I Stand Athwart Misguided Eulogies Yelling, ‘Stop’

Rick Perlstein is a widely-admired historian and a blogger of the first rank whose politics — and therefore, status as public figure — are beyond reproach. No one can accuse him of harboring reactionary sentiment, yet his eulogy of the dreadful William F. Buckley drives me to bugfucky distraction, because he confuses what is unimportant in the context of politics — sympathy toward X-figure’s personal and private comity, even generosity — with what is important — objective critique of X-figure’s public speech, actions, beliefs.

WFB was privately and professionally kind to Perlstein; in loyal reciprocation to this kindness, Perlstein forgets his duty by extolling the “good” private Buckley — who is, after all, an unimportant figure to the audience — while mostly ignoring the bad (no quotes because it is the gospel truth) public Buckley, who is of extreme importance as a leading figure of a destructive, demented political movement that has had a disastrous effect on the country. This, from a public intellectual like Perlstein, will not do. Everyone has their vices and virtues; no human’s character is thoroughly black or white. But in the context of public figures, private virtue can’t redeem public villainy (the reverse also mostly holds true: private depravity can’t blacken public goodness). I don’t give a shit if Ronnie was a good husband to Nancy; can’t care whether Nixon was affectionate to Checkers or truly loved Tricia and Julie and Pat; consider WFB’s private generosity and good manners toward his friends pretty irrelevant.

Just like I consider Rick Perlstein’s generosity to a retarded asshole like me pretty irrelevant to Larger Questions. Mr. Perlstein, who is so indefatigable that one wonders when he sleeps, has kindly taken the time to help me when I’ve had questions about what some horrible Mr. Neocon did to whom and where, and I appreciate it. Obviously, that Perlstein has taken me seriously enough to correspond with is important to me, but it’s of no relevance to someone trying to take stock of Perlstein as a public intellectual. I mention such things to be fair to myself, but in full knowledge that the reader, if he is to be fair, should shrug it off. It’s something to add, to leaven with, not to emphasize or make central to a piece. I personally like and respect Rick Perlstein just as I abhor William F. Buckley; but you are right to reply “so fucking what?” and look at the larger picture — the facts on the ground, as it were — before forming your opinion.

I often wonder why some public figures — writers, bloggers, politicians and political operatives — try so hard to establish personal friendships with their natural enemies. I didn’t get into this with the aim of making friends; my friends are in my personal life, and since there are plenty of Republicans (as so many roaring arguments between breakfast-table autocrats can attest) among them and my family, I have no idea why I’d want to make friends with Republican strangers as some sort of proof of self-growth, just to be able to say with mucho self-congratulation, “My, what a magnanimous fellow I am, exchanging niceties with this guy who wants to murder a billion Muslims.” That I have made friends with some of my natural allies is a welcome and soothing happenstance, but not why I do what I do or admire whom I admire. Give me an honest, decent, smart and “obnoxious” asshole any day over some friendly, dishonest dumbfuck who traffics in indecent opinion.

Rick Perlstein is smart and honest, he traffics in decent opinion; but I fear he’s not asshole enough to avoid the trap of being too generous to his natural enemies — and concomitantly, far too short with his natural allies. On page 139 of his universally-applauded book on Barry Goldwater, Perlstein writes:

A negative profile in Life by the novelist Gore Vidal, who called Goldwater a fascist, came off making Vidal look like the crank, the intended victim of an altogether affable fellow.

This is the only reference in the book to Vidal’s piece, which was a pretty big deal at the time. And it’s easy to see William F. Buckley being happy with his friend Perlstein’s characterization. I’ve read the profile many times — referenced it in my blogging (and tell me reader, after taking a look at that passage, who truly comes across as a crank?) — and have never come across the word “fascist” in it. While Vidal did dilate generally on the dangers of Caesarism in American politics, and on Goldwater’s potential susceptibility to the diseases of power in particular, the insult Perlstein condemns Vidal for makes no appearance (I’ve just double-checked). Now my source for the essay has always been Vidal’s United States: Essays 1952-1992, and it’s possible that the version I have is edited from the original; but then as such an editing would constitute a major revision, I consider it an unlikely explanation.

