February 18, 2005


Sam Francis, columnist, 57, dies (THE WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/17/05)

Samuel Francis, a syndicated columnist and author, died Tuesday night at a Washington-area hospital of complications following major heart surgery. He was 57.

Mr. Francis was an editorial writer for The Washington Times and served from 1987 to 1991 as the deputy editorial page editor. He remained a staff columnist through September 1995.

Mr. Francis received the Distinguished Writing Award for editorial writing from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in both 1989 and 1990, and was a finalist for the Scripps Howard Foundation's National Journalism Award (Walker Stone Prize) for editorial writing for those years.

Samuel Francis, Requiescat In Pace Domini (Thomas Fleming, 2/16/04, Chronicles)
It is with unspeakable regret that I have to report the death of my friend and colleague Sam Francis. In any age, he would have been a remarkable man for the penetration of his mind, his unflinching pursuit of truth—regardless of current cant or personal consequences—and the gravity of his style. In our age, he is peerless, and his death represents an irreplaceable loss.

Sam and I were friends and allies for over 25 years, and although we had an occasional falling-out—once for many months—I never ceased admiring his work and his character. A gentleman of a school so old we can no longer recognize its existence, Sam never talked of his “feelings” and if one spoke of loyalty or friendship, he was sure to make an ironic quip. Nonetheless, I learned early on that he was loyal to his friends even (especially) when it entailed a threat to his own interest. In so many ways, he was the opposite of most conservatives. He rarely talked a good game, but he always played one.

Sam’s deep sense of loyalty became very apparent during the struggle over M.E. Bradford’s proposed nomination as head of the National Endowment for the Humanities. This was the first occasion on which the neoconservatives showed their hand, and none of Mel’s friends—least of all Sam—has ever forgotten the dirty part played by Irving Kristol, George Will, and the head of a leading conservative think-tank. As an assistant to Sen. John East, Sam worked tirelessly, both on the Hill and among conservatives, to support his friend’s nomination, but to no avail. Too many true-blue “Reagan” conservatives either did not care or simply looked the other way. This was the first of many defeats in which Sam showed himself an American Cato.

Except that Cato's side won. Mr. Francis and his paleocon cohorts are best understood by reference to who and what they dislike: Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Israel, and immigration.

-ARCHIVES: Sam Francis (Chronicles)
-Unpatriotic Conservatives: A war against America (David Frum, April 7, 2003, National Review)

You may know the names of these antiwar conservatives. Some are famous: Patrick Buchanan and Robert Novak. Others are not: Llewellyn Rockwell, Samuel Francis, Thomas Fleming, Scott McConnell, Justin Raimondo, Joe Sobran, Charley Reese, Jude Wanniski, Eric Margolis, and Taki Theodoracopulos.

The antiwar conservatives aren't satisfied merely to question the wisdom of an Iraq war. Questions are perfectly reasonable, indeed valuable. There is more than one way to wage the war on terror, and thoughtful people will naturally disagree about how best to do it, whether to focus on terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and Hezbollah or on states like Iraq and Iran; and if states, then which state first?

But the antiwar conservatives have gone far, far beyond the advocacy of alternative strategies. They have made common cause with the left-wing and Islamist antiwar movements in this country and in Europe. They deny and excuse terror. They espouse a potentially self-fulfilling defeatism. They publicize wild conspiracy theories. And some of them explicitly yearn for the victory of their nation's enemies.

Common cause: The websites of the antiwar conservatives approvingly cite and link to the writings of John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Noam Chomsky, Ted Rall, Gore Vidal, Alexander Cockburn, and other anti-Americans of the far Left.

Terror denial: In his column of December 26, 2002, Robert Novak attacked Condoleezza Rice for citing Hezbollah, instead of al-Qaeda, as the world's most dangerous terrorist organization: "In truth, Hezbollah is the world's most dangerous terrorist organization from Israel's standpoint. While viciously anti-American in rhetoric, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah is focused on the destruction of Israel. 'Outside this fight [against Israel], we have done nothing,' Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the organization's secretary-general, said in a recent New York Times interview." The sheik did not say, and Novak did not bother to add, that Hezbollah twice bombed the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, murdering more than 60 people, and drove a suicide bomb into a Marine barracks in October 1983, killing 241 servicemen.

