In just a few years, Samuel Francis has graduated from columnist to philosopher of history who observes past and present and draws the correct conclusions from both. His article in the June issue (“The Price of Empire“) offers a balanced panorama, a nice surprise in the avalanche of talk about “democracy in Zaire” and “Western values.” But in one regard, he still displays the conservative prejudice.

The Roman farmer and his American counterpart, the small businessman, are robbed, Francis writes, by the large plantations and the modern transnational companies. That was indeed the case with the Roman peasant whose choice was between decades of service in the army or a miserable life on the dole in Rome. But Americans today enjoy the benefits of empire when, for example, they pay far less for gas and many other goods and services than one does anywhere in Europe.

Our “isolationists” enjoy the best of two worlds: patriotic slogans and a high (imperial) standard of living. The trouble is, at some point the logic of empire will interrupt this heaven on earth. Samuel Francis is mature enough to crush the main taboo: “It cannot happen here!” It is already happening. History does have its laws and its will.

        —Thomas Molnar
Ridgewood, NJ