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Three Pillars

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Editor’s Note:

The following text by Michael O’Meara appears in his book Toward the White Republic.

I never met Sam Francis, but since encountering his monthly column in Chronicles in 1989 or ’90, I knew his was a voice worth attending.

In developing a white nationalist consciousness, I’ve had the benefit of few such voices—and of these, fewer still that have been American. Be it George H. Nash’s “conservative intellectual movement,” the Reagan movement of the 1980s, the various sects comprising the often mislabeled “hard right,” not one seemed uncontaminated by the liberal tenets of the anti-white Leviathan.

Sam, though, was different. Despite his former ties to the Establishment and to the dreamy antiquarianism of the paleocons, he spoke not just to the reigning disorder, but to its malignant roots in the nation’s ruling elites—and thus to the issue of regime change.

The two decades of anti-liberal commentary he produced is likely to be remembered for having disseminated certain ideas key to our people’s survival. Of these, three strike me as especially foundational.

The first, requisite to any political project, designates the enemy against which white America must struggle if it is to reclaim control of its destiny. Pace anti-liberalism’s obsessive wing, this enemy is not the omnipotent Jew or the occult power of a well-heeled conspiracy, but the corporate, technocratic elites, which took state power from the bourgeoisie during the 1930s.

Second, because the hegemony of these elites depends on the suppression of the country’s European civilization and ethnos, Sam thought “Middle America,” the nation’s European core, the likely axis of any resistance movement.

Third, in addition to designating the enemy and the forces to be mobilized against it, Sam risked his “bread and butter” to warn of the right’s bankruptcy, of its antipathy to any “revolution from the middle,” and of the necessity of the “new nationalism.”

These three ideas—the conceptual pillars defining who we are, who our enemy is, and what politics ought to dictate our relationship to the enemy—represent not merely an invaluable part of Sam’s legacy, but, I believe, the possible programmatic basis of a white American rebirth.

The New Class

Sam’s “analytical Gestalt,” as evident in his one book-length work and in his two important collections of essays, owed its greatest debt to James Burnham. A former Trotskyist conversant with the major debates of Europe’s turbulent ’30s and a later student of Machiavelli’s so-called “science of power,” Burnham bequeathed to Sam a way of thinking quite unlike the classical liberal ones of the American right. Burnham, accordingly, disclaimed the Old Right’s “formalistic and normative approach” to politics and focused his scientific method on the social-historical processes responsible for “the emerging patterns and forces in American and world politics.”

But while his modernist methodology favored scientific procedures and disparaged arguments built on ethical absolutes and transcendental certainties, it nevertheless differed from other modernist schools in rejecting the subversive impetus that liberal politics gives to scientific and naturalist doctrines. For this reason, he claimed Burnham’s “counter-modernism” led not to the Gulag, the end point of the left’s modernism, but to the Framers’ republicanism, which he admired.

Burnham’s influence was especially prominent in shaping Sam’s view of the managerial revolution. Seeing historical change in terms of Vilfredo Pareto’s circulating elites, Burnham thought the crisis of the ’30s had brought the bourgeois era to an end. Lacking mass support, as well as the specialized skills to run large, complex organizations, the old entrepreneurial class had had no alternative in this period but to cede to a “new class” schooled in the techniques of late capitalism.

Yet unlike Marxists, who saw managerialism as simply another stage in capitalism’s development, Burnham thought the transition from bourgeois to New Class rule, from America’s Second Republic to its Managerial Imperium, was tantamount to a revolutionary transformation, for the managers’ “new modes and orders” rejected traditional social relations, family values, the transmission of property, and much of the internalized world of meaning characteristic of bourgeois society.

Given the New Class’ roots in the decision-making centers of Washington’s Leviathan state and in similar apparatuses in the universities, the foundations, the mass media, and the major corporations, its members viewed the communal, social, and racial particularisms of American life as hindrances to the realization of their techno-bureaucratic order. Their main occupation was thus neither the advancement of the nation’s biocultural project nor the organization of its labor, but rather the supervision of a rationalized system in which the nation’s particularisms were treated as functional impediments and economics as but one (though clearly the most important) of the various interrelated realms falling to their managerial expertise.

