Wanderer Logo

Joseph Sobran’s
Washington Watch

Francis and His Enemies

(Reprinted from the issue of March 3, 2005)

Capitol BldgPoor 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 cynicism.

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 true.

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.

SOBRANS examines some odd beliefs about Jesus Christ. If you have not seen my monthly newsletter yet, give my office a call at 800-513-5053 and request a free sample, or better yet, subscribe for two years for just $85. New subscribers get two gifts with their subscription. More details can be found at the Subscription page of my website.

Already a subscriber? Consider a gift subscription for a priest, friend, or relative.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2005 by The Wanderer
Reprinted with permission.

Washington Watch
Archive Table of Contents

Return to the SOBRANS home page
Send this article to a friend.

Recipient’s e-mail address:
(You may have multiple e-mail addresses; separate them by spaces.)

Your e-mail address

Enter a subject for your e-mail:

Mailarticle © 2001 by Gavin Spomer


The Wanderer is available by subscription. Write for details.

SOBRANS and Joe Sobran’s columns are available by subscription. Details are available on-line; or call 800-513-5053; or write Fran Griffin.

FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.

Search This Site

Search the Web     Search SOBRANS

What’s New?

Articles and Columns by Joe Sobran
 FGF E-Package “Reactionary Utopian” Columns 
  Wanderer column (“Washington Watch”) 
 Essays and Articles | Biography of Joe Sobran | Sobran’s Cynosure 
 The Shakespeare Library | The Hive
 WebLinks | Books by Joe 
 Subscribe to Joe Sobran’s Columns 

Other FGF E-Package Columns and Articles
 Sam Francis Classics | Paul Gottfried, “The Ornery Observer” 
 Mark Wegierski, “View from the North” 
 Chilton Williamson Jr., “At a Distance” 
 Kevin Lamb, “Lamb amongst Wolves” 
 Subscribe to the FGF E-Package 

Products and Gift Ideas
Back to the home page 

This page is copyright © 2005 by The Vere Company
and may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of The Vere Company.