Author: Samuel Francis (Samuel Francis)

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Paleo-Malthusianism

“Parson,” wrote the Tory radical William Cobbett in an open letter to Thomas Malthus in 1819, “1 have, during my life, detested many men; but never any one so much as you.” Cobbett’s hatred of Malthus, the founder of modern population science, is comparable to the dislike that most conservatives feel toward him today, though...

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Inside History’s Dustbin

Ever since I committed the blunder, nearly 30 years ago, of signing up with the “conservative movement” during my first year in graduate school, a certain pattern of behavior has enforced itself on my decreasingly callow mind. The pattern, as a colleague of mine once remarked to me, is that there seems to be no...

The Managerial Mob
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The Managerial Mob

“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 whom Roth’s character is obviously based, the...

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After the Cold War

(This column was originally delivered as the keynote speech at a Chronicles’ conference, “Overcoming the Schism: European Divisions and U.S. Policy,” held in Chicago on May 8.) You would never guess that the Cold War is over. Almost all commentators on foreign policy start off their speeches or articles by performing an obligatory knee bend...

Deconstructing America
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Deconstructing America

        “You can take a man out of a country, but you can’t take a country out of a man.” —Anonymous In Ed Wood’s notoriously bad 1950’s science-fiction movie, Plan Nine From Outer Space, there is a scene in which the film’s star, the decrepit Bela Lugosi, is shown walking into a...

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Whose Modernity?

When Pat Buchanan’s new book, The Great Betrayal, appeared in April, the hysteria that greeted it was entirely predictable. Not only does Mr, Buchanan challenge the free trade orthodoxy that is dominant among economists and policymakers in both political parties, but he also makes clear that the economic nationalism he champions is only a part...

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Prophesying War

Back in 1994, the Atlantic Monthly published a notable article by Robert Kaplan entitled “The Coming Anarchy.” The article dealt with what Kaplan took to be global indications of impending chaos as resources dwindle, infrastructures decay, weapons are peddled, gangs and armed bands replace states, and ethnic, racial, and tribal loyalties prevail over less ferocious...

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Abraham the Unready

(This column is based in part on an address delivered at a “Colloquium on Lincoln, Reagan, and National Greatness” sponsored by the Claremont Institute in Washington, D.C., on February 12, 1998.) L’affaire Lewinsky was the obsession of the headlines and conversations of Washington throughout February, obscuring even the jolliness promised by another airborne stomping of...

They’re Coming, They’re Coming
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They’re Coming, They’re Coming

Thinking about unidentified flying objects can be a useful exercise, whatever we believe about extraterrestrial life and its presence among us. If nothing else, it forces us to deal seriously with those perennial questions that are as useful to scientists and philosophers as they are to lawyers and politicians on congressional investigating committees: What do...

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The Other Face of Multiculturalism

“The values of the weak prevail,” wrote Friedrich Nietzsche, “because the strong have taken them over as devices of leadership.” This brief and rather cryptic remark contains virtually all we need to know about why contemporary movements like multiculturalism, feminism, homosexualism, and anti-white racism are such powerful trends in modern American and other Western societies....

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The Truth About Republicans and Hispanics

Saying “I told you so” is never very polite, but sometimes, especially when trying to explain things to the Republican Party, it’s advisable to say it. For the last year or so, the Republicans and their pet eggheads have been telling each other that they had just better shut up about immigration, immigration reform, and...

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A Bright Spot

The New York Post‘s editorial page has been one of the few bright spots in the City of Dreadful Night. Generally a steamy tabloid in its news coverage, the Post has nevertheless offered thoughtful and informed editorials and Commentary of a mainstream conservative orientation under its editorial page editor, neoconservative Eric Breindel, and his deputy,...

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An Infantile Disorder

“Why, we could lick them in a month!” boasts Stuart Tarleton soon after the Confederates fire on Fort Sumter in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. “Gentlemen always fight better than rabble. A month—why, one battle.” At that point, young Mr. Tarleton is interrupted by Rhett Butler, a rather darker character in Mitchell’s novel than...

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The New Shape of American Politics

(The following remarks were delivered in a panel discussion, “The New Shape of Politics,” at the International Conservative Congress in Washington, D.C., on September 27, 1997) First of all, I want to thank John O’Sullivan for asking me to take part in this panel, and secondly I want to issue a fair warning to my...

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Nationalism, True and False

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 the other, and depending on their talents,...

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“Roby Ridge”

Ruby Ridge and Waco are two nightmares now slowly fading from the public mind, but not because some law enforcement officials have learned anything. In Roby, Illinois, a 51-year-old widow named Shirley Ann Allen was ordered by a local judge to submit to a psychological profile after her relatives expressed concern about her behavior. When...

