Behind the Headlines
by Justin Raimondo
Of all the post-election diatribes aimed at Pat Buchanan, the posting of "The End of Paleoconservatism," by James P. Lubinskas, on the Frontpage magazine site [November 30] has got to be the lowest, the most dishonest, and I would venture the vilest of the lot. This article is an indicator of just how desperate Buchanan's enemies are to destroy him and the movement he inspires: it proves that Buchanan's neoconservative opponents will bloc with anyone, even the Devil himself, to bring Buchanan down and, aside from that, has some ominous implications as to the direction that at least some of the neoconservatives are willing to go in order to ensure their continued domination of the conservative movement. Before I get into the content of the piece, however, it is necessary to provide some context and ask a question.
What is one of the leading advocates of touchy-feely "compassionate conservatism" and reaching out to minorities doing in bed with a known racist ideologue? David Horowitz is a leading neoconservative, an ex- radical leftist-turned-rightist who has spent the last decade or so arguing that conservatives must build a winning coalition with blacks, Hispanics, and other ethnic minorities and challenge liberal Democrats on their home turf. His widely-circulated pamphlet, The Art of Political War, makes this argument in no uncertain terms, forcefully arguing that conservatives neglect these constituencies at their peril. James P. Lubinskas is (or was until very recently) an assistant editor of American Renaissance, edited by the well-known white racialist Jared Taylor, and a key activist in the "white nationalist" movement which holds that non-whites are genetically, culturally, and morally inferior to whites. A graduate of Yale University and the Paris Institute of Political Studies, Taylor has for years been trying to apply a highbrow veneer to views that have literally come out of the political gutter. A reporter for the Newhouse News Service at the American Renaissance 2000 conference, citing Taylor, sums it up nicely: "'We're the uptown bad guys,' he said with his genial lilt and disarming self-awareness."
Bad guys is an understatement: these guys are neo-Nazis, and they make no bones about it. For them, race "purity" is everything, the defining principle of human life an idea that, these days, must condemn its advocates to the blackest pessimism. J. Philippe Rushton, a University of Western Ontario professor and author of books "scientifically" proving the racial superiority of whites over non-whites (but not Asians!), spoke at the conference and addressed the general feeling of despair that necessarily hovers over such a gathering. Employing the childishly simplistic reductionism of the racist idea to the question of how to explain the multi-culturalization of America, he confessed that he found it a "puzzle." Since genes exist to create replicas of themselves, how could these allegedly "superior" white genes fail to fulfill this vital task? Taylor, in his speech to the conference, also took up this question, as Newhouse News reports:
"It is a puzzle that Taylor said confounds him. He ran through the various theories, all of which he considers inadequate. Maybe it was the terrible white fratricide of two world wars, or the universalist message of Christianity. Maybe it is the Jews, he said, to a small burst of applause."
For all his pseudo-intellectual pretensions, Taylor is little more than a Park Avenue George Lincoln Rockwell. News accounts of the conference pointed out that the invitation sent to all attendees specified that a suit and tie were required, a measure no doubt taken on account of a tendency to show up at these affairs in full Nazi regalia, a la the young David Duke. Indeed, Duke showed up at this year's American Renaissance conference, although he'd been barred from the first one, and was quite vocal, according to one news account: aside from the usual targets of his ire, Duke singled out Pat Buchanan as being "too liberal" and correctly noted: "I don't think that he would agree with the ideas that we are hearing here today. I just don't think he has that much racial consciousness." One reporter remarked that "While it is difficult in American politics to find people who believe that Buchanan may be too liberal on any issue, that was just one of the startling elements of the gathering." But this is not startling at all, for the hostility to Buchanan in these circles began with his short-lived alliance with black Reform Party activist Lenora Fulani. It wasn't so much Fulani's Communist views and her group's reputation as a cult that offended the racialists as her race. The choice of Ezola Foster, a black conservative activist, was the last straw. In American Renaissance circles, Buchanan was condemned as a "race traitor" although, of course, the genteel Taylor would probably never use such a crude phrase: Instead, he averred that
"The choice of Ezola Foster is an opportunity to clarify our thinking because it provides anti-racists with what they think is the perfect opportunity to accuse us of racial 'bigotry' in the real sense of the word: closed-mindedness. They will point out that Mrs. Foster is, if anything, even more outspokenly opposed to immigration than Mr. Buchanan, and that if he had chosen a white man with her views he would still have strong support among racially conscious whites. They will be right and they are stupid enough to think this a moral victory. What they will never understand and what Mr. Buchanan himself may never understand is that to oppose the selection of Mrs. Foster because of her race is a matter of principle."
Taylor, Duke, and their cadre of suit-and-tie stormtroopers including our friend Lubinskas stormed out of the Buchanan Brigades, where they were never welcome to begin with. What can one say to that except good riddance to bad rubbish? What is truly amazing even shocking however, is that the disgruntled racialists, having been rebuffed by Buchanan, are now utilizing the pages of Frontpage magazine, run by Salon.com's favorite conservative of the "neo" variety, David Horowitz.
