As I've been looking around the landscape, I wanted to direct readers' attention to my friend Jaime's piece in the Standard about his travels with Bill in Switzerland. I think there's a longer essay waiting to be written at some point (howzaboutit, Jaime?), but for the time being you can catch a glimpse here.
Friendly asides out of the way, I also suggest looking at this important point brought up by Peter Robinson at the Corner. A few friends, unfamiliar with Buckley's work (they are working their way back into my good graces), asked me about Buckley's "opposition" to the civil rights movement, which Tim Noah woefully hyperbolizes at Slate. The answer is here:
I understand it is not enough to suggest that simply knowing a man exculpates him from any allegation of racism. But you didn't need to know Buckley to understand that his mind was incapable of claiming White supremacy. Here I allude to Noah's reference below noting that he "stood in the way of racial progress":
Noah's assumptions are naive, Buckley's realistic. Buckley was asserting the view that no one could legislate the racism out of "small merchants in the Deep South." But Noah's naivete is representative of the "new" civil rights push for affirmative action. Having doubts about that inorganic process of eliminating racism once and for all is a sign that you're racist. Nonsense.
UPDATE: Tim Noah graciously responds:
I guess I mistook "stood in the way of racial progress" to mean "racist," (Noah wins a point) but there's a pretty narrow distinction sitting here anyway. Progress, in Noah's definition, is the Civil Rights Act. Not even partially supporting it is being against making racial relations better. I still disagree.
It's a claim that gets repeated in different iterations later. Buckley is guilty of tolerating McCarthy, an unforgiveable offense unless you believe the presence of Soviet sympathizers in the U.S. government wasn't a threat worth looking into. Buckley was "soft on fascism," as though preferring Franco to the rabid anarchists that would have made Spain a ruin shows inconsistency in his views on individual liberty.
Perhaps this is just how a conservative -- an anti-Communist, a libertarian -- appears to someone of a different worldview. But I still don't get where this fits in:
... As if to say that progress was only achieved in spite of him. Curious, since I thought much of it was achieved because of him.
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