Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Ohituary: Gore Vidal on William F. Buckley

I saw Best Of Enemies last night:

It was a very fun and instructive movie. If you want to learn how to debate, watch this film. Before seeing the film, I did not realize how much Vidal had gotten under Buckley's skin during their famous 1968 debates,

Buckley was a great debater, but Vidal was even better. And they truly hated each other.

Buckley once wrote a dud ohituary of Murray Rothbard (becasue Rothbard split with him over his pro-war views and once he called Buckley a defacto totalitarian.), After seeing the film, I decided to check out Vidal's ohituary of Buckley.

Buckley's Rothbard ohituary looks like hosannas compared to the masterly job Vidal did on Buckley. A snippet:

[B]ack in 1968, ABC TV had asked me and Buckley to "debate" each other at the Democratic and Republican conventions. Although Buckley was often drunk and out of control, he was always a spontaneous liar on any subject that his dizzy brain might extrude. When we were in Chicago during the Republican convention, the Chicago police decided it would be fun to attack the young co-ed demonstrators in Grant Park, not far from our studio. It was one of the worst displays of police brutality I've ever seen, and so I said on air; he liked what the police had done; in no time, the whole country was as shocked as I, but not Buckley. On air he was hissing like a cobra against the young people in Grant Park because, he said, they were egging on the Viet Cong to kill American Marines. They were not, of course. Buckley was a world-class American liar on the far right who would tell any lie he thought he could get away with. Years of ass-kissing famous people in the press and elsewhere had given him, he felt, a sort of license to libelously slander those hated liberals who, from time to time, smoked him out as I did in Chicago, when I defended the young people in Grant Park by denying that they were Nazis and that the only "pro- or crypto-Nazi" I could think of was himself. He sued me and got nowhere.


  1. I would strongly recommend watching Buckley's interview with Noam Chomsky (it's online) if you haven't seen it. Buckley tried his best to argue with insults and by creating rhetorical traps, but neither worked. He was clearly outmatched and couldn't keep his temper in control towards the end of the interview.

  2. The 1968 Chicago police riot was outside the Democratic Party convention, not the Republican. One would think that Vidal would have got that right. (The Republican convention was in Miami Beach -- which location was easier to cordon off to protect Nixon from the anti-war protesters.)

  3. "On air he was hissing like a cobra against the young people in Grant Park because, he said, they were egging on the Viet Cong to kill American Marines."

    So, the protesters were *not* anti-free-market?

    Because that's what "anti-war" amounts to, for the Left: America wasn't trying to save others from the collectivism that killed millions of people (which is what Conservatives mistakenly believe was the goal of the Viet Nam war), but rather, "free market imperialism" (my words) was enslaving the world via Neo-Colonialism.

    On a related note, are you aware that the Occupy Wall Street protests were instigated by Communists like Stephen Lerner of SEIU?:

    Who Is Behind the ‘US Day of Rage’ to ‘Occupy’ Wall Street this September 17th?

    The 60's protests were Communist in nature, for the most part. The Left doesn't protest war, per se - they were essentially protesting free markets. So, of course, the Grant Park protesters wanted the Viet Cong to kill American Marines.

    1. Not sure I would go that far, but like any war the foreign invaders have little to no justication for raping and pillaging the countryside. Or burning villages as was the case in more than a few instances in Vietnam. Natrually the local population will put number the foreigners and feel justified in taking up arms against the invaders.

      My thoughts on the matter are the defenders of the free market should have been laughing at the comunists because it should have been painfully obvious to any true believer in the power of freed markets that comunism would fail in due time. No need to go to war over it...or be so Damn pants wetting scared of it.