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Celebrate William F. Buckley's birthday with his tension-filled Saul Alinsky interview from 1967 (video)


The man who stood athwart history yelling stop against the ultimate progressive.

William F. Buckley, one of the most influential figures in the history of conservatism, founder of National Review, prolific writer and expert debater, stood athwart history, yelling Stop.

But in yelling stop, he chose to engage with his ideological opponents, true to his belief that the American system requires a free flow of ideas in the intellectual marketplace.

William F. Buckley speaks with Saul Alinsky on Firing Line in 1967. (Image Source: YouTube) William F. Buckley speaks with Saul Alinsky on Firing Line in 1967. (Image Source: YouTube)

To celebrate the legacy of the man born some 89 years ago today, we thought we would share the following video from the YouTube archives of Buckley interviewing "Rules for Radicals" author Saul Alinsky back in 1967 on Buckley's "Firing Line" program.

Buckley attempts to cut to the heart of Alinsky's philosophy, and Alinsky bobs and weaves around Buckley's jabs, in a characteristically obfuscatory fashion.

In the video, Alinsky makes some interesting assertions, including:

(i) "I'll steal before I take charity."

(ii) "You only get power as a reaction to a threat."

(iii) "[That Alinsky is] very much in agreement with the thinking of the early like Madison, Jay, Hamilton, etc."

(iv) "People only do the right things for the wrong reasons."

(v) "I think that the most insidious, the most subversive force that has ever entered the American scene has been what I would call Madison Avenue, public relations, middle-class moral hygiene -- which has made the word "conflict" a nasty word, and "controversy" a very nasty word, so that people are fired off from mass media for controversy."

(vi) In practicing one of his own rules, that "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon," challenging Buckley by stating "Will you look at me, and tell me whether you believe what you're saying?"

Check out the video below.


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