"AS I SEE IT"
Volume 12, Number 6, June 2009
“I too will have my say; I too will tell what I know.
For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me;
Inside I am like bottled-up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst.
I must speak and find relief; I must open my lips and reply.
will show partiality to no one. Nor will
I flatter any man.”
“That which ordinary men are fit for I am qualified in, and the best of me is diligence.”
Earl of Kent
Shakespeare’s King Lear
Act I, scene iv, ll. 32-34
[“As I See It” is a monthly electronic magazine compiled and edited by Doug Kutilek. Its purpose is to address important issues of the day and to draw attention to worthwhile Christian and other literature in order to aid believers in Jesus Christ, especially pastors, missionaries and Bible college and seminary students to more effectively study and teach the Word of God. The editor’s perspective is that of an independent Baptist of fundamentalist theological persuasion.
AISI is sent free to all who request it by writing to the editor at: DKUTILEK@juno.com. You can be removed from the mailing list at the same address. Back issues sent on request. All back issues may be accessed at http://www.KJVOnly.org]
The Death of “Doctor Death”
On Sunday morning, May 31, 2009, at around 10:00 a.m., Dr. George Tiller, perhaps the most notorious practitioner of late-term abortions in America, was killed in the lobby of a Lutheran church in east Wichita by a lone gunman who fired a single shot into Tiller’s head. Tiller quickly passed into eternity on the floor of the church lobby. He had survived a previous assassination attempt outside his east Wichita abortuary some 15 years earlier.
The perpetrator fled the scene. A suspect, alleged to be the assassin, was apprehended in the Kansas City area (where he lived) less than four hours later, and was returned to Wichita where he was subsequently charged, along with other crimes, with first degree murder (under Kansas law, this offense does not carry the death penalty).
Though I never met George Tiller, I did once meet his father, Dr. Jack Tiller, who had a family practice at Oliver and Kellogg in east Wichita back in the 1960s and early 1970s. In high school and for a time in college, I was an afternoon delivery driver for a small pharmaceutical company, and occasionally made deliveries to Jack Tiller’s office.
When Jack Tiller died in a plane crash in the early 1970s (I don’t recall the precise year), George, not long out of medical school, came to Wichita to take over his father’s practice. This was close in time to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates to American infanticide. I don’t know if George Tiller ever practiced any kind of “medicine” other than abortion, but if so, it was soon abandoned and the whole of his practice was dealing death to the unborn in co-operation with the mothers of these innocents.
Access to Tiller’s medical records would be necessary to determine precisely how many died at his hands over the years, but an estimate of between 10,000 and 20,000 would be conservative; of these, probably a minimum of between 1,000 and 2,000 would have been full-term or near full-term babies, completely viable and capable of living outside the womb who were killed in what can only be described as ghastly, barbaric and unspeakably brutal “partial birth abortion” in which the infant, partly emerged from the birth canal, has its skull pierced and its brain vacuumed out. Comparing Tiller to a Nazi death camp doctor would be unfair--to the Nazi.
That anyone with the smallest spark of conscience could perform such an act, and do so repeatedly, day after day, week after week, year after year, for any reason, but especially for the sake of mere money is incomprehensible to me. I suspect Tiller’s conscience was seared as with a hot iron. Credible rumor circulated from time to time in Wichita that Tiller was an abuser of both alcohol and illegal drugs. Anesthesia for a screaming conscience?
Over the decades, there were often calls for legal investigations and prosecutions, especially when, as sometimes happened, not just the infants but the mothers also died from the complications of abortion. Only in the last few months was Tiller finally tried (and acquitted) on some relatively minor charges of failure to consult another independent physician before performing abortion procedures. His long immunity from prosecution has all the appearance of political payback for his substantial contributions to Democrat politicians, including former Kansas Governor (and now Secretary of Health (!) and Human Services) Kathleen Sebellius, to whom Tiller contributed a reported $60,000, and the local district attorney who also received sizeable contributions from Tiller.
