Francis and His Enemies(Reprinted from the issue of March 3, 2005)
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 Sams death with an extraordinarily rancorous opinion piece by its editorial page editor, David Mastio, who wrote, Sam Francis was merely a racist and doesnt deserve to be remembered as anything less.... America is a better place without him.
Mastios article doesnt even show a real familiarity with Sams 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 wouldnt 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.
Among those liberals were the neoconservatives. Sam rightly saw from the start that the neocons werent conservatives at all. They were actually liberals masquerading as conservatives, while trying to discredit and marginalize real conservatism. He unmasked them without mercy, so its no wonder that they continue to attack him even in death.
After all, if youre going to usurp a word, its 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.
Sams talent for exposing ideological fraud made him a special threat to the neocons. He understood that their interests werent 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 didnt 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 liberalisms bogus benevolence. In Sams 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 Sams 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 Sams 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; Im 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 wasnt 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 didnt 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 Mastios 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.
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|Copyright © 2005 by The Wanderer
Reprinted with permission.
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