Author: Samuel Francis (Samuel Francis)

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Crime Story: The Godfather as Political Metaphor
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Crime Story: The Godfather as Political Metaphor

From the October 1992 issue of Chronicles. Probably not since Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind has a popular novel influenced Americans as deeply as Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. Appearing in 1969, the book remains, according to the inflated come-on of its publisher’s blurb, “the all-time best-selling novel in publishing history.” If true, that claim...

Define “Imperialism”
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Define “Imperialism”

From the June 1991 issue of Chronicles. Lewis Namier liked to tell the story of an English schoolboy who was asked to define “imperialism” on an examination paper. “Imperialism,” the budding proconsul wrote, “is learning how to get along with one’s social inferiors.” In the Edwardian twilight of the British Empire, that answer might have...

Ditching the Cadaver
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Ditching the Cadaver

“Republics exist only on tenure of being agitated.” —Wendell Phillips If anything might have transformed the presidential election of 2004 from a dull ritual of mass democracy into an interesting and perhaps even meaningful act of civic decision, it would have been the presence of Patrick J. Buchanan, whose wit and sharp conservative intelligence enlivened...

The Vanishing Anglo-Saxon Minority
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The Vanishing Anglo-Saxon Minority

“The Anglo-Saxon carries self-government and self-development with him wherever he goes.” —Henry Ward Beecher For almost exactly 30 years, Kevin P. Phillips has been cranking out some of the most interesting and provocative works of political analysis written since World War II. In 1969, The Emerging Republican Majority argued that American politics runs through periodic...

Corruption and Contempt
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Corruption and Contempt

    “Out of his surname they have coined an epithet for a knave, and out of his Christian name a synonym for the Devil.” —Thomas Babington For those readers who know very much about Niccolo Machiavelli, the most striking feature of Michael Ledeen’s new book, which tries to explicate a number of Machiavelli’s precepts with...

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The Managerial Mob

From the October 1998 issue of Chronicles. “Michael, we’re bigger than U.S. Steel,” boasts gangland mastermind Hyman Roth to his (quite temporary) partner, Michael Corleone, in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, Part II. Hyman, however, was not the first to say it, and those familiar with the life history and achievements of the gentleman on...

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Winning the Culture War

From the December 1993 issue of Chronicles. The first thing we have to learn about fighting and winning a cultural war is that we are not fighting to “conserve” something; we are fighting to overthrow something. Obviously, we do want to conserve something—our culture, our way of life, the set of institutions and beliefs that...

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Where the Buck Really Stops

From the October 1995 issue of Chronicles. “The question is,” Humpty Dumpty tells Alice in Through the Looking Glass, “which is to be master—that’s all.” As overused as the quotation may be, it nevertheless communicates a perennial truth that most people forget when it comes to understanding not only the answer but also the question...

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Nationalism, True and False

From the December 1997 issue of Chronicles. Ruling classes exercise power through combinations of coercion and manipulation—what Machiavelli called force and fraud, or the habits of the lion and the fox that he recommended to princes who wish to stay in power. Like most princes, most ruling classes tend to be better at one than...

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Burnham Agonistes

From the July 2002 issue of Chronicles. “Who says A must say B.” —James Burnham Most adult conservatives as well as many educated people know that James Burnham was an anticommunist author and columnist for William F. Buckley’s National Review; a number of others will be aware that Burnham’s name seems to flap through the...

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The Price of Empire Globalism and Its Consequences

From the June 1997 issue of Chronicles. I know it will strike many people as odd to call the current foreign policy of the United States a form of “empire building” or “imperialism,” and of course none of our leaders would ever call it that. They would prefer some such term as “peacekeeping” or “spreading democracy”...

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At the Heart of Darkness

At the Heart of Darkness by Samuel Francis • September 24, 2009 • Printer-friendly “The New Englanders are a people of God, settled in those which were once the Devil’s territories.”—Cotton Mather H.P. Lovecraft: A Biography by S.T. JoshiWest Warwick, Rhode Island:Necronomicon Press; 704 pp., $20.00 H.P. Lovecraft: Miscellaneous WritingsEdited by S.T. JoshiSank City, Wisconsin:Arkham...

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Perfect for This Moment

The hero of the hour, if not the messiah of the New Age, is Barack Obama, a gentleman whose name might lead you to suspect him of being an Afghan terrorist or the most recent American puppet candidate for the presidency of Iraq but who, in fact, is merely the freshman senator from the state...

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Foreign Policy “Revolutionary”?

If President Bush achieved nothing else in his Inaugural Address, he at least provided fodder for media pundits to chew on for a solid week or more.  This is an unusual accomplishment, even for inaugural addresses, most of which are endured and then ignored by those whose job it is to listen to them and...

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Paleos in Context

The significance of Chilton Williamson’s new book, The Conservative Bookshelf, is that it is the first general account of the conservative tradition to place what is now called paleoconservatism in the context of that tradition.  Once upon a time, the connection would have been obvious because all conservatives were paleoconservatives, or close to it.  Today,...

