Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pseudo-Conservative Buckley vs. Noam Chomsky

I consider William F. Buckley almost a founding member of the pseudo-conservative pantheon. I would not consider Buckley a "conservative" and as I pointed out in my first post neither did Clinton Rossiter in his Conservatism in America. Rossiter called Buckley an "ultra-conservative" a term I also rejected in my first post in favor of pseudo-conservative, that is, a sham or spurious conservative; one who is apparently conservative but not actually so.

But here's an interesting fact about William F. Buckley. He hosted his TV program "Firing Line" for 33 years, from 1966 to 1999. The right-leaning Hoover Institution at Stanford has a collection of all the programs in a searchable database. Buckley had 1504 programs in all. After Noam Chomsky published his American Power and the New Mandarins in 1969 Buckley had him on his show no. 143 on April 3, 1969. You can see a part of the debate just below separated into two segments(only about 19 minutes of what was a 50 minute program, though an additional 5-6 minutes of the program introduction is available on the Hoover site):

I'd like to make two points about the 19 minutes of this video that is readily available. First, it presents two extremely intelligent and remarkably articulate human beings in debate. To me, Buckley's remarkable mind and verbal facility are placed in the service of pure debating tactics where what counts is impressing an audience with one's cleverness and, hopefully, bullying and distracting one's opponent by constant interruption and invitations to go off on tangents. Chomsky, on the other hand carefully addresses each of Buckley's conceptual and historical points.

No comments: