Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. “Academic Freedom and Berkeley”

Firing Line Videos, Hoover Institution, taped on January 16, 1967, uploaded to YouTube on July 15, 2010.

Guest: Harold Taylor


We eventually get to Berkeley–where the Free Speech Movement and associated radicalisms had completely broken down academic discipline–but before that, we have a never-the-twain-shall-meet discussion of which views might and might not, under the tenets of academic freedom, disqualify a scholar from being hired by a university. Buckley: “You, despising racism as much as I do, are prepared to assert that no one who is a racist actually would get into a college of which you were president, but that in fact people can be well-qualified Communists.” Taylor: “There is a sharp distinction to be made between a philosophy of racism, affirming the notion that there is one race superior to another, . . . and a political philosophy which one identifies as communism. I think you have to talk about those in different categories.”