Does anyone remember James J. Kilpatrick? At one time, in the late 1970s to the mid 1980s he was apparently one of the most widely read columnists in the country. Do you know how he became famous? In the early 1950s he was an unknown editor/editorial writer for a newspaper in Richmond, Virginia. Then he began denouncing Brown vs. Board of Education, and championing states’ rights and segregation. He died in 2010. The following was printed in his obituary.
James J. Kilpatrick, a nationally syndicated columnist whose strongly conservative viewpoints on politics, law and language appeared in hundreds of newspapers over the last five decades and made him a popular, even parodied, television pundit, died Sunday at a Washington, D.C., hospital. He was 89.
The cause was congestive heart failure, said his son, Kevin.
Kilpatrick, who once described himself as “10 miles to the right of Ivan the Terrible,” was the editor of a Richmond, Va., newspaper in the 1950s. His anti-desegregation crusades gave him national prominence, eventually leading to a thrice-weekly syndicated political column called “A Conservative View.
His views on race especially impressed William F. Buckley, who asked him to write for National Review:
During this period he also became an outspoken opponent of desegregation. He editorialized against the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education, which declared school segregation unconstitutional. The centerpiece of Kilpatrick’s opposition was a 19th century doctrine called “interposition,” which said that states had the right to override a federal mandate that encroached on their sovereign authority. Bolstered by Kilpatrick’s editorials, several Southern states used the interposition argument to pass laws favorable to segregation. Kilpatrick also wrote a book, “The Sovereign States” (1957), to drum up support for the doctrine outside the South, but it failed to gain traction.
Kilpatrick became well-known nationally, particularly after he participated in debates with prominent civil rights leaders, including one with the Rev. Martin Luther King in 1960. He became a contributing editor to William F. Buckley’s conservative journal, National Review, which led in 1964 to his debut as a syndicated columnist with the Newsday Syndicate.
Here are a few samples of Kilpatrick’s work that William F. Buckley published in National Review:
The September 28, 1957 issue contained a piece by James Kilpatrick called “Right and Power in Arkansas,” in which he endorsed Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus’ call-up of the National Guard to prevent forced integration at Little Rock’s Central High School. Defending a community’s right to keep the peace, he wrote that “the State of Arkansas and Orval Faubus are wholly in the right; they have acted lawfully; they are entitled to those great presumptions of the law which underlie the whole of our judicial tradition.” Predicting a “storm” of white resistance he wrote, “Conceding, for the sake of discussion, that the Negro pupil has these new rights, what of the white community? Has it none?”
An article by James Kilpatrick in the September 24, 1963, issue argued that the Civil Rights Bill (eventually passed in 1964) should be voted down. He wrote, “I believe this bill is a very bad bill. In my view, the means here proposed are the wrong means… In the name of achieving certain ‘rights’ for one group of citizens this bill would impose some fateful compulsions on another group of citizens.” After it passed, an editorial declared: “The Civil Rights Act has been law for only a little over two months, yet it already promises to be the source of much legalistic confusion, civic chaos and bureaucratic malpractice.”
Mr. Kilpatrick also took aim at the 1965 Voting Rights Act in the April 20, 1965 issue. “Must We Repeal the Constitution to Give the Negro the Vote?” he asked, accusing the bill’s supporters of “perverting the Constitution.” He thought certain blacks should be given the right to vote but notes, “Over most of this century, the great bulk of Southern Negroes have been genuinely unqualified for the franchise.” He also defended segregation as rational for Southerners. “Segregation is a fact, and more than a fact; it is a state of mind. It lies in the Southern subconscious next to man’s most elementary instincts, for self-preservation, for survival, for the untroubled continuation of a not intolerable way of life.”
Yes, National Review used to be an
“racist” honest magazine, well up into the 1970s. Today’s conservatives, in an effort to prove that they’re the good guys who love black people the most, love to scream that “Bull Connor was a Democrat!” and that “It was Democrats who opposed the Civil Rights movement!”
What they never mention is that it was conservatives who once opposed the “Civil Rights” movement, and they did it from the pages of National Review, the leading conservative magazine in the country back then.
Compare that to the National Review of today, an irrelevant publication that just fired John Derbyshire for writing common sense, elementary level truths about race.