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Old November 4th, 2008 #1
Alex Linder
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[Rather biased review of NR's history of purges.]

The Closing of the Conservative Mind: The Triumph of Mediocrity at NR
Posted by Austin Bramwell on November 03, 2008

In Christopher Buckley’s now-famous account of his “firing” at the hands of Rich Lowry at National Review, Buckley implicitly belittled not just the conservative movement in general but National Review in particular. After revealing the circumstances of his NR column’s cancellation, Buckley summed up his father’s career as follows:

My point, simply, is that William F. Buckley held to rigorous standards, and if those were met by members of the other side rather than by his own camp, he said as much. My father was also unpredictable, which tends to keep things fresh and lively and on-their-feet. He came out for legalization of drugs once he decided that the war on drugs was largely counterproductive. Hardly a conservative position. Finally, and hardly least, he was fun. God, he was fun. He liked to mix it up.

With the apostrophe, “God, he was fun,” Buckley turns away from his audience to express his private exasperation. Exasperation with whom? Buckley mentions only NR editor Rich Lowry by name, together with publisher Jack Fowler, whom Buckley singles out for praise. One can only presume that Buckley sees Lowry and the other NR editors as the antithesis of “fun"—that is, they are tedious partisans unworthy of their predecessors. That someone as close to NR as Buckley should express such a blunt judgment is striking, to say the least.

And yet the media report that Buckley remains an NR trustee. My honest guess is that when Buckley submitted his Daily Beast column, he had simply forgotten that he was still serving on NR‘s board.

In 2004, WFB transferred his NR voting shares to an independent board of trustees (of which I was originally one of five). Within two years, the one quasi-insider on the board successfully contrived to stack it with Rich Lowry and other insiders, thereby neutering it. Rich Lowry is today as much the editor-owner of NR as WFB ever was. Depend upon it: Lowry will stay on as editor for the next 30 years or more, perhaps longer than WFB himself did. One could do worse than be editor-for-life of a prominent, financially stable magazine with a large and loyal following. Lowry himself—though an able journalist and a decent writer—could do much worse.

Despite Chris Buckley’s public rebuke, NR‘s position as America’s pre-eminent conservative magazine remains unassailable. Just because NR may embrace bad ideas, betray its founders’ legacy or decline in quality does not mean that it will ever lose readers or influence. Consumers of political opinion do not have a natural tendency to come to their senses; if anything, they tend to believe whatever their favorite sources tell them to believe. Uniquely among political magazines, NR does not need angel investors to stay afloat. Instead it gets by on contributions from dedicated readers—the Buckley patrimony. So long as NR gives readers the ideological stimulation they crave, they will return the favor in the form of money contributions, and so on in perpetuity.

Though opinions may vary, Buckley has good reason to complain of NR‘s mediocrity. About a decade ago, NR decided (largely unbeknownst, as far as I could tell, to WFB) to jettison its fortnightly magazine and transform itself into a website. To be sure, a journal called National Review still gets printed every other week. But nobody within or without the magazine actually cares about it. Take a poll of leading journalists and opinion-mongers and ask them how many articles of the past decade they remember reading in various outlets: NR, I am sure, would perform dismally. It rarely if ever publishes anything of lasting significance and I would be surprised to meet anyone of any persuasion who disagreed.

As for the website, it is the exclusive bailiwick of Kathryn Lopez, a young woman whose work ethic and party faith make Stakhanov look lazy and disloyal. Every day she publishes an astonishing volume of material. Is any of it any good? Some of it, yes. Still, the ratio of original reporting and insight to reiterations of the party line is depressingly small. Meanwhile, NRO publishes every article on foreign policy under the heading “At War.” Thus, we get not just “At War: Iraq,” but also such head-scratchers as “At War: Syria,” “At War: Russia,” “At War: Somalia,” and so on—even if the United States is not in even the most remote sense “at war.” Some enterprising blogger should keep a list of all of the places where NRO says we are “at war.” It would be an amusing, if disturbing, record of the website’s mindset.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online Editor

NR does not have a tradition of purging dissidents. All opinion-mongers risk being infected by strange or malignant ideas. Consequently, political magazines must now and then decide what to do with their errant contributors. Purges, in other words, are a fact of movement life and each must be judged on its merits. NR has had several purges in its history, some justified and some not. Let’s review:

• Revilo Oliver An early contributor to NR, the palindromic polymath Oliver basically came to believe that Hitler was too kind to the Jews. Oliver is an obvious test case: If all purging is bad, then NR should have continued to publish Revilo Oliver. Since Oliver, as I would modestly suggest, should not have been published, it follows that not all NR‘s purges have been unwarranted.

• Ayn Rand NR never actually purged Rand, as she never contributed to NR in the first place. Whitaker Chambers wrote a hostile review of Atlas Shrugged that the authoress—I should say that I admire Rand very much—deserved. By that time, Rand had recruited a cult following whose members she herself purged or humiliated at the slightest hint of lesé majesté. Neither National Review nor any other magazine could have ever reached a modus vivendi with a megalomaniac such as Rand had become by the time she wrote Atlas.

