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Fuel for the Furnace—Conservatism Inc. and Sam Francis
Sam Francis died eight years ago today (February 15). To a significant extent, the Conservatism Inc. parasite that captured the movement to which he gave his life depends on a diluted version of his work--while struggling to prevent the emergence of another Sam Francis.
Until he was purged, Francis’ career could be regarded as a successful model for young Beltway conservatives. He worked as a faithful Cold Warrior and analyst at the Heritage Foundation (where he authored The Soviet Strategy of Terror ), did his time on Capitol Hill with Senator John East, and received awards for his commentary at the Washington Times—the newspaper to which Reagan gave partial credit for winning the Cold War,. Francis was not a marginal figure throwing bombs from the outside, but a product of the late, great Conservative Movement™ at the height of its power.
Francis frankly acknowledged his intellectual debt to his conservative predecessors, especially James Burnham of National Review. From Burnham, Francis took the concept of the “New Class”—the apparatchiks who actually run the managerial state. The “New Class” has an institutional hostility to traditional familial and patriotic loyalties, seeming them as a barrier to their totalitarian control of economics, culture, and government. Burnham's used this analytical framework to study Cold War geopolitics. Francis applied it to something ultimately more important—the Death of the West.
The thought of Sam Francis can be summarized in three words—“who not what.” The New Class is pushing through a cultural, economic and governmental program that dispossesses the historic American nation. In theory, this should lead to a purely rationalistic and materialistic order where Americans become disposable cogs in the global economy. In practice, because race at the least “carries and parallels culture” if it doesn't actually determine it, America as a meaningful national entity is being displaced and replaced by a distinctly alien order, gradually stripping white Americans of cultural, economic, and governmental power.
Whether the emerging non-white America will be in fact more amendable to technocratic rule, or whether short-sighted corporate elites are selling the rope that will be used to hang them, is a separate (and very interesting) question.
In Francis's view, Americans who want to keep their country must be
willing to challenge and derail the ruling class that gains money and power from the mass immigration it has permitted. It is doubtful that working through either of the two major political parties today can accomplish that, and Americans who seek to preserve their nation from the destruction that immigration brings will have to start building new parties and constructing new coalitions. And to do so, they will have to think seriously about how to rid their country of the elites that are destroying it.”[America Extinguished: Mass Immigration and the Disintegration of American Culture, 2002]
Francis further developed his thesis to identify the key importance of race as a necessary (but not sufficient) basis for preserving historic American and its nation-state. Anti-white racism is the ideological justification for destroying it. As Francis put it in Race and the American Prospect :
“At a time when anti-white racial and ethnic groups define themselves in explicitly racial terms, only our own unity and identity as a race will be able to meet their challenge. If and when they challenge should triumph and those enemies come to kill us... as Robert Mugabe as threatened to do to whites in Zimbabwe, they will do so not because we are 'Westerners' or 'Americans' or 'Christians' or 'conservatives' or 'liberals,' but because we are white.”
Burnham had it right when he called liberalism the “ideology of Western suicide.” But the genius of Sam Francis was that he fully developed what Burnham only hinted at.
Just as Francis identified the destruction of America as a part of a social-historical process driven by the New Class, he also identified the constituency that could oppose it—the marginalized and mocked “Middle American Radicals.” They had supported George Wallace, transformed into Reagan Democrats, and formed the backbone of the Buchanan Brigades that mounted the desperate Pickett's Charge to save conservatism. Given the proper political leadership, the “Radical Middle” composed of the dispossessed core of the country could overturn the power structure.
Francis's identification of the American nation's racial core doomed his career within the increasingly Politically Correct Beltway Right. But his most subversive (and interesting) theoretical work was in describing how the anti-white System developed and how the corporate and cultural elites were critical components of it. So, even if Francis had adopted Conservatism Inc’s official tactic of simply lying to its supporters about racial realities, his lèse majesté against globalism would have threatened his job security. While Reagan talked of winning the Cold War, Samuel Francis talked of winning the (far more important) Culture War. And he actually had identified the strategic framework and constituency to do it. Not for nothing did Buchanan call him the “Clausewitz of the Right.”
Living in Obama's Post-America, we know the tragic end of this story. Conservatism Inc. chose respectability over even the possibility of victory.
