people here and yet, like goldwater who is not a racist, integrating his own family department story out in arizona. he, buckley and goldwater opposed the 64 civil rights act. which i think plays a very significant role in giving conservatives, including conservatives themselves that have been activists and civil rights movement people at richard neuhaus and marianne trebloc gave them a reputation for not being racist, if not against the dismantling of segregation bears are refusing to support the civil rights activist. >> before we do that. remember national review begins in the mid-1950s. and is not around 1954 but also
-- in a very big way. and this is not national review's finest hour. there have been many finer hours. i would say it's finest hour was in the last few years. but buckley was operating under many, let me explain this. both his parents or southerners. texas and south carolina. their lineage what i will call the genteel, southerners business and we can take care of our problems thank you very much. we don't believe in integration but we don't believe in violence either. we will take care of our own community. thank you very much. they were very wealthy people in the self that does many of
the institutions they mention. i don't -- is much different from what you're getting from george wallace's. buckley writes a very unfortunate editorial. that even they did not go long. good editorial said that the white race will continue to determine policy for the south. and they say there is an -- his is only when the southern people are coming around and see that education has been extended to the point where you can have a biracial government,
if you are conservative in 1957 and you lived outside the south, that would have appalled you. it certainly pulled eisenhower and nixon at the time nixon was trying to push the civil rights. >> which to pass. >> but the one that really made it ineffective was the one who now we see is a great lyndon johnson. head of voting rights he put a jury amendment. what said you are accused of stopping voting rights than you have a jury trial by your peers. that happened at the very last minute. with that editorial, if you wanted to find where conservatives were -- senator
nolan was a republican leader and was a positive conservative candidate against nixon. he supported the bill.what was left supported the bill. that was not a very happy moment for national review. looking back. well, there was a profit on the magazine and it was buckley's brother-in-law. they had a rather heated editorial meeting. he says now listen, we say we believe in a literalist interpretation. you cannot ignore the 15 amendment. voting rights. and you cannot use race as a reason. and what about the 14th amendment? what about the first and the fifth and what is the matter with you? so buckley then, he writes,
clarifying editorial saying well, my problem with voting rights is this. my voting rights problem is you -- we have too many stupid people voting in the south now. look at fraud in philadelphia. we keep hearing about this. the lesson that we need is more of this. so i will be very happy to disenfranchise many many white voters. and allow educated black voters to vote in the south and this is where we are moving. [inaudible] now bill comes around. to understand this i can do this very quickly. but you have to understand what is going on in southern white
politics. you know they have all of these runoff elections in the south. while these things are descendents of what we used to call the white primary. so you would have they wanted republicans to count. so you know -- this is how it was. the republicans didn't count. and african-americans didn't vote. she had these battles between the genteel nobility of the south and the wallace types. the foaming at the mouth welfare populace. and they criticized the old order for being too benign in this. and all of these things that should be going to us. they're allowing african-americans, that is what was happening. there was some very unpleasant experiences and buckley's own family with these kind of welfare populace. now he had an uncle.
and he with a family historian. and a grandfather who was the, imagine this, a sheriff in texas. he knew, this is such a young country. buckley's grandfather knew the guy who killed billy the kid. imagine this! this is the old texas. okay? and he was in a very protestant southern state. he became a sheriff -- and he will go to five masses on sunday. and that was it. and everything was fine for the first two or three times but suddenly the powers that be want to put an end to this. so uncle claude, he is the family historian. he writes i thought we had enough of grandpa.
so they rounded up, terrible word use that. we rounded up all the white trash they could find! to see if they can vote. and grandpa was turned up. so they had some experience with the violence and that his parents were the kinds of people that wallace has excited peers so that is one thing that happen. there was a change in the south. and he thought that he might be able to -- [inaudible] george wallace is coming in and i think it was state-by-state. and the violence that they, they used to resist, really begins to turn buckley around. >> so it is connor unleashing the dogs on them. >> yes, one more thing. you can't really study buckley without appreciating his deep
and abiding catholic faith. andrew martin luther king was assassinated, when everyone else was talking about the horror of the tragedy which he talks about, first thing in the column is you must remember before martin luther king was anything he was a man of god and talked about the civil rights movement. he had what i will call you cataclysmic conversion. after the birmingham church bombings of sunday morning. a week after the march in washington, a bomb goes off in birmingham alabama.- actually knew some of the girls that were murdered.and buckley writes a very very searing editorial. blaming wallace for saving this kind of hate. and then which i did not know this until the start of research.
i knew a lot but he writes his mother a letter. and he says you know you chose to pray every day. where and how religion does it support this kind of system that is never questioned. nobody ever questioned it. 40 something years old. there is no religious sanction for this. how can we support it? and the public buckley is still not there yet. but the private buckley is going through great deal of turmoil. and the civil rights bill is different from the ground of the decisions. they said they had -- but then by 1965 they don't oppose the bill.