• The John Birch Society Richard Spencer correctly observes that rank and file Birchers were nothing more than frustrated anti-communists looking for a voice. That does not mean that by the early 1960s the John Birch Society didn’t need discrediting. Robert Welch had made himself an embarrassment to the anti-communist cause and the mainstream movement wisely thwarted his hopes for further influence.

• Murray Rothbard Rothbard was a prolific economist, political theorist, historian, polemist and pamphleteer. Still, NR‘s unifying passion was anti-communism, whereas Rothbard, already a prickly personality, was fierce anti-anti-communist. Rothbard was oil to NR‘s water. Their mutual hostilities are regrettable but could not have been avoided.

• Joe Sobran The rancor over Sobran’s dismissal still festers. The question is complicated by Sobran’s decision to vindicate his critics by becoming openly anti-semitic. (I know, I know: the term “anti-semite” can and often is abused. Still, there’s got to be a line somewhere. To the exterminationist, everyone who uses the term “anti-semitic” is a sellout.) As for the circumstances leading to the Sobran purge, one can only read the parties’ accounts. All agree that over a period of several years, Sobran inveighed in a very provocative fashion against Israel and Israeli influence. As Sobran’s attacks at the very least seemed calculated to raise questions as to his motives, Buckley repeatedly tried to get him cut it out. Finally Buckley decided to distance NR from Sobran and then terminate his NR career.

In his apology, “How I was fired by Bill Buckley,” Sobran notes that Buckley never actually came out called him an anti-Semite. But Buckley’s elliptical account is fully consistent with a friend trying to do everything he can to save another friend. Buckley intended to leave Sobran at least with the argument that the man who fired him never actually called him an anti-semite. The Sobran affair may have since contributed to an exaggerated reluctance among movement conservatives to criticize America’s special relationship with Israel—a reluctance that WFB himself regretted and took some ineffective steps to counter. That doesn’t mean that Buckley’s actions at the time were unjustified.

• John O’Sullivan O’Sullivan continues to write for NR and was never actually purged. Nonetheless, here the critics have a point. With the ascent of Rich Lowry, NR went from challenging and interesting to boring and derivative. Still, nobody knows the real circumstances of O’Sullivan’s abdication. Possibly WFB didn’t want to be bothered with controversies anymore. Possibly he had tired of O’Sullivan’s erratic management. In any case, NR‘s decline was caused as much by Lowry’s rise as by O’Sullivan’s fall.

I don’t know why, exactly, O’Sullivan went on to become “editor at large” but I do know that the elevation of Rich Lowry to editor-owner for life was in no way intended by WFB. Without knowing whether the “purge” of O’Sullivan was ideologically driven or not, independent observers must withhold judgment.

• Steve Sailer, Andrew Bacevich Intellectually, these two men are (or were) perhaps two leading lights of the conservative movement. They wrote for NR until it went war-wacky in 2003. Now they’re personae non gratae. The obvious reason: Each has written devastatingly on the foreign policy advocated by NR. If NR‘s editors had any courage, they would sponsor a symposium on Bacevich’s work. That will never happen, of course, as NR has lamely chosen to avoid criticism rather than confront it.

NR‘s institutional strength destroys any hope for an “alternative Right.” NR may be mediocre but, as argued, it will be the leading conservative magazine in America for the foreseeable future. “Conservatism,” as far as the media are concerned, is whatever NR says it is. Just as Trotsky could never overcome Stalin’s ability to define communism for communists, so rump coalitions of right-wingers will never overcome NR‘s ability to define conservatism for conservatives. Alternative right-wing coalitions appeal only to dyspeptic ideological systematizers.

Chris Buckley may never have really cared much about politics to begin with, but he is nonetheless correct to question whether there is anything more to be gained from a conservative movement.

http://www.takimag.com/site/article/...When:16:22:00Z
 
Old November 5th, 2008 #2
Alex Linder
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38Joseph Salemi

Robert [email protected]

Mr. Bruce, National Review has not been a conservative magazine since the mid-1980s, and perhaps even earlier. William F. Buckley made a conscious decision to direct the magazine into total subservience to neocon ideology, and the result is the vampiric shell that goes under the old name.

The most obvious signpost of this change was the firing of the very articulate, perceptive, and popular Joseph Sobran, at the behest of Buckley’s new neocon allies in the other journals of opinion. This was a very sordid and underhanded move, Sobran being dismissed solely because some of his opinions didn’t please the AIPAC lobby and the Podhoretzes. The second was the quiet blackballing of Pat Buchanan, after he too began to question some of received notions of “centrist” conservatism.

Murray Rothbard claims that this process had an even longer gestation period, going right back to the magazine’s founding in 1955. I’m not sure I agree with that, but it is certainly true that there always was an imperialist, Save-The-World tone in much of NR’s rhetoric during the Cold War. Such rhetoric easily morphed into the neocon nightmare of Mandatory Enlightenment Liberalism and Secularism for Everybody.