Espousing defeatism: Here is Robert Novak again, this time on September 17, 2001, predicting that any campaign in Afghanistan would be a futile slaughter: "The CIA, in its present state, is viewed by its Capitol Hill overseers as incapable of targeting bin Laden. That leads to an irresistible impulse to satisfy Americans by pulverizing Afghanistan." And here is Patrick Buchanan that same day gloomily asserting that the United States would be as baffled by Osama bin Laden as the British Empire was by George Washington: "We remain unrivaled in material wealth and military dominance, but these are no longer the components of might. . . . Our instinct is the strongman's impulse: hit back, harder. But like British Lobsterbacks dropped in a colonial wilderness, we don't know this battle, and the weapons within our reach are blunt."

Excuse-making: On September 30, 2002, Pat Buchanan offered this explanation of 9/11 during a debate on Chris Matthews's Hardball: "9/11 was a direct consequence of the United States meddling in an area of the world where we do not belong and where we are not wanted. We were attacked because we were on Saudi sacred soil and we are so-called repressing the Iraqis and we're supporting Israel and all the rest of it."

Conspiracy-theorizing: Justin Raimondo, an Internet journalist who delivered Pat Buchanan's nominating speech at the Reform party convention in 2000, alleged in December 2001 that Israel was implicated in the terror attacks of 9/11: "Whether Israeli intelligence was watching, overseeing, collaborating with or combating the bin Ladenites is an open question. . . . That the Israelis had some significant foreknowledge and involvement in the events preceding 9/11 seems beyond dispute." Raimondo has also repeatedly dropped broad hints that he believes the October 2001 anthrax attacks were the work of an American Jewish scientist bent on stampeding the U.S. into war.

Yearning for defeat: On January 30, 2002, Eric Margolis, the American-born foreign editor of the Toronto Sun, appealed to the leaders of the Arab world to unite in battle against the U.S. "What could Arabs do to prevent a war of aggression against Iraq that increasingly resembles a medieval crusade? Form a united diplomatic front that demands U.N. inspections continue. Stage an oil boycott of the U.S. if Iraq is attacked. Send 250,000 civilians from across the Arab World to form human shields around Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. Boycott Britain, Turkey, Kuwait, and the Gulf states that join or abet the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Withdraw all funds on deposit in U.S. and British banks. Accept payment for oil only in Euros, not dollars. Send Arab League troops to Iraq, so that an attack on Iraq is an attack on the entire League. Cancel billions worth of arms contracts with the U.S. and Britain. At least make a token show of male hormones and national pride."

Raimondo was more explicit still on March 12, 2003. Speaking of the negative consequences he foresaw of even a successful American campaign in Iraq, he wrote: "It is a high price to pay for 'victory' — so high that patriots might almost be forgiven if they pine for defeat."

The writers I quote call themselves "paleoconservatives," implying that they are somehow the inheritors of an older, purer conservatism than that upheld by their impostor rivals. But even Robert Taft and Charles Lindbergh ceased accommodating Axis aggression after Pearl Harbor. Since 9/11, by contrast, the paleoconservatives have collapsed into a mood of despairing surrender unparalleled since the Vichy republic went out of business. James Burnham famously defined liberalism as "the ideology of Western suicide." What are we to make of self-described conservatives who see it as their role to make excuses for suicide bombers?

-Phony conservatives wage war on the real ones (SAMUEL FRANCIS, March 28, 2003, thornwalker.com)
With their own national loyalties now being openly challenged by left and right, the Likudnik neo-conservatives who have dragged this country into war are fighting back by attacking the patriotism of the real conservatives who have questioned the wisdom of going to war and exposed the neo-cons as the political poseurs they are. But now the Likudniks have succeeded in manipulating even National Review, long the country's major conservative magazine, into serving as the launch pad for their most recent onslaught. [...]

Big mouth indeed from a writer whose recent book offering a self-serving account of his White House experience is described by Robert Novak (one of Mr. Frum's main targets in his attack) as "a brief for Sharon's Israeli policy." It would be nice if Mr. Frum, himself an immigrant from Canada, could decide which country is his own before he accuses others of hating theirs.

