Logo for Joe Sobran's newsletter: Sobran's -- The Real News of the Month

 Remembering Sam Francis 

January 18, 2007 
Sam FrancisNow that Barack Obama has all but thrown his halo into the ring, we could use a little skepticism. He makes an awfully good first impression, like a champion high-school orator, but what has he done to excite such messianic Today's column is "Remembering Sam Francis" -- Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.hopes in so many people — especially journalists?

Sam FrancisHis outstanding quality is his lack of experience. Other politicians have given experience a bad name, and here is a liberal without baggage — neither a Bush nor a Clinton. That’s all it takes to make journalists swoon like Iowa matrons having their hands kissed by Cary Grant. At the moment, he’s the Tiger Woods of American politics, a one-man diversity roster, of rather indeterminate race, religion, ideology, and style.

Sam FrancisWhat this calls for is a Sam Francis. Unfortunately, Sam died two years ago, leaving no successor among skeptics. Nobody was so thoroughly immune to liberal enthusiasm as Sam. He was a prize-winning editorial writer for the Washington Times, until he proved too conservative for that allegedly conservative paper and was given the boot.

Sam FrancisI am happy to say that some of Sam’s writings — more than 300 pages of them — are now available again in Shots Fired: Sam Francis on America’s Culture War, edited by Peter B. Gemma (FGF Books; www.shotsfired.us).

Sam FrancisSam was severely allergic to phony conservatives, especially the neoconservatives, which made him uneasy with the Republican Party. He spoke of “the neocon mafia” and referred to the GOP as “the stupid party”; his sardonic mention of “neoconservative sex god Irving Kristol” gives you some idea of how he would have described the current adulation of Obama (an Obamination, perhaps?).

Sam FrancisTo Sam, democratic politics was “the high art and science of fooling some of the people some of the time.” His attitude toward racial “diversity” is succinctly expressed in his comment on a local high school: “the school becomes more ‘diverse,’ the school declines in academic performance, and the whites leave.” Everything liberalism regards as “progressive,” Sam tended to see as decadent: “The final and unpredictable irony of our history may be that we were more civilized at the beginning of it than at the end of it.”

Sam FrancisLike his philosophical mentor James Burnham, Sam was inclined to pessimism, though he would call it realism; for him, optimism was usually an illusion. His aversion to the Republican Party went back to its origins: Despite his contempt for the Bushes, father and son, he argued that Abraham Lincoln was “an ill-prepared man who has a strong claim to being the most incompetent president in American history.” Lincoln was a “mediocrity” whose presidency was a “disaster,” not only for his own generation but for posterity as well.

[Breaker quote for Remembering Sam Francis: The one and only]Sam FrancisFor Sam, the Civil War was still a live issue. A cause wasn’t sanctified merely because it had prevailed by force, or discredited because it had been defeated. In history, the bad guys often win. It has been observed that the American mind is averse to the very idea of tragedy; in that sense, Sam was un-American.

Sam FrancisHis mind, in fact, was wide-ranging and well-stocked. After his death I learned that he was steeped in English poetry, as well as European history. No wonder he was so resistant to fads. His manner was dour, as a rule, but it could also be jolly. He couldn’t stay cynical; he enjoyed the ironies of things too much. When most of the world took one side, you could count on Sam to take the other; he was a natural reactionary, aware that everything has its obverse.

Sam FrancisSam was willing to take a position even if he was the only one taking it; he never ran with the pack. It was this solitary character that made him interesting and, paradoxically, won him devoted readers.

Sam FrancisBut such a man is bound to antagonize those who do run in packs, and the neocons had it in for him. They did much to hurt his career and keep him isolated. It says much for Sam’s determination that he kept writing in his uncompromising way to the end. He never wrote a word he didn’t mean.

Sam FrancisWe could use more like him. But there was only one Sam Francis.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2007 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
a division of Griffin Communications
This column may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of Griffin Internet Syndicate

small Griffin logo
Send this article to a friend.

Recipient’s e-mail address:
(You may have multiple e-mail addresses; separate them by spaces.)

Your e-mail address:

Enter a subject for your e-mail:

Mailarticle © 2001 by Gavin Spomer
Archive Table of Contents

Current Column

Return to the SOBRANS home page.

FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.

Search This Site

Search the Web     Search SOBRANS

What’s New?

Articles and Columns by Joe Sobran
 FGF E-Package “Reactionary Utopian” Columns 
  Wanderer column (“Washington Watch”) 
 Essays and Articles | Biography of Joe Sobran | Sobran’s Cynosure 
 The Shakespeare Library | The Hive
 WebLinks | Books by Joe 
 Subscribe to Joe Sobran’s Columns 

Other FGF E-Package Columns and Articles
 Sam Francis Classics | Paul Gottfried, “The Ornery Observer” 
 Mark Wegierski, “View from the North” 
 Chilton Williamson Jr., “At a Distance” 
 Kevin Lamb, “Lamb amongst Wolves” 
 Subscribe to the FGF E-Package 

Products and Gift Ideas
Back to the home page 


SOBRANS and Joe Sobran’s columns are available by subscription. Details are available on-line; or call 800-513-5053; or write Fran Griffin.

Reprinted with permission
This page is copyright © 2007 by The Vere Company
and may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of The Vere Company.