But the larger issue is this: Buckley always arrogated to himself the right to police the conservative movement, and to discipline or excommunicate anyone whom he felt was a little too threatening to his personal ideals of aristocratic politesse. Revilo P. Oliver was eased out, the Birchers were declared anathema, James Jackson Kilpatrick was compelled to abjure his segregationist convictions, and even Frank Meyer got flak from Buckley because he once dared to question our national apotheosis of Abraham Lincoln. How many times did the loathsome Harry V. Jaffa appear in NR’s pages, hurling invective against any conservatives who dared question the ideology of equality?

Today, the magazine is a sick joke. I say this as someone who subscribed to NR from 1964 until the early 1990s, and as someone who worked with intense conviction in Buckley’s mayoral campaign of 1965, and in his brother’s senatorial campaign of 1970. There was a time when NR was a real voice for real conservatism.

That time is long, long gone.

http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/?p=771#comments
 
Old November 5th, 2008 #3
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The National Review is as irrelevant as George Will.
 
Old November 18th, 2008 #4
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At National Review, a Threat to Its Reputation for Erudition

By TIM ARANGO

Published: November 16, 2008

In a span of 252 days, the National Review lost two Buckleys — one to death, another to resignation — and an election.

Now, thanks to the coarsening effect of the Internet on political discourse, the magazine may have lost something else: its reputation as the cradle for conservative intellectuals and home for erudite and well-mannered debate prized by its founder, the late William F. Buckley Jr.

In the general conservative blogosphere and in The Corner, National Review’s popular blog, the tenor of debate — particularly as it related to the fitness of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska to be vice president — devolved into open nastiness during the campaign season, laying bare debates among conservatives that in a pre-Internet age may have been kept behind closed doors.

National Review, as the most pedigreed voice of conservatives, has often been tainted — unfairly and by association, some argue — by the tone of blogs, reader comments and e-mail messages. “Bill was always very concerned about having a high-minded and thoughtful discourse,” Rich Lowry, the magazine’s editor, said. “If you read the magazine, that’s what it was and that’s what it is.”

In October came the resignation of Mr. Buckley’s son, the writer and satirist Christopher Buckley, after he endorsed Barack Obama for president. He did so on Tina Brown’s blog, The Daily Beast, to avoid any backlash on The Corner.

Now David Frum, a prominent conservative writer who enmeshed himself in a minor dustup during the campaign by turning negative on Governor Palin, is leaving, too. In an interview, he said he planned to leave the magazine, where he writes a popular blog, to strike out on his own on the Web.

“The answers to the Republican dilemma are not obvious and we need a vibrant discussion,” he said. “I think a little more distance can help everybody do a better job of keeping their temper.”

Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor at National Review and probably has a bigger store of institutional knowledge than anyone, having written his first article, in 1970. “I think the tone of what we do, I’m certainly proud of,” he said. “You can’t be responsible for the world.”

The magazine faces the twin challenges of re-energizing the conservative movement while trying to stay relevant itself amid a shifting media landscape that is challenging the authority of all old-line media institutions.

“There’s a lot of thinking to be done,” said Mr. Lowry, in the magazine’s mostly empty New York offices two days after Mr. Obama won the presidency. Nearly all the staff was getting ready to go to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for a postelection fund-raising cruise in which readers, editors and guest speakers mix for a week of conservative conversation, but Mr. Lowry stayed behind to put out the new issue.

“We’ve always had rigorous internal debates,” he said. “But the advent of the blogosphere and e-mail and the rest of it have made it easier to blast out their impassioned instant reactions.

“It’s discomfiting, but it’s the world we live in, unless someone — Al Gore? — can uninvent the Internet.”

A frequent criticism is that the magazine has become a megaphone for Republican Party orthodoxy — and in these appraisals is a longing for the intellectual firepower of Mr. Buckley, and the surprise twists in his views.

The magazine was founded during the Eisenhower administration, a Republican one, of which it was often critical. Mr. Buckley was also a critic of the war on drugs and supported legalization; in 1969 he said it was time for America to elect a black president. Of course, this came after he opposed the civil rights movement; he later said his position was wrong.

Wick Allison, publisher of the magazine from 1990 to 1993, believes that over the last several years the magazine became “the intellectual defender of the Bush administration” and said it had “run out of ideas.”

Jacob Weisberg, editor in chief of the Slate Group and a longtime observer of and participant in the political magazine sphere, said, “I think Frum is the most interesting writer they have. You can’t assume he’ll come down on the side of the party line.”

“I think the problem of conservative magazines is they often follow the party line more than liberal magazines,” he said.

Mr. Lowry said the magazine had never been a partisan cheerleader, and the role of the magazine during an Obama presidency would be to provide “intelligent, disciplined opposition.”

They will do that, for the first time, without a Buckley on staff. Christopher Buckley declined to comment beyond writing via e-mail that “I have nothing but the warmest feelings for NR and everyone there, and look forward eagerly to its coverage of a new Democratic administration.”

Mr. Frum said deciding to leave was amicable, but distancing himself from the magazine founded by his idol, Mr. Buckley, was not a hard decision. He said the controversy over Governor Palin’s nomination for vice president was “symbolic of a lot of differences” between his views and those of National Review’s.

“I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated,” he said.