Reaction to the death of Tiller was mixed. Of course, the pro-abortion faction--whom I feel sure must have never witnessed a partial-birth abortion--expressed outrage, and made accusations against the climate of violence supposedly generated by abortion protesters. Tiller himself was given accolades as a wonderful man, a dear friend, a friend to woman, and a good Christian man. Such commendation is absolutely incomprehensible to the rational mind.
The pro-lifers in Kansas and elsewhere, who had long opposed Tiller’s heinous slaughter of the unborn, expressed distress at the murder of Tiller, in as much the pro-lifers are truly pro-LIFE. Yes, they had often picketed his office, petitioned local politicians to legislate him out of business, and did all they could in a non-violent manner to make the killing stop. No doubt many (including myself) had repeatedly prayed for an end to Tiller’s barbarous actions, through his repentance and reformation if possible, or divine intervention by disease, accident, or other providential act, if necessary. None that I heard or know of called for or condoned his vigilante execution.
There were some broad-brush caricatures of pro-lifers by the news media, including, indeed, especially among the local television stations, as though this one assailant’s actions were typical of most or all pro-lifers. In truth, had the tens of thousands of pro-lifers in Kansas, and the millions nation-wide been as violence-oriented as implied, Tiller could have and would have been easily gunned down a thousand times in the past two decades. But, appalling as it was that he spent his days murdering with malice aforethought--and for money--the most innocent and defenseless of all humans, they did not lift a violent hand against him. The last time any abortionist was gunned down anywhere in America was 11 years ago. It was a solitary individual who committed that crime as well.
Since one man, acting alone, apparently committed the crime against Tiller, it is as unfair to characterize pro-lifers as a group as violent and murderous, as it would be to characterize all people in Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas as serial killers, since one man out of the nearly half million residents, acting alone, perpetrated the notorious series of BTK murders here over a period of three decades. Sure, “all Indians walk single file; at least the one I saw did.”
And if we wish to make broad-brush characterizations, why not conclude that it is Lutherans specifically that are the problem? Tiller was Lutheran (part of an Evangelical Lutheran Church of America congregation, which is almost certainly not theologically conservative) and the man charged with killing him has been identified in the media as Lutheran. Why, even Dennis Rader, “BTK” himself, was Lutheran. Do you not see a common thread here?
Tiller’s three and a half decades and more of systematically and methodically terminating human life was part of the “culture of death” that has grown to such staggering proportions in America. Since Roe v. Wade, more than 51 million babies have been “terminated” with government-sanction (and often government-funding), equivalent to killing every person now living in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota combined. This utter cheapening of human life has in part spawned assisted suicide, euthanasia, Columbine High School (and other similar incidents), gang-bangers, gansta rappers, and other expressions of utter contempt and disregard for human life. Since it is a government-protected and -sanctioned right to kill innocent human life at will in the womb, who is to say that life outside the womb is of any value either? John Donne was right when he wrote “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.” Tiller sowed the wind, he reaped the whirlwind.
I am frankly relieved that, for now, the carnage at this clinic is ended, or at least slowed (a “physician” from Nebraska is reportedly covering Tiller’s practice for a week) if only temporarily, but I recognize that somewhere in America, or perhaps from overseas, there is someone who will gladly sell his soul to work the wickedness of abortion, including the late-term kind, and the slaughter in Wichita will probably soon resume. There is otherwise little cause for rejoicing; the twenty thousand and more weekly abortions continue unabated nationwide. The only sure remedy to the madness is personal and societal repentance from this great wickedness. Or we, too, shall reap the whirlwind. "Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever, . . .” (Thomas Jefferson).
The “god” of Contemporary American Christianity
“If we are serious about the affections, we will be on the alert for both sentimentality and brutality. We become sentimental when we love a thing more, or more sweetly, than is suited to its nature. We become brutal when we love a thing less, or more coarsely, than is suited to its nature. We sentimentalize God when we love Him for reasons that are really insignificant, and we become brutal when we neglect to love Him for who He is.