Vidal vs. Buckley has been replayed a bunch lately. Vidal did indeed righteously call Buckley (defender of police brutality) a species of fascist. I wonder if Mr. Perlstein in his book emotionally confused his then-living friend Buckley with the dead man, Barry Goldwater, he was trying to be so scrupulously fair — even friendly — to. (Perlstein has been justly applauded for being able to ’empathize with the Other,’ an admirable ability in a writer and historian. As I read the book, which I mostly enjoyed, thanks to Perlstein’s skill I was able to understand and sympathize with Goldwater’s frustrations that, ‘blarg, the public loved JFK the Brinksman, but hates Goldwater the Brinksman — it’s so unfair!!!’ Yet I kept waiting for the author’s clear, common-sense denunciation of brinksmanship, wholesale. I waited in vain. Perhaps Perlstein meant to let his many references to Dr. Strangelove speak for him, but to me his Goldwater-sympathy vis-a-vis Kubrickian consciousness-shifting felt too much like endorsing a conservative’s grumbling about a perceived arty-farty strawman.)

I hope Mr. Perlstein re-thinks his eulogy of Buckley; and this —

Nice people, friends, can disagree about the most fundamental questions about the organization of society. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We must not fantasize about destroying our political adversaries, nor fantasize about magically converting them. We must honor that some humans are conservative and some humans are liberal, and that it will always be thus.

–rubs me wrong in that Kevin Drum-ish sort of way that makes me want to put my head through the monitor. We should do all the things Perlstein lists — they only seem contradictory when one assumes all these actions and strategies belong to the same sphere. Actually, there are two spheres, public and private. Thanks to people like Buckley, our public sphere is a wholly Leninist environment where one side has for years fantasized about exterminating the other. That’s reality. Misguided liberals argue in a sort of pervertedly Christian way that we should turn the other cheek, as it were, to this kind of sentiment; that we should ‘agree to disagree’ with a movement hell-bent on destroying us. Actually, once one side decides that politics are Manichean, then that’s what it is and how it must be fought: ruthlessly. T’ant pis; though there remains a distinction liberals with their hand-wringing forget: that there is no moral equivalence between the conservative side of exterminationism and the leftwing’s eliminationism in response to such. Closing by ‘going Godwin,’ my hope is that the movement and ideology Perlstein’s friend Buckley championed is reduced to the level of its strange cousins in Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal — something that by consensus is a permanent object of ridicule and contempt and shame, something that decent people don’t even mention in polite company, though of course in a free society, friends may have all sorts of things to discuss in that private sphere which must always remain separate from its public counterpart…

[I’ll deal with Buckley directly next.]


Comments: 61


In the words of Tom Lehrer, “It’s fun to eulogize the people you despise…”

And apropos of Buckley, he follows it with “… as long as you don’t let ’em in your schools.”


Gloria N. Excelsis-Deo

This may be another display of the defining reflex of the Phil Ochs liberal (as in “Love Me, I’m A…”): valuing civility for its own sake.

I’m very much in favor of being civil, but the proper response to assault is self-defense, not attempting to enumerate the positive characteristics of those attacking you. If the person attacking you is civil in the private sphere and criminal in the public sphere, there is nothing impolite in acknowledging that fact.


Surrender Dorothy!


Excellent post. Very well done.


Leninism? What does our political culture have to do with Leninism? I really wish people would stop this habit of reflexively naming all kinds of rightwing aggression after various bolsheviks.

Otherwise, thanks, HTML, for pointing out the obvious: all the praise for Buckley is sickening. And there’s no reason anyway not to want to obliterate your political enemies, politically (not as people, of course).


When it’s time for my funeral, I want people to say things like “At least he was kind to animals.”


Christian — I use the label in deference to a pretty famous — and I think accurate — Billmon post about David Horowitz’s politics. I’ll try to find it in a bit.


