Page 3


40, 1. 4.;* :* :* :* :* :* :* :* 0:* 6:0 4:4 Mr. Buckley Comes to Austin Last month in Austin, William Buckley, editor of the National Review, was a guest for a week at the University of Texas under a new program to bring Visiting Fellows to the campus. The night of Dec. 10 a debate occurred between Buckley and me in the Texas Union ballroom. Dr. Bernard Kissel, assistant professor of speech, presided. The three of us were seated around a round table on a stage facing a large crowd. In publishing the transcript of the debate, I realize that it could be shortened by editing, but thought it better to let it run full length under the circumstances. Ed. Kissel: I’d like to welcome you-all to this discussion. I’d like to tell you a little bit about how it will be conducted, and I would like to introduce the verbal combatants. My position in this circumstance will be to get myself out of the way of the verbal barrage, but I do not know that this will always be possible. This will be a very free type of discussion. I have in my possession some agreed upon topics. I will throw them and neither gentleman knows which topic I will throw at them first, second, third, fourth ; there are only four. And we will also entertain questions from the audience at the end of the discussion of each issue. I would like very much to be dictatorial if I might be in terms of the questions from the audience. I would like to have a question for each of the participants in sort of a rotating manner so that we do not barrage one individual all the way down the line on one issue, another individual on another issue, so that we can have sort of equal representation, if you will. I will ask them from this table. I know it is somewhat superfluous for me to introduce Mr. Buckley. If you have been close to a newspaper, you have seen his visage in the Austin papers as well as the Daily Texan. But let me say that this is my right, and you’ll notice, he is on my right, Mr. William Buckley, and he is editor of the National Review. As I say, it’s probably superfluous, but having taught here for a number of years, I find that students don’t always read, especially their lessonS. On my left, very appropriate, very appropriate, is Mr. Ronnie Dugger, and he is editor of, what is the name of that magazine? Show a little partisanship here, please. You all know that Mr. Dugger is a Texas-ex. He is a former Rotary Scholar and has studied at Oxford. He has, if my informants tell me correctly, he has for a good many years during the Rotary Scholarship talked with a good many individuals on the continent of Europe giving presentations, if I’m correct, and is now the editor of the Observer. And as I talked with one of my colleagues who happens to be here present today concerning the introduction of these two gentlemen, I wanted to say something of how these two gentlemen had something in common besides being, one, the editor of National Review, and the other, the Texas Observer. He struck upon the very, I think, novel kind of similarity ; even though one is situated on my left in terms of seating and philosophy, and one on the right so to speak in philosophy and seating, they both are editors of magazines that are trying very hard to get in the black. That’s right gentlemen? Dugger: Shall we enter a general denial? Buckley: We’ll pass the hat. Kissel: I hope you got that comment. With this very brief introduction, seeing both of these gentlemen before you and realizing this will be extremely informal, I would like to start with the issue of civil rights, since it has been before us for some time. And I care not which of the two gentlemen cares to start off on this discussion. Our visiting stranger from afar, would you like to start in terms of civil rights? Buckley: Well, thank you very much. Mr. Dugger. I suppose it would be appropriate to say that I’m in favor of civil rights, and hope that in the course of making that statement, I won’t traumatize Mr. Dugger, who sometimes seems to write as though people who don’t support his own programs are, to put it mildly, opposed to civil rights. It seems to be proper and relevant for a conservative perhaps to state that he approaches every problem on the assumption that mere acts of will tend to be insufficient to create a terrestrial paradise. It is true that the complexity of any particular problem at any particular moment sometimes encourages people to say that complexity is so great that the problem in fact cannot be solved and that under the circumstances nothing really ought to be done about it. I think that the person who believes that there is any way to bring about instant equality in this country for Negroes fails to take in consideration the’ fact that for instance, there is not in this country instant equality for white people, fails to take into consideration what I would consider to be the development reali ties. So that to the extent that’ there is a fruitful debate or colloquy between a conservative and a liberal, it has to do it seems to me primarily with the temporal events. The conservative, this conservative in any case, tends to feel that it is neither desirable nor prudent nor efficacious to convulse a society in order to try to achieve goals irrespective of how desirable they are intrinsically. Which is one of the reasons why for instance I am myself opposed to turning over primarily to government the job and responsibility for raising the standards of the Negro population of the country or giving to them their full civil rights. I do believe that certain rights which here and there are taken from the Negro or not extended to him which are clearly his, by anybody’s understanding of the Constitution of the United States, ought to be protected by the federal government, most specifically the right to vote, even while feeling that I would continue to back the right of the state to limit the vote if considerations of domestic order and prudence so indicate it, but to restrict the vote only within impartial application as regards race. My difficulties then with my liberal brethren in respect to the civil rights issue [have] to do with my refusal to make it the center of my Weltenschaung and my refusal to believe that anything is to be gained by re-ordering the traditional understanding of the separation of power, the traditional understanding of the freedoms of the individual to private association in such a way as to attempt in effect by abrogating current freedoms to look forward to a society . . . which the Negro, when fully emancipated, can himself enjoy. Dugger: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Buckley, Ladies and Gentlemen: Perhaps I should begin tangentially in my expressing how agreeable it is to be here as a provincial foil for Mr. Buckley. I was assured as I came in by a friend that he had prepared a survival kit for me of four cans of H.L.H. spinach, and he had spent some time with Mr. Buckley Sunday and he also threw in a French dictionary. What I lack, and it’s very considerable in comparison in background and accomplishments, is perhaps an appropriate handicap because of the sympathy I know I will get from this crowd for the efforts of a Texas boy. And in that connection, I want to disavow a suspicion voiced as I came in that I had put on an ivy league suit January 10, 1964 7