But the major problem with his attack on the paleos is that he imagines (or wants readers to imagine) that he and his neo-con Likudniks are the real conservatives. The paleos around Chronicles, which remains the main paleo magazine, "advocated protectionism for American industry and restrictions on nonwhite immigration. It defended minimum-wage laws and attacked corporations that moved operations off-shore. And it championed the Southern Confederacy of the 1860s and the anti-civil rights resistance of the 1960s."

Well, in a word, yes.

-William F. Buckley—“Unpatriotic Conservative”? (Sam Francis, July 05, 2004, V-Dare)
-The Old Right/Hate America Left Connection (Anthony Gancarski, August 6, 2004, FrontPageMagazine.com)
Columnist Sam Francis has recently lashed out at William F. Buckley Jr. in a futile attempt to save “paleo-conservatism” from achieving the reputation it deserves. Upset that the Old Right is increasingly lumped in with the New Left and the Islamist movement, Francis claimed that no responsible conservative could make that connection. He could not be more wrong.

Samuel Francis made his strike in a July 5th article for VDARE.com, putatively about William F. Buckley Jr.‘s relinquishing ownership of National Review. In his smear of the father of modern conservatism – entitled “William F. Buckley: ‘Unpatriotic Conservative’?” – Francis devoted a great deal of his time discussing an article written last year by National Review’s David Frum. Frum’s “Unpatriotic Conservatives” questioned the worldview of Pat Buchanan, Bob Novak, Francis and other “veteran conservative writers” who opposed Operation Iraqi Freedom. Francis seized on Buckley’s retirement as an opportunity to rehabilitate his image and paleo-conservatism in general. Francis blamed Buckley for turning National Review over to “lightweight kiddy-cons” and allowing “neoconservatives” to take over the conservative movement.

Inevitably, Francis revealed his true ire: Frum’s article. “Nowhere in ‘Unpatriotic Conservatives’ did Mr. Frum come even close to proving his claim that the anti-war right has ‘made common cause with the left-wing and Islamist antiwar movements in this country and in Europe,’” Francis thundered.

This is old territory for Francis, who savaged Frum last March. In that piece, he referred to Frum as a “Likudnik,” called Frum a shill for Ariel Sharon and one sentence later stated that the Jewish Frum should “decide which country is his own.”

But David Frum got it right: Sam Francis and his paleo-con colleagues such as Lew Rockwell and Pat Buchanan regularly recycle the anti-American rhetoric of the Euro-Left, International ANSWER, the Lyndon LaRouche movement, Michael Moore, and The Nation’s editorial board. What’s more, these “unpatriotic conservatives” aren‘t particularly conservative – in a post 9/11 sense – at all. If Sam Francis needs proof, I’m glad to supply it.

-Defending Dixie: The Washington Times has always been conservative and error-prone — now it's helping to popularize extremist ideas (Heidi Beirich and Bob Moser, Southern Poverty Law Center)
In 1995, Pruden appeared to strike a blow for "down the middle" fairness by firing The Times' other voice of the extreme right, syndicated columnist Samuel Francis. A new book by neoconservative stalwart Dinesh D'Souza had quoted Francis' speech at a 1994 conference on "Race and American Culture" sponsored by American Renaissance, a white supremacist journal that promotes eugenics and believes, among other things, that whites are inherently smarter and less violent than blacks. After D'Souza portrayed Francis as a purveyor of the "new spirit of white bigotry," Pruden told him the Times would no longer run his column.

The firing was something of a mystery, since Francis had often expressed views on race that appeared quite compatible with Pruden's. (Ironically, Francis now edits the Citizens Informer, a newsletter published by the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens, successor to the Citizens Council that Wesley Pruden Sr. belonged to.)

In 1994, Francis had been demoted to a half-time staff position after he wrote a column lambasting the Southern Baptist Convention for officially "repenting" for its support for Southern slavery — even though Pruden had expressed a similar view in a column of his own, published in Southern Partisan.

