Introduction: Patrick Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. From 1966 through 1974, Buchanan was an assistant to Richard Nixon, and from 1985 to 1987, White House Director of Communications for Ronald Reagan. In 1992, Mr. Buchanan challenged George Bush for the Republican nomination and almost upset the president in the New Hampshire primary. In 1996, he won the New Hampshire primary and finished second to Sen. Bob Dole with three million Republican votes. Patrick Buchanan has written ten books, including seven straight New York Times bestsellers, most recently Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?
Daily Bell: Glad to have you back for another interview. Everyone knows who you are but remind us anyway. Give us some background on yourself and how you have developed professionally and intellectually.
Pat Buchanan: Very briefly, I started in journalism over 50 years ago in June. I was an editorial writer for three years and then joined Richard Nixon and his campaign and stayed with him right through his presidency. I became a syndicated journalist afterwards and served in Reagan’s White House and ran three times for president myself. That’s my basic summary.
Daily Bell: Suicide of a Superpower caused a lot of controversy. You eventually left MSNBC because of it. Can you fill us in?
Pat Buchanan: It’s almost a year behind us. MSNBC’s chief said he felt the ideas and beliefs in the book didn’t belong being discussed on MSNBC or on national media. I obviously disagreed with that assessment, as did all the other networks who had me on the air, and it did become a New York Times bestseller but I guess it was a breaking point with MSNBC. I was delighted to be with them for ten years and enjoyed it and enjoyed a lot of my friends over there, even though very few of them agree with me.
Daily Bell: What’s next on the agenda? Another book?
Pat Buchanan: I am working on another book right now on Richard Nixon and my first three years with him, from 1966 to 1969, about the great comeback and how he managed.
Daily Bell: Interesting how times have changed. You called the US a failing nation. Is it still failing?
Pat Buchanan: I think, in a way, like many of the Western nations, America is beginning to disintegrate along the lines of culture and ethnicity, and identity and social differences, and it does not seem to be the united country it used to be. That’s what I write about in Suicide of a Superpower, the reasons why I believe the country and our civilization are in decline.
Daily Bell: Did you vote for the GOP’s Romney for president?
Pat Buchanan: Yes, I did vote for Governor Romney and Paul Ryan and did so enthusiastically. My sister worked for his campaign as a national surrogate and I was disappointed in the outcome but it was not altogether unexpected. I think that Hurricane Sandy stopped the Governor’s momentum. It was a great benefit to the President when you can play the role of comforter-in-chief. I think he did it well. After that, President Obama seemed to have regained the footing he had lost in the debates. So I was not wholly surprised. I had not predicted a Romney victory but I did have hopes.
Daily Bell: We believe the GOP hijacked the nomination and took it away from Ron Paul who was clearly gaining momentum and gave it to Romney. Agree? Disagree?
Pat Buchanan: I disagree with that. I think Romney won it fair and square and it was a very rough campaign. Ron Paul is a friend of mine and I have campaigned for him down in his congressional district in the old days. I like him and he’s been true to his convictions but I don’t think he was winning the nomination.
Daily Bell: Why the antipathy to Ron Paul from top GOPers? Isn’t the GOP a big tent? Shouldn’t it have rejoiced in Ron Paul’s popularity? The numbers apparently said he had a chance to beat Obama where Romney did not.
Pat Buchanan: I do agree that Ron Paul belongs inside the Republican Party. Certainly he’s been a loyal Republican but I think on some issues neither he nor I are in the mainstream of the Republican Party. We are both deeply skeptical of foreign intervention and foreign wars and I share that view with Dr. Paul. We both opposed the Iraq War and I believe we were right. I think our views do belong in the Republican Party and I think they are growing in terms of acceptance.
I’ve had a number of people agree with the campaigns I ran in the 1990s, where we said we ought to stay ought of these foreign quarrels and wars that are none of our business and are bleeding our country, literally bleeding it of its young people and, of course, bleeding it of enormous amounts of money and wealth – unless the vital interest of the United States is threatened we ought to be deeply skeptical about foreign wars.
So these ideas certainly are long in the Republican Party and they’re not the dominant idea but I think on many social and cultural issues Ron Paul is in the mainstream. On his belief in small government and his opposition to taxes I think he qualifies as something of a purist but certainly in sync 100% with a lot of traditionalist conservatives so he’s certainly part of the Republican Party. I was glad to see him do the job he did and he did tremendously well. I will say this: I believe, and I’m not certain, that he consistently out-polled any of the other Republicans among young voters.
Daily Bell: Why is the GOP the party of empire these days? Has it always been that way? How did the GOP evolve?
