Rebirth of Reason

William F. Buckley: An altruist-collectivist hawk

Sanctions: 9
Sanctions: 9
William F. Buckley: An altruist-collectivist hawk
Altruist-collectivist hawks are required to get welfare-warfare statism get off the ground in a given nation. They find myriad ways to justify altruism, collectivism, and perpetual warfare. Here's good evidence that William F. Buckley was that kind of a person.

Rand said that "America’s inner contradiction was the altruist-collectivist ethics." (VOS, 95) William F. Buckley thought differently. Edward Cline writes, in his article, The Philosophic Postmortem of William F. Buckley, Jr., that ...
William F. Buckley proposed that ideas were not necessary. Faith and tradition were enough to save the country.
Altruist-collectivist hawks tend to be masters at dissemble -- probably because what they are "selling" (i.e., nationalistic, altruistic sacrifice) is such a hard sell to a reasonable person. Indeed, Cline hit the nail on the head when he called Buckley "the Ellsworth Toohey of the Right.

That Buckley was indeed an altruist is evidenced further in the article, when Cline quotes Buckley in the New York Daily News shortly after Rand's death:
She was an eloquent and persuasive anti-statist, and if only she had left it at that, but no. She had to declare that God did not exist, that altruism was despicable, that only self-interest was good and noble.
Cline pens it well when he finishes with:
Let no one doubt that Buckley understood Rand's philosophy to the core, that he feared it, and chose as his weapon against it the Toohey-esqe tactic of snickering laughter. For that reason alone, he should be damned and no respectful esteem granted him.
In order for an altruist-collectivist hawk to make ideological room in someone's head for their ideas, they would have to denounce other, contrary ideas -- such as reason, freedom, or individualism -- which may be inhabiting one's mind. In order to try to make a good case then, if there ever was a defender of reason, freedom, and individualism -- then she would have to be discredited somehow to make room for the statist ideals ...

In writing his article, Ayn Rand Lives!, Robert Bidinotto makes the point that Buckley denounced Rand for as long as he knew her (and even after her death):
But when a William F. Buckley can declare, in 1982, that Ayn Rand and her ideas are "dead," yet find himself compelled to publish, in 2003, a badly written book trashing Ayn Rand and her ideas, then it becomes very clear whose cause is dead, and whose cause lives on.
Results of such a trashing -- and its effects on some critics -- show up in an editorial review of Buckley's 2003 book, Getting It Right, at the Amazon online bookstore:
Rand is unmasked (yet again) as a sexually and intellectually manipulative egomaniac, and the wisdom of the National Review and its staff is affirmed regularly.

While Rand was alive, she tried to warn Barry Goldwater of a movement, cabal, or pressure group without a name -- something that may have (whether mistakenly or not) later been referred back to as the neoconservative movement. Harry Binswanger quotes Rand's warning to Goldwater in his article, William F. Buckley, Jr. - The Witch-Doctor is Dead ...

This leads me to the subject of the National Review. I am profoundly opposed to it--not because it is a religious magazine, but because it pretends that it is not. ...

... to slip religious goals by stealth on those who would not accept them openly, to "bore from within," to tie Conservatism to religion, and thus to take over the American Conservatives. This attempt comes from a pressure group wider than the National Review, but the National Review is one of its manifestations. ...