Mr. Frum witnessed the upbraiding his fellow conservative, the columnist Kathleen Parker, received when she wrote in her syndicated column on the National Review’s Web site arguing that Governor Palin was unfit to be vice president. Ms. Parker received nearly 11,000 e-mail messages, one of which lamented that her mother did not abort her.

“Who says public discourse hasn’t deteriorated?” she wrote in a followup column that ran on the Web site. (National Review, as Mr. Lowry pointed out, can hardly be held responsible for a reader’s nasty e-mail messages.)

William F. Buckley — and this will probably always be the case — still towers over the magazine. As Mr. Lowry sat down in a conference room to be interviewed, a former assistant to the founder was scouring archives for material for a forthcoming article in Vanity Fair about him and his wife, Pat, also deceased, who was a Manhattan socialite.

“With the bailout, I’ve been wondering what he would have thought, because conservatives were so divided,” he said. “I’ve been wondering what he would have thought about Palin.

“I’m sure he would have admired Obama’s rhetorical ability and his stage presence. But like for all of us, it’s about ideas,” Mr. Lowry said.

Mr. Frum added, “William F. Buckley was an inspiration, not just in how to think but in how to conduct a discussion. He was just a pre-eminently civilized human being.”

The magazine, like some others devoted to ideas and politics, has the luxury of not needing to make money. It is judged by how fervently it can incubate ideas — not as a going business concern. This year, there has been a small increase in circulation. At the start of the year, its circulation was 169,000, which has grown to about 185,000 for its latest postelection issue, which will arrive this week in mailboxes. The magazine’s Web site has also been successful. In October, it had 788,000 unique visitors, up almost 200 percent from the previous year, according to comScore. By comparison, The Weekly Standard had 490,000 unique visitors in October.

It is not that National Review, founded in 1955, has not endured political adversity. There was Barry Goldwater’s thumping in 1964. Then Watergate and the election of Jimmy Carter in 1976. And Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, which helped energize the magazine.

The Republicans took over Congress in 1994, and along the way National Review enjoyed a big uptick in circulation and its first-ever — and still only — profit. As 1992 began, the magazine’s circulation was 150,000; by 1994, it had jumped to 250,000.

After Mr. Clinton was elected, “there was this burst of energy throughout the right,” Mr. Lowry said. “There is a countercyclical nature to this business.”

“I’m excited about going forward,” Mr. Lowry said. “There’s a lot of gallows humor. Every conservative I talk to is saying: ‘This is going to be great for you guys. Circulation is going to go up.’ ”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/bu...view.html?_r=1
 
Old November 19th, 2008 #5
Alex Linder
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People interested in political writing don't care about the writer's politics as long as he offers something - humor, knowledge, entertainment - something. NR no longer has interesting writers. This is the natural result of the jewish takeover and the institution of the reign of Semitical Correctness. For every big question, there's a pat, false answer. The 'conservative' media are now as 'responsible' as yesterday's Pravda.
 
Old November 19th, 2008 #6
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"Today, the magazine is a sick joke. I say this as someone who subscribed to NR from 1964 until the early 1990s, and as someone who worked with intense conviction in Buckley’s mayoral campaign of 1965, and in his brother’s senatorial campaign of 1970. There was a time when NR was a real voice for real conservatism."

If real Conservatism as well as Liberalism for that matter continued as they were 25 years ago the US would not have 10% of the problems it experiences today.

What passes for Con and Lib today are sanitized Globalism for traitors. Proof is the difference between McCain and Obama. Both Globalists. Any real Conservative or Liberal would be mortified to vote for either one.
 
Old November 19th, 2008 #7
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[Good post from Takimag]



The Republican party is doomed as anything resembling its former self until is becomes a party explicitly for the interests of Whites. If it does not, we will form our own, and that will become one of the two major parties.

Then, the polarization we observe will have been made explicit: one party for non-Whites and “white” race-traitors and one party for White people loyal to blood and soil.

Let us speed the day.

The other option to resisting our slow-motion genocide and dispossesion is much less ‘respectable’.
Posted by Captainchaos on Nov 19, 2008.
 
Old November 20th, 2008 #8
John in Woodbridge
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Both the Nation Review and the Weekly Standard are useless. I can't stand Bill Kristol.

One conservative mag that's good is the American Conservative.

http://www.amconmag.com/
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Old November 20th, 2008 #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
[Good post from Takimag]



The Republican party is doomed as anything resembling its former self until is becomes a party explicitly for the interests of Whites. If it does not, we will form our own, and that will become one of the two major parties.

Then, the polarization we observe will have been made explicit: one party for non-Whites and “white” race-traitors and one party for White people loyal to blood and soil.

Let us speed the day.

The other option to resisting our slow-motion genocide and dispossesion is much less ‘respectable’.
Posted by Captainchaos on Nov 19, 2008.
At first glance I was going to note this post as "superb and succinct", but on second thought I can only go with "succinct".

Sadly, the idea that the Republican Party has ever been or can ever be "a party explicitly for the interests of whites [needs to be Whites]" is a worn out and hackneyed red herring. Not only has the Republican Party never been such a thing, it can and will never be such a thing. Instead, the Republican Party will be a monkey wrench and a stumbling block to any and every and all efforts to actually advance and represent the interests of Whites.