-The Paleo Persuasion (Samuel Francis, 12/16/02, American Conservative)
-Neo-Con Invasion (Samuel Francis, 8/05/96, New American)
The current line of the neo-conservatives is that their creed has actually become American conservatism, replacing what the Old Right has been defending throughout American history - especially since the New Deal era. But the Old Right still lives - at the Rockford Institute, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, the John Birch Society, and in the pages of such publications as Chronicles, Southern Partisan, and THE NEW AMERICAN.

The conservative cause also survives in the hearts and minds of the millions of Americans who supported Pat Buchanan this year. The real lesson of the 1996 Republican primaries is not that Pat Buchanan failed in his Old Right presidential campaign, but that he consistently came in second and that all of the candidates or prospective candidates whom the neo-conservatives favored or supported - Jack Kemp, Bill Bennett, Dan Quayle, Phil Gramm, Lamar Alexander, Steve Forbes - either were unable to mobilize enough support to enter the race or wound up winning fewer votes than Buchanan. So much for "bringing the party nearer to the public's view" and gaining "mass acceptance" for conservatism.

Whatever false or fashionable idols the neo-conservatives may succeed in setting up, it seems unlikely that many Americans worship them now or will be disposed to worship them in the future, any more than most Americans have ever worshipped the false gods of liberalism from which the neo-conservatives claim to have defected.

Mel Bradford, Old Indian Fighters, and the NEH (Thomas H. Landess, LewRockwell.com)
In politics, the dead can never rest in peace. The survivors fight over the bodies, the way the Achaeans and Trojans fought over the body of Hector. Mel Bradford died ten years ago, and those of us who knew him best are finally reconciled to his death. However, when his detractors insist on exhuming his memory in order to kick him one more time, we find it difficult to remain silent. Thus, this reply to an article David Frum wrote recently for NRO.com.

In his commentary, Mr. Frum briefly discusses the attempt on the part of Mel's friends to see him appointed chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The year was 1981. Mel and I were colleagues at the University of Dallas. I was his closest friend. At the time all this all happened, Mr. Frum was a Yale undergraduate, hunched over one of the tables down at Mory’s, humming the Whiffenpoof Song. So his article is clearly based on the campfire tales of old Neocon Indian fighters.

He writes:

But as the paleos themselves tell the story, the quarrel that erupted into view that day in 1986 began as a squabble over jobs and perks in the Reagan Administration – from the perception that, as [Sam] Francis later put it, neoconservatives had arranged matters so that "their team should get the rewards of office and of patronage and that the older team of the older Right receive virtually nothing."

A quick reality check here: It is not in fact true that the ambitions of the paleos fell victim to neocon plots. Paleo Grievance Number 1 is the case of Mel Bradford, a gifted professor at the University of Dallas, now dead. Bradford had hoped to be appointed chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, but lost out to William Bennett. Unfortunately for him, Bradford came to the government hiring window with certain disadvantages: He had worked on the George Wallace campaign in 1968, and he had published an essay that could plausibly be read to liken Abraham Lincoln to Hitler.

First, for what it’s worth, the Wallace connection was never a big issue. In a 1981 New York Times story, Irvin Molotsky reported that "[the new conservatives’] criticism of Professor Bradford includes his support in 1972 of the Presidential candidacy of former Gov. George C. Wallace and his disapproval of Lincoln, which they view as especially inappropriate given Lincoln’s role as the nation’s first Republican President." So it was the Neocons themselves who brought up the Wallace issue in the Times. And that’s the last we heard of it.

In fact, we were surprised that they had missed the juiciest part of the story: Mel had been Dallas County chairman of George Wallace’s American Party in 1968 – a potentially more damaging involvement than his 1972 role in the Dallas County Democratic Party (which liberal columnist Ron Calhoun would later say Bradford had single-handedly destroyed).

When the Neocons dropped the Wallace strategy, we knew it had failed. Perhaps they understood the degree to which Reagan's victory had depended on Wallace Democrats, who might be provoked to intervene on Bradford’s behalf. And perhaps the Neocon field officers decided not to press the theme of other-party affiliation because, according to our sources in North Carolina, Bill Bennett, Bradford's rival, had voted in the Democratic primary in 1980. (To cover Bennett in this matter, a prominent supporter, a former Nixon cabinet member, had written a letter stating that Bennett had backed Reagan all the way. If our sources were correct, he hadn’t even voted for Reagan in the GOP primary; and revelation of that fact would have exposed the former cabinet member’s gracious fib.

