Tuesday, December 19, 2006

John Judis' Buckley Biography

In 1988 John Judis published a biography of William F. Buckley. In reading it I am reminded of why I dislike this man. He was brought up in the lap of privilege, by a father who was a European-style Catholic defender of any Catholic-dominated status-quo and who saw almost any more democratic challenge as the march of Communism. His father defended the Mexican dictator Diaz against even bourgeois revolutionaries and was more opposed to Communism and Russia than he was to Hitler and Nazi Germany. Both father and son opposed U.S. entry into World War II until we were attacked by the Japanese. The father saw himself as a counter-revolutionary and Jr. has really been a counter-revolutionary all of his life, though the 'revolution' against which Jr. has fought was the New Deal. Jr. is from childhood described as a haughty, aristocratic, product of privilege, who was very much in his father's image. Buckley Sr. and Jr. would have been far more happy to live under a Catholic monarchy where they were members of the nobility and kept the 'rabble' in their place. Any support for democratic civil liberties on Buckley's part would be secondary to his predilection for a preferred authority's rule over all; thus, his defense of fellow Catholic anti-Communist Joseph McCarthy and his seeming less concerned about Nazisim. I don't see any reason to see William F. Buckley, Jr. as a defender of individual freedom.

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