When WFB died, I found myself thinking back to one of my favorite episodes of Uncommon Knowledge–almost exactly ten years ago, in the summer of 1998, I had WFB and Christopher Hitchens sit down to discuss their assessments of that year of woe and lamentation, 1968. Throughout the discussion Hitch remained on his polemical toes, ready to thrust and jab. WFB proved by contrast reflective, uninterested in starting a fight, and willing–indeed insistent–on explaining ways in which his thinking had changed in the course of 30 years. In some ways, a mismatch, but at the same time, utterly engrossing. Two brilliant minds, at odds, but civil, and constantly probing for what was solid and true.
It took us awhile to lay our hands on the tape, but we’ve finally done so. And I invite anyone who wishes, on this, the 40th anniversary of the summer of 1968, to see a the 30th anniversary discussion between William F. Buckley, Jr. and Christopher Hitchens, to do so. You’ll find the first of five segments by clicking here.