Whatever the reason, the opposition never really tried to hang Wallace around Bradford’s neck; and if any of those old Indian fighters remember differently, I believe they are mistaken.

The second charge – the comparison of Abraham Lincoln to Hitler – is a bit more complicated than Mr. Frum leads us to believe.

-Among the Neocons: A foot soldier in the ideological wars relates what went wrong with neoconservatism. (Scott McConnell, 4/21/03, American Conservative)
-All Against All: A review of The Rebirth of Classical Political Rationalism: An Introduction to the Thought of Leo Strauss, edited by Thomas L. Pangle (Charles R. Kesler, April 10, 2003, Claremont.org)
-Jared Taylor, a Racist in the Guise of 'Expert' (Dennis Roddy, January 23, 2005, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Race-relations expert Jared Taylor publishes American Renaissance magazine, which features an array of pseudoscientific studies that purport to show the folly of multiculturalism and the inherent failure of the races to live together. Or, as Taylor once wrote, "If whites permit themselves to be displaced, it is not just the high culture of the West that could disappear but such things as representative government, rule of law and freedom of speech, which whites usually get right and everyone else usually gets wrong."

What Taylor represents and how he got himself on no fewer than a half-dozen radio and television stations in large markets to denounce Martin Luther King illustrates the new tactics of white supremacy. Employing the dispassionate language of sociological and genetic studies, and under the veneer of academic inquiry, an assortment of highly educated people now push the theory that everything from unwed motherhood in Atlanta to economic collapse in Gambia can be explained by the genetic code imprinted on the races. [...]

"Jared Taylor is the cultivated, cosmopolitan face of white supremacy," said Mark Potok, editor of Intelligence Report, the magazine of the Southern Poverty Law Center. "He is the guy who is providing the intellectual heft, in effect, to modern-day Klansmen." [...]

Taylor's strategy when I confronted him was to deny things that are easily proven. He insisted American Renaissance had never published an article in which theocratic writer Rousas J. Rushdoony denounced interracial marriage as Biblically unsound.

I refer Taylor to the July 2001 edition of his own magazine, in which H.A. Scott Trask calls intermarriage "racial suicide" and observes: "The Late Rousas J. Rushdoony points out that Biblical law and example is against all kinds of unequal yoking. 'The burden of the law is thus against inter-religious, interracial, and inter-cultural marriages, in that they normally go against the very community which marriage is designed to establish."

One of the more tendentious exchanges took place when I challenged Taylor to state whether he had published articles in "the quarterly of the British National Party."

"I don't believe the BNP has a quarterly," Taylor replied.

He's right. They have a monthly. It's called "Spearhead," and it carried Taylor's writings in the early 1990s, under his other name, Samuel Taylor. This relationship is no accident. Taylor's conferences have included speeches on white nationalism by none other than Nick Griffin, a Holocaust denier and leader of the BNP. Spearhead's editor, John Tyndall, toured the United States last year. After stops to visit David Duke in New Orleans, where Tyndall noted with disapproval the large number of racial minorities, he moved on to Oakton, Va., where he stayed at Taylor's home.

Before that, Tyndall was treated to lunch by Samuel Francis, one of the board members of Taylor's New Century Foundation.

A decade ago, Francis was fired by The Washington Times for a racist speech he delivered at an American Renaissance Conference. Since then he has busied himself as editor of The Citizens Informer, monthly paper of The Council of Conservative Citizens. The paper features regular accounts of invasions by non-white immigrants, black-on-white crime and the need for racial purity.

Those who would suggest that the Council's connections to Francis and Francis's ties to Taylor are guilt-by-association might want to consider the New Century Foundation's own tax filings for 1999. On line 80 of their IRS Form 990, Taylor's foundation lists the Council of Conservative Citizens as an organization to which it is "related ... through common membership, governing bodies, trustees, officers, etc."

