Francis On Frum: Good Riddance To National Review
With their own national loyalties now being openly
challenged by left and right, the Likudnik
neo-conservatives who have dragged this country
into war are fighting back by attacking the
patriotism of the real conservatives who have questioned
the wisdom of going to war and exposed the neo-cons as
the political poseurs they are.
But now the Likudniks have succeeded in manipulating
even National Review, long the country`s major
conservative magazine, into serving as the launch pad
for their most recent onslaught.
The attack itself is the work of David Frum, a former
White House speechwriter who supposedly coined the
phrase "axis of evil" for President Bush`s state of the
union address last year.
Mr. Frum has now uncovered yet another axis, no less
evil in his view, in the paleo-conservatives, whom he
does not hesitate to denounce as "Unpatriotic
Conservatives" waging "a war against America."
That`s pretty big talk, and not surprisingly Mr. Frum
can`t back it up. His
article, in the April 7 issue of National Review,
is full of factual errors and quotations torn from
context and tacked onto contexts of Mr. Frum`s own
invention. The article has already been denounced as
"incendiary" and "containing many distortions" by the
president of the
Philadelphia Society, a venerable conservative
discussion club that Mr. Frum mentions, and the Internet
is ablaze with conservative counter-attacks and satires
ridiculing the ex-speech writer.
Not the least of his "distortions" is that he lumps
paleo-conservatives (the Rockford Institute`s
Paul Gottfried, Pat Buchanan, and
yours truly) a motley crew of folks who usually
agree on little except opposition to the current war.
Mr. Frum`s "paleos" include one establishment Republican
journalist, two libertarian isolationists, one former
neo-conservative, and one gentleman who as far as I know
is an outright liberal and has no claim to being a
conservative at all.
The quotes Mr. Frum dredges up vary from the profound
to the outright silly, but not one of them substantiates
his preposterous claims that the paleos are
"unpatriotic," "have made common cause with the
left-wing and Islamist antiwar movements in this country
and in Europe," "deny and excuse terror," or
"explicitly yearn for the victory of their nation`s
enemies," let alone his even shriller finale, that
the paleos "have finished by hating their country."
Big mouth indeed from a writer whose recent book
offering a self-serving account of his White House
experience is described by Robert Novak (one of Mr.
Frum`s main targets in his attack) as
"a brief for Sharon`s Israeli policy." It would be
nice if Mr. Frum, himself an immigrant from Canada,
could decide which country is his own before he accuses
others of hating theirs.
But the major problem with his attack on the paleos
is that he imagines (or wants readers to imagine) that
he and his neocon Likudniks are the real conservatives.
The paleos around Chronicles, which remains the
main paleo magazine, "advocated protectionism for
American industry and restrictions on nonwhite
immigration. It defended minimum-wage laws and attacked
corporations that moved operations off-shore. And it
championed the Southern Confederacy of the 1860s and the
anti-civil rights resistance of the 1960s."
Well, in a word, yes. We did most of those
things—mainly because, even though paleo-conservatism as
a movement is fairly new, as conservative children of
the 1960s, we learned our conservatism from the
National Review itself, or an older
conservative tradition with ancient and medieval roots.
Protectionism wasn`t much of an issue in the `60s, but
it is the traditional trade policy of the Republican
Party, opposed by Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt.
All conservatives supported immigration control
(including restrictions to preserve the nation`s ethnic
balance) until the 1980s. The
1965 Immigration Act that created our current flood
of Third World immigrants was a child of the
Kennedy-Johnson administrations, and its Senate floor
manager was Ted Kennedy.
As for the Southern Confederacy, Southern
Richard Weaver and M.E. Bradford were always welcome
at National Review in better days, and several of
its leading editors rejected Lincoln and his legacy.
Leading conservative thinkers like Russell Kirk
respected and praised the Confederacy and the Southern
National Review itself (along with
Barry Goldwater) that championed resistance to civil
rights legislation in the 1960s. "National Review
believes," the magazine stated in an editorial of
1957, "that the South`s premises are correct. . . .
It is more important for the community, anywhere in the
world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than
to bow to the demands of the numerical majority."
No one today, of course, advocates legally enforced
racial segregation, but the same principle applies now
as then. The point is that it`s Mr. Frum and his phony
neo-con cronies who have perverted, misrepresented, and
abandoned the real conservative tradition. It`s the
paleos who guard it.
If pseudo-conservative illiterates like David Frum
were the only leftists who had crept into the
conservative movement`s tent, we could probably live
Unfortunately, National Review, by publishing
his crude and flawed attack, is announcing that it`s
gone over to the other side.
It`s sad that what was once a great and courageous
magazine of the right has done so, but since it has made
its choice, real conservatives must make theirs—and bid
it and any "movement" it claims to lead good riddance.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
[Sam Francis [email
him] is a nationally syndicated columnist. A selection
of his columns,
America Extinguished: Mass Immigration And The
Disintegration Of American Culture, is now available
Americans For Immigration Control.]