Pat Buchanan: The GOP evolved in the pre-war era, pre-WWII. Some of the Republican Party’s leading lights and brilliant minds were leaders in the America-first movement to keep us out of WWII. While they succeeded for a long period of time, Hitler made his fatal blunder of attacking the Soviet Union and rival, Stalin. That’s where most all the casualties in WWII occurred; even though our side of the war was bloody as it could be, the losses over there were literally in the millions.
I think that after the war was over many Republicans, some of them young – Richard Nixon and Eisenhower and others – reluctantly came to the conclusion that the United States was faced with a global challenge in the Soviet Empire and the Soviet Union in that it was imperialist, it was ideologically ambitious and it was hell-bent on global domination. I think they had good reason to believe that. So they adopted a defensive strategy during the Cold War of peace through strength and containment of the communist empire. I think that Republicans took over, if you will, the leadership of the Cold War when the Democratic Party broke and went with Senator McGovern in 1972. Republicans held the leadership, I think, all the way through the Cold War. There was Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush I. And the Democrats only had one president and that was Jimmy Carter.
I disagreed with the conservatives and the Republicans in that at the end of the Cold War I thought we should have come home. Our war was over. If it was necessary to contain the Soviet Empire we had done it. The Soviet Empire collapsed, the Soviet Union collapsed, the Berlin Wall went down, the Red Army got up and left Germany and left Eastern Europe and went back to the Urals, and I thought America should have done the same.
I think Ron Paul and I basically agreed and argued that point. I was against the Gulf War and I was against the Iraq War. So I think the rift came inside the Party, to a degree, back in the end of the Cold War, from about 1989 to 1991. I ran three times for president and Ron Paul’s run a couple of times and our views did not ultimately prevail. They gained tremendous support but they didn’t ultimately prevail.
Daily Bell: You are very concerned about mass immigration. Has your concern abated with Obama’s re-election or has it increased?
Pat Buchanan: I think the problem is both legal and illegal immigration. Folks, we now have a mammoth welfare state, which if you add up all the transfer payments and welfare programs it’s really something like a trillion dollars. And this also is a magnet to very poor people abroad. They come into the United States and if they don’t get a job they are well taken care of nevertheless. I think the enormous numbers of folks coming in from the Third World have far more difficulty assimilating obviously in what still remains a First World nation. They don’t bring the skills and the academic achievements, and the capacity to really succeed, like Baby Boomers did in a First World nation and in America, as advanced as it is, I think we are becoming two countries.
If you look at the election and stats of native-born white Americans, for example, Governor Romney won by 20 points and he lost by 40 points among immigrants and people of color, young people and single women who depend heavily on government. So do I think it’s going to be solved? No. I don’t think it’s going to be solved.
Daily Bell: Do you think Romney would have done a better job on immigration from your standpoint?
Pat Buchanan: Sure, I certainly do.
Daily Bell: Libertarians believe that if all land were owned then there wouldn’t be an immigration problem. The problem is that government sets immigration policy. Should the US give the one-third of the land it owns to the citizens and get out of the immigration business?
Pat Buchanan: I don’t mean to be offensive, but are you kidding? But hey, listen. I admire, respect and like libertarians. Murray Rothbard was a friend of mine and he supported me in ’92 and then he became disillusioned with me by ’96. They are very principled people and I like them. They are very interesting in their ideas but to be truthful I don’t know of a single great nation that’s ever been built by libertarians. Libertarians say, sure, now we have all this industry from protectionism so let’s soften the borders.
Daily Bell: Is it true that certain policymakers in the US want to create a North American Union? Is this why former president George Bush wanted to grant a blanket amnesty? Is it true that George Bush and now Obama have created agreements with Mexico and Canada that will reinforce a union?
Pat Buchanan: I think not in a formal sense but there’s no question about it – the American Southwest is becoming, and will become, culturally, socially and linguistically as much a part of Mexico as it is of the United States. Politically, I think Republicans will probably capitulate and cease seeking to defend the border and send illegal aliens home and impose sanctions on those who hire illegals, and I think that’s the end of one nation indivisible. With regard to Canada, I think there’s less of a problem. If I were a Canadian I might want to build a border against the United States.
Daily Bell: US officials are very scared of terrorism. Is this why US regulatory agencies have purchased millions of dum-dum bullets? What are some other reasons?
Pat Buchanan: The reasons we are scared is because it can occur. It occurred in Europe, it’s occurred in the United States, Madrid and London, repeatedly. The IRA was engaged in terror there, as well as Islamic terror, Muslim terror. It also happens because we are over there. I think terrorism occurs because we need to get out of all the countries we occupy and leave these countries alone.
