Accusations of racism, unlike protestations of patriotism, are the first, not the last, refuge of scoundrels. In today’s world the charge is the ultimate rhetorical weapon, the H-Bomb of public discourse. Even without accurate aim or effective delivery, it is guaranteed to destroy not only the intended target but associates and bystanders for miles around, thus obviating the necessity for follow-up precision strikes. Political and intellectual terrorists, gangsters, and assorted fellahin have not just learned to live with the bomb, they have grown to love it. And 50 years later, there will be no one around to apologize to.

Wes Pruden, editor-in-chief of the Washington Times, did not in so many words denounce Samuel Francis as a racist when, late last September, he fired him from his job as an editorial page writer for the newspaper. Unlike in June, however, when he had informed Francis that his staff column, always popular with the Times’s readership, was being killed and his pay cut by 50 percent (a portion of which was later restored), he did give a specific reason. Several days earlier the Washington Post had printed a piece by Dinesh D’Souza, adapted from the author’s recently published book The End of Racism, in which D’Souza, in the course of describing a meeting organized by Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, at the Hilton Hotel in Atlanta in 1994, quoted Francis as telling an audience he was addressing that whites must reassert their identity and solidarity in explicit racial terms by articulating their racial consciousness. “The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America,” Francis said, “could not have been developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people, nor is there any reason to believe that the civilization can be successfully transmitted to a different people.” According to Pruden, D’Souza’s account of Francis’s remarks clinched growing doubts concerning the possibility that irreconcilable differences might exist between Sam Francis and his colleagues at the Times.

Francis, an award-winning editorial writer as well as the author of a nationally syndicated column, had worked for the paper for nine years. During that time, the editors had never killed one of Francis’s columns. On the contrary, they had consistently praised it; and the annual employees’ assessment report had regularly given Francis’s work the highest, or near-highest, ratings in every service category. Earlier in the year, however, Pruden had flinched at a column in which Francis, having criticized the Southern Baptist Convention for publicly repenting of its support for slavery, denied that either the Bible or orthodox Christianity condemns this far-from-peculiar institution. Now, having read D’Souza’s piece, he made the decision that Francis had to go. Pruden asked for Francis’s “resignation,” and received it.

The dismissal of Sam Francis was accepted philosophically by admirers and by his colleagues elsewhere than at the Washington Times, who had long since adapted to life in a world made safe for democratist ideology by neo-Stalinist tactics. But even before Francis left the Times, D’Souza himself was set on the hot seat by two black conservative scholars, Glenn Loury and Robert L. Woodson, Sr., when they resigned their positions with the American Enterprise Institute to protest the alleged racism of The End of Racism, which Woodson claimed to be “unworthy of an institution like AEI,” no matter that the book had been published by the Free Press in New York. Apparently, Woodson and Loury consider themselves too pure, morally and intellectually speaking, to maintain even the most casual association with a large organization including on its staff a single individual with whom they disagree. Be that as it may, the Wall Street journal on October 19 printed an article, “Two Black Conservatives Are Now Searching for a New Home,” which offended Christopher DeMuth, AEI’s president, by what he described in a letter to the paper, published November 3, as its “juxtaposition of the deeply thoughtful and anguished Messrs. Loury and Woodson on the one hand, and the insensitive and incendiary Mr. D’Souza on the other.” DeMuth, having defended The End of Racism as a book that had been praised or at least taken seriously by “serious intellectuals and politicians of all races and political creeds,” noted that “its most practical consequence so far has been the firing of Washington Times columnist Samuel Francis over his remarks at a white supremacist gathering, chillingly documented in The End of Racism.”

DeMuth’s letter prompted an epistolary flurry around D’Souza, DeMuth, and Francis, to which the journal devoted much of its Letters to the Editor department on November 13 and again on December 1. Among its correspondents was Jared Taylor, who claimed that while D’Souza’s description of the American Renaissance conference as it appeared in his book was humorously inaccurate, it was nothing compared with what the author had originally written: an account so falsified and filled with errors that the Free Press, under pressure from participants in the conference who had read the galley proofs, pulped the entire first edition. More tellingly, Taylor suggested that the American Renaissance speakers had expressed opinions “far too close to Mr. D’Souza’s for him plausibly to claim that we were beyond the pale.” His point was seconded by Lawrence Auster whose own letter, printed immediately below Taylor’s, asserted that “the worst part . . . is that Mr. D’Souza, backed by his boss Christopher DeMuth, labels as ‘bigots’ and ‘white supremacists’ people who honestly believe what Mr. D’Souza himself evidently believes but doesn’t want to admit.”

Sam Francis has forthrightly stated his belief that “there arc racial differences, there are natural differences between the races.” Less forthrightly, but no less incriminatingly for political gumshoes looking for ideological dissidents to arrest, Dinesh D’Souza writes, “The Bell Curve makes a strong case that cannot be ignored. . . . The conclusion of most scholars is that despite many caveats, there is no scientific basis for rejecting the possibility that race differences in I.Q. are partly hereditary.” The nearly identical nature of their conclusions notwithstanding, today Sam Francis is out of a job, while Dinesh D’Souza continues to get on the outside of several square meals daily at AFFs capacious trough. The reason for this unequal treatment? In Francis’s own words: “My departure from the Times . . . was due less to the prowess of fraudulent scholars like Mr. D’Souza than to the discomfort of the Times’s editors with the expression of ideas (by no means confined to racial matters) that transgress the established boundaries that the Times, for all its chest-thumping about challenging conventional wisdom, is insistent on preserving.” On the journalistic right. National Review‘s is the only voice to have been heard raised in honorable protest against Establishment conservatism’s latest transgression of the civilized principle of freedom of thought, and the constitutional one of freedom of expression, which gives the first effect.