L. Neil Smith's

Number 9, June 1996

Bill Buckley, Domestic Terrorist

by John Taylor

Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise

         In an op-ed piece which ran locally in the Washington Times on Saturday May 18th, William F. Buckley tells the story of a case in Oregon in which a priest hears a confession from a man who had been arrested and jailed, accused of murdering three children.
         The prosecutor secretly taped the confession, and now announces that he intends to present the confession to a grand jury. The local archdiocese insists that all confessional exchanges between priests and petitioners are confidential and "sacredly inviolate".
         The Attorney General cites a statute that allows the state to legally record any conversation (except between lawyer and client), even if surreptitiously. He further asserts that the exchange is already no longer private because the technician recording it and the typist who transcribed it have both heard it.
         Buckley is incensed on religious grounds. He refers to the case as "naked fascism, truly the end of the line". He goes on to spend quite a few more column inches in high Catholic dudgeon. He calls for impeachment and disbarring of the Attorney General, and advocates that court officers, from judge to janitor, "[r]efuse to cooperate with the proceedings in any way." As part of his summation toward the end of the article, he states:

         This is an absolutely clear-cut case justifying civil disobedience. If the state tells a citizen he may not pray to his own God, the state is by that very act a tyrant, meriting disobedience even with the use of force, if necessary, to prevent the usurpation. ...
         Any intervention by police should be resisted as confidently as one would have refused a Gestapo agent attempting to interrupt proceedings in a synagogue.

         Am I seeing things? First there was his support for decriminalization of drugs, now he's advocating active (even armed) civil disobedience against an oppressive and coercive state? Billy, we hardly knew ye!
         Three cheers for Bill Buckley! (Perhaps we should award him a miniature bust of Lysander Spooner?)

John Taylor is the Maryland Coordinator of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus.

Previous to return to the previous article, or Index to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 9, June, 1996.