Sixteen years ago today Sam Francis died. What an immense, ongoing loss. As I wrote in December 2019 in Chronicles, Francis’ essays and columns from decades ago are a better guide to what is happening than virtually anything now being written. And there is no better way to wean someone from the jumble of cliches, platitudes, irrelevancies, and non-sequiturs that comprise the corpus of respectable conservative thought than by introducing that person to Sam Francis.
So, if you want to advance the cause of truth and strike a blow against the mediocrities who hounded Sam in life, consider observing this somber anniversary by sharing something Sam wrote with a friend or colleague. Just don’t be surprised when your friend asks for more.
The Washington Post is all a-flutter over the Biden Administration’s decision to end the ban on transgender troops. Yes, just think how much better we’d have fought if the landing craft at Normandy and Tarawa had been filled with men in dresses. And how much faster Patton’s Third Army would have relieved Bastogne if his tanks had been driven by the transgendered. In fact, when you think about it, it’s a miracle we ever won any battle at all without men who want to be (and insist they are) women, and vice versa.
An update on my piece on the inauguration of our nation’s second Catholic President and the reaction of America’s Catholic bishops. Yesterday, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, issued a statement noting that “as pastors, the nation’s bishops are given the duty of proclaiming the Gospel in all its truth and power, in season and out of season, even when that teaching is inconvenient or when the Gospel’s truths run contrary to the directions of the wider society and culture. So, I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.”
Archbishop Gomez’s statement is not the one I would have written, and it is unclear how many of his brother bishops have joined their voice to his. Indeed, some other bishops are criticizing him for it. Still, Archbishop Gomez deserves credit for pointing out, in language that is blunt for an American bishop, that our second Catholic President is opposed to the Church on matters of importance. Indeed, matters whose importance is “preeminent,’ as Archbishop Gomez’s statement also makes clear.
I am a Catholic, from a long line of Catholics. My eight great-grandparents came from five different countries on contemporary maps, and counted six different native tongues between them, but all except one were Catholics from birth, and the lone exception become a sincere and committed Catholic. Their actions show that they felt far more attachment to their Catholic faith than to the lands they left to come to America or to the languages they or their children chose not to pass on.
So I suppose I should feel at least some tribal pride at the inauguration of our second Catholic president. But I feel the precise opposite.
Joe Biden ran for and won the Presidency as an ardent champion of unrestricted abortion on demand. He has pledged to use the might of the federal government to coerce nuns to underwrite contraception, including what they regard as abortifacients, in violation of their conscience. He has welcomed the societal redefinition of marriage as a positive good, and advocated for transgenderism for second graders. In all these matters, he is contradicting clear Catholic teaching.
Yet he will be fully welcomed today by the great bulk of Catholic bishops, including the Cardinal Archbishop of Washington D. C., few of whom have said anything of note about Biden’s unstinting support for what the Church considers the unjustified taking of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives, year in, year out.
You have made your choice, your Excellencies. Just don’t expect the rest of us to pay much attention to your pronouncements on political matters from now on. If Joe Biden makes the cut, so do we all.
David French, Rod Dreher, and other Never Trump Christians have been quite vocal of late bemoaning Donald Trump and those Christians tacky enough to have voted for him and insensitive enough not to have repented of being a “Trumpist.” Being an unapologetic supporter of Trump is an unforgivable sin in the eyes of both the secular left and the Never Trump right. It also precludes an invitation to be part of the “conversation,” the contours of which are set by the left and are elastic enough to encompass “conservatives” who denounce Trumpism, and all its works, and all its empty promises.
So, the Christian Never Trumpers are denouncing away, declaiming that Trump accomplished nothing and indeed made things worse, ushering in a leftist persecution that never would have come otherwise. Let’s leave aside for a moment the fact that the secular left had already begun using state power to attack the autonomy of Christian organizations under Obama, and also all the positive developments made possible because Trump controlled, however fitfully, the levers of power of the administrative state for four years.
The incontestable fact remains: Trump appointed one third of the Supreme Court and a roughly comparable percentage of the federal judiciary as a whole. If the Never Trumpers had had their way, those positions would have been filled by Hillary Clinton. Those judges, and their support of the Constitution, are the strongest barrier there is to leftist tyranny.
