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That respect for broader freedoms aided by free markets, and disinterest in the economic consequences of free markets (except as they relate to political and social freedoms), is a deeply Catholic view. It would be interesting to see an historical analysis of Buckley's approach: it strikes me as similar to the heterodox economics of the late-19th century Catholic labor movements.

Pablo Escobar

"Conservative" isn't an intellectually defensible position, not because free market's aren't a good thing, but because to be conservative means to preserve the status quo as best as possible.

That's why conservatives are chameleons; they were small-government types in the 19th century, today they are big government socialists.


That's why Milton Friedman said he actually was a liberal, because he wanted to change the status quo which was moving toward more socialism and less liberty.


......... It's perhaps poor timing to mention, but were you to ask Gore Vidal what motivated Buckley's (non-economic??) "conservativism" I'm sure he'd point out the desire for a status quo that ensured the wealthy would remain wealthy with very little concern for those who failed to inherit. Vidal once mentioned that were working folk to find out what the rich are doing and doing to them they would rise up and eat them.


I know Buckley did not support civil rights legislation but is that so disreputable as Posner and Becker imply? I read once an old piece published in NR about race and civil rights and it more or less endorsed the white supremacy line, which is what I think Posner and Becker mean to associate to Buckley himself.

I have not, however, ever seen anything Buckley he himself wrote along these lines. Maybe it's out there. Could somebody provide a link or quotation? Lots of people opposed civil rights legislation for sounds and principled reasons, so I'm assuming Becker and Posner have described his views as "repugnant" and "disreputable" because they have something more concrete in mind.


"I have not, however, ever seen anything Buckley he himself wrote along these lines."

I don't have a quote but WFB himself acknowledges it. However, he has said he was dead wrong for some time.


I think what is interesting is the melding of free market economists, and the conservative movement.
Conservatives (meaning the Buckley type) embraced free market economics, but only to the ends that it supported their vision of democracy.

True free market economists would be against much of the wasteful spending that goes on in the federal budget, subsidies being the easiest one to pick on. There are few true "conservative" economists that have been elected to political office.

If they could get a majority, we would greatly change the way government collects and spends money.

Mark L

All of us most be for ourselves. What is in the utility fns of (us) free mkt economists? Civil rights. If we are Christians (most of us are I think) we can truely say we want civil rights for people who are denied them. If we are not Christians, then questionable. If atheists, then surely we can say nothing, except, I (as a nonChristian) want political gain from supporting civil rights legislation. Buckley was a Christian, and he correctly saw the hypocrcy of the civil rights pushers. Theirs was and largely still is, a political position, motivated for political ends.


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