William F. Buckley, Totalitarian Bureaucracy Apologist?

by John Holbo on September 11, 2016

So I’m reading Right Wing Critics of American Conservatism, by George Hawley.

The most important issue of the day, it is time to admit it, is survival. Here there is apparently some confusion in the ranks of conservatives, and hard thinking is in order for them. The thus-far invincible aggressiveness of the Soviet Union does or does not constitute a threat to the security of the United States, and we have got to decide which. If it does, we shall have to arrange, sensibly, our battle plans; and this means that we have got to accept Big Government for the duration — for neither an offensive nor a defensive war can be waged, given our present government skills, except though the instrument of a totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores.

– William F. Buckley, “The Party and the Deep Blue Sea”, Commonweal, January, 1952, 391-2

Huh. You can read the original here. The subtitle was, “Ideally, the Republican platform should acknowledge an internal enemy, the State”. But – Nock on wood – that’s a non-starter, given the Soviet threat; so totalitarianism it is! Weird piece.