Today on Uncommon Knowledge, part four of a 1998 interview with Christopher Hitchens and Bill Buckley. The topic of the day – the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Robinson: The Civil Rights Act. Barry Goldwater opposed it. I flipped through old copies of the magazine you edited at the time, National Review, and National Review speaks of the act in language that is in places just dripping with disdain. Why did you oppose the act?
Buckley: We opposed the act on the grounds that it asked for constitutional liberties, in an age in which constitutional liberties were being mobilized for this cause and that, rather with abandon. We saw them addressing a situation which we doubted could be addressed in that way. I have a very full perspective on life in the South in those days, and it was life that simply assumed that whatever headway blacks made would be made within their own culture and that federal interposition would be simply a renewal of the Civil War. That was wrong. But that deception was very, very engaging.