Chomsky vs Buckley


This one is longish, but fun. William Buckley was a conservative who hosted a PBS show called Firing Line. He was fairly erudite, and on his show he was usually able to intellectually intimidate his debate opponents. But when he had on Noam Chomsky, Buckley was definitely outclassed, and it ‘s fun to watch the two of them parrying, with Buckley clearly in over his head. To Buckley’s credit, he allowed Chomsky onto mainstream television, something that broadcasters then and now were and are loath to do.

Thanks to YouTuber Patrick Steinkuhl


6 thoughts on “Chomsky vs Buckley

  1. Jack, this is absolutely intriguing! Chomsky, the highly informed, outspoken critic of American foreign policy, versus Buckley, the epitome of conservative ideology, though sadly unarmed with sufficient fact. It almost typifies the classic right-left conflict. Thanks so much for this.

    • I’ve always been intrigued by Chomsky’s refusal to appeal to emotion as a basis for argument, even when he was clearly passionate about a subject. He somehow believed that the strength of fact alone would be enough to sway opinion. Unfortunately, I think he was wrong about that.

      • When one is able to combine strength of fact with effective passion, that person is truly effective. I agree that Chomsky is tipped toward the former.

  2. I forgot how much I despised Buckley. I am so glad he is dead!!!
    I never realized that Chomsky was young once!!:) He also didn’t used to
    mumble then like he does now.
    This was amazing to see.
    Chomsky made mincemeat out of Buckley
    and all Buckley’s attempts to be witty and his sarcasm and attempts to
    deflect attention from Chomsky’s zingers exposing Buckley’s
    salacious reasoning failed in the face of Chomsky’s mastery of facts and
    his ability to refute Buckley’s lies.
    That was really fascinating!!

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