To awaken his late brother’s movement, Reid Buckley offers bold conservative vision

In the last months of his life, William F. Buckley, Jr., the founder of the iconic National Review magazine and leader of the conservative movement for nearly half a century, saw his life’s work in shatters, writes Buckley’s brother Reid in his new book, “The Idiocy of Assent.”

“He evidently knew…that all his work was disintegrating around him and there was nothing he (nor anyone else) could do to resuscitate it,” Reid Buckley writes.

Buckley’s book seeks to fill the void with a blistering assault on American culture he sees as faltering due to moral decay, universities steeped in post-modernism and a conservative movement smugly pleased with itself and narrow in its focus.

Buckley rails against the baby boomers’ sense of entitlement, fitness “freaks” who put their faith in the “corruptible body” and, in six consecutive chapters, “American stupidity.”

He discusses resigning from a teaching position at a university out of disgust at the dismal work of his students, the big spending betrayals by Republicans during the Bush years and urges the right to make “the true, the good and the beautiful” its top priority.

Though the GOP made huge gains in the midterm elections, Buckley views conservatives’ – and America’s — overall situation as dire. Buckley urges radical spending cuts, but concedes the right will need to somehow make peace with big government or find itself soon on the fringes of American political life.

The Daily Caller talked with Buckley about his book, why expected Speaker-to-be John Boehner should resign, and what East Coast elites can learn from Sarah Palin:

Republicans just won over 60 seats in the House and made major gains in the Senate, in part because of the energy of a protest movement, the Tea Partiers, who demand a smaller government. Yet you see a dark future for conservatives?

I think it’s sort of the last gasp of an expiring base. It’s delightful and I hope that the Tea Party-backed people in the Congress have their way, but I think, still, that we’re talking about a base that is bit by bit disappearing.

Number one, the American public is almost incredibly ignorant [about] the founding of the Republic. Number two, there is a paganization in our culture. And number three, we have to absorb a whole bunch of Hispanics and also Asians, who in all their history, going back before the middle ages, have never experienced free government or the notion of a republic. That takes a huge change in their native reflexes, and it requires acculturation which is not done by the immigration services.

My wife was born in Spain, raised in Spain, she’s now an American citizen. And I can tell you, the instructions she got to become an American citizen were incredibly superficial — none of the major philosophical questions that brought up our republic.

She doesn’t really have much understanding of the structure of the government. And why should she? Nobody is really giving that kind of instruction any more.

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  • JoeJ

    An interesting article. But typically, it never mentions the invisible elephant in our political scene.

    William F. Buckley Jr. screwed conservatism when he invited in the Zionists.

    The Zionists have changed conservatism to the its current positions of aggressive warmongering, championing big money Wall Street greed, and the advancement of government over personal freedom.

    Traditional conservatism is isolationist and adverse to government power. It was also mostly small business orientated.

    Hopefully the Tea Party folks will eventually bring us back to our traditional conservative values.

  • GrouchoNotKarl

    The whole immigrant part may be right but it also goes back to as early in the 20th century when all the immigrants came from Europe,ignorant of the Constitution, and adopted the progressive movement in Wilson et al. They do need to be instructed in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, history of American revolution, and the meaning of freedom/self-reliance. Americans took up FDR’s New Deal without any concern for their freedoms, either economic or civil. And he was reelected 4 times, the closest thing America had to a King. It almost seems inevitable that totalitarianism will creep into the world and may occur in this side of hemisphere when the mother of all economic bubbles bursts and the ignorant masses beseech the government to take all our freedoms for protection. Ignorance is the enemy.

    • flips

      Which of your freedoms have been taken away by Obama and the evil Democrats?

      Just curious.

      • Rational_Texan

        What about the freedom to live in America without having to buy health insurance?

        • flips

          Health Insurance mandates were a Conservative idea. Don’t blame Democrats.

          What else you got?

          What freedoms have the Democrats taken from you?

