Saturday, June 22, 2019

How William F. Buckley Jr. Defended the Anti-Capitalist Bailout of Chrysler

William F. Buckley Jr. 
David Von Drehle informs:

A very long time ago, via a series of unlikely turns, I found myself — a 19-year-old nobody from the Denver suburbs — splitting a bottle of expensive champagne with William F. Buckley Jr. The celebrated conservative was charming and amused as I explained, as only a college sophomore can, all the ways in which he was mistaken about the world. For example, the Chrysler Corp. was seeking a government bailout at the time, and I scolded Buckley that capitalists would have a lot more credibility while extolling the free market if they didn’t go begging to the government every time the market ruled against them.

“Ah, David,” Buckley replied, arching his brows and flaring his nostrils in his characteristic way. “I suppose if Lee Iacocca were here with us, he would give you this answer.” The Chrysler boss was perhaps the most famous businessman in America at the time, and the idea that he might parry my thrust was so heady that I leaned forward eagerly. Buckley paused a beat, then hit me with a simple two-word f-bomb.
What a phony capitalist!


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