First Things has a very good article this morning on Sam Francis and his book Leviathan and Its Enemies which was discovered and posthumously published by Radix a few years ago.
“But Francis alleged more—and here his thinking took the radical turn that marks his later writings. On its surface, liberalism promoted a fairer social contract and equal protection for all. But beneath its egalitarian aspect, Francis claimed, hid its vindictive purpose: to subvert traditional ways of life. “It is imperative,” he wrote, “for the emerging elites to challenge, discredit, and erode the moral, intellectual, and institutional fabric of traditional society.” Liberalism, on this account, was a coordinated project of cultural dispossession. Its long march through American life, Francis warned, would eventually target every symbol and institution of the older social order. National loyalty, traditional moral codes, the heroes and founders of American culture—in time, all would be subject to an accelerating campaign of ideological revision waged through legislation and the media. And liberalism gained more through this campaign than moral legitimacy. It secured a self-replenishing base of support comprising those it had emancipated from social norms.
As it atomized individuals in mass society by discrediting the social order founded in family ties, patriotic duties, and religious obligations, liberalism created a society that needed ever more technocratic management. Drug legalization leads to problems that require hiring social workers and therapists. Liberalized divorce laws and sexual liberation are paired with the burgeoning field of family law as the managerial state intervenes to impose an order once provided by the now-discredited norms. The same is true for economic liberalization, which is attended by steep increases in regulatory law, which substitute for the moral limits that used to characterize bourgeois-dominated commercial life. …”
I never got the chance to meet Sam Francis.
He died shortly after I arrived in this scene in the early 2000s. My wife knew him though. Francis was a close friend of my father-in-law. American conservatives have spent a lot of time lately rediscovering what Sam Francis and Pat Buchanan were saying 25 years ago.
In between Pat Buchanan, Peter Brimelow, Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, David Duke, Jared Taylor, Kevin MacDonald and Gordon Baum, these men had pretty much figured out what had gone wrong in American society by 2000. That’s why they were all marginalized by mainstream conservatism. The older generation didn’t have the internet to get their message out for most of the late 20th century.
I would include Dr. William Pierce in this category as well. I used to listen to his radio show in the early 2000s. He also died shortly after I came across the White Nationalist movement. I didn’t agree with everything he said (see “Cosmotheism”), but Pierce wasn’t a fool and his old broadcasts to this day are more interesting and insightful than anything published by mainstream conservatism at the time. The White Nationalists have spent decades warning about the coming White minority America.
What is that White minority America going to be like? The people who were giving considerable thought to America in the 2020s, 2030s and 2040s back in the 1990s and 2000s when something could have been done about it were all marginalized as “racists” and “extremists.” The future that these people were so worried about hasn’t gone away though. Now, it is on our doorstep.
“Francis accused religious traditionalists of playing by house rules, seeking dialogue rather than conflict, preferring to be “beautiful losers” rather than ugly winners, and surely his criticism had some merit. But he failed to see that they offer a more fundamental challenge to liberalism than he ever did, by seeking to unite people in a shared love, a common covenant ordered to the highest good. The nationalist and populist movements that Francis anticipated will succeed in challenging liberalism only to the extent that they abjure Francis’s racial resentments and assert the common goods and transcendent horizon his materialist thinking denies.”
In my view, Sam Francis was correct about the Russell Moores and David Frenches of the world, not to mention Pope Francis himself, who have been completely coopted and neutered by liberalism, but I see those people and their version of “Christianity” as being a product of their culture and time and its infection by liberalism. I don’t hold it against Christianity as much as Francis does.
“Judeo-Christianity” is a Boomer religion that is a product of late 20th century America. It exists elsewhere to the extent it has been exported abroad. The same is true of American offshoots of Christianity like Mormonism or Pentecostalism. It would be a gross historical mistake to conflate Christianity with snake handling Pentecostals. Also, it is hard to argue that Sam Francis was wrong about mainstream Christianity when it is clearly dying out alongside the family and patriotism.
“Francis claimed that he sought only to defend Western culture. It is impossible to believe him. He displayed no feeling for literature, art, music, philosophy, or theology. He did not see, because his ideology prevented him from seeing, that our culture’s greatest achievements have come in pursuit of ideas that transcend human differences. Francis’s failure of gratitude and wonder made him more than incompetent about power. It made him an outsider to his civilization.”
According to Matthew Rose, the greatest achievements of Western culture “have come in pursuit of ideas that transcend human differences.” Presumably, he is talking about racial differences, but what is funny here is that mainstream conservatism alone has ignored those differences.
The American Founders certainly didn’t ignore those differences. Every generation of Americans down to the Greatest Generation chose not to ignore those differences. The Enlightenment didn’t ignore those differences. Early Modern philosophers didn’t ignore those differences. Classical philosophy didn’t ignore those differences either. No, it is only since the American Empire was launched after the Second World War that we have gone along with the liberal fantasy that “race doesn’t matter” while strangely becoming ever more obsessed with race because it continues to matter due to the failure of liberal reforms.
Is American conservatism going to conserve or preserve anything of value about America by ignoring racial realities? This has been its guiding assumption since William F. Buckley. Matthew Rose should get back to us when the GOP becomes competitive again in California or all the other places it has ceased to be competitive because of the demographic changes that Sam Francis and Pat Buchanan have described. Maybe we can revisit the issue after the 2020 election?