As such, they took no account of the “deliberate sense of community” (Willmoore Kendall) native to the American political tradition and, like tyrants of old, endeavored to repress the historically established consensus derived from this deliberate sense.

To this end, they took to manipulating public opinion, denigrating the traditional heritage, programming behavior, legislating the forced congregation of the races, and attempting whatever promoted their managerial Gleichgestaltung.

 The “cult of economic growth, material acquisition, and universal equality” legitimating such practices rested on a no less deracinated concept of existence, for the material and civil implications of this cult sought to extirpate the “little platoons,” organic particularisms, and all those things expressive of white America’s historic will. Not coincidentally, the “colossal aggregate” that now makes up the United States is “held together not by any natural sense of historic community, but through the artificial bonds imposed by bureaucratic routines and disciplines, corporate market strategies, and the mass collective channels in which Americans move, play . . . and communicate.”

Even more ardently than Burnham, Sam came to regard the regime’s liberal tenets as “an ideology of Western suicide,” stifling not just the spirit of America’s European origins, but the biological existence of those whose ancestors founded the nation and those who continue to embody its living essence. Indeed, Sam was rather categorical in arguing that the managers’ Leviathan state posed a life-and-death threat to the nation, for it denied European-descended Americans the right to preserve themselves as a people.

From Burnham, Sam also acquired a way of addressing the Jewish question. Though some have criticized him for his discretion in dealing (or not dealing) with the issue, it ought nevertheless to be stressed that despite the reticence his profession dictated, he significantly enhanced our understanding of the aliens’ formidable institutional leverage. For managerial rule, as he explained on numerous occasions, fuses political, cultural, and economic powers into a single totalitarian concentration. This means that once an alien force succeeds in infiltrating the regime’s decision-making centers, it acquires control of nearly everything else. Moreover, the bloodless character of the managers’ regime, its privileging of materialist and rationalist imperatives, its indifference to history, culture, and ethnos—these also foster a situation in which the system welcomes aliens into its inner circles and facilitates the implementation of their anti-white policies, provided, of course, that these aliens champion its interests and conceal their specific racial agenda.

Contrary, then, to those who think the “disenfranchisement” of the Jews will automatically solve our problems, Sam’s social-historical understanding of the Leviathan’s anti-white impetus forces us to take a more realistic view of it, to accept that it is not just outsiders, but certain developments inherent to modernity that are responsible for our present plight, and thus to acknowledge that modern America, in disavowing its biocultural foundations, has become what Philippe Grasset calls un problème de civilisation.

Revolution from the Middle

An analytically cogent understanding of the enemy would not be worth much if it did not also identify a force to oppose it. As Marx’s labor movement freed socialism of its founders’ Utopian illusions, Sam lighted upon the managers’ “gravedigger.” Thus, while Burnham saw no alternative to the managerial regime and concentrated on defending those localities of power and independence that had escaped its clutches, Sam was able to define a social force to challenge it. For long after the bourgeoisie made its peace with the New Class, white workers and small businessmen continued to pay the bill for its social engineering and therapeutic reforms. Indeed, the oppositional potential of Middle American alienation was evident as early as the early 1950s, when Joseph McCarthy mobilized wide swaths of middle and working class Americans against the regime’s “suicidal” exercise of state power. Then, after the managers signed on to the cause of Negro equality and Third World immigration, this populist disaffection assumed an explosive potential.

Sam’s envisioned “revolution from the middle” was not, however, without its problems. Besides the fact that Burnham misread the character of the 20th-century’s most important events (specifically the rise of fascism, the Second World War, and the Cold War), relied on a naive “science of power,” and occasionally favored New Class interests, Sam’s notion of Middle America (influenced by Donald Warren) was not entirely compatible with Burnham’s theory of elites.

