Taki Theodoracopulos on the culture war, Christopher Hitchens, and more

Taki Theodoracopulos shares his thoughts on who won the culture war and tells us about his career, as well as what inspired him to enter journalism. Photo: Associated Press

FLORIDA, December 31, 2012 — It has been more than twenty years since Pat Buchanan delivered his infamous culture war speech. And still both the left and the right continue to strive for dominance in American society.  

Has either side claimed major victories?

In this second part of our discussion, veteran journalist and commentator Taki Theodoracopulos explains. He also tells us what the greatest reward of being a writer about culture and politics is, as well as what inspired him to enter the field of journalism.  

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Joseph F. Cotto: It’s been more than twenty years since Pat Buchanan delivered his infamous culture war speech. Do you think that either the left or the right has managed to secure a dominant role in American society?

Taki Theodoracopulos: Well, obviously the left has. The left has always had a dominant role because they’re controlling academia and universities. Take any college or any university in the United States and if you somehow poll the faculty, you’ll find 90 percent are pro-left. In fact, they’re extreme left. 

The media is the same way. Not in small town newspapers, but the seven deadly sinners as Paul Johnson used to call them: CBS, NBC, ABC, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek thank God is gone, but even Time now. They’re all to the left of center, and Pat Buchanan — what Pat said, look what’s happened to Pat. 

Pat Buchanan was drummed out of the Republican Party by whom? William Buckley; the right-winger, my mentor, a very decent man. But there was pressure put on Buckley by the neocons who are pro-war, drum out people like Pat Buchanan, Sam Francis, Peter Brimelow, and of course Joe Sobran.

So, your answer’s right there.

Cotto: What has been the greatest reward of writing about culture and politics?

Theodoracopulos: Every time you write something that appears in print, you sort of get something off your chest. Even if one person alone reads you, you feel that you’ve contributed to the fight against all the things we talked about before — the fight to not allow free speech, the fight not to have any ideas except the ideas of the left.

The fight for freedom, let’s say — I’ve always been very pro-freedom and I believe I’m sort of more libertarian than conservative. Everybody should be allowed to say anything as the Internet does now. That doesn’t mean that you can call the Pope a scumbag and a liar like Christopher Hitchens, who has been lionized by everybody. He called the Pope a war criminal and named Henry Kissinger a war criminal. 

Well, that’s easy to do because Hitchens was a physical coward. He did it because they wouldn’t answer him. Kissinger is not going to sink down to his level, and of course the Holy Father won’t. I call people like Hitchens scumbags and will fight them because I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. They pick on — like Hitchens picked on Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa! He called her money-grubbing whore or something, then he picked on the priest in a debate. The priest is not going to get his hands dirty in a fight. You’d be amazed how polite he was with me, because he knew I would apply instant cessation if he had said anything personal.

So, to answer your question, some of my satisfaction comes because I express my opinions and I’m not afraid to defend them. Unfortunately, not many people do that. They’re always afraid to maybe get on the wrong side of other people, and the only good thing about having a private income is that I couldn’t give a damn to make a living writing. I’ve been employed by The Spectator for 36 years. It’s the number one magazine in the English-speaking world. I’m rather proud of it and I’ll continue to write until I’m fired.

Cotto: What inspired you to enter the field of journalism?

Theodoracopulos: Basically, I was a tennis player; I was on the circuit. I wanted to play a role in life — my father was an industrialist and shipowner. I just didn’t want to sit in an office — and there most be something more to just making money the way most people do. I had the good luck and the privilege not to have to work for a living, and I thought journalism was the best way that you could have a say in this world without dominating other people.

I chose journalism and I think it’s a good profession if you care to make a mark in the world, but it’s a dirty profession. I’m not particularly — I’m very, very pessimistic about the future of free speech in view of our friends on the left. 


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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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