April 01, 2007

Last week I spent some days in Washington,  D.C. for a conference organized by Fran Griffin at the National Press Club. The subject was Sam Francis, and his terrific book, Shots Fired, about America’s culture wars. Alas, Sam Francis passed away two years ago, having been hounded by the neocons and dismissed as columnist of the Washington Times for his views—which were about as perfect as they come: No to unlimited immigration, no to nation building abroad, no to war against Christmas, no to sending our boys overseas to fight wars for Israel, no to smut on our television screens and so on.

I was the last speaker if the afternoon, following immediately after Paul Gottfried, a Ph.D. who has forgotten more things those arrogant AEI so called scholars will ever know. Paul’s and my subject was the neocons. In the earlier session, one of the speakers, Michael Jones, spoke at length about Jewish contributions to the Civil Rights movement, and to various revolutionaries movements throughout history in general. I thought his speech had very little to do with Sam Francis, as did many of the other speakers, namely Peter Brimelow and Paul Gottfried. The trouble is in a free society speakers are not vetted before they speak. None of us, Fran Griffin included, were responsible for Michael Jones’s opinions—some (not all) of which were right on, incidentally. The trouble was he was too strident even for my taste. But, as I already said, one is not responsible for what others say in a shared podium, unless the subject matter had already been agreed upon. That subject was Sam Francis’s work, not Mr. Jones’s rather lurid theological speculations—which Jones spoke about at length, and which Sam Francis never shared.

Following Paul Gottfried on the neoconservatism, of course, is a bit like getting into bed with a woman who had just slept with Porfirio Rubirosa. One feels diminished, to say the least. Paul was clear, spot on and reminded us that the neocons are not to be taken lightly. They are here to stay, have played their cards perfectly and are in bed with the Left against paleoconservatives like ourselves. When my turn came I pointed out that if life were fair and results counted, the Kagans, Frums, Kristols, Ponnurus, Podhoretzes, Gaffneys, Krauthammers, Wolfowitzes, Feiths and their ilk would not be shaping public opinion and reaping great benefits for their wisdom, but would be making a living asking “Do you want super or regular?” from customers. But as we know life is not fair, and while Wolfowitz is flying around in a large private jet dispensing our tax dollars to African kleptocrats and William Kristol receives top dollar from Murdoch and Time Warner, poor Sam Francis lies dead having been hounded to his grave. But he’s certainly not forgotten.


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