For in relying on the managerial state for a variety of essential services (Social Security, Medicare, home loans, collective bargaining, etc.), Middle America had become so ensconced in its system that it no longer posed a distinct socioeconomic alternative to it; at best, it retained a capacity for cultural resistance, but even here it had lost much of the cohesion, rootedness, and independence of its pre-war counterpart.

Nevertheless, in the rumblings set off by McCarthy and then by the Wallace movement, the Reagan Democrats, the electoral campaigns of Ross Perot, David Duke, but especially of Pat Buchanan, Sam detected the early stirrings of a Middle American revolt, as whites rallied to maverick politicians championing “the American Way of Life and the historic culture behind it.”

Despite his terminology, then, it was mainly as a white nation struggling to reclaim its identity and its independence, rather than as a class or an elite, that Sam came to see Middle America. In fact, by the early ’90s, his rhetoric had become noticeably more nationalistic, as he privileged an ethnoracial concept of the Heartland and an “America First” foreign policy.

Beyond Left and Right

In siding with Burnham’s neo-Machiavellianism, Sam also diverged from the mainstream right, which had historically divided into libertarian and traditionalist currents. In his view, libertarians stressing the economic individualism of American identity were too closely allied with liberal modernity to constitute a distinct pole of anti-liberal opposition, whereas traditionalists rejected modernity outright, concentrating on philosophical “esoterica” irrelevant to the great conflicts of our secular age. Both tendencies, he argued, ignored questions touching on social structures and historical change and instead put their faith in abstract moral ideals—which left them politically powerless.

Burnham, by contrast, fully accepted modernist premises, even as he turned them against their liberal application. His conservative defense of traditional freedoms was based, as a result, not on metaphysical concerns, but on ones favoring scientific, empiricist, and historicist criteria that challenged “the conventional modernist categories defined by the left.”

Yet however much the anti-metaphysical, socially conscious, and historically informed realism characterizing Sam’s thought owed to Burnham, he was nevertheless a more radical thinker than his mentor, oriented as he was to the social forces resisting the managers’ regime and to the ideas undermining its legitimacy. Thus, in the ’80s, while still favoring facets of Reagan’s policies, he was already taking his distance from the Old and New Rights—arguing that the politically organized forces of American “conservatism” had either fled the field of battle or else deserted to the enemy, as they formed ranks with the neocons, made their peace with the Wilsonian-Rooseveltian tradition of millenarian globalism, and “crawled into bed with the managerial establishment.” Worse, Reagan-era conservatives began what eventually became a wholesale conversion to the Judeo-left ideology of racial equality, effectively severing themselves from the people who created the civilizational heritage they ostensively sought to conserve.

Besides betraying white America in embracing Big Government and its Rainbow program of civil rights, affirmative action, feminism, Third World immigration, open borders, and faith-based imperialism, these so-called rightists helped empty the right of its political substance. This, though, was more than a matter of opportunism, for it reflected a larger sea change: Not only had the organized right for much of the latter half of the 20th century begun accommodating liberal modernist principles, at the same time, the voting behavior of Middle Americans increasingly defied conventional political designations, as they supported politicians and policies combining elements of both the traditional left and the traditional right (e.g., economic liberalism and social conservatism). The conflicts that once distinguished right from left have, in fact, begun to cede to new ones, as Middle Americans committed to their national, racial, and civilizational identities array themselves against a cosmopolitan New Class hostile to these identities.

In stressing, then, that the left-right convergence generates new polarities and that every concession to a “conservatism” supportive of the “oppressive, socially destructive, and anti-white liberal power structure” undermines the fighting capacity and principles of Middle America, Sam inadvertently recuperated one of the defining principles of the interwar heritage of revolutionary nationalism—again taking his distance from virtually all the “conservative” tribunes of his time. In this spirit, he argued that it was neither in retreat from the Leviathan’s aggressions nor in nostalgic appeal to the Old Republic, but only in “transcending the artificial and obsolete framework of right and left” that Middle America would prevail.

