A couple of weeks ago, I bought a hardcover of William F. Buckley, Jr.’s Happy Days Were Here Again: Reflections of a Libertarian Journalist from NRO. As soon as I received it, I started reading it. Remarkably, I have been reading non-fiction for fifteen straight nights, without getting bored, crying, falling asleep mid-sentence, or eating my own hand just to amuse myself. In fact, I’ve intended to switch back and forth between this book and Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, but it’s been so good that I find myself wanting to know what he says next. I’ll get to Jonah’s book soon.
Since I began reading this, every night I have read something aloud to Frank, who insists I must tell y’all these things. Nearly every one of the essays in the first part of the book has a line or paragraph in which Buckley correctly predicts the future. I’m going to start chronicling them here, to give us all a good laugh or a feeling of complete wigginess.
(From “The So-Whatness of Nuclear Winter” — April 1985):
The logic of Carl Sagan’s position is that we should engage in unilateral nuclear disarmament… that nuclear winter is more to be feared than Soviet hegemony, and therefore we must give up our arsenal. Richard Perle–and Ronald Reagan–tell us we can do better. We can avoid both Soviet hegemony and nuclear winter, as we have done for forty years now.
Dude. That totally held up. May not hold up for much longer where Russia is concerned, but the Soviet Union is not yet rebuilt, and I don’t think it will be the Soviets that will bring on our first nuclear winter. I’ll give you a bonus one today, since this is the premiere of The Buckley Prophecies.
(From “Jesse on My Mind” — May 1985) He is speaking of Jesse Jackson here, but substitute Jeremiah Wright in your head:
On reflection, the clearest sign of the enduring discrimination of white people in America against black people in America is our toleration of Jesse Jackson. If he were a blue-blooded WASP, he would be treated with… the special contempt by which democracies effectively stigmatize those who dwell in cuckooland…
Oh, but Jesse Jackson is a black leader… he is one hell of an orator, which was true of Gerald L.K. Smith, who was probably an even finer orator, and was a racist mess. Jesse Jackson so intimidated the San Francisco Democrats that they couldn’t even muster the resolution to vote a denunciation of anti-Semitism, for fear of offending Jackson, the anti-Zionist assembly and, one supposes, Jesse’s noisy fan Louis Farrakhan…
You are getting the point. They don’t protest because he’s merely a black preacher saying dumb things…
But as long as he moves about with the immunity that now protects him from the kind of ostracism he has so diligently earned, then one can say with meaning: There is true condescension in America for the black, and that condescension is strongest among the elite.
Yeah, I have to agree with that.