they have the murdering of civil rights leaders. maybe they shouldn't have a right to vote. they have a right to mark not be mowed down the street. >> this is just fascinating. did buckley or anyone in the family have any reaction, was any comment did you find anything private in reaction to the archbishop of new orleans? excommunication of -- and the other segregationists politicians in louisiana in the late 1950s. was that - >> i did not. i looked.i did not find anything on this. but i do know that his mother was a louise steiner. her father was a very wealthy textile merchant in the south. there are streets and boulevards named in their honor.
i cannot find anything about that. but i would be very surprised if they did not know about it or were not aware of it. >> on the issue of race it was the biggest thing happening. especially for catholics. the other thing that fascinated me about the story just told was bozell's influence. explores the term but he was a fanatical catholic.[multiple speakers] >> so what was that, buckley was i would say, a mainstream catholic. bozell was a much more aggressive catholic. i believe he named his own magazine triumph. >> yes. he actually formed his own resistance to the movement. he had several relatives were arrested. >> have a lot stronger issues of racial justice than buckley and he is pushing buckley on this.
>> he was pushing buckley. a lot of it was push. pressure from what was going on with the violence. and a lot of it was paul. a lot -- his mother throws her hands up. i've never had a question like this especially from someone like you. i'm going to have to pray on this. but i'm sure he spoke to other - it is beginning to not him. he's a very interesting character. he is a mainstream protestant. he is a liberal democrat, within 18 months. he was a catholic, a conservative republican and he marries buckley's favorite
>> >> he said this is all very nice when you tell us about for what postwar germany will be like the i already know the news real the you take every saturday time marches on. the pictures of the week isis in the nuremberg rallies. we get the same in the election and many cases we did. >> but was not against it.
said to write an editorial in "national review" and he is talking about the great hope and begin the religious so another indirect influence those personal god is twitter chambers. so when he was a freshman time magazine made marion anderson person of the year. this is like 12 years after the lincoln memorial and
said she could not sing before them this is a decade after. what chambers rights of african-americans are the most despised in the most religious of any people on earth so when 1969 the head of the urban league organized a tour of urban america for white journalist and they visited six towns m. buckley made some rather charming community organizers and radicals for the first time.
and to see a little bit of himself just like we are. they are cynical what bureaucracy can do it one day self-help movement to teach their children that allow washington inbreeding down their throat -- breathing down their throat. so he quotes chambers but not literally because that stops at the back of his head over 35 years. so he writes this in a plane or in a trade or on the back seat. i don't have time so this will have to do. so i got out "time" magazine
so by now life is a lot different for the first time he rarely encounters when he has 13 percent of the vote that shook things up and laid a foundation for the modern conservative movement that it would actually elect people to office. so with that it is time to open the floor we ask you to come down to the floor with a microphone while people consider what they might ask sally able to be an insider viet as a catholic in conservative catholic he
knew he would always be something of an outsider. >> i start the book river they happen to live they were in exile. you have a texas oilman said they were seven errors and catholics but then they would spend the winters in colombia and south carolina and they're not even yankees. so now different kind of southern baptist they go to britain with a father shares to recoup his lost investments and they are catholic and it is right
next to sweeten so the previous headmaster starts challenging those eaten boys to a soccer match. the headmaster rights back not even a mile away. [laughter] so that they respond what e it used to be so in other words, the catholic. where england before him to develop this tremendous admiration for british conflict. the czar a persecuted minority through the 50s and
beyond the day are the descendants of the most ancient traditions. when that is put on masterpiece theatre. so all the time we're exiled to our own land and they built their own fortress against the world. the book is fantastic. everything you talked about so far touches on the caricature of the elitist ever like to discuss the two ways of the famous'' of the
boston telephone directory and the second his mayor run and how we cannot -- she connected with the bus driver just like his bust -- is rather did a few years earlier maybe a that was a precursor. >> what it was very difficult to resolve when is he the elitist or the populist? when is the solution? we have to go to alumni because that is hardly possible but when he sees the threat and the entire establishment is fighting in says how will we deal with this? we will
have a public demand that congress do something because the administration was dragging their feet so the republican primaries to shift that power base from god knows what in the northeast have to work their primaries and the organizations but remember what i said earlier he hated the mob and he saw on either hand so he never really resolved that but the line that you gave me is more than the first 200 names from the harvard faculty directory. but if you go to the pocket this route you don't have
the ability to excommunicate people. he called himself the tablets keeper and he knew this was his movement and a five can move them out of the movement that is the most famous of american history that i have to have he leaped to do it and other people like ronald reagan and george bush and other conservatives i have to get them to sign on with me. otherwise it is a fight. so he never quite resolve that. but also did not want a liberal institution for the things that i have mentioned.