Sentimentalism and brutality are both forms of idolatry, and they are rife within American evangelicalism and fundamentalism. There is a whole class of hymnody in which Jesus is depicted more-or-less as the Christian’s boyfriend, and another class in which He is portrayed as the believer’s pal, buddy, or chum. In some circles the Lord is applauded as if He were a sports hero or a movie star. In others He receives the kind of adoration that teenage girls heap upon rock musicians. In most of American evangelicalism and fundamentalism, God is viewed as a kind of celestial dispensing machine who, in return for a few words of worship, will reward the worshipper with all sorts of good things. He is the cure and help for our loneliness, our financial difficulties, our co-dependencies, our fractured relationships, our eating disorders, perhaps our physical illnesses, and certainly the multiplicity of stresses that we meet in day-by-day life. Such a God exists purely to serve the worshipper, and He is the result of a religion that panders to the debased appetites of the worshipper.”
“Understanding Conservative Christianity, Part 6, The Religious Affections “
by Dr. Kevin T. Bauder
President of Central Baptist Seminary, Plymouth, Minnesota
In the Nick of Time, March 13, 2009
On the Supremacy of the Hebrew and Greek Texts of Scripture
[Note: James Ussher (1581-1656), Professor of Divinity in Dublin and Archbishop (Anglican) of Armagh in Ireland, was a very learned man, most famous for his chronology of ancient history, which was commonly met with in the past in the margin of Bible editions (such as Scofield’s) and commentaries (such as Matthew Poole’s and Adam Clarke’s) but is now very much out-of-date and unreliable in numerous details (see “Ussher’s Chronology: Its Defective Nature,” As I See It, 9:11; and “Ussher Once Again!” As I See It, 9:12).
Among Ussher’s many works was a Body of Divinity in which he presented, in question and answer form, an extended discussion of a broad spectrum of doctrinal and practical teachings of the Bible, including among them a statement on the supremacy of the original language texts of the Old and New Testaments over any and all translations. In light of his learning, his contemporaneousness with the publication and first use of the King James Version, and his wide influence in English Christianity in his day, his views are of particular interest to us vis-à-vis the present day “King James Only” view which subordinates the authority of the Hebrew and Greek texts to the English version, and refuses to critically examine the English in light of the originals.
“Why must the interpretation of [the] words [of Scripture] be had out of the original languages?
Because in them only the Scriptures are, for the Letter, to be held authentic. And as the Water is most pure in the Fountain or Spring thereof: so the right understanding of the words of the Holy Scriptures is most certain in the Original Tongues of Hebrew and Greek, in which they were first written and delivered to the Church, out of which Languages they must be truly translated for the understanding of them that have not the knowledge of those Tongues.
What gather you from hence?
That all Translations are to be judged, examined, and reformed according to the Text of the Ancient Hebrew and Original Chaldee [i.e., Aramaic], in which the Old Testament was penned, and the Greek Text, in which the New Testament was written. And consequently that the vulgar Latin Translation, approved by the Tridentine Council for the only Authentic Text, is no further to be received of true Christians, than it agreeth with the Original of the Hebrew and Greek.”
James Ussher, A Body of Divinity, edited by Michael Nevarr
Solid Ground Christian Books (Birmingham, Ala.:2007); pp. 19-20
(Bold-face and capitalization in original; bracketed words added for clarity)
Spurgeon on the Obscurity of the King James Version
And the Need for New Translations
[Note: in this sermon on John 3:14 and the brazen serpent, Spurgeon here is using the term “brazen serpent” as emblematic of the Gospel message itself as found in printed Scripture]
“ ‘The Bible,’ says the Church of Rome, ‘must not be read by the vulgar crowd! How can they understand it? It is a thing too sacred for the common people to see! No, wrap up the brazen serpent; wrap it in a cloth, do not let it be exhibited.’”