In every measure the Republican Party has quite as effectively as the Democratic Party denied, denigrated, and thwarted every effort to protect the position of the core population. Worse, the Republicans - unlike the Democrats - have mendaciously pretended, in ever-so-subtle tones, to be about furthering a "White agenda" when in fact all they have ever furthered was a completely non-White Zionist agenda.

The problem for Whites is that the Republican Party, flush with its latest defeat, will emerge all the stronger as a once and future Trojan Horse: co-opting at every turn true proponents of White interests and falsely insinuating itself as holding true (a lie!) to its "conservative" roots - roots that implicitly respect (hah!) "family Values", etc. [Lying]Code words for "White Interests".

The Republican Party should do as the elephants do and go off to the mysterious and unknown elephant graveyard: there to die a quiet and unremarked death. Should it find the honor in itself to do this (hardly likely, since the Party has never found any honor in anything), then it might at least be able to be said that its greatest contribution was in its leaving.

But that will never happen. The Republican Party is entirely a property of Zion: every bit as much as its erstwhile counterpart. It will survive to once again undercut any chance for Whites to gain representation in "their" government.
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Old November 20th, 2008 #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notmenomore View Post
Sadly, the idea that the Republican Party has ever been or can ever be "a party explicitly for the interests of whites [needs to be Whites]" is a worn out and hackneyed red herring. Not only has the Republican Party never been such a thing, it can and will never be such a thing.
Although he wasn't perfect, I didn't think it was too bad under Reagan. From what I remember, Reagan just ignored blacks (and their whining) all together. But there has been quite a demographic shift since the '80's. As said before, we are probably beyond accomplishing anything via the voting booth.
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Old November 20th, 2008 #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notmenomore View Post
Worse, the Republicans - unlike the Democrats - have mendaciously pretended, in ever-so-subtle tones, to be about furthering a "White agenda" when in fact all they have ever furthered was a completely non-White Zionist agenda.

The problem for Whites is that the Republican Party, flush with its latest defeat, will emerge all the stronger as a once and future Trojan Horse: co-opting at every turn true proponents of White interests and falsely insinuating itself as holding true (a lie!) to its "conservative" roots - roots that implicitly respect (hah!) "family Values", etc. [Lying]Code words for "White Interests".
Exactly. The faileocons and even racialists like TOQ are drama queens. What leads them astray is they actually buy the exoteric neocon propaganda that something went dramatically wrong in this election, hence the need for big changes. In fact, apart from the matter of jobs and other "spoils," it was a non-event. And the GOP confirmed that it can get white votes by winking. So if they change at all, they will redouble their efforts with spics, who seem to be much more demanding than dittohead whites.
 
Old November 20th, 2008 #12
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Quote:
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Exactly. .......even racialists like TOQ are drama queens. What leads them astray is they actually buy the exoteric neocon propaganda that something went dramatically wrong in this election, hence the need for big changes. .........
what the hell are you talking about? You think anybody associated with TOQ/TOO doesnt know a Jew? Maybe you dont know TOQ-TOO.

Dont assume that just because somebody isnt speaking in the most strident and offensive terms possible that they are duped by some propaganda. Maybe they're contriving their own approach. "let a thousand flowers bloom" said one successful revolutionary
 
Old November 20th, 2008 #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Woodbridge View Post
Although he wasn't perfect, I didn't think it was too bad under Reagan. From what I remember, Reagan just ignored blacks (and their whining) all together. But there has been quite a demographic shift since the '80's. As said before, we are probably beyond accomplishing anything via the voting booth.
Reagan put on his tough-guy grimace and whites were lulled to sleep, thinking they had won. He was a Trojan horse.
 
Old November 21st, 2008 #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antiochus Epiphanes View Post
You think anybody associated with TOQ/TOO doesnt know a Jew?
They know the Jew. They don't know politics.
 
Old June 4th, 2009 #15
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Bill Buckley, Chris Buckley, And The American Conservative Movement’s Missing Second Act

By Peter Brimelow

[See also: William F. Buckley, Jr., RIP—Sort Of and Thoughts On Attending William F. Buckley’s Memorial Mass

The fascinating news that the ageing William F. Buckley, beset by bladder problems, developed the habit of opening the door of his moving limousine and urinating into passing traffic—revealed by his son, Christopher Buckley in Losing Mum and Pup, his unsparing memoir of his just-deceased parents’ final year—is almost laughably symbolic.

CB himself—whose father certainly presented him with much more distressing problems at the terrible end—seems to think WFB was just importing the manly casualness of his much-publicized yachting days. He writes jovially to WFB’s possible victims:

“If you’re out there, the answer is, yes, you were selected from among thousands of other motorists on I-95 to be tinkled on by the Lion of the Right. You should feel honored.”

