Last of the Jeffersonians: Bill Kauffman’s Interview with The Tiger Times

Posted on March 24, 2023 by


In this interview, author Bill Kauffman, known for “America First!”, Look Homeward, America, and more, answers questions from “The Tiger Times.”

Bill Kauffman is known as a historian of local culture, an author, a screenwriter, and more. In the interview, he covers topics from books, historical figures, current events, and beyond.

Bill Kauffman is a gadfly, even among gadflies. He is eternally opposed to the political establishment. He is an iconoclast, even among iconoclasts. 

Novelist — and Bill’s pen-pal — Gore Vidal called Kauffman and himself “original patriots.” This is because of Kauffman’s sentimental attitude to the Republic he lost and the Empire he so despises.

Bill is the intellectual heir to all the noble figures of American history whose ideas are lost, whether it be the early Anti-Fedralists, the Populists of the 1890s, or the Old Right Isolationists of the Pre-Pearl Harbor era.

Bill counts himself as one of few figures who is a fan of both William Jennings Brian and his nemesis H.L Mencken. Inconsistent? Not to him. Bill is a fan of all those who made foes of the Imperialist establishment that, in his view, stole the Old Republic.

The following is what he had to say.

Tiger Times: I know you’re something of a history buff, so who is one historical figure that is relatively unknown that you think more people should know about?

Bill Kauffman: Luther Martin of course. I wrote a biography of him. He was the drunken and erratic wildman of the 1787 Constitutional Convention and the most articulate critic of the new U.S. Constitution. He was wise and prescient and foresaw the eventual (and from my perspective, unfortunate) development of the American Empire.

TT: What is one historical event that is relatively unknown that more people should know about?

BK: The Christmas Truce of 1914, when British, French, and German soldiers put down their weapons and fraternized in Christian brotherhood. In popular music terms, it was a cross between Phil Ochs (“I ain’t Marching Anymore”) and The Clash (“It’s up to you not to heed the callup”). 

TT: Who is one political individual considered “Left” that you admire?

BK: Historically, Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist Party leader of the early twentieth century, a good citizen of Terre Haute, Indiana, and a free speech martyr; and Senator George McGovern of South Dakota, the only major party candidate of the last 90 years who had a genuine commitment to peace. Among the living, Ralph Nader, a worthy heir to the old populists.

TT: Who is one political individual considered “Right” that you admire?

BK: Historically, Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, who upheld the banner of nonintervention from the 1930s to the 1950s. Among the living, former congressman Ron Paul of Texas, a courageous Libertarian.

TT: On a more current note, what do you think the correct anti-war position would be for the Russia/Ukraine Conflict?

BK: The U.S. should refrain from any involvement other than encouraging peace of reconciliation. The most sagacious of the Founders warned posterity against foreign entanglements in the affairs of Europe. The sanctimonious prig Woodrow Wilson rejected that counsel when he dragged the US into the First World War, which set in motion the bloody and horrible events of the 20th century. We should return to a policy of peace, commerce, and nonintervention in the affairs of other nations.

TT: What is the most important issue facing the country today?

BK: The ominous concentration of power, whether in government, tech, or the corporate world.

TT: What about modern politics makes you optimistic?

BK: There is a growing sense that our institutions are remote, overly centralized and out of touch, and actively hostile to local life. Many people long for life lived on a human scale. You’re affirming this healthy impulse every time you drink coffee at a local shop, support a local brand, tend a garden (whether community or one in your backyard), root for a non-professional home team, or just gather with friends without the presence of smartphones or Hollywood-produced mass culture.

TT: What about politics makes you pessimistic?

BK: Biden. Harris. Trump. Pence. McConnell. Etcetera. The national political class is abysmal. Just wretched. Which raises the question: Why do we need a national political class? Why not transfer power to the most local levels? Local politicians may be nitwits, but at least they’re actual human beings and you can speak with them, argue with them and protest and raise hell if they overstep their bounds. You have zero say about anything at a national level. 

TT: If you could recommend one book to every young person what would it be?

BK: A good book about your hometown, home region, or home state.

TT: Any projects from you coming up?

BK: We’ll see.

Bill Kauffman’s articles can be found at and

Posted in: Jacob Rauenzahn