Buckley’s ’69 Preview of a Pax Americana

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William F. Buckley, a man so idiosyncratic he could only be described as a caricature of himself, died on Wednesday. A conservative writer, magazine founder, failed NYC mayoral candidate, and television host, Buckley’s views and his magazine, the National Review, could very well be considered Mother Jones’ ideological counterbalance, a publication that, as described by the New York Times, “isolated [the] cranks from Mr. Buckley’s chosen mainstream.”

I found this gem of a video today, Buckley going up against Noam Chomsky in a 1969 debate on American imperialism and intervention. It shows a classic Buckley, so enamored with his own mannerisms and quirks that he hardly notices Chomsky tearing him apart. In making the case for an imperialism that seeks to “help” as opposed to exploit, Buckley says, “There is an observable distinction by, ahem, intelligent man between a country that reaches out and interferes with the affairs of another country because it has reason to believe that a failure to do so will result in universal misery, and that country which reaches out and interferes with another country because it wants to establish Coca Cola plants and Chase national banks and whatever and exploit it.” And there you have it, one of the founders of the modern conservative movement lays out an ideology that will come in handy for a certain group o’ buddies 34 years later.

Video after the jump:

—Andre Sternberg

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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