I don’t know who’s purchasing dum-dum bullets but I do know that Black Friday marked the biggest sale of guns in United States history. I think the FBI gave clearance for the purchase of up to 150,000 weapons for one day. I don’t think the American people need to fear that they are going to be disarmed. I think the folks who argue for second amendment rights basically won the battle, horse, foot and dragoons.
Daily Bell: Is the secession movement in the US picking up? If so, why?
Pat Buchanan: I posted a column on the secession movement at my website last week. I don’t think it’s as serious as the one my great-grandfathers were involved in that got one of them killed! One was from Mississippi and wound up in a federal penitentiary after being captured by the forces of General Sherman when he was trying to defend Atlanta. The otherr was killed and the only thing we found on his record was the word Vicksburg.
So is this serious? No, it’s not. But I believe it’s a manifestation of the fact that Americans really don’t like each other, some have even come to detest each other, and many have come to dislike and detest the United States and would rather not be a part of this country and be in their own separate country.
How serious they are about this or whether this is just an expression of feelings I don’t know. But I do know that this movement of people to associate with their own kind, if you will, and to pull away ancient states and nations is one thing I have written about in my book in the chapter on ethno-nationalism.
We see its manifestation with the Scots wanting to move out of Great Britain and the Catalonians wanting to break free of Spain and Flanders wanting to break out of Belgium and at last be a separate country. There are parts of northern Italy that want to break away. We saw Yugoslavia break up into seven different countries as soon as the Cold War was over. Czechoslovakia broke in half. The Soviet Union split into 15 pieces and is subdividing again.
So I think there is a tendency, it seems to me, to overcome the centrifugal forces that are pulling us toward one world and one-world government. That was a very powerful movement in the ’90s, when you had the EU advanced, the Maastricht Treaty, you had NAFTA and you had the World Trade Organization and the Copenhagen Meetings, these environmental things – all these things creating one world – and eventually, one-world government with the EU as the model. I think that’s gone into reverse.
Daily Bell: Is the US becoming a more authoritarian place?
Pat Buchanan: I think it’s going to become a more authoritarian place. When you have different ethnic groups and races and also different fundamental religious beliefs – and I consider ideology political religion – and these multiply, then you become less like the country we were in 1960 than say the Habsburg Empire and eventually, I find it hard to see how a democracy works.
We already see the effort – and this is very well advanced in the Democratic Party – to buy off interest groups, ethnic groups and all the rest and create sort of a balkanized America. I see that coming. This is one of the reasons why the subtitle on my book is “Will America Survive Till 2025?” I see that it’s certainly a geographic expression called America and maybe a political entity but will it be one country, indivisible? I’m not so sure.
Daily Bell: Are internal passports in the future? Will it be harder to get out of the US in the future?
Pat Buchanan: I don’t see that as a big problem, to be honest. People are moving all over the country. They can’t keep track of who’s coming to the country, but I do see, and you see it because its disintegration of society … you see identity cards and tags on students in schools so teachers know where they are at all times. Let’s hope the mayor of New York is not the wave of the future. You can’t smoke in Irish bars and you can’t have a 17-ounce soda pop and all the rest of it. I do see the nanny state growing, there’s no doubt about it.
The more people you have and the more diverse you become ideologically, racially, ethnically, socially, religiously, economically and when you commit yourself to egalitarianism and equality, the only way you can achieve equality in that kind of society is really to take from some and continue giving to others, which requires a bigger, stronger government.
Daily Bell: Why are the police and Homeland Security becoming ever more repressive?
Pat Buchanan: I just don’t know. I think this is a libertarian issue with which I am not all that familiar. Maybe I should be but I don’t see the Department of Homeland Security being that big of a problem.
Daily Bell: Why is the name of the organization “Homeland Security”? Why the appeal to what some perceive as having resonance with the Third Reich? Was this intention?
Pat Buchanan: No, not at all! The defense of the homeland is a very positive phrase to most Americans. Defense of the homeland – you have foreign policy and foreign wars so I don’t read something horribly Third Reichian into the name of the department. It’s another mammoth agency that was all cobbled together. All the various small agencies got rolled into one in I think probably a political response to 9/11.
Daily Bell: Is the American two-party system going to survive? Is a new party needed?
Pat Buchanan: Well, I tried that once and it didn’t work. I think the real danger right now is for the Republican Party. It is demographically facing a very grim future because its political base, which is predominantly Caucasian and Christian, is shrinking with the growth of population as people of color are growing as a part of the population. I think it’s about 38-40% and they will be more than one-half of the population by 2041. Anyone other than white or Caucasian, Barack Obama won those voters, if you aggregate them, 80% to 20%.