“ ‘No,’ say our Protestant ministers, many of them, ‘the Bible must be given, but we must never alter the translation of it!’ There are some passages in the present translation [i.e., KJV] that are so dark, that no man can understand them without an explanation. ‘But no,’ say the divines of this age, ‘we will not have the Bible translated properly, the people must always put up with a faulty translation. The brazen serpent must be wrapped up, because it would a little unsettle matters, if we were to have a new translation.’ “
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The New Park Street Pulpit
1857, vol. 3, p. 369
[Comment: Spurgeon here compares the exclusive use of an often obscure and even inaccurate translation--and he can only have the KJV in mind--to the Catholic denial of the Bible to the masses altogether, and therefore as something wholly blameworthy. Spurgeon here near the beginning of his ministry (age 22) as fully at the end, was against what today we call KJV-onlyism. He never held that the KJV was a perfect translation or unalterably correct, but, like all Bible translations, was subject to revision and correction on the basis of the Biblical text in the original languages.--editor]
Riplinger Calling Kittel Black
“Dear Mr. Kutilek,
Because of influences of Gail Riplinger material given to me, and because of her derogatory statements about the NASB using Rudolf Kittel's Biblia Hebraica, I wonder if you happen to have any information that may refute her derogatory claims about Kittel - in particular, Kittel's alleged anti-Semitic stance and connections with Hitler and his National Socialist party’s rise to power. It appears she is attempting to establish guilt by association, and therefore discredit the NASB. I know there is confusion between Rudolf and his son. Thank you for helping.
I haven't written for publication anything specific on Rudolf Kittel and his political connections (though I do remember reading or writings something--perhaps in private correspondence--on the subject several years ago). Just now, checking the entry on "Kittel, Rudolf" in New 20th Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge edited by J. D. Douglas (Baker, 1991), p. 480, I see that the dates of his life and death are: "1853-1929". If correct, this Kittel's death in 1929 makes IMPOSSIBLE any connection with the National Socialist (Nazi) Party, which was founded in 1928 in Munich, and didn't rise to power until the 1930s.
The same work, in the preceding entry, "Kittel, Gerhard (1888-1948)" does note Gerhard's propagandist writings in support of the Third Reich. So, Riplinger does indeed seem to have confused one Kittel with another. So much for her attention to details and facts!
You are indeed correct that Gail the Ripper has yet once again engaged in the ages-old tactic of "poisoning the wells," to wit, 'If you cannot answer a man's arguments, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names." Of course, the truth is, "You can prove I'm the devil's brother, but that still doesn't answer my argument." Kittel’s Hebrew text stands or falls on its own merits, not on the social and political views of its author (ignoring the fact that Riplinger has the wrong Kittel in view, besides).
I have addressed the subject of the Kittel Hebrew OT in comparison with the Second Rabbinic Bible (generally followed by the KJV) in an article in "As I See It" (10:4), and I direct your attention there.
A Famous Observation Regarding the Creation of Eve
One of the most often-quoted devotional comments in Matthew Henry’s (1662-1714) famous commentary on the Bible is his remarks regarding the creation of the first woman from the side of the first man (Genesis 2:21, 22)--
[T]he woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. [italics in original]
Henry’s observation was picked up by later commentators, among them John Gill (1697-1771), who, at Genesis 2:22, reproduces much of Henry’s phrasing:
It is commonly observed, and pertinently enough, that the woman was not made from the superior part of man, that she might not be thought to be above him, and have power over him; nor from any inferior part, as being below him, and to trampled on by him; but out of his side, and from one of his ribs, that she might appear equal to him; and from a part near his heart, and under his arms, to show that she should be affectionately loved by him; and always under his care and protection.
While Henry usually gets credit for this thought, he unquestionably was not the originator of it. Matthew Poole (1624-1679) in his English commentary at Genesis 2:21, 22 (published posthumously in 1683) makes an obviously similar and definitely earlier comment:
The woman was taken out of this part [i.e., the side], not out of the higher or lower parts, to show that she is neither to be her husband’s mistress [i.e., dominator], to usurp authority over him, I Timothy 2:12; nor yet to be his slave to be abused, despised, or trampled under his feet; but to be kindly treated, and used like a companion, with moderation, respect, and affection.