          • The_anniebanannie

            HAHah…the idiot flips screws up again. Did you read your own source? It starts out by quoting an unknown economist from the 1980’s, goes to Mitt Romney who has been excoriated by the right wing for the mandated health insurance plan in Massachusettes and then the article ends up with Tommy Thompson, who is misquoted. Thompson and Daschle were having a debate and it was Daschle that brought up the comparison of car insurance and health insurance. In fact, Thompson said he wasn’t for mandates.


          • loudog

            “For Republicans, the idea of requiring every American to have health insurance is one of the most abhorrent provisions of the Democrats’ health overhaul bills.

            “Congress has never crossed the line between regulating what people choose to do and ordering them to do it,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “The difference between regulating and requiring is liberty.”

            But Hatch’s opposition is ironic, or some would say, politically motivated. The last time Congress debated a health overhaul, when Bill Clinton was president, Hatch and several other senators who now oppose the so-called individual mandate actually supported a bill that would have required it.

            In fact, says Len Nichols of the New America Foundation, the individual mandate was originally a Republican idea. “It was invented by Mark Pauly to give to George Bush Sr. back in the day, as a competition to the employer mandate focus of the Democrats at the time.”

            Read more: http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2010/02/16/health-care-republicans-oppose-their-own-idea/#ixzz15OyvkdKi

          • des1

            “Health Insurance mandates were a Conservative idea. Don’t blame Democrats.”

            You have to love idiocy in action. Even if we were to buy your premise (which I’m not), if Republicans talked about killing old people to save health care costs, but the Democrats voted to implement the murders, would you be here saying that we couldn’t blame the Democrats?

            I’ve got news for you, chucklehead…if the Dems are the ones who passed it and you don’t hold them accountable, then you need to change your title to “DemOralProctologist.”

          • The_anniebanannie

            “Mark Pauly”

            Loudog, sometimes you’re just plain obtuse…chiming into a thread with some brand spanking new information that really isn’t.

            Pauly is the same old economist from the 1980’s that flips’ article was about. Stating another lefty source that uses the same lefty article isn’t new info….and it’s just as stupid. So he “presented” some information to Bush,,,,so? BFD.

          • loudog

            Sure, Pauly brought up individual mandates for Republicans to counter the Democrat employer mandate plan with. For those too obtuse to understand, an individual mandate comes from Republicans.

      • truebearing


        “Which of your freedoms have been taken away by Obama and the evil Democrats?”

        All of them. Everything Obama has done reduces our freedom. When government grows in size and power the individual necessarily loses freedom, choice, liberty.

        When the government forces us to buy health insurance, but restricts our options for that care, we lose freedom.

        When the government squanders our taxes, and keeps taking more, we lose your financial liberty.

        When the government ignores laws that protect individual investors, we lose one of the keys to our pursuit of happiness.

        When the government schemes to control radio, television, and the internet, we lose our right to a free press.

        When the government forfeits national sovereignty we lose control of the nation to international courts.

        When the government takes over the school curriculums and uses the teachers to indoctrinate children, the children lose the right to a truthful, useful education.

        When the government plots to impose a socialist health care system, with death panels, we lose our right to life.

        When the president fails to protect the borders and coddles radical Islam, we lose our national identity and security.

        Obama has been working very hard to destroy this nation as a free, capitalist, democratic republic, and reinvent it as a subordinate state to a transnational Statist regime. That is the very definition of losing freedom.

        A goose stepper like yourself wouldn’t see that as a problem. You are just too depraved to get it.

  • kroyall

    If this guy is right I guess Carlson should close up shop and take this site down. I am a pessimistic person at times but if we are going to be defeatist we might as well give it up. No more articles or opinion pieces are needed. We can withdraw to our little hovels and wait around until Armageddon.

    Where were these people when Obama was elected and there was a huge Democrat victory? Here we have a grass roots movement that is pretty darn conservative and a big electoral win and NOW it is time to admit defeat? It is obvious Buckley sucked up all of the greatness in his family. His son and brother are a mess.

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  • flips

    “we have to absorb a whole bunch of Hispanics and also Asians”

    Do you folks agree with this statement?

    • baal

      Flips, you’re the village idiot, please dont talk. The adults are speaking. Go back to drooling or cleaning toilets.

  • oldguy5

    and, when we lose GOD’s help we will become dust.