This was the very year that the Council of Conservative Citizens included a link on its Web site to the Free Market Party. The link was quickly cancelled when the Free Market Party's founder and sole member, Richard Baumhammers, left his Mt. Lebanon home with a pistol in hand, killed his Jewish neighbor, set her house afire, then embarked on a two-county rampage that targeted Asians, Indians and blacks. In all, five people died. Baumhammers was concerned, like those who circle Jared Taylor's planet of intellect, about the expansion of non-white races.

None of this, of course, would meet with the approval of Jared Taylor, race-relations expert, who took the pains to tell Honsberger that people should be free to marry whomever they want, and that suggestions he is a racist are meant simply to shut up anyone who wants to rationally discuss race outside the norms of safe politics.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 18, 2005 8:44 AM

Calling these guys "paleos" is appropriate. They're still fighting the Civil War, urging the South to rise again.

I didn't know Francis was so active in George Wallace's campaigns, though it's not surprising.

Posted by: Casey Abell at February 18, 2005 10:14 AM

So what are we OJ?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 18, 2005 10:24 AM

Robert: Walking a tight-rope.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 18, 2005 10:54 AM

"Except that Cato's side won."

Fleming isn't referring to Cato the Elder. He's referring to Marcus Porcius Cato, who committed suicide once the Roman Republicans lost their war against Julius Ceasar.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 11:59 AM

Francis committed suicide?

Posted by: oj at February 18, 2005 12:18 PM

"Paleo" is correct, but these clowns aren't conservatives by any means. They advocate protectionism and industrial policy, as well as strict racial and class separation. All they have to do is embrace abortion and gay marriage and they'll fit right in over at Democratic Underground. And if it weren't for Pat Buchanan's vanity press magazine, they'd be invisible.

Posted by: Mike Morley at February 18, 2005 12:24 PM


Paleo-cons - racism or neo-cons + God, either equals theo-cons.

Posted by: oj at February 18, 2005 12:27 PM

Considering Francis' smoking and eating habits, one could make that claim.

As for Buchanan's magazine, it's been praised by Buckley himself. As opposed to NR's often unreadable, monotone agitprop, TAC offers a variety of interesting topics and viewpoints.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 12:35 PM

It's not hard to be more interesting than National Review has become. But Buckley's just feeling his libertarian oats in his dotage.

Posted by: oj at February 18, 2005 12:50 PM

"It's not hard to be more interesting than National Review has become."

In this we agree. Still, TAC is interesting enough that I usually read 80-90% of its articles and features. One good example was a piece they did on Sino-Japanese relations--something you just don't see in a lot of popular opinion magazines.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 1:00 PM

I thought this piece was especially sensible, Weaker Than We Think: Al-Qaeda may have already fired its best shot. (Russell Seitz, December 6, 2004, The American Conservative)


And their Election endorsement issue was sublimely ridiculous:


Posted by: oj at February 18, 2005 1:12 PM

Seitz's piece was thought-provoking. That's the beauty of the magazine: you have a variety of viewpoints argued in the magazine, and they don't always conform with the editors' POV.

I thought they handled the endorsement issue just fine. Neither major party candidate deserved to win, so it was a choice between the lesser of two evils. On this, you have a different number of view points, and the magazine published them. It was better than the usual politburoesque endorsements you see from most mags.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 1:18 PM

Can't speak for NRODT because I don't subscribe. But the NRO Corner is a lot of fun, especially when they get to arguing. Derbyshire's probably the closest thing to Francis they've got over there.

Posted by: Casey Abell at February 18, 2005 1:22 PM

Derbyshire's the only one worth reading over there. The rest are tiresome hacks in an echo chamber.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 1:27 PM

Jeffery Hart and Michael Novak, though they aren't regulars. The whole libertarian/conservatism crowd has been tiresome forever, including much of Buckley.

Posted by: oj at February 18, 2005 1:43 PM

If Gus Hall and George Lincoln Rockwell had been running they'd have endorsed both of them too. It demonstrated their own incoherence and marginality.

Posted by: oj at February 18, 2005 1:44 PM

If you liked Volkischer Beobachter, you'll love The American Conservative.

