William F. Buckley, Jr.

William F.
Buckley, Jr.
1951

American Intellectual, Interviewer, Author

Author Quotes

We love your adherence to democratic principles.

Well, we've only had a certain number of executions in the last few years- whatever it was- and two of them were for the personal convenience of Truman Capote.

What then would School B suggest for those who are not in the military and who do not set out to get a marriage license? Universal testing? Yes, in stages. But in rapid stages. The next logical enforcer is the insurance company. Blue Cross, for instance, can reasonably require of those who wish to join it a physical examination that requires tests. Almost every American, making his way from infancy to maturity, needs to pass by one or another institutional turnstile. Here the lady will spring out, her right hand on a needle, her left on a computer, to capture a blood specimen.

What was wrong with communism wasn't aberrant leadership, it was communism.

What would happen if the Communists occupied the Sahara? Answer: Nothing?for 50 years. Then there would be a shortage of sand.

What yells out at the US public . . . is the incandescent hypocrisy of so many people who, in the name of free speech, persecute its practitioners if their opinions are conservative.

When in 1951 I was inducted into the CIA as a deep cover agent, the procedures for disguising my affiliation and my work were unsmilingly comprehensive. It was three months before I was formally permitted to inform my wife what the real reason was for going to Mexico City to live. If, a year later, I had been apprehended, dosed with sodium pentothal, and forced to give out the names of everyone I knew in the CIA, I could have come up with exactly one name, that of my immediate boss (E. Howard Hunt, as it happened). In the passage of time one can indulge in idle talk on spook life. In 1980 I found myself seated next to the former president of Mexico at a ski-area restaurant. What, he asked amiably, had I done when I lived in Mexico? "I tried to undermine your regime, Mr. President." He thought this amusing, and that is all that it was, under the aspect of the heavens.

You cannot paint the Mona Lisa by assigning one dab each to a thousand painters.

You cultivate the essential virtues: high purpose, intelligence, decency, humility, fear of the Lord, and the passion for freedom.

You have the military making the first massive move designed to identify AIDS sufferers - and, bear in mind, an AIDS carrier today is an AIDS carrier on the day of his death, which day, depending on the viral strain, will be two years from now or when he is threescore and 10. The next logical step would be to require of anyone who seeks a marriage license that he present himself not only with a Wassermann test but also an AIDS test. But if he has AIDS, should he then be free to marry? Only after the intended spouse is advised that her intended husband has AIDS, and agrees to sterilization. We know already of children born with the disease, transmitted by the mother, who contracted it from the father.

Two Thousand Names. I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.

We find that in the absence of demonstrable truth, the best we can do is to exercise the greatest diligence, humility, insight, intelligence, and industry in trying to arrive at the nearest values to truth. I hope, of course, to argue convincingly that having done this, we have an inescapable duty to seek to inculcate others with these values.

We have got to accept Big Government for the duration-for neither an offensive nor a defensive war can be waged, given our present government skills, except through the instrument of a totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores. ? And if they deem Soviet power a menace to our freedom (as I happen to), they will have to support large armies and air forces, atomic energy, central intelligence, war production boards, and the attendant centralization of power in Washington-even with Truman at the reins of it all.

We have noticed that Valerie Plame Wilson has lived in Washington since 1997. Where she was before that is not disclosed by research facilities at my disposal. But even if she was safe in Washington when the identity of her employer was given out, it does not mean that her outing was without consequence. We do not know what dealings she might have been engaging in which are now interrupted or even made impossible. ... In my case, it was 15 years after reentry into the secular world before my secret career in Mexico was blown, harming no one except perhaps some who might have been put off by my deception.

All adventure is now reactionary.

Does baloney fear the grinder?

I catch fire and find the reserves of courage and assertiveness to speak up. When that happens I get quite carried away. My blood gets hot my brow wet I become unbearably and unconscionably sarcastic and bellicose I am girded for a total showdown.

If only the left hated crime as much as they hated hate.

Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle of the night. Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people, does not suppress medical research, does not peek in bedroom windows. Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.

Our political economy and our high-energy industry run on large, general principles, on ideas - not by day-to-day guess work, expedients and improvisations. Ideas have to go into exchange to become or remain operative; and the medium of such exchange is the printed word.

The cost of the drug war is many times more painful, in all its manifestations, than would be the licensing of drugs combined with intensive education of non-users and intensive education designed to warn those who experiment with drugs.

There is no way to get around the grotesque historical fact, which is that soldiers fight heroically no matter the character of the government they serve.

All that is good is not embodied in the law; and all that is evil is not proscribed by the law. A well-disciplined society needs few laws; but it needs strong mores.

Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.

I find it easier to believe in God than to believe Hamlet was deduced from the molecular structure of a mutton chop.

Author Picture
First Name
William F.
Last Name
Buckley, Jr.
Birth Date
1951
Bio

American Intellectual, Interviewer, Author