With Friends Like These – William F. Buckley’s Betrayals

William F. Buckley was responsible for moving National Review away from its early stalwarts, such as Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, John O’Sullivan, Peter Brimelow and other nationalist and anti-immigration authors. He was largely silent during the gross attacks on Mel Bradford by Norman Podhoretz and his crew when Bradford was nominated by Reagan to head the NEH in 1980. He publicly attacked Pat Buchanan and Joe Sobran in the book-length screed, “In Search of Anti-Semitism”.

Below are a series of quotes from rightwing intellectuals on Buckley’s betrayals and purges, as well as, the decline of National Review.

With a friend like this, who needs enemies?

Joe Sobran on Bill Buckley: “His conservatism is a conservatism of image, show business, public relations, stock mannerisms; big words, anfractuous grammar, repetitious Latinisms, implying a depth that isn’t there.”

“In these episodes, Buckley’s genteel, Ivy League concern for fitting in always seemed to triumph over his more pugnacious (and ethnic) peers like Sam Francis, Sobran, and the entire gang that went on to form the American Conservative and Chronicles.”–Roman Dmowski

“Worse than merely moderating its conservatism, Buckley allowed National Review in the 90s to become the voice of unadulterated, bellicose neoconservatism. Gone were the Catholic “just war” theorists uneasy with contemporary “total war.” Gone was any intelligent criticism of Israel. Gone too was any intellectual criticism of our steady reinvention as a nation through sustained non-European immigration. To mention the latter fact in particular became taboo, even though, National Review as late as the 1970s openly opposed less dramatic social engineering initiatives like school bussing and the ERA.” —Roman Dmowski

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On the wrong side of history, accurate meme title too.

“And though it attracted intellectual sojourners, this movement for the most part was a strategy for fighting Communism combined with a cult of personality. That it later fell into the hands of New York social democrats, who had given themselves a partial facelift, is not surprising. What the neocons swallowed up was thin gruel, and if it was necessary to make it thinner while accepting new direction from the left, very little of substance was thereby lost…By now “conservative” foundations and publications have to carry out a double responsibility, cheering for the Republican Party or vilifying their Democratic rivals for government patronage; while genuflecting before neoconservative icons, who have all the freshness of Egyptian mummies. The shortcoming of my relevant works on these matters is that they don’t do full justice to a ludicrous “movement,” which is a collection of careerists who have tried to differentiate themselves from their counterparts in the Democratic Party. This non-movement did not start out as much but has managed to deteriorate nonetheless, as an effective force against the Left that it is trying to please while offering “moderate” opposition. But looking at the bright side, Mr. Buckley has gone through life making socially acceptable friends. As for the others, he has thrown every one of them off the bus.” —Paul Gottfried

“As I have mentioned before, a ‘castaway’ is someone like Robinson Crusoe who managed to save himself after the ship on which he was traveling was wrecked . . . It is not someone cast out or away from a ship. That is called being marooned (Ben Gunn in Treasure Island is an example, as was Alexander Selkirk on whom Crusoe is based).  The word ‘castaway’ as applied to me by [Buckley] implies that the conservative movement was the ship in which I was traveling, that it wrecked and I survived.” —Sam Francis

“But not the least evidence of Buckley`s unmistakable effeminate streak was a viciousness that showed in his flouting of such comforting conventions—for example in his 1995 obituary of the libertarian economist Murray Rothbard, which the Mises Review`s David Gordon fairly described as “malicious spite.” Buckley`s rationale (presumably) was that those of us who live by opinion must be prepared to die by opinion. If so, in this area at least, I agree with him. Just as the gangsters in The Godfather reassured each other that their bloody clashes were just business, not personal, I`d say that my disagreement with Buckley was fundamentally political, although I do consider his character to have been among the most contemptible I have encountered in public life. However, in Buckley`s case, the political was personal and vice versa. It was his personal failings that ultimately accounted for the four-decade fizzle of his once-brilliant career—and for the fact that, regularly credited with the making of the modern conservative movement, he must also be indicted for its breaking.” – Peter Brimelow

“For all the sentimental back-slapping of Buckley by  conservatives, what exactly are the accomplishments of the  conservative movement in the past half-century? A smaller federal government? Fiscal responsibility? The protection and advancement of liberty and freedom? What are the lasting achievements of the conservative movement? An alternative media? Stopping America’s cultural slide to the far Left? The single most important beachhead for liberalism is the vice-like grip on our cultural and social institutions through public education and the mass media. Conservatives have punted to reverse what James Burnham once referred to as the “Suicide of the West.”–Kevin Lamb

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Stopped nothing.

“Let’s make a list of people purged from (or gagged at) neocon National Review since its inception: Revilo Oliver, Russell Kirk, John O’Sullivan, Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, Murray Rothbard, Jared Taylor, Sam Francis, Joe Sobran, Chilton Williamson, Clyde Wilson, Thomas Fleming, Peter Brimelow, Edwin Rubenstein, Paul Gottfried, Steve Sailer, John Derbyshire, Robert Weissberg, etc…Looking at the names above, one can quickly see that National Review, over the years, has in essence purged all of its most talented writers. Since the function of National Review is not to confront the left but to police the right, as commenters have noted, it’s no surprise that National Review is repulsed by talent. National Review today is a three-ring circus of blathering fools like Jonah Goldberg or Ramesh Ponnuru, insane invade-the-world/invite-the-world interventionists like, well, almost everyone there, or non-entity fratboys like Rich Lowry. How many readers do they have left with IQs above 90?”

By the way, Buckley was a CIA agent.

One thought on “With Friends Like These – William F. Buckley’s Betrayals

  1. Sir,
    Let me explain this to you : Buckley was a die-in-the-wool New England Yankee.

    If you are acquainted with that culture, you will see a great deal of it in Buckley’s attempts to separate Conservatism from Nationalism, Race, (White) and realism, to move it to a theoretical and propositional plain.

    It was liberalism of a different sort than Bolshevism, to be sure, but, liberalism all the same

    Liked by 1 person

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