Indeed, no major American rightist, least of all Burnham, would go as far in this. Sam’s development as a revolutionary anti-liberal, however, stopped short of completion, for his fate, alas, was to be that of a transitional thinker, straddling two eras. Given that his counter-modernist analytic precluded any consideration that modernity might be cause for doubt, he failed to see that left and right, designations born of the modern world, had become obsolete as modernity itself ceased to be a viable historical force. He likewise refused all truck with postmodernism, ignoring that both the archaic and futuristic dimensions of 21st-century nationalism are more faithfully upheld in its relativist and anti-foundationalist perspective than in modernity’s scientific one. Without pursuing these criticisms further, suffice it to note that Sam’s counter-modernism was itself a form of modernism, subject to many similar limitations, however much it avoided liberalism’s more subversive practices and provided invaluable guides for our own movement.

Metamorphosis

It is testament to Sam’s integrity—and to the special qualities of his mind—that, as a product of an elite university, a former Senate aide and foundation fellow, a respected journalist and insider, he was able to look beyond the reigning ideas to work out an analysis that grasped the nature of our plight, the social forces to overcome it, and the ideas and organizations appropriate to our struggle. At the beginning of Power and History, there is a long quotation by Burnham that graphically captures something of the elemental force of this achievement.

The quotation describes the slow, tortuous process by which a “strange species” of crab sheds its old shell in order to grow a new one, “without which it cannot live.” The old shell clings to the crab’s flesh at a thousand points, but it has to be discarded, no matter how painful the metamorphosis. Then, once the shell is gone and before the new one develops, there is a dangerous period in which the crab is “exposed to all its enemies on the seafloor.”

Sam, as I saw him, was not unlike Burnham’s crab. Heir to a certain tradition to which he felt organically attached, he, in contrast to the overwhelming majority of self-described conservatives, realized the lifeless shell of the American right had to be discarded, if the nation were to survive. In risking the dangers of this painful transformation, he would generate a body of ideas that promises our people the prospect of a future.

The Occidental Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 2 (Summer 2005)

 

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5 Comments

  1. Faustus
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Captures, once again, the flavor of the moment.

    I would like, however, to see a more profound, or rather, exhaustive introduction into his vision of an assembled ethno-state, or the pathways he sees in this regard. Much has changed since his first essays on this subject, and I was simply wondering how Mr. O’Meara has evolved as well.

    Does he plan to speak anywhere on the WC in the near future?

  2. Fourmyle of Ceres
    Posted July 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I have often believed that Sam Francis, who I defended on other WN websites against all manner of attacks, suffered from a variation on Stockholm Syndrome. He simply could not conceptualize that the “conservatism” of which he had spent his entire adult life supporting was, at best, “a racket to bluff the fools” (HT: Savitri Devi), and, at worst, a deliberately misleading path of political ineffectiveness, to the profit of a few (Buckley, et. al.), and the sorrow of their followers, men and women who believed by magically reciting the incantations of the Mount Perelin Society would transform society to the way it SHOULD be.

    Sadly, Francis died virtually alone, and literally destitute. I suspect he never could accept the fact that his fellow conservatives were his strongest enemies, and they would REALLY understand why he was right, if only they could take time and hear him out.

    He was *puts fingers almost together* THIS close to realizing the Answer was (c) none of the above, but relied upon a rejection of the false dualities placed before him (and us) at all points. The correct answer was building on a positive theory of Race, and that leads you to the ethnostate – in particular, thanks to Harold Covington, the Northwest Republic. With the Northwest Republic as his analytical model, Francis would have had a framework worthy of his mettle.

    Indeed, the rest of his life could have been profitably spent defining the temporal order as the bridge to the fulfillment of a metapolitical Purpose.

    His example provides a tragedy, one we would all do well to learn from. The best Ideas require political effectiveness to make them, well, effective. If, at this stage, all we can do is plant apple seeds, we can do so with the Idea that they could become apple orchards, providing us with lumber for our houses and schools, sustenance for our bodies, and a protective wall against the winds of destruction.