So, fair is fair: if Trump voters are to be damned for all they’ve done, Never Trump Christians should act as if they had their way and Democrats had the opportunity to fill all the judicial vacancies filled by Donald Trump. They should voluntarily submit to any edict advancing secularism without recourse to the federal judiciary or reliance upon its decisions.
If they aren’t willing to do this, they should shut up. Or at least have the decency to stop all the virtue signaling at the expense of their co-religionists who were, and are, more clear-headed about the realities of political power than they are.
It is clear that to many Republican politicians and conservative scribblers, the 75,000,000 of us who voted for Donald Trump are every bit as deplorable as he is. That is why they are so eager to impeach Trump days before he leaves office, without giving any thought at all to what the millions who voted for Trump want. There would be no need to remove Trump from office mere days before his term expires if they trusted us.
But nothing, right now, is more important to the politicians and pundits who would be forced to hold real jobs if not for us than to literally disenfranchise us: to make sure we never have the chance to vote again for Donald Trump. In their view, we made the wrong decision before, and they don’t trust us not to make the wrong decision again. Hillary Clinton told us what she really thought of us with her mouth; they tell us what they really think of us by their deeds.
Remember this the next time one asks for your vote or your money.
What happened in Washington yesterday was worse than a crime, it was a blunder. Despite the decibel level of the denunciations, no one was in fact more pleased by yesterday’s events than the members of the bipartisan establishment who view it as their opportunity to discredit the only force in American politics they genuinely fear–populist nationalism–for good.
Whether that in fact happens remains to be seen. But consider how committed is that establishment to such unpopular (and ruinous) policies as unending wars and open borders that among the items contained in the defense appropriations bill vetoed by Trump were provisions prohibiting defense dollars from being spent on a border wall– securing America’s borders has nothing to do with “defense” as that term is used in DC–and provisions prohibiting the withdrawal of American troops from various foreign locations.
Whether Trump as a person is permanently discredited is not a matter of great concern to me. Whether the program of protecting American jobs, securing America’s borders, keeping Americans from harm in wars that have nothing to do with defending America, and generally favoring the interests of ordinary Americans over foreigners and special interests, is.
A return to the days when the only opposition to the globalism of Clinton and Obama was the globalism of Bush, McCain, and Romney would be a disaster for my country.
I can understand voting against a $2000 check for most Americans on the grounds of fiscal prudence, though I would have voted the other way. What I cannot understand is voting against money for ordinary Americans while also voting for the bloated defense budget, with billions for special interests, including favored foreign causes that do nothing for Americans. That is the very opposite of putting America and Americans first, and that is where far too many congressional Republicans have put themselves.
President Trump is rightly threatening to veto the so-called stimulus bill, which contains lots of money for foreign countries and other favored Beltway causes, but only $600 checks for ordinary Americans who have been greatly harmed by the pandemic and the attendant social and economic disruption. Trump is asking Congress to increase the amount to $2000.
This is called putting America and Americans first. It is completely alien to David Frum and David French and Jonah Goldberg and Rod Dreher and all the other “conservatives” who have been hysterical at best and hateful at worst about Trump, but it explains why millions of us voted to reelect Trump and are glad we did.
In fact, if Trump had more forcefully and more often rejected the Beltway consensus as he is doing here, he would have been reelected regardless of how many tricks Democrats in Philadelphia and Atlanta and Detroit and Milwaukee may have had up their sleeves.
Despite breathless warnings about Trump being a dictator, in the end the man 1) started no wars, 2) did not initiate any prosecutions of political opponents, and 3) did not use the IRS to take away the tax-exempt status of organizations opposed to his worldview. His immediate predecessor did all of that, and more.
Nor did he attempt a coup d’etat to retain power. He filed lawsuits, just like Al Gore did.
Similarly, despite all the wailing about how violent Trump supporters are, there have been numerous gatherings of Trump supporters since the election. These people believe the election was stolen. Despite this, they did not riot, did not loot, and did not assault political opponents. The only violence at these rallies was the result of attacks by Antifa on Trump supporters.
The hysteria surrounding Trump from the beginning has been entirely unjustified. And it has now achieved its end, returning power to a bipartisan establishment that has done incalculable damage to America even as it has enriched itself.
In other words, the hysteria worked. For now. But millions of Americans won’t soon forget what they have learned about the true nature of our self-proclaimed betters.