Buckley Debates Chomsky on American Interventionism

Below is video of a debate between Noam Chomsky and William F. Buckley, Jr. from 1969, presumably on the latter’s long running “Firing Line” program about American interventionism, terrorism, and other issues which are still with us.

Andrew Sullivan observes wistfully, “There used to be television like this; and people used to watch it.” My inclination was to share his sentiment. Until I actually watched it.

Even with only four channels from which to choose, I don’t know how people sat through an hour of this. Buckley and Chomsky are undeniably brilliant but the exchange is pedantic and the delivery virtually unintelligible. It’s as if we’re dropping in on the middle of a conversation in a faculty lounge, with the participants unaware that there’s a microphone, let alone an audience.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    You mean, as opposed to the shouting and insults commonly thrown around the current crop of supposed “grown up” news discussion shows?

  2. James Joyner says:

    DCL: There’s a vast middle ground between a dull academic discussion and shout fests.