That Poole in turn picked up the observation from some earlier writer is probable, but I am at present unable to trace it. David Schaff (in vol. V of History of the Christian Church, p. 634) states that,
In the second book, [Peter] Lombard [d. 1164] makes the famous statement which he quotes from Augustine, and which has often been falsely ascribed to Matthew Henry, that the woman was not taken from Adam’s head, as if she were to rule over him or from his feet as if she were to be his slave, but from his side that she might be his consort.
Unfortunately, Schaff does not give specific references for either the Lombard quote (whose writings I have no access to anyway), or for the quote in the writings of Augustine. I examined the several editions of Augustine’s works (none exhaustive) that I own and could find nothing like the quote as given in Schaff. If in fact it is from Augustine, I could not find it.
But even if Augustine does somewhere express the sentiments claimed by Schaff, he too may not be the ultimate source. In his book Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970 reprint of 1876 edition. p. 146), Alfred Edersheim notes Rabbinic “exposition” of Genesis 2:21, 22:
Similarly, it was observed, that God had not formed woman out of the head, lest she should become proud; nor out of the eye, lest she should lust; nor our of the ear, lest she should be curious; nor out of the mouth, lest she should be talkative; nor out of the heart, lest she should be jealous; nor out of the hand, lest she should be covetous; nor out of the foot, lest she be a busybody; but out of the rib, which was always covered. Modesty was, therefore, a prime quality.
It is to be observed that this presentation is more expansive and thorough and much more coldly analytical than the Christian exposition (whether originating with Poole or Augustine, or someone in between), as well as being wholly devoid of the dimension of affection. If this rabbinic view preceded and inspired the Christian view, regardless of who among them originally adopted it, it is clear that the observation was very greatly modified in the process. Unfortunately, as with Schaff, Edersheim here utterly fails to give any documentation or reference to sources for his remarks (my preliminary attempts to locate any such sentiments in rabbinic literature have been fruitless).
Finally, we insert the cautionary comment from C. F. Keil in his exposition of Genesis:
If the fact that the woman was formed from a rib, and not from any other part of the man, is significant, all that we can find in this is, that the woman was made to stand as a helpmate by the side of the man, not that there was any allusion to conjugal love.
Since, in Hebrew thinking, the emotions and affections were regularly ascribed to the liver, kidneys and intestines, while the thought processes were ascribed to the heart, Keil’s statement is essentially correct. Henry’s (or whoever’s) observation is made from a Western European perspective, not a Semitic one, and therefore is not technically a valid deduction from this text.
Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them by Steve Milloy. Washington, D. C.: Regnery Publishing, 2009. 294 pp., hardback. $27.95.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism by Christopher C. Horner. Washington, D. C.: Regnery Publishing, 2007. 350 pp., paperback. $19.95
Virtually the whole of what the so-called “main-stream media” (including taxpayer-subsidized PBS and NPR) spew out regarding alleged man-caused global-warming is propaganda of the most blatant sort, regularly dishonest, scientifically inaccurate, purposefully slanted and grossly exaggerated. Virtually the whole of the mainstream media--TV networks, newspapers and other print media, and the film industry--has sold its soul to spout the most extreme claims of the rabid “environmentalists” without qualification or caveat. We are assured that ‘the science is settled,’ ‘the discussion is over,’ ‘there is complete scientific consensus,’ and ‘now is the time to get on board and act.’ We are fed the line (and lie) 1. that global warming is a demonstrable, indisputable fact; 2. that it is caused by the rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; 3. that this rise is directly and only traceable to human activity (namely, burning coal and oil and gas); 4. that recent spikes in carbon dioxide concentrations (and warming) are severe and unprecedented; 5. that the consequences will be catastrophic; 6. that the tipping point of irreversible damage is almost here; and 7. that the United States is the worst offender and deserves to be industrially, economically and politically crippled by oppressive international regulation to make America pay for what it has done to the rest of the world. (The claim by Al Gore and other “true believer” global warmers that the science is settled and the consensus is in, is really an attempt to stifle debate by intimidation, rather that a presentation of the scientific evidence. This is remarkably like attempts by evolutionist “true believers” to prevent any discussion in the classroom of evidence against evolution or for intelligent design. Indoctrination, not investigation, is the goal of both).