but i think he saw populism. >> i should tell you i am a princeton graduate but spent a great deal of time at yale. [laughter] with the department of psychiatry. when things began to explode very roughly between the population and the black population which surrounded jail and through vietnam things became more tense so there were a number of things happening with the issues with vietnam and if you were going to be drafted in they would say take a guy
back. >> the draft card?. >> yes. if you would have it did you take up to his room and then figure out what happens. [laughter] soviet their thing is what exploded the whole thing erupted a massive demonstration not only the police the you probably noticed that i was there in the middle of that and i had to take away a chance going to the stand where the lemonade was in there was a pistol fortunately we
discover that and then we found out who brought that in. if that would have exploded. >> rating for universities around the country it got very dangerous with the national guardsmen racial violence and guns on both sides. >> even when george wallace had the political union and did you had the black panther trials and that was very unfortunate. >> we don't want that to come back. >> thank you for talking in your research have you found out about the spate
interacted with his politics to rationalize the conservative is some with the deeper gin sentiments of love thy neighbor?. >> the reason he had ethical distinction he would say we believe in tolerance but don't tell me the country responded by indigenous people they are not. to believe there is not a group of undesirables or that animals have the same rights as people. but i believe in a fake that said god created man in his image and that the genius
was a tribute to guide and that was my tradition at the care of you agree with me or not. and i feel the country was founded a certain way. not the only country formed by an idea or by heredity. but by the idea they were all created equal and that idea was tremendous revolutionary but without that you couldn't have that.
he would not compromise on that. there was right and wrong and adult care of that is politically correct. >> i think the students question called that buckley emerges in the wake of the protestant social gospel of the progressivism idea that for a true christian belief government must be the instrumentality to bring aid and comfort to the power and also later begins to be merged in catholicism within his own tradition of christianity. what was his response to the claim that not only must we care for the pork or for social justice but use the
instrumentality? there are some great ones that we should care for the least among us but not with conversion he would tie a the quite handsomely and many people were the recipients of those gifts he may have gotten people to college to did not even know about it in this was very much a tradition of the family and they with thing can for his father's insistence but at the end he did believe he was forced to the wall and we don't want
people to die in the streets >> but his main argument was that we are given these kids to glorify god nor the capacity to acquire things but we aren't given that out of selfishness. >> when he decides to take somebody on the nuclear bomb was the default. so there was a lady named nine rand who wrote "atlas shrugged." i could do the review for the new york times but i want to get where curve chambers and to attack
atheism to said there is a new swastika. to put a dollar sign on the cover of "national review" with her bawling down to that but to say we have libertarians but when i got to atheism to establish that in itself they're not interested to declare certain human beings losers. forty-seven said god forbid the deplorable as but he brought the safety net and there are people who care. so no. we are part of the same planet. but that would stifle
incentive not because they pay out money. >> it was the concept of fusion is some. but he also had the traditional elements with the catholic social justice tradition. >> by the way like most he knew they would attack him so i look through the records people said maybe he would have gotten better but what is he doing in our house? so the footnote is my definition of christianity does not come from catholic findings but from the theologian on the left.
so he knew that was coming but buckley realized there was a common enemy meaning that you believe in the institutions so if you are a a libertarian or a catholic what do you hate what is the threat to all of you? and it is unjust aggression or your house in west side new jersey is atheism and deal but not believing god said you better be careful because there are people that might sell all of these groups in he expected of the
soviet union evolves then it comes back to the administration of george bush 43. why do we have all these crusades around the world without this existential threat? so is george bush believes that saddam hussein had the weapons it is much better to be embarrassed into ignore that and have an incident. however once we found out what are we doing here? who gives us the right to rebuild iraq? when the french were done they've left. they did not stay around
navy will have much better wine cellars but why? have american soldiers have to die? so without the soviet union you on the way we defended the unknown so now fusion is the means to have our differences within the house but we have a common enemy so we have to form alliances. >> so is that just a set of compromises? or does that become coherent. >> he said most of his waking hours there that
libertarian quagmire and he said all of my days if i could juggle the fight they will never come together yes he did say that it was a unique philosophy that they all believed in limited government with an incentive structure and then day deferred a great deal that actually in terms of real politics james burnham with real politics became part of the magazine and he apologized because he had the resources of the united states government and he was
mower communist but then do say we will fight about that later so here is a coalition of the line in interest. >> click on diffusionism. >> then he transferred but in his view the libertarian and the traditionalists:denise certain way the weather but we believe that i don't know but he believed diffusionism should not compromise together. >> but one time it was the
feature of restrictions. >> he was communicated from national review because buckley and his later years he came to be holden with his image and the new york city news media. what he said with a response to that claim?. >> probably untenable. [laughter] the same charge was made before. at the time when it was a cemetery in the final resting place for those german drafted soldiers.
so how do you get reagan to change his mind? said they were writing is like the the europe times holocaust updates. and more vicious comments like that. buckley was accused of basically firing him with the jewish intelligentsia but he said that was rubbish. selected he also excommunicate?. >> yes. but what happened was buchanan brought back from the trash heap of history the lindberghs statement of
41 the only people that have for against hitler was the british interest the jewish interest of the roosevelt administration so under the first bush 1990 but buckley went ballistic and basically read buchanan out of the movement. he has a memoir about the deals with his feud with buckley and there were many others. and then he gets a letter to basically say so the only
problem is you don't live in your ways. you are not helping me. there is a lot of that going on. but the attacks were made earlier. and to bring up the immigration. ronald reagan was the great amnesty so let william buckley attack that. >> and for this wonderful conversation to sign copies of the book and i think you