However, Francis’ work has provided fuel for the furnace—or rather, for America's funeral pyre. Thus Tim Stanley's biography of Pat Buchanan, The Crusader, shows that that the contemporary conservative movement apes Buchanan’s confrontational style but has stripped out the substance; David Brooks, Ross Douthat, and Dinesh D'Souza make a living rendering Steve Sailer's work down into an Acceptable Republican Narrative. (Compare D'Souza’s The Roots Of Obama’s Rage with Sailer’s America's Half-Blood Prince, for example). Similarly, Sam Francis's analysis of elites has been rendered anodyne so it can better fit into conservative talk radio.
Angelo Codevilla's 2010 The Ruling Class, enthusiastically promoted by Rush Limbaugh as an “important work,” served as a useful theoretical guide for the Tea Party insurrection. It echoes Francis in many ways, noting,
“Today's Ruling Class, from Boston to San Diego, was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits. These amount to a social canon of judgments about good and evil, compete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment) and saints. Using the right words and avoiding the wrong ones when referring to such matters—speaking the same language—serves as a badge of identity.”
[See America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution, American Spectator, July/August 2010]
Codevilla identifies the opposing sides as the “Ruling Class” and the “Country Class”--home of the civil society and the real America.
Of course, Codevilla then careens wildly off the rails: he identifies the key characteristic of the “Ruling Class” as “whether in government power directly or as officers in companies, their careers and fortunes depend on government.” This is must be a surprise to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and corporate leaders like the late Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, the leading executives of Google, and Mark Zuckerburg—all of whom supported Democrats.
Thus Codevilla lets globalization, left leaning corporations, and destructive effects of capitalism qua capitalism off the hook.
It's wildly inaccurate and lazy—but it's also necessary. Conservatism Inc. requires that the questions of who raised by Sam Francis must be transformed into questions of what. Rather than progressive liberalism being part of a social-historic process guided by certain constituencies, the Beltway Right has to believe this is simply an ideological dispute; and that if we can get people to read the right books about economic growth, it will all be OK.
To admit otherwise would require recognition of racial realities, of the conflict between national patriotism and international finance; and a policy realignment to actually defend the interests of the core American population.
That admission would destroy the Conservative Establishment as it currently exists. Far better for all factions (“liberty movement” and Establishment alike) to fantasize about converting all the imported diversity to an abstract agenda of “limited government”—by talking to them in Spanish if necessary.
Conservatism Inc. does rely rhetorically on a theoretical framework that identifies a post-national elite hostile to the “real America” pushing a leftist worldview through its controlled media, academic, and cultural organs. But it simply transfers the responsibility from a New Class animated by anti-white sentiment into “big government.”
The result: “real” Americans' concrete resentments are harnessed but frittered away on tangential targets, or funneled into simplistic “free market” rhetoric that makes things worse
Because of the these ideological false starts, one could argue that when the Middle American Revolution finally arrived, the only results were patriots in the Heartland eating “freedom fries,” burning Dixie Chicks CDs, and preparing for the great crusade to bring gay rights to Baghdad.
And this is the way Conservatism Inc. wants it. The entire propaganda apparatus of the movement (the “Republican Noise Machine” as Media Matters chief David Brock calls it) is built upon harnessing the resentments of the Middle American Radicals and exploiting their implicit white identity in the interests of a corporate agenda. It runs a dumbed down version of the playbook bequeathed to them by Pat Buchanan and Sam Francis. Meanwhile, the entire internal structure of the movement is dedicated to making sure no one connects the dots between the power of the Beltway Right and the contrasting interests of its white constituents on issues like racial preferences, trade, fiscal policy, and most critically, immigration. Rather than challenging the “Ruling Class,” Conservatism Inc. serves as an indispensable support.
Like the dispossessed creatures of Animal Farm, marginalized at the very moment of victory, we are in the outside looking in:
[They] looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again but already it was impossible to say which was which.
On this sad anniversary of Sam Francis's death, the mission he sit for us remains the same—dispossess the dispossessors, break the power of the New Class, and rally the traditional American nation to capture or replace its stolen birthright.
James Kirkpatrick [Email him] travels around the United States looking for a waiter who can speak English.