The other side of Rick Perlstein’s brain agrees.


You refer to right wingers as Leninists for two reasons: to encapsulate their authoritarian vision for society, and you annoy them by associating them with socialists and communists, just like they’ve just recently come out with their “liberal fascism” labels.


two things: as usual, i am struck that liberalism’s weakness-its tolerance for a lot of bullshit–is both inherent and ultimately self-destructive. the right has always recognized this internal (in)consistency and has exploited it brutally: essentially this is karl rove’s/lee atwater’s career in a nutshell. make your opponent feel like you give a rat’s ass about marquis de queensbury rules while all the time hitting below the belt. liberals just keep not believing their own lying eyes, i guess. sad.

second: there are issues and there issues. obviously the “it’s all just opinions” is well and good until we are talking about destroying the country, or the earth, with the stupidities of one side. then the shit is serious and the niceties need to be set aside while we get to the hard work of thumping the living piss out of the other side so that our children don’t live in a charred hellscape.

as usual, superb post. you really need to start writing a column for the nation magazine, html. i’m going to bug them about it.


I should point out that I’m worried about the good name of Leninism, not conservatism. That’s probably clear, but one never knows… I’m not sure Billmon’s post is archived, but here’s a related one by Gilliard, and it’s not at all convincing: it confuses the particular cases of the worst New Communist groups with Leninism as a whole; it quotes Lenin from a completely different context, that of Menshevik revolutionary Russia in the midst of the most destructive war in history, WWI and compares to Horowitz today. And it misses the most important point, namely that Horowitz uses aggressive political methods in support of the ruling class and imperialism, while Lenin advocated democratic centralism and radical action in opposition to it.

This whole idea that there’s somehow a certain “type” of “authoritarian character” that used to be Leninist in 1970 and is right-wing now is rubbish. Most ex-New Communist movement people are now liberal. That some will be right-wing is simple statistics.


Why is it that a patron saint republican dies every presidential election cycle?

as usual, i am struck that liberalism’s weakness-its tolerance for a lot of bullshit–is both inherent and ultimately self-destructive.
Agreed. This is why we’re not taking the bullshit anymore. Or at least some of us aren’t.


So if you mean authoritarian, use it. If you want to attack Leninism, do it. But conflating the two due to some superficial perceived similarities isn’t that different from the Goldberg approach. As El Cid correctly notes, but apparently approves of.

By the way, I agree with robert green, The Nation, if it wants to keep people like me who aren’t Democrats as readers, should give HTML a column.


I’ll make sure and extra use Leninism and other Bolshevik references especially since it bothers christian h.


Good to see you again, HTML.

I agree wholeheartedly. We need to go on the attack, give no quarter, and refuse to back down.

I don’t know enough about Lenin, but authoritarianism seems a better way to go, as it is a more inclusive idea than the narrow focus of one man’s political philosophy.


Thanks, El Cid. It keeps me awake ;).


slag–that’s why dawkins is my hero. fuck them all–smack them in the mouth–make them wake the fuck up to how much bullshit they’ve shoved down our throats.

not to get all…jacobin…but you know what i’m saying.


And not to be excessively cynical, but it can’t hurt an ambitious young man like Perlstein to trade on his relations with Buckley. That’s undoubtedly part of the equation, along with the other reasons discussed above.


Jumpin jeebus fucking kee-rist HTML, got some pent up emotions on this one?

You’re right about one thing, I don’t give a fuck who you, or for that matter, Perlstein is friends with so thanks for making that clear.


Bravo. It needed saying. And it was deeply satisfying. I need a cigarette after that.

The misguided notion of so many liberals that we must reach out to people who traffic in hate – like Buckley – is self-defeating and a pointless waste of time, time which can be better used smacking them down and opposing every insane idea they come up with. If you’re having coffee with Bill Kristol, you’re already deep into the terminal stages of Broder Syndrome. Do not have these people over to your house. Do not be seen with them in public. They are not your friends. In short, fuck the goddamned republicans.

