Francis and His Enemies

     Poor Sam Francis. His enemies were dancing on his 
grave before he was even laid to rest in it.

     A new neoconservative newspaper, THE EXAMINER, 
greeted Sam's death with an extraordinarily rancorous 
opinion piece by its editorial page editor, David Mastio, 
who wrote, "Sam Francis was merely a racist and doesn't 
deserve to be remembered as anything less.... America is 
a better place without him."

     Mastio's article doesn't even show a real 
familiarity with Sam's writing. It was obviously cobbled 
together from the files of Abe Foxman, Morris Dees, or 
the other victimhood vigilantes who practice character 
assassination under the guise of fighting bigotry.

     By the way, do we desperately need yet another 
neocon paper? By my count, this country has about 50 
neoconservatives and 100 neocon publications. It wouldn't 
surprise Sam that they are attacking him; he might have 
taken a grim satisfaction in the fact. He was as tough a 
critic as they had, and they knew it.

     What does it mean to call Sam a "racist"? It would 
be hard to find, in all his writings, any unflattering 
words about racial minorities. And even if you found a 
few, they would be a small fraction of his total output. 
Yet Mastio makes it sound as if he were a Johnny One-Note 
who seldom wrote about anything else.

     As a matter of fact, Sam was a fine observer who 
addressed many subjects. To reduce his career to only one 
of them, as Mastio does, is to have missed nearly 
everything. Sam wrote less about race itself than about 
the race racket, the spurious exaltation of minority 
groups by liberals. It was liberals, not minorities, that 
were his real target, as any careful reading of his work 
makes clear.

Original Sin

     Among those liberals were the neoconservatives. Sam 
rightly saw from the start that the neocons weren't 
conservatives at all. They were actually liberals 
masquerading as conservatives, while trying to discredit 
and marginalize real conservatism. He unmasked them 
without mercy, so it's no wonder that they continue to 
attack him even in death.

     After all, if you're going to usurp a word, it's 
all-important that you discredit those to whom the word 
rightly belongs. The heretic always claims to be the only 
"true" Christian, while insisting that true Christians 
are idolaters and bigots.

     Sam's talent for exposing ideological fraud made him 
a special threat to the neocons. He understood that their 
interests weren't driven by American patriotism, but by a 
pro-Israel ideology which led them to urge America to 
make war on the enemies of the state of Israel.

     Sam didn't often write about this explicitly, but 
the neocons rightly sensed that if he penetrated the race 
racket, he was seeing through their racket too. But he 
gave them few grounds for smearing him as an 
"anti-Semite"; they had to settle for calling him a 
"racist," and feigning indignation about his racial views 
-- which were actually more moderate than those of their 
idol, Abraham Lincoln, who opposed citizenship for free 
Negroes and hoped to "colonize" them abroad.

     Sam was always a shrewd and biting exposer of 
liberal hypocrisy, and his exposures became even more 
trenchant when liberals refused even to admit they were 
liberals. When they called themselves conservatives, or 
"neoconservatives," he was especially scathing.

     He did, however, stop short of defaming the dead; 
his sense of honor, alas, is not shared by his enemies.

     He also hated the identification of Christianity 
with liberalism. He liked to point out that the Bible 
never condemns slavery -- a plain fact that would appall 
and amaze most liberals. St. Augustine held that slavery, 
war, government, and private property are all 
consequences of original sin. I suspect that Sam would at 
least have seen his point.

     Being a Southerner, with an inherited memory of 
bitter defeat, made Sam immune to facile optimism and 
suspicious of those who espoused it. But the rejection of 
optimism is enough to make you vulnerable to the charge 
that you "hate" the objects of liberalism's bogus 
benevolence. In Sam's case, his dark view of human 
nature, applicable to race as to everything else, allowed 
his enemies to portray him as "racist" and to ignore 
nearly all he had to say on other matters.

     But it was the totality of Sam's views that won him 
his devoted readership. When you read him, you knew you 
were getting an honest vision of political reality. It 
might be painful; it might err on the side of cynicism; 
but at least it was no bluff. Sam refused to pretend that 
all was well when you, and he, knew better. He saw the 
world without illusions, as we all need to do.

A Brave Corrective

     If there was anything missing from Sam's vision, it 
was Christian hope. At times his picture of the world was 
too grim. He could see that the world was largely going 
to Hell; I'm not sure he saw that part of it, at the same 
time, was going to Heaven. This is perhaps why his 
skepticism sometimes spilled over into downright 

     Nevertheless, Sam was a brave corrective to an age 
that pressures all of us into a false unanimity. He 
wasn't afraid to stand alone, to be the only man willing 
to express an unfashionable view -- and not because it 
was unfashionable, but simply because he thought it was 

     And the neocons knew that if even one man opposed 
them, he had to be dealt with. They managed to get him 
fired from THE WASHINGTON TIMES; they kept him out of 
their own forums; they refused to answer his arguments; 
they tried to act as if he didn't exist.

     And yet, when Sam died, we found that his enemies 
were well aware of his existence, and felt that he still 
had to be dealt with, if only by posthumous defamation. 
Hence Mastio's attempt to reduce him to a single topic, 
one lost cause.

     But Sam Francis was never smug enough to assume that 
a lost cause was a bad cause. He fought for any cause he 
thought worthy, regardless of whether it had any chance 
of prevailing. He was resigned to losing; he was even 
resigned to being misrepresented and smeared.

     So brave a man surely deserved better enemies.

                 +          +          +                  

     SOBRAN'S examines some odd beliefs about Jesus 
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