National Review’s Bigoted Rants

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare

Recently by Thomas DiLorenzo: Constitutional Neoconmen

     

The whole world should know by now that the neocons at National Review magazine, the War Street Journal, and elsewhere will tell any lie in pursuit of political power. Lying the nation into war with Iraq by spreading the falsehood of "weapons of mass destruction" that were supposedly headed our way was the most atrociously evil act perpetrated by the U.S government and its propaganda organs in decades, having led to the senseless death of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

No one should be surprised that National Review is now engaged in a spectacular act of chutzpah, to put it mildly, by smearing Ron Paul as being insensitive on matters of race. Before anyone gives any credence to the latest smear campaign against Congressman Paul it would be useful to take a look at National Review's own record of publications on the issue of race relations. It is not a pretty picture.

National Review's Support of Apartheid

All during the time that the real godfather of neoconservatism, William F. Buckley, Jr., was editor, National Review editorialized in favor of the evil South African system of institutionalized discrimination against blacks known as "Apartheid." In an unsigned editorial on November 9, 1979 the magazine praised South Africa's President Botha who it said "has earned the benefit of a doubt from responsible critics." The critics were not named, but Buckley is probably who the anonymous editorialist (probably Buckley himself) had in mind.

On February 8, 1985 Buckley praised the supposed "liberalization of the Apartheid laws under Prime Minister Botha," reminiscent of how some intellectuals used to talk about "socialism with a friendly face." Apartheid with a friendly face.

On March 28, 1985 Buckley pronounced that Botha was "widely, and properly, derided' for suggesting that Nelson Mandela was "a political prisoner, rather than a terrorist . . . " On September 20, 1985 Buckley pontificated that "Where Mandela belongs . . . is precisely where he is: in jail." On May 23, 1986 an unsigned National Review editorial criticized those who called for the abolition, as opposed to what Buckley called the "reform" of Apartheid. He wasn't opposed to institutionalized government discrimination against blacks as long as it was done "the right way."

Buckley waxed indignantly over the international criticism of the Botha regime in South Africa, complaining in a July 23, 1976 article about the United Nations that there is "international indignation" whenever the South African government stepped up enforcement of the Apartheid laws, but much less so when crimes are committed by "black Africans." Here Buckley was criticizing the UN's criticisms of the brutal and murderous Apartheid suppression of the Soweto uprising against the system.

National Review's Smears of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Unlike Ron Paul, who has stated publicly and on television that Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks are among his heroes for practicing peaceful, civil disobedience against government, in the true spirit of libertarianism, Buckley's National Review expressed nothing but contempt (and worse) for Dr. King. Complaining bitterly about the King national holiday, an unsigned National Review editorial on October 28, 1983 remarked that "it rankles that we should be asked to take the day off to remember a man whose career was built on leisure. (The GNP, after all, is not produced by people marching in the streets)." Thus, if the neocons at National Review had their way, there would have been no protests against unequal treatment of blacks under the law in the 1960s.

Even worse, the editorial goes on to say that since Dr. King was supposedly such a bum and a loafer, "Perhaps MLK Day should be celebrated only by the gainfully employed, and all those on welfare should be required to collect their checks as usual." That would be more acceptable to Buckley and his fellow neocons, says the editorial.

It gets worse. In a February 13, 1987 unsigned editorial Dr. King is portrayed as the epitome of the old racist stereotype of the black man who cannot control his sexual urges. Citing a professor who had produced "studies" of Dr. King, the editorial called him "a compulsive philanderer, and compulsive may be too weak a word." Not only that, but "King was [allegedly] closely and continuously associated with several men who were almost certainly Communists . . ." Martin Luther King, Jr., according to the neocons at National Review, was "almost certainly" a communistic sex maniac.

This comment about consorting with communists reminds your writer of the highly publicized friendship that Buckley had with the preeminent communistic public intellectual of his day, John Kenneth Galbraith. Of course, as my old friend Yuri Maltsev reminds us, even the Soviets never actually practiced "communism" per se. Communism was always the theoretical end state of history that was never realized. What the Soviets practiced was socialism, and there was never a bigger American cheerleader for socialism during the twentieth century than William F. Buckley, Jr.'s pal, John Kenneth Galbraith.

Being exasperated about the enshrinement of the King holiday, National Review figuratively threw up its hands in another unsigned editorial on February 13, 1987 and besmirched the holiday as" affirmative action in the creation of national memorials." "But let's hang in there," the neocon tabloid advised, "and contribute to the disposal of the historical Dr. King down the memory hole."

National Review's Support for White Supremacy

In an early, August 1957 editorial National Review asked the question of whether "the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally . . . " "The sobering answer is Yes — the White community is entitled because . . . it is the advanced race." It is "almost certain" that this was written by Buckley. To bolster its case for White supremacy in the South (and presumably in the North as well), the editorial cited unnamed "statistics" that supposedly proved "median cultural superiority of White over Negro . . ."

Universal suffrage (i.e. ending government interferences with the right to vote by blacks) would be harmful to "the claims of civilization," said the editorial. The same editorial also praised the actions of the British government in Kenya for basing its discriminatory policies on its perception of "qualitative differences between its culture and the Negroes," or "between civilization and barbarism . . ." After all, a March 1960 National Review editorial intoned, "in the Deep South the Negroes are retarded" and any attempt to argue this point is mere "demagoguery." Ah, that Buckley had a magical touch with the English language, did he not?

Buckley even had kind words for former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke of Louisiana. "[J]ust as we like to think Gorbachev has truly renounced the evil doctrines he was so recently associated with," Buckley wrote on December 2, 1991, "so has David Duke." He then praises Duke for his view that "white people also have rights." Huh? Whoever said that white people did not have "rights"?! Buckley then says that if he lived in Louisiana he probably wouldn't vote for Duke (who was running for public office at the time), but then again "I would however force myself to wonder whether I was being vindictive" by not voting for David Duke.

In sum, most of these racist rants were probably the work of William F. Buckley. If they were not, he certainly approved of them since he was the editor-in-chief of the magazine in which they appeared. As the "flagship" neoconservative publication for so many years, these views can be legitimately called the Official Doctrine of the neocons on the issue of race.

When the smear campaign against Ron Paul commenced in 2007, a leader of the smear campaigners was a young twenty-three-year old neocon named James Kirchick who laughingly called Congressman Paul a "racist" for merely expressing support for the Jeffersonian, states' rights/decentralized government philosophy. Kirchick was responsible for other much more outrageous smears as well, and was assisted by many of the anti-Paul D.C. "libertarians" associated with the Cato Institute and other elements of the "Kochtopus," the empire of think tanks and propaganda organs funded by billionaire Charles Koch.

As a neocon in good standing, Kirchich has had nothing but the highest of praise for the man responsible for all of the above-mentioned racist rants — William F. Buckley, Jr. In a eulogy for Buckley that was published in the February 27, 2008 issue of The New Republic (the day of Buckley's death), Kirchick swooned that "liberals could not find a more gracious intellectual opponent than WFB." Kirchick said he enjoyed "relishing Buckley's intellect, style and the voluminous service he performed on behalf of the English language." "[N]o American writer of the last half century had a more significant impact on our politics than he has," Kirchick approvingly intoned. What a love story.

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton's Curse: How Jefferson's Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution — And What It Means for America Today.

The Best of Thomas DiLorenzo at LRC

Thomas DiLorenzo Archives at Mises.org

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare
  • LRC Blog

  • LRC Podcasts