Who are the worst dead conservative writers?
William Buckley would be my choice. (I have long used the term “Buckleyite” to describe the various phalanges of his far flung array of “conservative” groups. It’s a term that has been in public usage since the 1960s.)
Robert Welch — not Ayn Rand — would be runner up.
Together, Buckley and Welch pretty much closed the door on any adult discussion of really serious matters like race and Jewish issues.
Buckley — a CIA agent — cornered the market on the more inhibited self-identified as “high brow” element.
Welch — surrounded by Jews and financed by them — worked a different market: people who were more gutsy and less constrained by published opinion.
The idea that Buckley as an agent of the System’s political police was going to “stop history in its tracks and tell it to turn around” (to use his self-description of National Review) is something only the hopelessly naive could entertain.
Re Mr. Welch, young people are probably too dismissive of the John Birch Society. JBS gobbled up and wasted probably well over 100 million dollars. In its heyday it was not what it later became — a collection of marginalized people of little influence.
Chief Justice Rehnquist was a John Birch Society member back in the early 60s. That this little factoid didn’t become an issue in his confirmation hearings or in the media tells you that the System had a soft spot in its heart for him. And wisely so. In one of his opinions as an aside he went out of his way to say that he thought Beauharhais vs. Illinois was good law. This was a Supreme Court decision in 1952 that upheld a Canada-style law in Illinois making it a crime to say something that exposed an ethnic group or race up public contempt. Beauharnais (that may not be the exact name) was convicted and jailed for publishing statistics on the differential venereal disease rates between Whites and Blacks.
Several hundred thousand people were put through the Birch scam. They signed up. They were indoctrinated by the Society primarily to believe that race didn’t matter, that nationality didn’t matter (Welch used the term “Americanist” in lieu of “American” in his most repeated mantra that appeared on the covers or in the prefaces of the Society’s books — “American” wasn’t universalist enough for Welch), that anti-Semitism and “racism” were the hallmarks of Communist agents .
The Birch initiates were shorn of significant amounts of money. They were fed a world view in which all our problems emanated from a small group of consciously evil conspirators meeting in a basement in Ingolstadt or Frankfurt. All problems would have been nipped in the bud if someone had just called the police and raided Weisshaupt’s cellar or the Frankfurt School. Completely bamboozled on race and Jews. Totally emasculated.
The standard fare of “exposing” the bad guys and their myriad successful evil doings eventually demoralized the Birch member. He became depressed. Gave up. Dropped out. But the innoculation against “racism” and “anti-semitism” took. No danger from such people. In fact, to the extent they remained politically active at all, they became active supporters of Israel and opponents of any effort to express White interests.
This was not accidental. A friend of mine who ran the American Opinion Bookstore in Atlanta secretly taped a planning meeting of JBS at which Nelson Sevier, the State Coordinator newly back from being trained in its headquarters in Belmont, Massachusetts, spoke. In it Sevier explained to the top 4 or 5 “Section Leaders” in Georgia that the primary purpose of Birch Society was to fight racism and anti-Semitism.
This was so because fighting racism and anti-Semitism was the most effective way to go after the Communist conspiracy, the primary purpose of which was to stir up White racism and anti-Semitism.
Sevier explained that Mr. Welch shrewdly put out just enough bait to lure White racists and anti-Semites out so that their influence could be negated once they exposed themselves.
The total impact of the Birch business is staggering when one thinks of how for decades people who were dissatisfied and suspicious were nipped in the bud, misled, and milked of money. Hundred of thousands of people. More than 100 million dollars…and dollars that were the equivalent of several dollars today.
This also took place at a critical juncture, when the race mixing shoe was really pinching the foot.
Welch was a much odder figure than Buckley who I think was just the typical System self-promoter and social climber. (“Social climber” in a very odd sense. He sought acceptance and approval from people like Barbra Streisand, cafe society Jews. When Streisand invited Buckley and his wife to a cocktail party at her penthouse in Manhattan, the whole Buckleyite empire went into Second Coming hysteria. Their raison d’etre had been fulfilled. Bill and Pat had been invited by Barbra! It was perhaps bigger in their minds than the fall of the Berlin Wall to sincere anti-communists.
As for Buckley the and the Roman Catholics, here’s a little vignette that puts this in an interesting light.
Joe Sobran wrote of the long process of his disillusionment with his idol Buckley. He said that the first time the iron hammer rang hollow on the metal god arose in the wake of a trip Sobran had made to give a speech in Chicago. After Sobran’s speech an elderly couple approached him. They were Irish Roman Catholics. They said they were long friends of Buckley’s parents who were in fact genuine high-society honorary WASPs which makes Buckley’s “social climbing” for acceptance by cafe society Jews like Barbra Streisand all the odder.
They had known Bill when he was a child. They asked Sobran to mention them to Bill and to tell him that they said the Rosary once a week for him. The next work day after Sobran’s return to New York, he and Buckley sat down for a post mortem on Sobran’s speech to the conservative Catholic group in Chicago. Sobran began by mentioning the couple to Buckley and telling him about how these friends of his parents prayed the rosary for him once a week.
To Sobran’s shock Buckley was irritated and contemptuous. “Those people are losers. They don’t have any money. Why did you waste time with them?”
This remark is highly revealing.
Any normal psychology would react kindly and happily to hearing that two old people he had known as a child loved him and cared for him so much that they still engaged in a religious ritual for him on a weekly basis. (I have had Roman Catholics tell me that they pray for me and say rosaries for me. I’ve never reacted like Buckley; for all that I am not a Roman Catholic. I was touched by their concern and thanked them.)
For an ostentatious Roman Catholic like Buckley to react in this manner is truly shocking. Thoughtful people will immediately note something that is worthy of careful and thoughtful consideration … as Joe Sobran did.
I attended a big banquet in Atlanta JBS held in honor of Welch. (I was a guest. I never joined JBS.) A woman got up before Welch’s speech who was an amateur singer. She asked everyone to stand for “Mr. Welch’s favorite song.” (He insisted on being called “Mr. Welch” even by people who had known him for decades. Referring to him as “Mr. Welch” was a kind ritual among Birchers.)
I was curious to know what Mr. Welch’s favorite song was. It was a stunner. She belted forth into “The Battle Hymn of the Republic!”
Welch grew up as a small town Southerner in North Carolina four generations ago when the smoke blackened ruins were everywhere. Southerners of his generation detested the song with its gloating references to trompling us out and reading us scripture out of the blazing barrels of guns.
That Welch as a small town Southerner would pick that “filthy abolitionist hymn” as my Father and Grandmother called it betokens a very strange psychology.
Honorable mention should also be made of Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.
The corralled the Evangelicals. Evangelicals as a group don’t carry a lot of financial or political clout. But there are 10s of millions of them and Reed & Company very successfully channelized them and neutered them on things like immigration.
These characters (who, if they could be given a dose of sodium pentathol probably put the late Madelyn Murray O’Hare in the shade in the atheism department) have packed a big wollup.