... I do not believe that that pressure group could succeed in making you its tool. But a philosophical pressure group is very hard to detect, particularly at first. That is why I want to warn you against them now, and help you to identify the nature of their influence.
In Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (p 42), Rand said that:
If men want to oppose war, it is statism that they must oppose. So long as they hold the tribal notion that the individual is sacrificial fodder for the collective, that some men have the right to rule others by force, and that some (any) alleged "good" can justify it—there can be no peace within a nation and no peace among nations.
That this "new movement" of conservatives was toward more altruism, collectivism, statism (and ensuing war both within nation and without) is evidenced by a data point in the Binswanger article:
... in the mid-sixties, conservatives offered a proposed package of amendments to the New York State Constitution. One of them would have allowed State aid to Catholic schools (Buckley was a Catholic). Another had approximately this wording: "All powers not expressly delegated to the people are hereby reserved to the State." It was a deliberate reversal of the entire meaning of a constitution ... an unlimited grant of power to the government. Buckley campaigned in favor of the package.
A relevant point that Buckley was a war-hawk becomes salient when considering his response to Robert Welch's opposing the Vietnam War (as Rand had done) -- by immediately denouncing the John Birch Society which Welch was heading. Nevertheless, Binswanger ends without moral compromise:
Buckley, more than anyone else, is responsible for subverting the "conservative movement," turning it into its current, depraved status as the anti-reason, anti-man, welfare-statist "religious right." The world is well rid of him.
In basic terms, Buckley would be considered responsible for the "new conservative" movement that we are suffering from today. That's harsh. That Binswanger wasn't being too harsh here -- that Buckley wasn't actually very far from being a literal, philosophical anti-Christ -- is evidenced by Buckley's own words on the Chambers review, quoted from his book, Did You Ever See a Dream Walking, by Craig Ceely in his article, William F. Buckley, Jr. - Rest in Perdition ...
Man of the Right, or conservative, or whatever you wish to call him, Chambers did in fact read Miss Rand right out of the conservative movement. He did so by pointing out that her philosophy is in fact another kind of materialism -- not the dialectical materialism of Marx, but the materialism of technocracy, of the relentless self-server who lives for himself and for absolutely no one else, whose concern for others is explainable merely as an intellectualized recognition of the relationship between helping others and helping oneself. ...

Her exclusion from the conservative community was, I am sure, in part the result of her desiccated philosophy's conclusive incompatibility with the conservative's emphasis on transcendance, intellectual and moral; but also there is the incongruity of tone, that hard, schematic, implacable, unyielding dogmatism that is in itself intrinsically objectionable, whether it comes from the mouth of Ehrenburg, or Savonarola, or Ayn Rand. Chambers knew that specific ideologies come and go but that rhetorical totalism is always in the air, searching for the ideologue-on-the-make; and so he said things about Miss Rand's tone of voice which, I would hazard the guess, if they were true of anyone else's voice, would tend to make it eo ipso unacceptable for the conservative.
That's plain black and white right there. Reading Rand right out of the "new" movement. Calling her philosophy "materialism", "desiccated", and "dogmatism" -- complete with an appeal to intimidation regarding rational self-interest. Toohey himself would have used both similar terms and similar tones. Such is the nature of this "new conservative" movement.

Buckley's moral praise for the Chambers review is in stark contrast with an independent moral evaluation by Robert Tracinski, in his article, A Half-Century-Old Attack on Ayn Rand Reminds Us of the Dark Side of Conservatism ...
Chambers uses Ayn Rand merely as a springboard for a rambling invective against the atheistic belief in the natural world (which he condemns as "materialism"); against certainty in epistemology (which he calls "arrogance"); against "black and white" judgment in morality (which he objects to as "inflexibly self-righteous"); against idealism in politics ...

The theme of the article, expressed in a pompously over-intellectual style, is anti-intellectualism. Chambers echoes the old subjectivist canard that too much rational certainty is what leads to dictatorship. ...

Chambers, like today's religious conservatives, presumably preferred a "God-centered" society—which some of NRO's authors are all too glad to enforce at the point of a gun.

This is a reminder that when it comes to a conflict between religion and the greatest philosophical (and literary) defender of liberty in the past century, the conservatives have chosen—and are continuing to choose—religion. It is reminder that conservative intellectuals like Whittaker Chambers—and those at today's NRO who agree with him—are ultimately the enemies of liberty.

That this "new conservative" movement of altruism, collectivism, statism, and war didn't die with Buckley -- but is alive and well in America today -- is evidenced by Marcus Epstein in his article, Buckley Fiction ...

George Orwell famously wrote, "who controls the past controls the future," and this book will surely be used to justify future purges by National Review. So using the precedent of Buckley’s purges, David Frum wrote a cover story in National Review calling for National Reviewians to "turn their backs" on paleos. The next day, he printed a letter by an ex-paleo who wrote that "[i]t’s time that [paleos] went the way of Objectivism and The John Birch Society."
David Frum, a member of this "new conservative" movement/pressure group, should never have condoned even an indirect slander of Objectivism like that. Folks like me won't stand quiet when such morally repugnant things like that are done.

Don't let it go.


Added by Ed Thompson
on 10/11, 8:48pm

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