Joe Scarborough skips the dirty parts

Joe Scarborough skips the dirty parts

by digby

Morning Joe explainswhy he's a conservative:

I was asked online earlier today for the historical text that best describes conservatism as I understand it. My answer to that question comes from a text that has been taped to the wall of my office for 20 years now. It was written (of course) by William F. Buckley and it describes the kind of conservatism that shaped my thinking in Congress and still influences my thinking today.

In his 1959 classic "Up From Liberalism" Buckley wrote:

"I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power, as I see fit. I mean to live my life an obedient man, but obedient to God, subservient to the wisdom of my ancestors; never to the authority of political truths arived at yesterday at the voting booth. That is a program of sorts, is it not? It is certainly program enough to keep conservatives busy, and Liberals at bay. And the nation free."

Well, that sounds just terrific. Freedom. What could be wrong with that? Except Buckley also had some other ideas about what was a "political truth arrived at yesterday at the voting booth" didn't he?

A 1957 editorial written by Buckley, "Why the South Must Prevail" (National Review, 8/24/57), cited the "cultural superiority of white over Negro" in explaining why whites were "entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where [they do] not predominate numerically." Appearing on NPR’s Fresh Air in 1989 (rebroadcast 2/28/08), he stood by the passage. "Well, I think that's absolutely correct," Buckley told host Terry Gross when she read it back to him.

A 1960 National Review editorial supported South Africa’s white minority rule (4/23/60): "The whites are entitled, we believe, to preeminence in South Africa." In a 1961 National Review column about colonialism—which the magazine once called "that brilliantly conceived structure" (William F. Buckley, John Judis)--Buckley explained that "black Africans" left alone "tend to revert to savagery." The same year, in a speech to the group Young Americans for Freedom, Buckley called citizens of the Congo "semi-savages" (National Review, 9/9/61).
National Review editors condemned the 1963 bombing of a black Birmingham Church that killed four children, but because it "set back the cause of the white people there so dramatically," the editors wondered "whether in fact the explosion was the act of a provocateur—of a Communist, or of a crazed Negro" (Chicago Reader, 8/26/05).

Just months before the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed, Buckley warned in his syndicated column (2/18/65) that "chaos" and "mobocratic rule" might follow if "the entire Negro population in the South were suddenly given the vote." In his 1969 column "On Negro Inferiority" (4/8/69), Buckley heralded as "massive" and "apparently authoritative" academic racist Arthur Jensen's findings that blacks are less intelligent than whites and Asians.
The ugliness of Buckley’s public advocacy was not restricted to race. McCarthy and His Enemies, published in 1954 and coauthored by Buckley with Brent Bozell Sr., called Sen. Joseph McCarthy "a prophet," and described McCarthyism as "a movement around which men of good will and stern morality can close ranks."

Buckley’s disdain for what he called "liberals' fetishistic commitment to democracy" (William F. Buckley, John Judis) was evident in his admiration for dictators, including Spain's Francisco Franco and Chile's Augusto Pinochet. "General Franco is an authentic national hero," wrote Buckley (National Review, 10/ 26/57), lauding the fascist for wresting Spain from its democracy and "the visionaries, ideologues, Marxists and nihilists" in charge. Pinochet was defended (National Review, 11/23/98) for deposing the democratically elected Salvador Allende, "a president who was defiling the Chilean constitution and waving proudly the banner of his friend and idol, Fidel Castro."

During the Cold War, Buckley advocated massive violence against disfavored nations. In 1965, four years after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, he continued to call for an invasion of Cuba (National Review, 4/20/65). The same year, he called for a nuclear attack on China's nuclear production facilities (Life, 9/17/65). In a 1968 syndicated column (2/22/68), he urged a nuclear attack on North Vietnam.

Through the years, the self-styled libertarian conservative backed policies calling for deep state intrusion into the private lives of citizens. In his 1965 campaign for mayor of New York City, he called for the relocation of 'chronic welfare cases" to "rehabilitation centers" outside the city and for drug addicts to be quarantined (William F. Buckley, John Judis).

In a 1986 New York Times op-ed (3/18/86), Buckley urged that 'everyone detected with AIDS should be tattooed in the upper forearm, to protect common-needle users, and on the buttocks, to prevent the victimization of other homosexuals." In 2005 Buckley obliquely tried to rekindle interest in the policy in a column (National Review, 2/19/05):
Someone, 20 years ago, suggested a discreet tattoo the site of which would alert the prospective partner to the danger of proceeding as had been planned. But the author of the idea was treated as though he had been schooled in Buchenwald, and the idea was not widely considered, but maybe it is up now for reconsideration.

He famously "purged" the conservative movement of the Birchers, (and allegedly recanted some of his racist views --- and I do mean allegedly) but it sure as hell took him awhile. There were a whole lot of people who didn't need to "evolve" from the idea of authoritarian white supremacy in the 1960s, especially intellectuals. When men like that talk about "liberty", it's wise to watch your back if you don't happen to be a member of their club.