In fact, of course, WFB’s behavior was insanitary, disgusting, offensive and sociopathically irresponsible. Equally, CB’s account of the youthful WFB’s flying a private plane from Boston back to Yale despite never having soloed, and losing his way in the dark, glosses over (“derring-do”) the reality that innocents on the ground could have been killed. [See WFB's own revelatory account of this here: PDF]

We do learn, however, that CB refused to sail any more with WFB in 1997, after he had insisted on taking CB and others out on overnight excursion although Long Island Sound was wracked by a rising near-hurricane. CB suggests he was thinking of his own, potentially fatherless children. He does not mention the Coast Guard, whom his mother, Pat, had already contacted and who would have been required to attempt a rescue.

CB is aware that he was born into privilege. He repeatedly notes that the weird coldness and selfishness with which both of his parents apparently treated their only child—WFB got bored at CB’s Yale graduation ceremony and made the family party leave for lunch, with no word to CB, abandoned to celebrate alone in a diner—does not constitute tragedy by the standards of the world. And he does not, really, dwell on it.

Regardless of his parent’s behavior, however, being WFB’s son came with a real cost. I became aware of this at the first dinner I had at Buckley’s house, in 1978. On leaving, I said politely to CB, then in his mid 20s, that I was sorry not to have had a chance to talk to him. I was taken aback when he instantly broke into a grin of unmistakable relief. Outside on the pavement of East 73rd Street, Barbara Amiel, my fellow guest and colleague from Canadian journalism, whooped sardonically. But it cannot have been easy to have your home invaded so often by strangers, particularly given the surprisingly trivial talk and constant flattery that WFB required.

Years later, when I was at Forbes Magazine in New York, I exercised editorial privilege, on an impulse of altruism, to insist that a picture of the recent publicity event for CB’s novel Thank You For Smoking be run with my, only loosely related, article on the health advantages of tobacco. To drive home the point, I appropriated the title as a headline. (It’s still my most anthologized article.) I was surprised to meet bitter opposition from the Forbes Art Department. To me, Buckleyism had become, in Tom Piatak’s phrase, “the harmless persuasion”, no longer confronting liberal ideological hegemony, increasingly subservient to the timeserving GOP Beltway Establishment. But to the lumpen liberal functionaries at Forbes, WFB was still the Devil Incarnate, a racist cryptofascist—in fact, all the things that the late, decadent National Review now says about paleoconservatives. And they were illiberally eager to visit the father’s sins on his son.

Conservatives often complain that CB does not have his father’s political interests. But these would have been absolutely incompatible with the career in society journalism that he has made.

(I told my Forbes story to Pat and Bill Buckley at a lunch at their house in Stamford to which Pat had kindly invited me. I thought at the time that WFB was oddly uninterested. I read now that his jealousy of CB’s humorous novels was one of their numerous points of friction).

One other memory of that 1978 dinner: I was impressed to see that WFB and CB greeted each other by unselfconsciously kissing on the mouth. I had never seen American fathers and sons do this, although it is (or was) common in the North of England, where I was born. It was obvious then that they loved each other. And it is obvious now that Losing Mum And Pup, its ruthlessness notwithstanding, is a work of love.

Like Chris Buckley, I am a now-orphaned Baby Boomer. Like him, I had to give the order to take my comatose mother off life support. I found his book skilful and moving. I believe it could very well be helpful and comforting the many millions with elderly parents, who, as he notes, are inexorably moving toward what must be regarded as one of the more serious of life’s passages.

But at the same time, Losing Mum And Pup also makes clear the personal failings that made Buckley such a disaster for the American Conservative Movement and (particularly interesting to me) to the cause of patriotic immigration reform, which he encouraged some of us to champion in National Review before stabbing us in the back and handing the magazine over to hostile neoconservatives and GOP publicists.

Reading CB’s book, I was grimly amused to see how many of the traits I cited in my obituary for WFB—apparently causing great offense to his surviving courtiers at National Review—are confirmed here.

Financial insecurity—CB notes that his parents were not “rich rich” and even claims that WFB’s patrimony was squandered in the stock market in the 1950s, after which he supported his plutocratic lifestyle entirely through journalism.

As a journalist, I find this incredible. But National Review certainly subsidized WFB to a scandalous extent and I have often wondered if money played a role in some of his editorial decisions. Thus patriotic immigration reform was always opposed by Dusty Rhodes, the former Goldman Sachs executive whom WFB, with his snobbish weakness for the wealthy, installed in a vague (probably power-balancing) role at NR.

Alcohol and drugs—CB reports that both of his parents drank heavily—news to me in the case of Pat—and he provides excruciating details of WFB’s massive use of uppers (Ritalin “from his private stash”—legal?) and downers (Stilnox).

At the end, WFB paid a cruel price for this habit. But my own hypothesis is that it accounted for his extraordinary personality change, from the legendarily brilliant rebel who challenged John Lindsay in the 1965 New York Mayor’s race to the exhausted, vacuous, vain volcano I saw in 1978, and was finally betrayed by in 1998. By the 1980s, WFB was quite incapable of fulfilling the leadership role he still insisted upon. And it was the conservative movement, and America, that paid the truly cruel price. Like WFB himself, it turned out that the conservative movement was to have no “second act”, in Scott Fitzgerald’s famous phrase, after the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. WFB simply did not have the energy or the courage to adapt to the next generation of issues. And he was not prepared to tolerate those who did.
Ego and vanity—CB says frankly that WFB “certainly did like praise. Not unusual in writers, but Pup had developed certain—shall we say—Conradian aspects in his declining years”. (This is a reference to Joseph Conrad’s famous remark, “I don’t want criticism, I want praise”.)