The truth is, CO2 concentrations have been demonstrably higher in the near and distant past, as have global temperatures, when man was burning zero fossil fuel and in no way adding to the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere. Oscillations in global temperatures, and ice packs, hurricane frequency and intensity, etc., are part of natural earth cycles stretching back millennia. Of so-called “greenhouse” gases, CO2 is among the least important--the largest contributor to global warming is water vapor, with methane, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and others coming in far ahead of CO2 in their capacity to trap solar heat in the atmosphere (and without which, earth’s surface would freeze rock hard every night, and grow boiling hot during daylight hours, making life absolutely impossible).
The fabricated global warming panic is a small part of the large “green” or environmentalist movement that, among other things, favors forced birth control to reduce the global population to “sustainable” levels--somewhere around a billion or less, meaning, to them, that the vast majority of people on earth need to die and get out of the way, so that the rest--”them,” not “you”-- can live more comfortably in a “sustainable” fashion. It is no surprise that not a few environmental extremists view disease--plague, small pox, pandemics of influenza, and such--as a positive good, since these will effectively thin the human herd of surplus animals, uh, people. The very thought of a recurrence of the medieval “black death” makes one almost giddy with delight!
Environmentalism’s stock in trade is extremist statements designed to generate emotion-driven panic, rather than rational, reasoned evaluation and debate. The most preposterous and unsubstantiated claims are made--runaway atmospheric heating, rapidly rising oceans, mass extinctions, massive killer hurricanes, worldwide famine, all caused by humans in automobiles and air-conditioned homes. All such fabrications are intended to stampede the unthinking human herd into voluntarily surrendering personal sovereignty to a ruling elite. In Soviet Russia, they called these people Bolsheviks.
It is no coincidence that “earth day” from the beginning has been celebrated on the birthday of Vladimir Lenin, the first totalitarian dictator of communist Russia (by the way, the pre-occupying theme of the first earth day in 1970 was global cooling). In truth, “environmentalism” is just one more adopted means toward the goal of totalitarian control of mankind by a self-appointed, self-important, and self-righteous elite, who arrogantly believe that they know far better than we do how to run our lives (though they themselves need not be, and certainly will not be, subject to the self-same restrictions and controls). That is why they are so “willing” to seize control of the environment, the economy, indeed all human activity.
The litany of proposed actions to save the environment from mankind are all smoke and mirrors. The Kyoto Treaty, for example (which Clinton signed, but the Senate wisely refused to ratify), would have placed severe, economy-crippling restrictions on the U. S. and carbon dioxide generation here, while doing absolutely nothing to constrain carbon emissions by India and China, the two largest industrial polluters on the planet. And while the U. S. has refused (so far) to subject itself to the dictates of Kyoto, Europe, in theory has submitted. Result? The U.S., with a healthy, growing economy over the past decade, has had virtually no rise in carbon emissions while economically stagnant Europe has had large increases in CO2 output. Furthermore, North America, in stark contrast to Europe, actually absorbs more CO2 out of the atmosphere through its farms, forests and parks than it generates in burning fossil fuels.
The positive side of global warming--if such is actually happening--are ignored by the “greens”: longer growing seasons for crops, larger habitable zones (as arctic ice recedes), increased rainfall. To say nothing of higher CO2 levels as an effective stimulant to plant growth.