    The Intention needed to make this work is our responsibility.

    God, but I mourn what a loss Sam Francis was to The Purpose we serve. He would have been perfect as a lens clarifying and amplifying the Light we carry, and the Light we serve.

    We must Do Better.

    • White Republican
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:37 am | Permalink

      Your comment raises an issue I’ve occasionally thought about. The better type of conservatives, like Samuel Francis and Patrick J. Buchanan, can make cogent analyses of the system that ought to lead them to a position of radical opposition to the system, yet they somehow do not fully break with conservatism. It’s as if they can freely move three of their limbs, but one limb remains shackled to the system. Why is this? Some people will immediately charge them with stupidity, cowardice, or careerism, but I suspect that conditioning and temperament is more important than these vices, and I think that we need to pay more attention to these factors among us.

      Conservatism is not simply ideological, it is also psychological. In its most extreme forms, this conservatism is that of the servile, of the shipwrecked, of those who have already surrendered. This conservatism prescribes “do nothing,” “play it safe,” “be moderate,” and “work within the system.” This conservatism has nothing to do with “radical negations and sovereign affirmations” (Donoso Cortés). In its least extreme forms, this conservatism can take the form of prejudices, assumptions, and blind spots that are dangerously misleading. These errors can act as a default setting to which one can revert, and they certainly constitute a fatal defect for White nationalist politics.

      I think that this conservatism is widespread among White nationalists and that we need to combat it. This is why metapolitics is so important. As a French proverb puts it, the best way to destroy something is to replace it. We must actively displace and marginalize conservatism.

      That said, there is some value in the ideas of some conservative thinkers (notably Samuel Francis), and their ideas have a place within a synthesis of revolutionary nationalism and national populism.

      • Fournyle of Ceres
        Posted July 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        White Republican:

        We have always repeat always accepted The Enemy’s Terms of Reference. The answer is to replace, and displace, and this is the work of lifetimes. This is the sort of thing Bowden would have been very useful for, and, to give credit where it is due, Alex Linder has done the solid work of the yeoman.

        Yet, this infection has overwhelmed the Cultural Reality before us, and only strong measures can build the foundation for what we wish to develop.

        Your point about the psychological conditioning – let’s not mince words, Derren Brown’s show “The Heist” showed the tremendous power arrayed against us – is well taken, and it shpows the prescience of Orwell in his appendix to “1984.”

        We are being lied to, and effectively gelded, at all possible points. The good news, we have a target rich environment. The better news is it all starts with something we can start to control today, which is our Thinking about the issues before us, as well as ourselves.

        I also think revolutionary nationalism requires national populism as its foundation, and the place to start is where you are, at home. As the State abandons the Nation, opportunities will present themselves; opportunities that are to be taken advantage of in an “apple pie, strictly legal, sort of way.” (HT: Jim Giles)

      • White Republican
        Posted July 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Exactly how revolutionary nationalism and national populism should be synthesized is something I should examine in detail. A critical but useful overview of national populism by Christopher Flood can be found at:

        http://home.alphalink.com.au/~radnat/theories-right/theory8.html

        Some White nationalists are inclined to regard national populism as conservative, reactionary, or parochial, and reject it on these grounds. But if one carefully considers national populism as described by Flood, one should be able to see that its concerns can be truly revolutionary, for they effectively require the destruction of the existing regime and the construction of a new regime. What matters is the spirit that its partisans put into it.

        A key concern of national populism should be the defence of the communities that form the popular community as defined by the Rexist Jean Denis, whom I cited at length in a comment at:

        http://www.counter-currents.com/2012/06/from-salon-to-guillotine/

        The hostility of the regime to all the communities that form the popular community creates “political space” for White nationalism. The regime takes the attitude that “the front is everywhere.” So should we.

        I haven’t seen The Heist, but I’ll try to find out more about it, and keep a look out for it. It appears to address the practice of “hacking the human mind.”

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