Politics: That Thin Veneer…50 Years On

When I was young and not yet ossified as a libertarian-conservative, I was not unsympathetic to the libertarian aims of socialist liberals. There is often some overlap, and we can all sometime agree on certain means and ends.

However. I was brought up very short one night by the brother of William F. Buckley, Jr. I don’t know how best to describe WFB, but I can leave that to Google. In any case, at his passing, I remember never having heard more kind, respectful, and admiring words about anyone, coming from Bill’s friends and from his lifelong opponents as well.

I know less about his brother except that, in the late Sixties, he was running for the US Senate in New York when I heard him interviewed on the radio. Now, his running as a conservative at that time, in that place, struck me as particularly quixotic. But he ran, and finished respectably, considering the odds.

Many people seem to not remember that at that time, practically every major city worth talking about was in flames from race riots. National figures were being assassinated or shot at at a record pace. I’m sure the liberals figured to shake things up, and to a certain extent that might be healthy. But Senate candidate Buckley said this: There is a very thin veneer of civilization laid over society. And once that veneer is cracked, and the crack starts to spread, the whole society can come apart and devolve into chaos.

Something like that. And I was stunned, because I thought the institutions that the left was protesting against were indestructible. Buckley planted the seed in my mind that this could all go away, that it shouldn’t be taken for granted, That horrible things could happen. Irreversible things.

Last week General Hayden used that same word again. A ” veneer.”

Plus ça change,….

::::::::: Ex-CIA Chief Michael Hayden: ‘America as Nicaragua’


== PT

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