The Closing of the American Mind

I’ll be revisiting the topic of William F. Buckley in the coming weeks.  There’s a lot to be discussed there on many fronts.  His impact on movement conservatism is the most obvious; his approach to political discussion may be the next most-discussed aspect of his career.  This CNN article, on the occasion of the last episode of William F. Buckley’s long-running Firing Line political discussion show, includes a few great anecdotes.

Michael Kinsley relates the tale of a producer from Crossfire urging him to stop being so civil with a political opponent: “‘No, no!’ the producer shouted into his earpiece. ‘Get mad! Get mad!'”

Liberal New York City politician Mark Green appeared on the show dozens of times.  I don’t think that there’s much risk of that happening on the show of any movement conservative these days.  If there were any such thing as movement liberals, and if any of them had shows, I hope they’d be more interested in honest argument with conservatives.

And this is just terrific:

When the Firing Line taping was through last week, and after champagne had been served, Ted Koppel interviewed Buckley for Nightline. At the end, Koppel said, “Mr. Buckley, we have 10 seconds left. Could you sum up in 10 seconds?” Said Buckley simply: “No.”


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