Witchfinder: The Strange Career of Morris Dees
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Witchfinder: The Strange Career of Morris Dees

The trial, conviction, and death sentence of Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995, passed quietly this year, far more quietly than most reporters and some political leaders wanted. The main reason for the calmness of the McVeigh proceedings was probably the utterly uninteresting mind, character, and personality of the defendant....

Caesar’s Column
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Caesar’s Column

If anything could make the modern presidency look good, it is the modern Congress. Intended by the Framers, through a misinterpretation of the British constitution, to offer a check to the executive branch, the federal legislature has in fact evolved into merely its partner and more often its lackey. The President now openly intervenes in...

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Looking Backward

A man from Mars visiting the United States at the beginning of 1997 might have thought that the country was wobbling on the brink of political crisis. He would have learned that the White House was occupied by a gentleman immersed in so many scandals that even supermarket tabloids could not keep track of them...

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Impeachable Offenses

Back in March, Republican Majority Whip Tom DcLay took lunch at the Washington Times and started jabbering about how he and his party were going to impeach “activist judges” who handed down improper rulings. I know something about how those luncheons at the Times work, so I was not as impressed as some people. First,...

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The New Godfathers

The Republican Party has spent the last four years gloating and giggling over the Clinton scandals—draft evasion, Whitewater, Travelgate, Vince Foster, the Rose law firm, Waco, Ron Brown, Henry Cisneros, Hillary, the illegal naturalization of aliens, the Lincoln Bedroom, legally and ethically dubious campaign contributions both foreign and domestic, and (gasp, wheeze), any number of...

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Revolution in the Air

Is it idle, or at least premature, to talk about “revolution from the right”? Whether it is or is not, that is exactly what leaders of the right have been talking about for some years, from Pat Buchanan’s “Middle American Revolution” and his imagery of the “Buchanan Brigades” and peasants with pitchforks rebelling against “King...

The Price of Empire Globalism and Its Consequences
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The Price of Empire Globalism and Its Consequences

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” or “nation-building” or “exporting capitalism,” or...

At the Heart of Darkness
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At the Heart of Darkness

        “The New Englandeis are a people of God, settled in those which were once the Devil’s territories.” —Cotton Mather S.T. Joshi begins his mammoth biographical study of Howard Phillips Lovecraft by quoting his subject’s reaction to a suggestion from a fan that he write his autobiography. With the almost pathological modesty...

The GOP Flop
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The GOP Flop

As the Republican primaries drew to a finish last spring, the several pundits whom the Grand Old Party carries in its pockets began to sing the praises of the man who was emerging as the winner. Partisans of his rivals—Steve Forbes, Lamar Alexander, Phil Gramm, and others—started lining up to kiss hands and bend knees...

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First Things Last

If the election of 1996 turned out to be an even bigger snore than most citizens anticipated, the fall of the year was nevertheless enlivened by a dangerous outbreak of something resembling actual cogitation on the American right. Given the mentally paralytic cast of the Dole-Kemp campaign and much of the party that nominated it,...

Something Like Waco
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Something Like Waco

About a year after the raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, I was invited to take part in a discussion of the Waco incident on a program on the National Educational Television network. The program was a call-in show, and after my hosts and...

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The Ruling Class

One of the ironies of American political discussion in the last generation or so— indeed, of the last century—has been that, for all our boasting and braggadocio about being a nation founded on the proposition that all men are created equal, it is almost impossible to find any significant American social thinker who really believes...

Every Which Way But Up
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Every Which Way But Up

“The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.” —Aristotle Readers of Chronicles may vaguely recall Michael Lind as the contributor of a few articles to this magazine in the late 1980’s and early 90’s, but they should have no problem recognizing...

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Suicide of the Right

After spending several weeks in deep hugger-mugger at the Republican Party platform committee this summer, the leaders of the right wing of the GOP emerged triumphant. Their deeply beloved and totally useless Human Life Amendment was reaffirmed. The obnoxious statement of “tolerance” for the opinions of those who disagree with the amendment was excised. Language...

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Behind Democracy’s Curtain

One of the more exciting prospects for the Dole-Clinton presidential contest should have been the “presidential debate,” which, ever since the Kennedy-Nixon slugfest of 1960, has titillated the mass electorate with the delusion that the voters actually have a real choice between two different viewpoints. The only reason a Dole-Clinton debate ought to have been...

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Conspiracy

History, wrote Voltaire, is the sound of wooden shoes running up the backstairs and of silken slippers running down—a remark that implies that the real story of high politics is never what we are able to see but always a tale hidden from public view. Since he lived in an age of despots, enlightened and...