Funded by a Greek lounge lizard and soi-disant aristocrat, edited by a man so Biblically ignorant as to claim that Jesus was not a Jew but a Palestinian(cf Matthew 1:1-1:17) and who was fired by the NY Post for racism masquerading as immigrant-bashing, and finally featuring someone whose main claim to fame is that he never met a Nazi war criminal he couldn't defend or Holocaust denying claptrap he didn't buy hook, line and sinker.

They are neither Americans nor conservatives, by any reasonable definition of the term.

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 1:47 PM

"All they have to do is embrace abortion and gay marriage..."

LOL. David Frum, Max Boot, David Horowitz and David Horowitz beat them to the punch on these issues.

(And I believe Taki is pro-choice, too.)


Wow. How horrible. Well, it could be worse. At least they're not a human gramophone who mindlessly repeats other peoples' ad hominem.

Posted by: at February 18, 2005 3:21 PM

"It demonstrated their own incoherence and marginality."

Only if you think a magazine should run on a hive mind.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 3:24 PM

What's good about the NRO corner is that Derbyshire - or any of their other writers - aren't immune to challenges. When Derbyshire argued for bugging out of Iraq, others opposed him immediately and an interesting debate erupted.

Don't see anything like that at The American Conservative site. Or most other magazine sites, for that matter.

Posted by: Casey Abell at February 18, 2005 3:50 PM

The American Conservative is to rational political discourse what subway grafitti is to fine art. It is a place for the denizens of the fever swamps of Ku Kluxery and neo-Nazism to get together and feel as if they somehow matter.

If the FEC had given my dog $15 million to run for President, he would have gotten more than 446,743 votes.

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 3:55 PM


There's a long way from the Borg to a supposed political movement that can't differentiate between George Bush and Ralph Nader.

Posted by: oj at February 18, 2005 4:03 PM

Then there's the fun stuff on the Corner, like Jonah's link to this:


Too bad that my noble nickname has hit the skids lately.

Posted by: Casey Abell at February 18, 2005 4:04 PM


That was about the only interesting thing that happened at NRO, and it only happened because of the blog format, which obviously cannot be replicated on a printed magazine. The rest of the articles tend to be fairly bland. You know what they'll say before you click on the link.

They can differentiate between the two. They simply allowed different people to make cases for the different candidates, trusting that their readers were mature enough to come to their own decision, which I guess wouldn't be true of a magazine like NR.


An Internet rule of thumb, the first person to yell "Nazi" has lost the argument. You merit no further response.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 4:12 PM


Yes, that's the point. If you think there's a "case" to be made for Ralph Nader, John Kerry, etc. you're not coherent and are marginal to American conservative political discourse

Posted by: oj at February 18, 2005 4:19 PM


There is nothing wrong with calling people who want to discriminate against Jews, support those who murder Jews, endorse the antebellum South and decry Lincoln's crusade to eliminate the abomination that slavery, who complain about the end of Jim Crow,etc Nazis. They fit the definition of the term 'Nazi.' It's like calling the sky 'blue' or the ocean 'salty.'

What they are certainly not is 'conservative.'

Posted by: Bart at February 18, 2005 4:42 PM

Thou art Babbit.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 4:45 PM

LOL. Lincoln never crusaded to eliminate slavery. He backed an amendment to enshrine it in the Constitution to avert the Civil War. Once the war began, he eagerly pushed another amendment to deport "the African" to other shores. Of course, there are plenty good things one can say about Lincoln, too. That's the point. Historical figures don't fit so nicely into preconceived boxes of saint or satan.

As for the rest of your laundry list, you've framed the debate in such false and misleading terms, it's clear you have no intention of carrying on an honest debate.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 18, 2005 4:52 PM

Gee, I'm surprised to see folks here bashing NR. I've been a subscriber for years and I've always found it thoughtful and informative. And most political magazines are necessarily going to be predictable to some degree; back in the 1960s, Buckley once told a guy who complained about NR's predictability that if he wanted surprises, he should subscribe to whatever magazine it is that publishes the positions of the Republican party.

