Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. “The World of LSD”

Firing Line Videos, Hoover Institution, taped on April 10, 1967, uploaded to YouTube on July 29, 2010.

Guest: Timothy Leary


We all remember Dr. Leary as a proselytizer for LSD; we’ve mostly forgotten that he had started out as a doctor of clinical psychology and that he had made LSD the basis of a “new religion.” On this show, he makes his opening statement, before he ever says a word, by appearing not in a business suit but in a flower-child get-up–ruffled shirt, no jacket or tie. He argues that Buckley is confusing psychedelic drugs, which Dr. Leary says “intensify consciousness,” with opiates and alcohol, “something that is an escape, something that takes you away from reality.” Buckley: “Let’s go ahead and agree that LSD seems to be in some particulars different from other opiates or drugs or chemicals, at the same time agreeing that LSD is a departure from the normal world . . .” Leary: “But what do you mean by ‘normal world’? You mean Harry Truman? Is that normal?”