The Liberal Mind"
In the June 1953 issue of Facts Forum /Vcics. replies were invited to William F.
Buckley, Jr.'s article. "The Liberal Mind." Many readers have responded lo Mr. Buckler's chaHenCUlg treatise. We present here Iwo letters expressing views opposed Io
those of Mr. Buckley eunl a leller from Reader's Digest editor F.ugene Lyons whose
use of the phrase "totalitarian Liberal" was mentioned by Mr. Buckley*
purposes, speak of peace, any peace
men enieni is categorically branded
"pro-Communist." Because Communists
cry oul for racial integration, thc
eJAACP is looked down upon as a
stooge of communism. Thai is lhe foolish line or argument Conservatives are
throwing ai Americans every day.
"The perils of lhe Liberal mind" are
nil in comparison to lhe perils of lhe
—Kenneth A. Holmes, Minister
Kansas City, Kansas
Biilpaiiin and Buckley—
I am glad thai Air. Buckley admits
that what he writes in his article. "The
Liberal Mind," is "fragmentary and inconclusive." That is staling the case
against his arguments in an exceedingly
Apparently Mr. Buckley is of the
opinion that conservatives arc of such a
nature that "lhe haired they feel for
anyone who disagrees with them' I to
use some of his exacl words) never
"Iwisls their minds and poisons their
hearts." Ih- states that "it i- possible in
maintain that such inconsistencies (the
inconsistencies of a Liberal) ...reflect
not on the Liberal mind hut on lhe Liberal temperament," bul he very hurriedly i5is|s the possibility ei-idc as em improbability because Liberals are. for the
most pari, "icy men who think in refrigerated offices, where passion is nol
Now, il may he that Conservatives sit
in different tvpe offices, hut both Conservatives and Liberals are human and
both, when llicy feel some importanl
meitlrr is eil steike-. sometimes yield 1..
the temptation, icy office' or not. lu trim
a bit of a corner off of "the whole truth"
or to becloud the issue somewhal for
lhe sake' e.f their pel interest. Mr. Buckley himself may hr doing lhat. It is
pretty hard to believe that George Sokolskv always eleed- objectively with the
15 idence before him and never tells even
"a little white lie." while Drew Pearson
is ito use Air. Buckley's words again)
"a practiced liar. '
Now, a Conservative, evidently, is one
who wishc- to reinserve' certain features
of our way of life, certain landmarks,
certain principles which men in previous generations considered good and
useful. Every man is. iii lhal sense.
somewhat of a Conservative. A Liberal,
if the term is supposed lo refer In tin
opposite ..I ei Conservative, is ..ne who
is willing to Iel go of certain attachments lo the past when he feels that
"letting go" will allow him lo grasp hold
nl something better in thr presenl and
fur the future. And. it follows lhal a
Liberal i- one who occasionally dors
feed that way. All of us obviously have
some of the Libera] tendency, too.
Air. Buckley, being of a predominantly conservative turn of mind, finds it
impossible lo comprehend the Liberal
mind. To him lhe life of Bulganin makes
more sense than lhe life of Eisenhower.
Why? Because Bulganin (though he
would probably vigorously deny it) is a
Conservative, as is Air. Buckley. Roth
are indiscriminate lovers of certain aspects of the past out of which they and
their minds developed. Air. Buckley
ihinks the Liberal mind i« "undisciplined,' ami many Liberal "minds" quite
likely are. Rut, he ibus nol recognize
the disciplinary principle in the lives of
a host eef Liberals because his soune- e.f
discipline is s,> differenl than theirs. His
discipline emanates from authorities in
that segmenl of the past which hr considers sacred. Their discipline is a spiritual principle, applicable' in every given
situation and lo every area of life.
"Humanitarianism," "concern for lhe
common g I," is their discipline. That
is their authority for their every policy
and every acl. They may make many
mistakes; they may often apply lhe
principle wrongly. Perhaps lhe current
policies of leading Liberals in high
pieties are not the best and iu-c-I. Time
will tell. Rul they go courageously forward with the welfare of the human
race in llieir hearts. Tradition be hanged, if necessary. Authority be ignored,
too, if need he.
If the Liberal lias his blind spots and
being human, he prolieil.lv ele.es. please
let us admit that the Conservative men
be occasionally wrong, too.
However, lhe mosl asinine assumption of all is thai because a number of
Liberals have been successfully duped
hv communism, liberalism is. per se.
"pink" or "pro-Communist." The Communist propagandists ore clever enough
lo shout oul eurainst lhe same social evils
which disturh true Liberals. Thereby
thev worm into lhe fellowship of liberal
groups eunl s,mi.'times lead unwar). bul
thoroughly sincere, men out of true
liberalism into Communisl orthodoxy.
Tbe Conservative i- sn wary and so
obstinate and so devoid ol spiritual
principle' while adhering tu tradition
lhal he' throws ihr babj mil with the
bath. Because Communists, for srlfish
The Beam in Buckley's Eye?
I have jusl read an article entitled
"The Liberal AH,id" by William F.
Buckley, Jr. .. . After reading the article,
I am forced lo conclude lhal if hv your
medium vou an- attempting to cater to
erudite emd serenely intellectual people'.
then Air. Buckley is mil vour man. If
vou have other purposes, however, then,
in thai case, anv old writer will do. Air.
Buckley accuses lhe Liberals of not being able lo think straight or objectively,
bul edl ihe while the beam is certainly
in his eve.
Ih- states that liberalism is fed by the
waters of rationalism, positivism. Marx-
ism, and utopianism. As if conservatism
were nol fed by the waters of rationalism and positivism. Mr. Buckley admits
Senator McCarthy - lies eunl calumnies
bul condones them in his book which
was co-authored hy Rozell. Such pragmatic position and ideologv. direct descendants of posiliv ism. make Mr. Ruck-
lev ei 100 per cent legitimate offspring
of positivism. When does Mr. Buckley
complain aboul lhe pragmatic nature of
conservatism, lo say nothing of conservatism's ideological affinity with
Marxism with respect lo production and
materialism being the ideals of lhe
workingman. or should he so. As a
Conservative, Mr. Buckley undoubtedly
ele -ii''- a religious ideal, hut his rhetorical pieces certainlv make one wonder il
Mr. Buckley has forgotten lhal good intentions pave the road to hell.
In his piece, "Ihr Liberal Mind." he
lakrs Mrs. Roosevell to lask on an insignificant matter whether or not t°
shake hands with Visbinsky. Hitler. M''
Ilarthy, a- if hiv ia decided a person s
fiinileimenl.il ethos. Then he anil Mr
Burnham lake her lo lask for saying
in a hemk lhal Sudliii Ghosh's enthusiasm inspires nni' with confidence, then
commenting lhal such statement is >r'
rational. Both Mr. Buckley and Burnham in.iv he reminded lhal there I*
nothing irrational or recondite about
the statement. Enthusiasm always in*
spires confidence, particularly if one '"
-us. e -plible lo I hi- cut luisieism. Messrs-
Buckle) and Burnham, aside' from I""
laboring minuscule points fur contrO'
versy, should realize lhal there is nolh'
iica mysterious eil.eeut an elementar)
FACTS FORUM NEWS, August, 19Sf