So I think the Republican Party faces a difficult problem but I don’t see a successor party on the horizon. You know, I came into politics with and I was very much for Barry Goldwater. He was a good libertarian and he didn’t do that well. But I came into politics when the Democratic Party was twice as large as the Republican Party, and working with Candidate Nixon from ’65 to ’69 and through ’72, we began to convert the Republican Party into America’s party and eventually it became that in the 1980s and early 1990s. But the mass immigration and the low birth rates with native-born Americans have combined to make the future of the Republican Party look terribly grim.
Daily Bell: You would never consider running for president again?
Pat Buchanan: I would consider it but I wouldn’t do it! I have a lot of scar tissue!
Daily Bell: In closing, any final issues you want to mention?
Pat Buchanan: Well, I do think the Republican Party will make a terrible mistake if it lets itself be bullied into signing on to higher taxes and violating its pledge to not raise taxes and basically abandoning one of the main principals and planks of the Party, which have held this bunch together. I think they are headed down that road and I think it’s a mistake. If they do it, I think they will rue the day they did it.
Daily Bell: Thanks for sitting down with us and answering the tough questions!
Pat Buchanan: Thank you.
Daily Bell After Thoughts
Mr. Buchanan’s worldview is expansive and informed, as one would expect from an author of many bestselling books on politics and US policy. Caveats can be presented as well, certainly from a libertarian point of view.
These might include Mr. Buchanan’s perspective that Homeland Security is a fairly harmless agency. From our point of view it is an extraordinarily invasive and arrogant one with immense power.
It is bigness that makes so many bad ideas dangerous – if one is concerned about individual freedoms.
Just yesterday came the following news about the TSA, the Transportation Security Administration – one of Homeland Security’s biggest subsidiaries – courtesy of Natural News. It’s entitled, “TSA claims Congress has no jurisdiction over it; refuses to attend hearings.” Here’s an excerpt:
When officials who head up a federal agency created and funded by Congress no longer feel obligated to appear before the congressional committee charged with overseeing the function of that agency, a situation of genuine tyranny exists.
Enter John Pistole, the Obama Administration’s head of the notorious Transportation Security Agency. He is not only refusing to appear before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, but he’s even gone so far as to declare that said congressional committee possesses “no jurisdiction over the TSA.“
That’s more than just arrogance; that’s a dangerous precedent to set.
We’d agree with that. Arrogance almost inevitably has an impact on subsequent actions. Here’s another article from Natural News, circa 2011:
TSA backscatter radiation safety tests were rigged … It can now be revealed by NaturalNews that the TSA faked its safety data on its X-ray airport scanners in order to deceive the public about the safety of such devices …
The evidence of the TSA’s fakery is now obvious thanks to the revelations of a letter signed by five professors from the University of California, San Francisco and Arizona State University. The letter reveals: ◊ To this day, there has been no credible scientific testing of the TSA’s naked body scanners. The claimed “safety” of the technology by the TSA is based on rigged tests. The testing that did take place was done on a custom combination of spare parts rigged by the manufacturer of the machines (Rapidscan) and didn’t even use the actual machines installed in airports. In other words, the testing was rigged. ◊ The names of the researchers who conducted the radiation tests at Rapidscan have been kept secret! This means the researchers are not available for scientific questioning of any kind, and there has been no opportunity to even ask whether they are qualified to conduct such tests. (Are they even scientists?)
Now, the issue of backscatter radiation has never been resolved, to the best of our knowledge, and it’s a good example of the arrogance we’re discussing. Hundreds of millions of people throughout the world are subject to these sorts of facilities and they may be receiving doses of radiation that will prove injurious.
This irradiation is being done in the name of the “war on terror” – itself a dubious invention. But it is hard to parse reality when it comes to government and power elite memes. It is bigness itself that makes them so resistant to scrutiny. Even when someone is declared responsible for this or that issue, the myriad of public servants below him or her may prove resistant to agreed-upon change.
Bigness is not merely ineffectual. When it comes to government, smaller is better.
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About the Author
Anthony Wile is an author, columnist, media commentator and entrepreneur focused on developing projects that promote the general advancement of free-market thinking concepts. He is the chief editor of the popular free-market oriented news site, TheDailyBell.com. Mr. Wile is the Executive Director of The Foundation for the Advancement of Free-Market Thinking – a non-profit Liechtenstein-based foundation. His most popular book, High Alert, is now in its third edition and available in several languages. Other notable books written by Mr. Wile include The Liberation of Flockhead (2002) and The Value of Gold (2002). (Read more about the author on this link…)