The Pygmies Squeak … Again

Three years ago in these pages I described the continuing attacks on Sam Francis, nearly 15 years after his death, as the case of a giant beset by pygmies. With an election imminent, the pygmies are squeaking about Sam again. Their squeaks tell us nothing of value about Sam’s thought. But they do illustrate one of the ways in which the ruling class, eviscerated by Sam in column after column, gained power and intends to maintain it—even as the decay and ruin Sam foresaw becomes more apparent with each passing day.

The pygmy in this case is Alec Dent, a writer for the neocon webrag The Dispatch, and his squeaks were published in Vanity Fair as “The Right’s Quiet Uncanceling of a Dead White Supremacist.” At the moment, Dent’s Dispatch boss and longtime pygmy chieftain, Jonah Goldberg, is posing as an opponent of cancel culture. During a Jan. 31, 2021, appearance on Fox News, Goldberg bewailed “vast and thriving” cancel cultures on both the right and left, and said that “widespread intolerance of disagreement” was a “problem in America.” He even charged that cancel culture was “ruining our country” and “ruining our politics.” As evidence, he cited Politico’s decision to end its brief association with Ben Shapiro, The Atlantic’s decision to end its equally brief association with Kevin Williamson, and, most alarmingly, Donald Trump’s public calls for Goldberg himself to be fired by National Review and Fox News.

Dent is more honest. He begins his article chortling that “in today’s parlance, Francis was canceled; his career at the [Washington] Times was over and he spent his final years largely confined to the fever swamps of explicitly white supremacist organizations before he died in 2005.” Dent ends by praising Greg Forster, of the Center for Equal Opportunity conservative think tank, for telling the Washington City Paper “that he hoped to discredit Francis in the same way … William F. Buckley discredited anti-Semites in the conservative movement decades prior.”

Whatever Buckley may have originally intended, his movement’s actual function has been what Dent describes: the marginalization of any right-wing thinker or leader who threatens to create an effective opposition to the ruling class.

Goldberg and company certainly welcomed the attempt to silence Sam Francis. In 2015, Goldberg tweeted that Sam was “a dangerous crank who ended his days railing about interracial TV commercials.” Kevin Williamson opposed Trump in 2016 because Trump was “running (knowingly or not) on a Sam Francis platform,” and “we oppose the loopy crackpot racist ideas of Sam Francis.” Williamson’s animus toward Sam was matched by hatred for the people Sam called “Middle Americans.” Williamson asserted that economically depressed white working-class communities “deserved to die” and argued that it was “immoral” to publish articles suggesting that the residents of those communities were victims of anything other than their own bad choices.

These neocon pygmies are very useful to America’s ruling class. Decades after their articulation, largely in the pages of Chronicles, Sam’s ideas remain a greater threat to elite rule than anything on offer from The Dispatch, National Review, or any other pygmy encampment. The Middle American Radicals Sam identified remain the major oppositional force in American politics, and that opposition would both deepen and strengthen if more people would read his devastating critiques of our truly awful ruling class.

As Sam noted decades ago, that ruling class was united in promoting globalized free trade, unfettered mass immigration, endless wars that had nothing to do with protecting America, government-sanctioned discrimination against whites, culturally encouraged disdain for whites, and a misnamed “multiculturalism” that sought to diminish, disparage, and ultimately destroy the Western culture of which America had always been an integral part. Veritable platoons of pygmies lent their aid, reassuring Americans that these policies were placing our country on a glide path to prosperity, safety, and moral perfection while portraying any skeptic as a crank at best and a bigot at worst.

Sam foresaw the actual destination of that path: the impoverishment of the middle class, the transformation of an inventive, creative culture into an unimaginative mediocrity focused on producing shlock for the lowest common denominator, and a fractured country with a growing contempt for its own past, a country held together by little more than a common currency and a fear of any alternative political arrangement.

Our ruling class, supremely confident of its crushing intellectual superiority (yet almost boundlessly ignorant), either didn’t know it was leading America to ruin or didn’t care. Hence, the enduring hatred for Sam Francis in elite circles, and the perennial desire of writers seeking advancement to parrot that hatred.

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