CB reveals that WFB, like many writers, had programmed Google to send alerts when his name was mentioned. But, unlike many writers, WFB was able to require his son to read them to him:

“By the time I’d read the one hundredth or so out loud to him, this had become a somewhat vexing aspect of my nursing shifts. I would come to groan upon opening his email to see seventy-five WFB news alerts.”
(They’re all the same, by the way).

CB also recounts his shock at hearing that in June 2007 WFB intended to skip the funeral of his own sister, CB’s aunt, to go to Washington to accept an award:

“It wasn’t the Nobel Peace Prize, but some lifetime anticommunism award. (I don’t mean any disrespect)…By now, Pup had more awards than have been given out in the entire history of the Olympics; more honorary degrees than Erasmus; more medallions than the entire New York City taxi fleet; more…well, you get the point. He’d received just about every honor there is, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and—finally—an honorary degree from Mother Yale. But not to attend Jane’s funeral….for this?”
(It was actually the American Hungarian Federation’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.)

CB’s diagnosis: his father missed “the roar of the crowd”. This also illuminates Larry Auster’s quip in his savage obituary for WFB: “The man has basically been the recipient of a rolling memorial service for the last 20 years, even while he was alive”. Ironically, on CB’s own account, it was the strain of this last ceremony that broke WFB’s health and sent him into terminal decline.

CB says, applying to himself the frankness with which describes his parents, that making audiences laugh is “my one talent”. This is true. He is a gifted humorist, but not a political thinker. Losing Mom and Pup is completely devoid of political ideas, although full of politicians. John McCain is criticized, but simply because he failed to offer his condolences on WFB’s death from the presidential campaign trail—a personal gesture which, CB is no doubt right to observe, his own former employer George H.W. Bush would not have failed to make.

Similarly, CB describes WFB’s peculiar attachment to Henry Kissinger through the détente years as simply a matter of long-standing personal friendship. Yet all by itself, WFB’s behavior during this period discredits the claim, repeated here credulously by his son, that he was father of the modern conservative movement and even the progenitor of Ronald Reagan. To the contrary, Reagan rose to power precisely in opposition to Kissinger’s détente policy and above all to his sell-out of the Panama Canal—which Buckley, breaking ranks with the Right, notoriously supported. (“If Bill had opposed the Panama Canal treaty, he wouldn’t even have gotten on NPR”, William A. Rusher, National Review’s long-time publisher and a shrewd Buckleyologist, explained to me at the time. Rusher, passionately involved in every major conservative battle from the Draft Goldwater movement to the nomination of Ronald Reagan—when WFB, according to Rick Brookhiser in his just-released Right Time, Right Place, preferred Bush, or even (!) Pat Moynihan—is my candidate for father, or at least nursemaid, of the conservative movement.)

Yet CB is delighted to relate that Kissinger delivered eulogies at both of his parents’ memorial services, not the least element in what he obviously regards as great social triumphs. And the fact is that his personal explanation of his father’s support for Kissinger in the détente years is probably right.

Last year, CB garnered great publicity for announcing that he would vote for Obama, neatly maneuvering the flat-footed Dusty Rhodes and Rich Lowry into appearing to force him out of National Review so that he could go off in triumph to be a columnist Tina Brown’s fashionable Daily Beast. Just because you have no political ideas doesn’t mean that you can’t be politic.

There is nothing surprising in this. A monarch butterfly is not going to stay around in winter, even a nuclear winter created by the Bush catastrophe that its father must in part be blamed for. The irony is that WFB, who had already undercut NR editors by bailing out on the Iraq War, would have been perfectly capable of doing the same thing. Son and father were more alike that has been generally assumed.

But at least CB has never pretended to be serious. Nor (as far as I know) has he urinated on passing motorists—or on his country.

Peter Brimelow (email him) is editor of VDARE.COM and author of the much-denounced Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, (Random House - 1995) and The Worm in the Apple (HarperCollins - 2003)

http://www.vdare.com/pb/090603_buckley.htm
 
Old June 4th, 2009 #16
Mike Parker
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 3,311
Mike Parker
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[Goldman Sachs alum seems to be a central figure in delivering the conservative movement over to the neocons.]

Thomas L. (Dusty) Rhodes is an American political editor and is president of National Review magazine.

Rhodes has helped found many organizations and, as of 2005, sits upon several Board of Directors. Some of these organizations and positions are as follows:

Founder and co-chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute,
Founder and a trustee of Change-NY,
Founder and a director of the Project for the Republican Future (1993–1995),
president of National Review and a member of the magazine’s Board of Directors,
Trustee of the Empire Foundation for Policy Research,
Co-chairman of the Club for Growth,
Board member of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprises (1996–1997),
Trustee of the Manhattan Institute (1996–1998),
Member of the Council on Foreign Relations (1991–1997),
Trustee of the Heritage Foundation (1993–1999),
Chairman of the Bradley Foundation.
Rhodes is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_L._Dusty_Rhodes
 
Old June 12th, 2009 #17
Alex Linder
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National Review's original position on race:

October 05, 2005
From National Review's Archives

Let's help National Review plumb its own archives!

