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President's Corner - April 2011

President’s Corner

By John F. McManus, President

Hot off the press! A paperback edition of William F. Buckley, Jr.: Pied Piper for the Establishment is now available. The original edition, released as a hardback in 2002, generated a welcome bevy of responses, one of which came from Mr. Buckley himself.  In the midst of a published interview appearing a few months after we sent him a copy of the book, he surprised us by acknowledging that an unflattering book about his career actually existed.  In that March 2003 Human Events interview, Buckley stated of the book: “It’s about 300 pages…. It’s mostly about how I was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.”  He then used the opportunity provided, as he always used any opportunity, to disparage Robert Welch and the efforts of The John Birch Society.

Of course, the book provides a great deal more about the Establishment’s favorite conservative than his Council on Foreign Relations membership, which he proudly announced in 1974 within the pages of his National Review magazine. Let it be said right away that, in the 52-year existence of The John Birch Society, we have had no more effective enemy than this man. No communist or identifiable leftist could have kept millions of Americans from examining the Society, which is what Buckley accomplished. For his constant efforts that included sniping, misrepresentations, and nastiness about the Society and Mr. Welch, he won great favor with America’s internal enemies. But he failed to accomplish his frequently stated boast to his leftist, neoconservative, and CFR friends that he would destroy the Society.

Soon after my book appeared in 2002, I delivered a speech about it and its main character before a sizeable audience in New Hampshire. Happily, the C-SPAN network taped the program and broadcast it nationwide several times during subsequent weeks. That exposure brought us numerous inquiries and orders for the book from people who were searching for some answers about why our country was being led so poorly, and how Mr. Buckley had contributed to its decline. After orders for books had been fulfilled for those curious persons, they were contacted by a staff official or a member who found no need to explain the conspiratorial grip on our country or the plan of The John Birch Society. The book had done the job quite well. It still performs well for any reader.

The Buckley Career
While a student at Yale University, Buckley accepted membership in its extremely shady and decidedly bizarre training ground for conspiratorial efforts known as the Skull & Bones Society. Soon he accepted assignment as a “deep cover” operative for the CIA although he never explained what the deep cover entailed. He then sought and won the role of hero for 1950s conservatives with two books he had written: God and Man at Yale and McCarthy and His Enemies. But a careful reading of both shows that each amounted more to a reputation builder for Buckley than a condemnation of Yale or a defense of McCarthy.  His criticism of Yale didn’t deter him from sending his only child there. And, after reading the manuscript about her husband, Senator McCarthy’s wife angrily advised him not to endorse it in any way because it portrayed the Senator precisely as his enemies wanted him to become known. Then in 1955, Buckley’s National Review magazine emerged, even attracting for a time the enthusiastic support of Robert Welch whose warm endorsement of the publication generated a large number of subscribers. Mr. Welch’s friendship with Buckley was repaid with years of both open and behind-the-scenes hostility. 

Supplying a brief but substantive history of the CIA, the CFR, the Skull & Bones Society, the neoconservative movement, the nation’s moral slide, and the role Buckley played in each, William F. Buckley, Jr.: Pied Piper For the Establishment is an excellent introduction to the conspiratorial plot against our country and the role played by Buckley in so much of its skullduggery. But it also contains a closing chapter pointing out the worth of The John Birch Society that Buckley sought to minimize and wipe from existence. In addition, the book amounts to a much-needed warning about other supposed allies who are cleverly working against our nation’s interests.  

Buckley’s Former Associates and Friends
Joseph Sobran went to work for National Review magazine soon after graduating from college in the 1960s. He labored in the Buckley-led vineyard for 21 years before being betrayed in 1991 by the man he thought was a friend. When I began gathering the facts about the Buckley career, I visited with Joe and told him of my intention. Ever the kind and gentle man, Joe cautioned me to be careful about the William Buckley he had come to know because “he is good at retaliation.” Joe hadn’t kept any files about his experience with his former employer and felt at the time that he couldn’t add much about “Mr. Conservative” for me.  But before he passed away in 2010, Joe read my book and his enthusiasm for it was boundless. “I wish I’d known about all of this when I was working with him,” he told me. I gently asked him, “Did you read the entire book?”  And he responded, “Jack, I read it twice. Look at all the marginal notes I made and the pages I have dog-eared. Everyone should read this book.” I remain very grateful for Joe’s enthusiasm.

Numerous other former contributors to National Review as well as conservative leaders who had known Buckley eventually saw through him and issued their own denunciations. Medford Evans, Kevin Phillips, Brent Bozell, Don Feder, Thomas Lane, Murray Rothbard, even the leaders of the Buckley-created Young Americans for Freedom movement stated their reasons why they had parted company with the man so frequently named by leftists as the nation’s “responsible conservative.”  Brent Bozell’s defection was especially telling inasmuch as he and Buckley had been extremely close friends at Yale, and Buckley’s sister Patricia had become Mrs. Bozell. The joint denunciation offered by the Bozells centered on Bill’s acceptance of the legitimacy of abortion and his endorsement of the “gay” agenda, prostitution, and marijuana.

The Book Is Needed As a Warning
While participating in the two recent CPAC gatherings in the nation’s capital, we weren’t surprised that many of the 11,000 who attended continued to express admiration for Buckley. More often than not, the speakers and some of the visitors to our well-stocked booth recalled all the “good” Mr. Buckley had done for the conservative movement.  In 2010, we were able simply to point to a single display copy of my book and suggest that there was a lot more to know about the man. But in 2011, we had the new paperback edition for sale. Some who saw the book purchased a copy; some said they were delighted that someone was finally exposing “that faker”; but some were downright angry that we would dare raise any questions about their hero. We simply informed the Buckley lovers that nothing stated in the book had ever been challenged and that they needed to “rethink” whatever they believed about the man. 

It is very obvious that a completely misleading image of Mr. Buckley remains deeply embedded in many who consider themselves “conservatives.” But a sizeable number of the attendees at each of the two recent CPAC events now know that there is more to learn about Mr. Buckley and the sinister role he played — if they are willing to open their minds to truth.

We chose to use the term “Pied Piper” because Buckley’s career fits so aptly with the chief character in the German folk legend popularized by Robert Browning. Used to describe a false and dangerous individual who gains one’s confidence and then leads him to destruction, the label fits William F. Buckley very well. The book we have written about him will help to keep honest readers from being misled by others. Our carefully compiled history of liberaldom’s favorite “conservative” serves as a much needed alarm, but also an introduction to the conspiracy Buckley served so effectively, and a brief look at how to keep our country free and independent through the work of The John Birch Society.

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