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Toward a Hard Right

What is the meaning of the election of 2004 for the American Hard Right?  The question, of course, presupposes that there is such a thing as a “Hard Right” distinct from the Mossad’s Station Pentagon, or the “moral values” evangelicals, or the Girly Boys’ Jamboree.  By “Hard Right,” in this context, I mean neither what...

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You Say You Want a Revolution

With a none-too-whopping lunch of 51 percent of the popular vote packed into their bellies, the nation’s “conservatives” quibbled and preached to one another about the true meaning of the 2004 presidential election even before the 51 percent had made it all the way down their political esophagus.  “Now comes the revolution,” beamed Richard A....

The Left-Hand Path
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The Left-Hand Path

Last May, the New Republic carried an informative article about how contemporary exponents of Cabala, a school of Jewish mysticism dating from the Middle Ages (if not earlier), have shaped the minds (such as they are) of such celebrities as Mick Jagger, Britney Spears, Demi Moore, and Madonna.  The Material Girl herself was quoted from...

Ditching the Cadaver
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Ditching the Cadaver

“Republics exist only on tenure of being agitated.” —Wendell Phillips If anything might have transformed the presidential election of 2004 from a dull ritual of mass democracy into an interesting and perhaps even meaningful act of civic decision, it would have been the presence of Patrick J. Buchanan, whose wit and sharp conservative intelligence enlivened...

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Smearpolitik

After several weeks of fulminating about John Kerry’s war record and the medals he presumably awarded himself, at least some veterans of the Stupid Party eventually got down to the real point about the man who wants to replace ...

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The Enemy of the Nation

Not long before the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Mikhail Gorbachev was still in power and I was an editorial writer at the Washington Times, a bunch of Soviet “journalists” came to lunch at the newspaper.  At that time, I was still sufficiently in good graces with the paper’s management to be invited and...

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Smearpolitik

After several weeks of fulminating about John Kerry’s war record and the medals he presumably awarded himself, at least some veterans of the Stupid Party eventually got down to the real point about the man who wants to replace George W. Bush in the White House.  Amazingly, it was none other than the forgotten Robert...

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Holding the Pass

It has been ten years since the death, at his home in the village of Mecosta, Michigan, of Russell Kirk, author of The Conservative Mind and one of the main spokesmen for organized American conservatism as it was known throughout his life.  While there were other architects of conservatism who were Kirk’s contemporaries, almost all...

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Queen of the Damned

“What I like best about the Order of the Garter,” Lord Melbourne is reported to have remarked, “is that there is no damned merit about it.”  Had the Philadelphia Society existed in Melbourne’s day, he would have found damned little merit in it either, though the society is not on quite the same level of...

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A Nonconservative “Godfather”

Norman Podhoretz, Doris Day, and Arnold Palmer were among the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on June 23, and it is by no means easy to say who deserves the award the most—or, for that matter, the least.  Most people probably were not aware that Miss Day was still alive but were happy...

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The Success of the Pod

Norman Podhoretz, Doris Day, and Arnold Palmer were among the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on June 23, and it is by no means easy to say who deserves the award the most—or, for that matter, the ...

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Porno War

Just how high did authorization go for the Abu Ghraib “abuses,” as the deliberate torture and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by American troops are demurely called?  Was it really, as President Bush claimed in his flatulent “address to the nation” in May, a mere case of “disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who...

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Ronald Reagan, R.I.P.

By no means the least of Ronald Reagan’s achievements as man and president was that he may well have been the first chief executive since Herbert Hoover who did not deserve a prison term for his crimes.  He also managed to hold the presidency twice, hand his office over to a designated successor, and remain...

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The Dialectic of Suicide

“A nation never falls but by suicide.” —R.W. Emerson The ambush was prepared and actually triggered several months before Samuel Huntington’s Who Are We? appeared in print.  When Mr. Huntington, the author of The Clash of Civilizations and a leading political scientist at Harvard, published last winter an excerpt from his new book dealing with...

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A Question of Power

Movies come and movies go, but probably never in the history of American film has more controversy greeted any movie than that which met Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ before and after its debut on Ash Wednesday.  We all know what the controversy was about.  It had nothing to do with the qualities...

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An Unappetizing Prospect

John Kerry may have blown it already.  After an impressive come-from-behind nab of the Democratic nomination this winter, the Massachusetts senator seemed ready to offer a formidable threat to the bubblehead who currently takes up space in the White House.  Faced with economic erosion, the loss of American jobs to outsourcing, the disenchantment of his...

Smear Campaign
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Smear Campaign

“The tone and tendency of liberalism . . . is to attack the institutions of the country under the name of reform and to make war on the manners and customs of the people under the pretext of progress.” —Benjamin Disraeli On April 14, 1996, the Washington Post published a 2,700-word article by liberal journalist...