Smiling Mortician

Do not have these people over to your house. Do not be seen with them in public. They are not your friends. In short, fuck the goddamned republicans.

Yeah. I know. And this is arguably OT, but here goes. These people are not just my coworkers and neighbors and, it must be admitted, some family members — they’re also my students. For me, the only way to do some good in the classroom on both the small scale (actually teaching the finer points of the discipline) and the large scale (helping to create an ethical citizenry) is to honor the open exchange of ideas, teach the skills of logic and reason, ask a lot of questions, and keep pushing for enlightenment. Not that I think Perlstein has any obligation to soft-pedal the private Buckley in the public square by any means — I’m just saying that for some of us, the public/private line isn’t quite so clear . . .

Shorter me in re Robert Green: this lefty’s tolerance for the examination and evaluation of bullshit is inherent (at least when I’m at work) but I have to believe it would be more self-destructive to be intolerant.


[…] Mencken at Sadly, No! make the following indictment against the universal canonization of William F. Buckley by both the left and the right: [Perlstein] […]


I have acquaintances who do just what you say, confuse the private “good to his wife and kids” person (which is unimportant) with their reprehensible public person. I’ve never in my life understood that stance, and since private moments are often whitewashed after a figure’s death, I always go by what they wrote, said, and did in public to be the measure of the man. It always seems less than adult to eulogize a person just because he was nice to you, while ignoring the harm he did to countless others.


The reason why you should be as nice as humanly possible to the ideological opposition is the same reason why you should be as nice as humanly possible to your ex-spouse. No matter how much of a drug-addled, lying, cheating dickwad the ex may be, you will almost certainly have to deal with the bastard more than once during the remainder of your earthly existence, and you should strive to create and maintain a decent working relationship with the fucker if at all possible, if for no reason other than the sake of your own personal sanity. I therefore don’t find it objectionable that Perlstein notes this facet of Buckley’s life. I also don’t see this as much of a compliment to Buckley. You have to be some sort of jackass not to be personally kind to those with whom you work on a regular basis. That we seem to be increasingly cursed by these sorts of jackasses doesn’t mean that Buckley is so great. It means simply that these jerks are much more likely to drink themselves into oblivion like Joe McCarthy than to live to a ripe old age like Bill. (Of course, this meant that Bill had to see all the fuckups to follow him, but I personally consider that to be the lesser curse.)


Smiling Mortician has a point – should I have gone all Khmer Rouge on grandfather for his rightwing viewpoint?

I don’t think that was even Mencken’s point – he has Republican friends, he said. If those friends were into it, they’d presumably be spouting off like WFB did.

I think this is a schizophrenic post for that reason. Personally, I think it’s appropriate to remember both the public and private person so long as you keep clear which person you’re talking about.


The question is, is it correct to pretend that the public person’s despicable views are made more palatable by their private virtues? I think the answer is no.

It’s quite all right to write that WFB was a reactionary pig, and also a nice guy personally who accepted that other people could have different views. But he wasn’t any less of a reactionary pig for being a nice guy, and pretending so only feeds into the idea that “we can all get along” – when people like Buckley made a career out of making that impossible.


On a different but related topic, I was listening to the reports of the end of Carol Molnau’s tenure as commissioner of the Minnesota DOT after the Minnesota Senate declined to approve her reappointment on a party-line vote. One of the Republicans was yowling about how terrible it was, because Molnau saved the state thousands of dollars a year by doing two jobs (Lt. Governor and Transportation Commissioner) and accepting only one paycheck. Now, when the best that your supporters can say about you is that you work for cheap, your supporters have pretty much written your political epitaph.


Too bad Buckley won’t live to see a black president.


The thing about being a nice guy in private is it’s easy to be nice to your loved one. What’s harder is to be nice to people outside your personal sphere, like, say, African-Americans in the south.