It also allows dissent from normal conservative positions, if the author uses conservative reasoning in reaching his conlucsion: think of the conservative critique of capital punishment penned by Carl Cannon a few years ago, or Jeffrey Hart's endorsement of stem-cell research. And any magazine that runs a cover-page ode to "Groundhog Day" clearly doesn't take itself too seriously.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 18, 2005 8:18 PM


There was a time when WFB had to kick goofs like these out of the conservative movement. We've now reached a point where most conservatives ignore them through a shared, unarticulated disdain. I'm not being cynical when I call that true progress.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 18, 2005 8:25 PM


You're right of course. It's just that every so often they crawl out from under their rocks and the MSM hires them on as the 'true voice of conservatism.'

A problem I am having with NR is that it seems to have David Brooks syndrome, mistaking cuteness for wit.

Posted by: Bart at February 19, 2005 8:50 AM

"There was a time when WFB had to kick goofs like these out of the conservative movement."

According to current standards, the WFB of the 50s and 60s would be kicked out. If you're fine with that continual movement to the Left, perhaps you fellows should ask yourselves if you really want to be conservatives. Why ride in the caboose? Go be liberal and join the party in the engine room.

As it is, if WFB is the gold standard (and I find him a rather oily and flawed individual myself), he's given it TAC his blessing, and John Derbyshire, who's been praised vociferously here, is a contributor.

Posted by: Derek Copold at February 19, 2005 12:46 PM

Buckley was always a libertarian more than a conservative. The most interesting writers were mainly the former-communists he brought in. It got in trouble when folks went after blacks and civil rights and the like.

The magazine retains a generally libertaian bent--Lowry, Goldberg, etc. It's better writers are neocons--descendants of former-communists. It's worst when it's racist, as Derbyshire and others on immigration.

The only thing that's really changed is Buckley, like Buchanan and the paleocons, hated communism because it was in Europe, but they don't mind Islamicism, which only affects the wogs.

Posted by: oj at February 19, 2005 2:35 PM

Why couldn't The American Conservative - or any other magazine site on the web - start a blog? The problem is that somebody might start challenging racists like Buchanan and Sailer, and those guys don't want to have to defend their opinions on their own site.

A similar racist like Derbyshire doesn't get a free ride on the NRO Corner. Nobody gets a free ride. Anybody's opinions are fair game for disagreement. William Buckley believes in drug legalization, but that doesn't stop Jonah Goldberg from trashing the idea. That's why the site is lively and interesting.

Posted by: Casey Abell at February 19, 2005 3:49 PM


Assuming you are correct about Buckley in the 50s, it is irrelevant. Today it is 2005, and we presumably know better. Lots of people voted for Wallace in 1968 who would never have voted for a candidate holding those views in 2004. The world changes, people change.

Posted by: Bart at February 19, 2005 6:51 PM


Goldberg is a libertarian? That must be why he opposes drug legalization and goes out of his way to upset Ayn Randites and major libertarian figures. Lowry supports the Patriot Act and severely criticizes conservatives who don't trust their own government enough to have it provide for public safety.

As for Islamicism, the magazine has been staunch in opposing in and in supporting the WOT (although it occasionally criticizes the way the war has been prosecuted). I'm not getting you, here.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 19, 2005 9:23 PM

There's one problem with the National Review and one problem only:

It's been hijacked/mesmerized/infected by the neo-cons and IT SUPPORTS ISRAEL---i.e., it stifles debate; it is doctrinaire; it is treasonous.

(Two reasons? Three? Well, no actually. It always boils down to one.)

Posted by: Barry Meislin at February 20, 2005 3:25 AM


You have to understand OJ-speak. Anyone who doesn't support a theocracy so totalitarian that it would frighten even Felipe II is a libertarian.

Posted by: Bart at February 20, 2005 9:24 AM


Libertarians hate objectivists because they can see how silly they look in the mirror.

Buckley opposes the war.

Posted by: oj at February 20, 2005 9:33 AM


Buckley says he'd have opposed the war if we had known then what we know now (regarding WMDs). Now that we're there, he has said he basically supports whatever Bush decides to do. That sounds pretty supportive to me, all things considered.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 21, 2005 12:53 AM