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Amnesty

Conservatives who saw through the fraud of the “temporary worker visa” program that President Bush unveiled in January and recognized it for the mass amnesty of illegal aliens it is might want to consider muting their fulminations against the concept of amnesty.  If current demographic trends continue, they may find that they are in need...

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(Con)fusion on the Right

For the last year or so, neoconservatism has been the subject of an astonishing number of discussions, examinations, and denunciations by the far and “mainstream” left as well as by the right, soft and not so soft.  The reason for the scrutiny, of course, is that you cannot expect to engineer an entire war, concoct...

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Enthusiastic Democracy

Less than a month after President Bush unbosomed his latest reflections on political philosophy before the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, one of the latest victims of his administration’s crusade to foster the “global democratic revolution” in Iraq was grousing that what the administration planned for his country simply wasn’t democratic enough.  The Grand...

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The Dean Delusion

What is wrong with Howard Dean?  Not much, if you listen to many Republicans and some conservatives.  Republicans are salivating over the prospect of a Dean nomination because it seems to be the best way to ensure that President Bush stays where he is.  Some conservatives, however, are saying that they may vote for the...

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Enthusiastic Democracy

Less than a month after President Bush unbosomed his latest reflections on political philosophy before the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, one of the latest victims of his administration’s crusade to foster the “global democratic revolution” in Iraq was grousing that what the administration planned for his country simply wasn’t democratic enough.  The Grand...

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Passing for Democracy

Howard Dean almost blew it.  With a slight edge in the polls and a strong following among both blacks and young, college-trained white professionals, the ex-governor of Vermont was beginning to look like the next nominee of the Democratic Party.  Then he said something nice about white “guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks”...

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The Cabal Strikes Back

Ever since the exposure in the mainstream media last year of the neoconservatives as a fifth column that engineered the present boondoggle in Iraq, dragged the United States into a foreign war for the transparent benefit of Israel, and concocted what are now known to have been lies about Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” and...

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Turning Away

By the end of last summer, it had become transparently obvious, even to the graying stallions of the “conservative movement,” that organized conservatism in the United States since the 1950’s has been a colossal failure.  The failure has been clear enough to most percipient Americans for perhaps a decade or more (an essay I published...

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The Untergang of Our Gang

The Bush administration and its heavyweights spent the latter portion of this past summer trying to explain to themselves, to one another, and to American voters why the policies it has inflicted on the nation have not really been the unmitigated disaster they have proved to be.  Attorney General John Ashcroft tried to defend the...

A Monopoly of Violence
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A Monopoly of Violence

Contrary to the claims of a number of mid-20th-century historians of the Tudor age, the Tudors and their servants did not invent the modern state.  The honor of, or blame for, that achievement properly belongs to the late 17th-century, the age of William III and the period following the “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, when a...

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Not An Ordinary Criminal

Kathy Boudin, by the time she walked out of the New York state penitentiary on parole last summer after serving 22 years for murder and bank robbery, should have been a forgotten name, but, thanks to the New York Times and similar organs, she was probably better known when she left prison than when she...

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The GOP’s Secret Weapon

If the war with Iraq was largely the work of the Likudnik faction that has commandeered the Bush administration’s Middle East policies, the liberation of Liberia on which the President suddenly embarked the nation last summer seems to have originated at least in part with yet another lobby of questionable loyalties.  On July 7, as...

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The Real Cabal

After nearly two decades of paleoconservative criticism, complaints, and general grousing about the ideological hegemony of the neoconservatives, the establishment press finally began to notice the existence of the latter.  Between the time of President Bush’s factually flawed “Axis of Evil” State of the Union Address in 2002 and the “end” of the war with...

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The Great Crackpot Crackdown

Within a few days of the American conquest of Iraq, it was obvious that the Bush administration’s “War on Terrorism” was a monumental flop that has probably endangered the United States and Americans abroad far more than it has protected them.  Not only were American soldiers being slowly picked off by snipers inside Iraq but...

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The Old Right Failure

No sooner had at least a dozen or so counterattacks on David Frum’s silly rant against paleoconservatives in the April 7 issue of National Review appeared in print or on the internet than the sole defense of the Frum article of which I am aware popped up under the name of William Rusher.  Some paleos...

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Infamies

Exactly 60 years before the terrorist attacks of 2001, September 11 became a day of infamy for many Americans because of what Col. Charles A. Lindbergh said to an audience in Des Moines, Iowa, that day.  Speaking as a member of the America First Committee, Lindbergh warned his listeners, in words that immediately became world-famous,...

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Treason Prospers

As I (along with just about every other armchair strategist in the Western world) correctly predicted last year, the United States launched her war against Iraq in the early spring of 2003, but by the time she did so, the path of treason along which this country had been dragged to war was plain to...

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The Grinch Who Stole Kwanza

The political plum on last year’s Christmas pudding, so to speak, was l’affaire Lott, which, erupting at the birthday party for retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond in early December and continuing until Trent Lott’s less-than-voluntary resignation as Senate majority leader three weeks later, threatened to ruin Kwanza for just about everybody.  The Lott crisis was an...