Bravo, HTML. Vidal’s essays, on Goldwater among others, were among my formative political and literary influences. And I agree that it’s telling how so many on both ends of what purports to be the entire political spectrum have thrown up that Buckley/Vidal clip, because it neatly demonstrates the flip side of the mealy-mouthed Evenhandedness-uber-Alles you rightly deplore. Moving beyond the gooey eulogistic “Whatta guy, that Billy Bucko, so ready to stand up for what he believed in”, the clip shows Vidal skewering Buckley the way a picador skewers a charging bull: One well-chosen epithet, and Buckley is reduced from a high-minded philospher king to a slitty-eyed thug with nothing but obscenities and threats of violence to defend his “ideals”.

Because there *is* a difference between the Personal and the Political, but the distinction is rarely a bright line; it’s a shifting netherland of fog, prejudice, unexamined experience, sharp terrors and worn-smooth maxims. Every one of us, along with our acquaintances and even our friends, is susceptible to beliefs which pure reason might demonstrate as silly, subjective, unprovable, or plain wrong. Our joint and separate task, as adults in the world, is to separate the harmless personal belief (God is watching over me; men are more competent than women; Republicans are patriots) from the prejudicial, dangerous, even homicidal actions which follow when such beliefs are not examined (God will cure my TB, so I don’t need to worry about infecting the people around me; it’s “only reasonable” to refuse to hire women if men are available; if a Republican president says “we” need to invade another country, he must be doing so for good and patriotic reasons). William F. Buckley, from all reports, could be charming at parties and useful to fellow literateurs, even those with whose philosophies he did not agree. He was also one of the foremost proud founders of a modern American political movement which has been a national shame and a global blight. In WFB’s favor, he was responsible for a magazine which gave some excellent writers their start; on the other side of the scales, he was responsible for a million ugly articles and actions, from championing segregation in the 1950s to “assisting” the CIA in its global orgies of destabilization, dirty-tricksterism, and murder. Much as I admire Garry Wills, I don’t believe that “discovering” writers like Wills can legitimately outweigh Buckley’s “discovering” such blots on the human ledger as E. Howard Hunt or David Horowitz… much less the squirming parasites infesting the corpse of NROnline.

Hypocritical Left

Buckley’s towering achievement was to forge modern conservativism. He understood that that individualism was under threat from collectivism, and that only by clearly articulating the objections to collectivism could it be contained. And guess what, liberals? It was, to Buckley’s credit. In so far as there is a resistance to the identity politics and state worship that liberals engage in, Buckley helped create the cadre of its intellectual defense.

Compare that to a leading liberal like Bill Ayers, who believed in violence in order to try to bring about a totalitarian state here in America, and you can see the difference. I know it burns you up, liberals. Ban me if you like – the truth really (really) hurts you.


Bill Buckley always kept his fingernails neatly trimmed.


What hurts, Hypocrite, is that Ayers and comrades didn’t succeed. Then you’d have been awarded a date (your first?) – namely, a blind date with a firing squad. And we wouldn’t have to read your crap.


A leading liberal like Bill Ayers? Who the fuck is Bill Ayers? I’ve been a liberal for the last 56 years and I never heard of this “leading liberal.” Typical right-wing straw-man crap — pick somebody nobody ever heard of as the leader and epitome of what you oppose, and then claim that all liberals are guilty of whatever you think the no-name did. If “think” is the right word for whatever goes on in your squishy, mean little brain.


Buckley: founded The National Review, hosted The Firing Line for 33 years, published several dozen books, had his own nationally syndicated newspaper column, fixture of television news.

Ayers: member of Weather Underground, edited a dozen textbooks, is a professor.

I really don’t think the two are comparable as figureheads.


In 1967, when most of my classmates had infantile crushes on various musicians in “The Beatles,” I was fascinated by William F. Buckley, Jr. He was the nattily-dressed, skinny chain-smoker who hosted PBS’ “Firing Line.” He was not much to look at, by anyone’s standards; but he had a hell of a vocabulary–and even at the ripe old age of ten years, I was impressed. I would sit on the sofa glued to the old black-and-white, with the unabridged American Heritage Dictionary in my lap, and look up the words I didn’t understand, while shushing my brother, who was invariably whining about missing re-runs of “The Three Stooges.” Even Moe Howard had nothing on Buckley, who was also the master of the “social insult.” Buckley delivered the kind of barbed comment that even the victims had to chuckle at–or risk the implied admission that they were too stupid to understand the joke.

