The Corner

Recanting

Today on Uncommon Knowledge, the final segment of the 1998 interview with William F. Buckley, Jr. and Christopher Hitchens–and a couple of remarkable displays of a certain kind of humility.  The segment begins with Christopher Hitchens, recanting: 

Robinson: Were the Black Panthers justified in engaging in violence?

   

Hitchens: At the time, I certainly would have said yes, and did say so, because I thought it was very stirring.  They were blacks who didn’t ask for anybody’s permission anymore.  They didn’t wait until the moment was right.  They didn’t wait until there was a liberal consensus.  They said, “We want to do it on our own.  We have a perfect right to do that.”  That struck me as a good thing, though in the case of the Black Panthers it led to awful consequences, to gangsterism and so forth.  I remember being more impressed by it than I should have been.

Robinson: Do you wish from this vantage point that we had simply never gone into Vietnam?

Buckley: Yes.

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