National Review on J. R. R. Tolkien on National Review Online : EDITOR'S NOTE: National Review is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week. Throughout the week, NRO will run some pieces from the archives to help take a trip down memory lane. This piece appeared in the September 28, 1973, issue of National Review.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, who died a fortnight ago in his 81st year...

Here's a rather different piece!

National Review editorial, 8/24/1957, 4:7, pp. 148-9: The most important event of the past three weeks was the remarkable and unexpected vote by the Senate to guarantee to defendants in a criminal contempt action the privilege of a jury trial. That vote does not necessarily affirm a citizen's intrinsic rights: trial by jury in contempt actions, civil or criminal, is not an American birthright, and it cannot, therefore, be maintained that the Senate's vote upheld, pure and simple, the Common Law.

What the Senate did was to leave undisturbed the mechanism that spans the abstractions by which a society is guided and the actual, sublunary requirements of the individual community. In that sense, the vote was a conservative victory. For the effect of it is--and let us speak about it bluntly--to permit a jury to modify or waive the law in such circumstances as, in the judgment of the jury, require so grave an interposition between the law and its violator.

What kind of circumstances do we speak about? Again, let us speak frankly. The South does not want to deprive the Negro of a vote for the sake of depriving him of the vote. Political scientists assert that minorities do not vote as a unit. Women do not vote as a bloc, they contend; nor do Jews, or Catholics, or laborers, or nudists--nor do Negroes; nor will the enfranchised Negroes of the South.

If that is true, the South will not hinder the Negro from voting--why should it, if the Negro vote, like the women's, merely swells the volume, but does not affect the ratio, of the vote? In some parts of the South, the White community merely intends to prevail on any issue on which there is corporate disagreement between Negro and White. The White community will take whatever measures are necessary to make certain that it has its way.

What are the issues? Is school integration one? The NAACP and others insist that the Negroes as a unit want integrated schools. Others disagree, contending that most Negroes approve the social sepaation of the races. What if the NAACP is correct, and the matter comes to a vote in a community in which Negroes predominate? The Negroes would, according to democratic processes, win the election; but that is the kind of situation the White community will not permit. The White community will not count the marginal Negro vote. The man who didn't count it will be hauled up before a jury, he will plead not guilty, and the jury, upon deliberation, will find him not guilty. A federal judge, in a similar situation, might find the defendant guilty, a judgment which would affirm the law and conform with the relevant political abstractions, but whose consequences might be violent and anarchistic.

The central question that emerges--and it is not a parliamentary question or a question that is answered by meerely consulting a catalog of the rights of American citizens, born Equal--is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes--the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced ace. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the median cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists. The question, as far as the White community is concerned, is whether the claims of civilization supersede those of universal suffrage. The British believe they do, and acted accordingly, in Kenya, where the choice was dramatically one between civilization and barbarism, and elsewhere; the South, where the conflict is byno means dramatic, as in Kenya, nevertheless perceives important qualitative differences between its culture and the Negroes', and intends to assert its own.

National Review believes that the South's premises are correct. If the majority wills what is socially atavistic, then to thwart the majority may be, though undemocratic, enlightened. It is more important for any community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority. Sometimes it becomes impossible to assert the will of a minority, in which case it must give way, and the society will regress; sometimes the numberical minority cannot prevail except by violence: then it must determine whether the prevalence of its will is worth the terrible price of violence.

The axiom on which many of the arguments supporting the original version of the Civil Rights bill were based was Universal Suffrage. Everyone in America is entitled to the vote, period. No right is prior to that, no obligation subordinate to it; from this premise all else proceeds.

That, of course, is demagogy. Twenty-year-olds do not generally have the vote, and it is not seriously argued that the difference between 20 and 21-year-olds is the difference between slavery and freedom. The residents of the District of Columbia do not vote: and the population of D.C. increases by geometric proportion. Millions who have the vote do not care to exercise it; millions who have it do not know how to exercise it and do not care to learn. The great majorit of the Negroes of the South who do not vote do not care to vote, and would not know for what to vote if they could. Overwhelming numbers of White people in the South do not vote. Universal suffrage is not the beginning of wisdom or the beginning of freedom. Reasonable limitations upon the vote are not exclusively the recommendations of tyrants or oligarchists (was Jefferson either?). The problem in the South is not how to get the vote for the Negro, but how to equip the Negro--and a great many Whites--to cast an enlightened and responsible vote.

The South confronts one grave moral challenge. It must not exploit the fact of Negro backwardness to preserve teh Negro as a servile class. It is tempting and convenient to block the progress of a minority whose services, as menials, are economically useful. Let the South never permit itself to do this. So long as it is merely asserting the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to effect a genuine cultural equality between the races, and so long as it does so by humane and charitable means, the South is in step with civilization, as is the Congress that permits it to function.

http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/mov...es/001467.html
 
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