Buckley also founded The National Review. And while I may not have agreed with his politics–e.g.: Buckley was an ardent supporter of segregation, who thought that uneducated blacks should not be given the right to vote, some of his compromises seemed almost palatable–e.g.: denying the right to vote to both uneducated blacks and whites.

The death of William F. Buckley marks the end of any pretext to intellectualism the right may have had. And after almost eight years under Chimpy, denying the vote to dumb wingnuts is looking like an even better option!


Being a nice guy in private does not make up for being an asshole in public. Does it really make you an okay person if you think homosexuals should all be jailed as perverts just because you make an exception for your brother and his boyfriend? Is it admirable to buy a meal for the homeless guy down the block while advocating for policies that keep him poor? People who need to know someone personally to believe that they are worthy of being deemed human are what we used to call sociopaths.

Once again, if you don’t want people to say nasty things about you after you’re dead, don’t say nasty things about others while you’re alive. If you want to compliment someone’s life, remember them honestly.


Thanks for another excellent post, HTML. One thing that really puzzles me is how Perlstein and others seem so dazzled by Buckley’s personal “kindness”. Well, why on earth shouldn’t Buckley be kind? As far as I can tell, the man seems to have had a charmed life. Oodles of cash, plenty of leisure to do exactly what he wanted to do exactly when he felt like doing it and enough sense to understand just how good he had it. It’s easy to be pleasant and friendly to people who don’t agree with you when you have pretty much everything you want anyway. Under those circumstances, it would be a very poor-spirited person indeed who couldn’t show a little goodwill to his opponents every now and then. With that in mind, it’s instructive to watch Buckley in the debate with Vidal and see how all it takes for his mask to drop is a little gibe from Vidal.

It’s been said before in the comments, but I think it can’t be said too often: on all the important issues of his time, Buckley was flat out wrong. Wrong about integration, wrong about civil rights, Vietnam……you name it, National Review probably got it wrong. It would be interesting to compare back issues of NR with The Nation, to see which publication turned out to have the correct opinion more often on different issues.

I wonder sometimes if the reason Buckley’s bonhomie impressed people so much was because of some kind of insecurity. People who have charmed lives, after all, can often have a kind of charisma, and perhaps that would lead to people giving him credit for more perception than he actually possessed. Hence you get people who are thrilled to say to themselves “Wow! He thinks I am a worthy foe! Hooray!”

For my part, I don’t see how hanging out with people who get the answers to all of life’s important questions wrong could be worthwhile. I think most people figure out that a superficially charming jerk isn’t worth hanging around with at least by the time they’ve finished college, if not before.


he confuses what is unimportant in the context of politics — sympathy toward X-figure’s personal and private comity, even generosity — with what is important — objective critique of X-figure’s public speech, actions, beliefs.

In the end, the context of the most important political issues are very personal. When was the last time you saw people protest your local city council’s zoning decisions? Instead, people get worked up over abortion, Terry Shiavo, or Darth Cheney’s machinations to enrich his buddies in various enterprises with “no-bid” defense contracts. Objectiviity is an effin’ myth!

Incontinentia Buttocks

These people are not just my coworkers and neighbors and, it must be admitted, some family members — they’re also my students. For me, the only way to do some good in the classroom on both the small scale (actually teaching the finer points of the discipline) and the large scale (helping to create an ethical citizenry) is to honor the open exchange of ideas, teach the skills of logic and reason, ask a lot of questions, and keep pushing for enlightenment.

Indeed. From the sound of this, I run my classroom rather like you run yours. But the classroom is also not the political sphere, about which I agree with HTML.

Incontinentia Buttocks

At the risk of feeding the trolls: the Weather Underground was not a liberal organization.

