Lawrence Auster, View from the Right, February 22, 2005
A new newspaper, the Washington Examiner, has published a very nasty hit piece on the late Samuel Francis, written by the papers’s editorial page editor, David Mastio. While I obviously haven’t agreed with everything Sam Francis had written in recent years, especially in the post 9/11 period when I became a critic of the anti-war paleoconservatives, Mastio’s article is so false and vicious that it required a response. Here is the letter I sent to the Examiner:
To the editor:
It’s not enough for David Mastio to call the late Samuel Francis “vile” for criticizing the aggressive promotion of sex between white women and black athletes in a Superbowl advertisement. (“Francis re-fought immoral battles of 1964,” February 22.) It’s not enough for Mastio to say that “America is a better place without [Francis],” because Francis didn’t share the liberal orthodoxy on racial amalgamation which Mastio believes is the only permissible view for any human being to entertain.
No, in addition to portraying Francis as an hateful racist, Mastio also has to say that Francis lived a dishonest and secret life, presenting a respectable face to the public while concealing his true, “vile” racial views until they were “uncovered” by Dinesh D’Souza, which in turn led to Francis’s firing by the Washington Times.
In reality, Francis had been since the mid-1980s a regular columnist at right-wing Chronicles magazine, where he had become the leading theoretician of the paleoconservative movement. However, he only began advancing explicitly racial concerns in 1994, as a result of a continuing evolution in his own ideas about culture, race, and politics. Far from being hidden or secret, Francis’s developing views were out there for anyone to see. D’Souza attended the 1994 American Renaissance conference where Francis spoke (I also was a speaker there), and Francis’s speech was later published in American Renaissance. American Renaissance is not a hidden or secret publication; its editor, Jared Taylor, wants as many people to read it as possible. Nor was Francis’s syndicated column hidden and secret, yet some of the statements that got Francis in trouble appeared in his syndicated column. Mastio himself indicates as much, without realizing that this refutes his charge that Francis concealed his views.
What made the splash was not D’Souza’s supposedly uncovering some supposedly shameful secret of Francis’s, but the shameful way that D’Souza sensationalized and lied about the facts. The galleys of D’Souza’s chapter about the AR conference were so filled with appalling falsities that when Jared Taylor, Mr. Francis and I wrote letters to the Free Press protesting and detailing these falsehoods, the Free Press took the unprecedented step of throwing out the entire first print run of D’Souza’s book, The End of Racism, consisting of many thousands of copies, and making D’Souza re-write the offending chapter. Unfortunately, D’Souza’s sensationalized tone remained, and did ultimately have the damaging effect on Francis’s career that Mastio celebrates.
Finally, it is amazing that Mastio would say that a man who didn’t share the liberal orthodoxy on race shouldn’t be alive, and simultaneously revile that man for having supposedly hidden his non-liberal beliefs. In David Mastio’s America, anyone who thinks that race matters would be forced to conceal his views, out of sheer self-preservation from the kind of hatred expressed by Mastio. But, in fact, Francis did not conceal his views.
I left out an important detail above. After D’Souza had been forced to remove various smears and lies from his book, he then wrote a column for the Washington Post which brought up new smears which had not been present in the book, and which further damaged Francis and other AR speakers. For further information on Dinesh D’Souza’s role in this saga, here is my August 15, 1995 letter to Adam Bellow, the then editorial director of The Free Press, which, along with letters by Jared Taylor and Sam Francis (and with no involvement by attorneys or any threats of legal action), led The Free Press to throw out the entire print run of D’Souza’s book. Here also is a letter I wrote in 1996 to John O’Sullivan, the then editor of National Review, detailing the damage that D’Souza’s smears had done to the conservative movement.