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Republicans and Real Federalism

With all the febrile ebullience of a rerun of a 1950’s sitcom, the Republican Party will descend upon San Diego determined to efface any evidence that Pat Buchanan ever existed and committed to staging the miraculous spectacle of a political convention without any politics. Yet most Republicans, whether or not they are present at the...

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The Buchanan Victory

Whether a full-scale nuclear war between modern superpowers would last quite as long as the three-week blitzkrieg among this year’s candidates for the Republican presidential nomination is an intriguing question that neither military nor political scientists seem to have asked, but whatever the answer, a duel with nuclear weapons might well be less bloodthirsty than...

From Household to Nation
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From Household to Nation

If there was any major difference between the presidential campaign of Pat Buchanan in 1995 and his first run at the Republican nomination in 1992, it was the relative calm with which his enemies greeted the announcement of his second candidacy and his rapid move last year to the forefront of the Republican field. Rabbi...

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Enemies of the State

The Great Republican Revolution took a brief trip to the benches last summer when committees in both House and Senate paused in their deliberations to burrow into the federal atrocities at Waco and Ruby Ridge. The resulting hearings were by no means as much fun as the O.J. Simpson trial, and the House investigation of...

Glad To Be of Use
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Glad To Be of Use

“Satiate with power, of fame and wealth possessed, A nation grows too glorious to be blest; Conspicuous made, she stands the mark of all. And foes join foes to triumph in her fall.” —George Crabbe, Thelibrau In the last year, Michael Lind has emerged as the new wunderkind of American political discussion. He was the...

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Victims of Blunt Force Trauma

Even before the end of the trial of Los Angeles police officer Mark Fuhrman for the crime of white racism, the percentage of black Americans who believed that Officer Fuhrman’s most celebrated victim was innocent had risen from 60 percent before the trial to a whopping 78 percent by the time the prosecution rested. It...

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Where the Buck Really Stops

“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 itself, a truth that explains much of...

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Natural Born Kulchur

In the tumid political underbrush of the summer, there were a number of interesting and even important new sprouts, as Pat Buchanan slowly pushed aside Phil Gramm as the favored candidate of the Republican right and almost all of the rest of the blossoming aspirants to the throne of Reagan and Bush withered in the...

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Roads to Revolution

For at least a month after the mass murder in Oklahoma City, the official sentinels of the federal leviathan threw themselves into a state of panic that was probably unprecedented in the country’s history. It remains unclear how much of the hysteria and paranoia they injected into their own minds they actually believed and how...

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A Boundless Field of Power

Does the United States Constitution still exist? There is one simple way to answer this question. Read any article or section of the 200-year-old document written to provide the citizens of a free republic with a short and simple guide to what their government can and cannot do and ask whether the language you have...

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Poker on the Titanic

If any single act showed the essential fraudulence of the ballyhooed “Republican Revolution” we were supposed to be enjoying this year, it was the last official vote of the previous Congress, less than a month after the 1994 elections, to pass the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade by a bipartisan majority. Of course, the...

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Voices in the Air

By the middle of the second month of the Republican Revolution, acute observers were beginning to see that the revolution might actually go somewhere if only the Republicans were not in charge of it. Aside from such irritating contretemps as the revelations of Speaker Newt Gingrich’s book deal, his instantaneous dumping of historian Christina Jeffrey...

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Gnostic Newt

The hallmark of the sophomoric mind is that it knows the sorts of things that adult minds do but has not yet figured out how to do them. Bright undergraduates who solemnly inform their professors that they plan to write term papers applying what they have read about the latest fads of pop psychology to...

Up From the Ice Age
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Up From the Ice Age

“Nature knows no equality.” —Luc de Varvenargues For about four years before the publication of The Bell Curve last fall, occasional news reports dribbled out tidbits of information about the book and its coauthor. The stories were often pegged to Charles Murray’s departure from the neoconservative Manhattan Institute in 1990 because of the institute’s discomfort...

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Racial Politics

Whatever the new Republican majority does with the immense congressional power it seized in last November’s elections, it will probably be unimportant compared to the force that started to emerge in the same elections and which the national leadership of the Republican Party, and even more the Democratic Party, tried to ignore, denounce, and destroy....

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Globo-Cop

No small irony attended the announcement by FBI Director Louis Freeh on July 4 of last year that his bureau was establishing a “legal attache” office in Moscow, and not only because the agency of the U.S. government historically responsible for counterespionage had finally penetrated the capital city of its old adversary. July 4, as...