I don’t believe in the oft-expressed view that we need to move beyond the Sixties, as I think there are a lot of real lessons from that era that we have yet to learn. But we absolutely need to move beyond the right-wing’s mythical version of the Sixties, against which Republicans (as well as many Democrats) have run political campaigns for four decades. One of the pillars of the right’s mythical Sixties is the blurring of the once-clear lines between the New Left and liberals, who were, by the end of the decade, pretty bitterly at odds with each other. (And Weatherman was, fwiw, also rather bitterly at odds with most other elements of the New Left.)

Hypocritical Lecter

Look for severe childhood disturbances associated with violence. William Ayers wasn’t born a leftist. He was made one through years of systematic privilege. Ayers hates his own identity, you see, and he thinks that makes him a liberal. But his pathology is a thousand times more savage and more terrifying.
I know it burns you up, liberals. Ban me if you like – the truth really (really) hurts you.


“the truth really (really) hurts you”

Uhm, wouldn’t you have to, like, show us some of that truth?


Reminds me of a eulogy I heard once: “…he was a good and reliable friend.. to those who admired and respected him”. I thought that was excessively polite, at the time. Seeing as I respected the person’s killer instincts and unbridled ruthlessness. Perhaps because I also knew he was a different person in private. But I wouldn’t dream of confusing that with politeness or feigned respect for the public person – never mind his political views or methods. At worst, I would have to admit that in spite of being a complete bastard, those who knew him can testify that he was also human once in a while.

I mean, why isn’t it possible to be more honest with public figures like this? Is there some law in effect that Congress oversaw in their oversight duties again, that prevents public figures from ever being held to account for what they’re actually saying – in public, as public figures?

…It’s so strange. I’ve noticed this before as well – it’s as if the majority of these conservative fucks don’t have a personal life. They just have the public image – and that’s everything they know. That’s all they genuinely seem to care about.. Really – they’re like a dysfunctional family, all holding down the lid on a boiling kettle – until it starts to slip out steam in random directions, burning the people around it. Which just reminds everyone to keep holding the lid tighter down, after shouting a bit at the one who cried out in pain. Because, I suppose, the lid has to be held down all the time, or else something terrible will happen.


Imagine you are a black American who was alive during the 1950s; how do you feel about William Buckley?


Chomsky’s towering achievement was to forge modern leftism. He understood that that Western civilization was under threat from individualism, and that only by clearly articulating the objections to individualism could it be contained. And guess what, conservatives? It was, to Chomsky’s credit. In so far as there is a resistance to the race politics and money worship that conservatives engage in, Chomsky helped create the cadre of its intellectual defense.

Compare that to a leading conservative like George Lincoln Rockwell, who believed in violence in order to try to bring about a totalitarian state here in America, and you can see the difference. I know it burns you up, conservatives. Ban me if you like – the truth, like, rilly (rilly) hurts you.


Alright everyone. The Bill Ayers Fan Club meeting has been proposed for Boston this year, and we’re still waiting to hear from the Soros Foundation if he will come through with the $1 Billion to train us all in our plastic explosives techniques. However, no one has stepped up in the T-shirt design section, so our Bill Ayers merchandise section could be delayed.

(Seriously — this guy with the Ayers’ fixation is starting to remind me of that guy on Matt Yglesias’ site who links everything back to Jewish financier Haim Saban.)


El Cid,

Have designed I.D cards for the Bill Ayers Appreciation Society as per your request.


Further merchandise will be available after the money is laundered safely.

I await your further orders.

White Male, Jew of Liberal Fascism

Let’s compromise!

As soon as you fucktards accept Timothy McVeigh as a representative of wingnut-ism , we’ll accept Bill Ayers as a representative of moonbat-ism.


>some friendly, dishonest dumbfuck who traffics in indecent opinion.

Cue Huckabee.

Awesome post, BTW

Stephen den Wurste

You only have to compare Buckley’s private graciousness and public viciousness with the behavior of HTML’s namesake, in order to illustrate the distinction: off the record, Mencken was known to use racist terms, and to express anti-Semitic opinions, but in his capacity as editor and columnist, he helped to further the careers of many black and Jewish writers of his day.