The hypocrisy of the global greens is breath-taking. They claim that CO2 levels are the greatest “clear and present danger” to the planet, yet they are adamantly opposed to the U.S. (but apparently no one else, including Iran) expanding the use of nuclear power to generate electricity, even though it generates zero CO2. They oppose the expansion of hydro-electric dams, though they generate no CO2, and while supporting wind generation of electricity in theory, they oppose the construction of wind-generators, if they affect the “view” from their Hyannis Port estates! They even oppose the creation of plantation forests to capture CO2! Such defies rational evaluation and explanation.
The World Wildlife Fund and other environmentalist groups regularly sponsor expensive junkets with massive “carbon footprints” to exotic places for their biggest financial contributors, jetting them to the far reaches of the globe for some quality time with nature.
Both of these books are filled with information, with accompanying scientific documentation, about the real state of the environment, the real motives of the environmentalists, and the real consequences to the environment (ineffective) and to the economy (devastating) if the environmentalist agenda is implemented. The environmentalist extremes are poised to take away our life, liberty and property, if we are foolish enough to let them.
The Reagan I Knew by William F. Buckley, Jr. New York: Basic Books, 2008. 278 pp., hardback. $25.00
The late William F. Buckley (1925-2008) is widely recognized as the “philosopher” of the modern conservative movement in America; his views were propagated through National Review, the magazine he founded in 1955 and edited for more than 30 years, and his long-running television program “Firing Line.” President Ronald Reagan is acknowledged as the American political leader who most consistently put into practice the philosophy of the modern conservative movement (and how we need another Reagan today!).
Buckley and Reagan were long-time close friends, since their first meeting in 1961. Their contacts by phone and correspondence were extensive. These personal contacts between Buckley and Reagan make up the substance of this book, particularly their correspondence. The narrative does not give a biography of either man, indeed it assumes that the reader already knows the outlines of the lives of both men. We do find here the personal, candid, non-public side of each man.
Notable quotations from The Reagan I Knew:
“President Carter has said he’s just discovered that the Soviet Union can’t be trusted. That’s something a great many people would have been happy to tell him anytime over the last several years.” (Quoting Reagan; p. 118)
“I would like to dissolve the ten-billion-dollar national Department of Education created by President Carter and turn schools back to the local school districts, where we built the greatest public school system the world has ever seen. I think I can make a case that the decline in the quality of public education began when federal aid became federal interference.” (Quoting Reagan; p. 123)
“What you [Reagan, as President-elect] need, obviously, isn’t men who are seeking government jobs, but men who might be persuaded to take them. You know the difference from your experience in California.” (p. 140)
“Bill Casey is the only CIA Director for whom it will not be necessary to provide a scrambler.” (p. 141)
“Whittaker Chambers was the most eloquent poet of freedom in the postwar period in America--precisely because, as Andre Malraux said to him, ‘You did not return from hell with empty hands.’ No, he returned from the hell of Communism with a heart full of horror for what he had engaged in, and a determination to strive to help his countrymen avoid that horror.” (p. 168)
“Seventy-five million people were killed on earth, violently, during this century, before the [atomic] bomb was discovered that has thus far killed [just] one hundred thousand.” (p. 206)
“You have had a wonderful life, prevailing over many sorrows. This [i.e., Kitty Kelley’s malicious and grossly inaccurate and dishonest biography of Nancy Reagan] is just one more, but for every such sorrow, there will be, I know, a compensating joy, cf. the Christian religion, which gives us, always, life and hope.” (Buckley to Nancy Reagan; p. 230)
“Ronald Reagan had strategic vision. He told us that most of our civic problems were problems brought on or exacerbated by government, not problems that could be solved by government. That of course is enduringly true. Only government can cause inflation, preserve monopoly, and punish enterprise.” (p. 241)
“ . . .Washington-directed bureaucrats who are fighting for the right of everyone conceivable to live at other people’s expense.” (p. 246)
“It is not surprising that the liberals in America, having trained the Supreme Court to act as a standing constitutional convention, are frightened to death that they may lose control of their Big Bertha.” (p. 260)