His private prejudices certainly were lamentable, but his actions definitely spoke louder than his (private) words, and the help he gave in launching the careers of minority writers surely outweighed whatever harm his personal opinions caused.

William Fuckhead Buckley, on the other hand, should rightly be reviled for the evil that will long outlive his moldering corpse, occasional petty personal kindnesses notwithstanding. Shit on him.

A Lawn Savant Who'll Lop A Tree

The categorically gracious aut bene aut nihil “rule” re the dead is another bit of civility which hasn’t really any application outside of the dead’s intimate circle. At least on blogs you can see people bridling under this stupid customary prohibition against speaking plainly about a dead wingnut/facist/theocrats/authoritarian, because – being dead & thus sanctified, “left to God” & all – they’re now installed in a Hall of No Reproach. Fuck that – more milquetoast liberalism, for fear of being labeled a PC strident Jacobin by the extant facists/authoritarians/wingnuts…


Curses on that horrid man. And his equally horrible wife.


Not to be a prig about it, but take another look at the sentence in question:

“A negative profile in Life by the novelist Gore Vidal, who called Goldwater a fascist, came off making Vidal look like the crank, the intended victim of an altogether affable fellow.”

It doesn’t say that Vidal called Goldwater a fascist in the profile, just that he called Goldwater a fascist somewhere, at some time.

Now you can debate whether or not the sentence was meant to make an unfair implication–I don’t think it was–but it really doesn’t say what you have it pegged saying.


There’s a two word response to those who think you can respect conservatives like WFB, since he maintained good relations with those he ideologically opposed:

El Mazote.


I don’t understand it. These people have views I find abhorrent. Many of them would actually be quite happy to see me and others who think like me imprisoned and tortured. In the abstract. If they knew me, of course they’d be nicey nice. So why the fuck would I want to cosy up to them?

And dude, the Confederates were gentlemen. They indulged in elaborate courtliness as their field overseers applied the whip. If he could, Buckley too would have kept slaves.


Singularity, that’s a very apposite choice. The journalist who broke El Mozote in the States was not treated with respect or kindness by his ideological opposites. He was branded a communist and hounded out of his job. These are people who not only support and encourage the murder of the working class, but will destroy anyone who tells the truth about them. Still, they’re nice to their mothers.


The hand wringing business has really got to go. It’s actually what so many people despise about so-called libruhls – remember Rove trying to take advantage of it? “Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.” And the Democratic Congress never misses an opportunity to further the caricature.


Atlas, I’m a liberal–wait, no, I’m a LIBERAL. And while “Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and prepared for war” Liberals did not–as you say–want to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. That’s the myth that you people like to tell yourselves, conveniently ignoring the fact that Liberals kicked the shit out of the NeoCONS of their day–then represented by the British Empire. That was LIBERALS who did that. It was the CONS(Tories) who ended up cutting and running, so our Constitutional Republic was born.

Speaking of cutting and running, that’s the job of Conservatives, natural cowards one and all, starting with Der Leider, Bush, who in response to 9/11, led air strikes against the one country in the Middle East that had NOTHING TO DO with 9/11. NOT. ONE. THING. It was the next-door SAUDIS who committed that atrocity–all the perps PLUS the planner, bin Laden, are and were Saudis. Bush–whose oil ‘bidness’ contacts were Saudis–well knew those people, and being the chickenshit piece of garbage he’d been all his life, he took America into war against THE SAUDI’S enemy–the Iraqi people.

Liberals do analyse what they do–but if a Liberal had been in charge on 9/11, instead of a NeoCON coward like Bush, Riyadh would have featured a big radioactive hole in the middle of it, by 9/12/01.

As it is, 9/11 is unavenged–an innocent people have been brutalized, because there’s no bully as egregious as a coward, and Bush is nothing if not that–and just on that basis, if I knew nothing else about Liberals, I’d know that I would rather as a matter of pride, be that instead of a NeoCON coward.


Buckley’s death should be met with unbridled joy.


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