Author of Radical Son, the memoir of an ex-New Leftist, and founder of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, Horowitz is a visible and voluble leader of the neoconservatives a very broad term encompassing a wide variety of ex-lefties who saw the light and turned right. Horowitz has argued consistently and relentlessly that Republicans can win over minorities by appealing to the real legacy of Martin Luther King and the original model of the civil rights cause as a movement for equality before the law: his approach prefigured the "compassionate conservatism" that we have heard so much of these days. During the recent presidential election, Frontpage tirelessly cheered Dubya, and tiresomely reprinted every anti-Buchanan screed that appeared in print or cyberspace, as well as generating a few of its own. Now, in the midst of the post-election wrangling, when conservative unity against the Gore coup d'etat is essential, Horowitz gives a forum to right-wing racialists in order to launch an attack on Buchanan, and its intellectual antecedents in Lubinskas' article, "The End of Paleoconservatism."
Seen through the prism of Lubinskas' racialist perspective, his piece makes perfect sense: but nowhere does he ever come out of the closet, so to speak, and state his views openly. In addition, he details the rise of the "paleoconservative" movement in the most superficial terms, never mentioning the catalyzing event that thrust it into the public eye: the implosion of communism and the end of the cold war. But we get some hint of where he is coming from with a few initial offhand remarks, such as " Paleoconservatives were actually a diverse bunch (which eventually led to their downfall)." Only later on does he get into exactly how this "diversity" led to their supposed undoing. He describes the key role played by Chronicles magazine and its talented and tireless editor Tom Fleming, a classical scholar and writer of great facility who managed to gather under his editorial wing a wide variety of writers from Russell Kirk to Murray N. Rothbard and every point in between, and finally comes out with the racialist angle halfway through:
"The tone of Chronicles began to change in 1997-98, as Fleming started attacking the white consciousness he once espoused, even as his colleague [Sam] Francis pressed ahead with appeals for white solidarity in a darkening America. Another fractious meeting of the John Randolph Club in 1997 led to more dropouts from the movement including classicist Christian Kopff who saw a degree of hypocrisy in Fleming's support for Southern secession and his criticism of white identity politics. The magazine started shifting its focus to the war in the Balkans (they back the Serbs), religious issues and support for extreme localism. Some of the more prominent writers started complaining about the direction Fleming was taking Chronicles. Circulation dropped and now stands at around 5,000, which is down from a high of almost 20,000 in the early nineties."
To begin with, Lubsinkas can't even get his facts straight: if he had bothered to check, he would have discovered that Christian Kopf spoke at the last meeting of the John Randolph Club, a talk I was privileged to attend. Secondly, while Lubinskas never mentions Jared Taylor, American Renaissance or his own affiliation with a racist organization it ought to be clear, at least by implication, what is the real source of his ire. His complaint that the magazine turned away from issues of racial and cultural identity and began to focus on foreign policy speaks volumes about the author's own political-ideological outlook. Naturally, a racialist would find it impossible to understand how one could defend the best of Southern "Confederate" culture and the idea of local particularism without embracing the pernicious fallacy of white supremacy, but millions of ordinary Southerners (and Copperheads like me) can and do. Then again, monomaniacs seldom understand why the rest of the world fails to see through the prism of their own madness.
Another falsehood in this piece is the curious idea that "The libertarians left the movement in 1996 after a fractious meeting of the John Randolph Club. They could no longer square support for a movement or a candidate (Buchanan) that attacked free trade and supported economic nationalism." What am I chopped liver? I recall not only attending the last John Randolph Club meeting as a speaker, but also meeting a good many libertarians there. Somebody please tell me I wasn't having an LSD flashback. And the idea that the circulation of Chronicles is falling is not only false, but isn't it funny how Lubinskas juxtaposes this non-fact with the repudiation of "white racial solidarity"?
Lubinskas takes the same tact toward the Buchanan campaign: the paleos are on the way down because they rejected the racist politics of the far-out fringe. The spurned racialists, led by supremacist guru Taylor and his disciples Lubinskas among them complain that "the Pat Buchanan of 2000 was a changed man." Instead of ending all immigration, Buchanan called for imposing limits. Ezola Foster is mentioned as being a point of controversy, but Lubinskas never gets explicit about just why the choice of Foster would be objectionable, only averring that this, coupled with the downplaying of "racially charged" issues was yet more evidence of the sad "change" in Buchanan's outlook.
At the end of his piece, Lubsinkas points to Buchanan's disappointing vote totals, and seems to celebrate the fact that conservatives rallied around Bush: this, intones the author, means 'the death of paleoconservatism as a serious force within conservatism." And it serves them right, is the unspoken aside, for having betrayed the cause of "white racial solidarity." But, never fear, the solidarists of "white race consciousness" (as David Duke would put it) will rise again, or so Lubinskas and his fellow "white nationalists" would like to believe. Lubinskas writes:
"Racially charged issues are on the horizon and could be the catalyst for another hard right movement. How compassionate conservatives deal with these issues could determine whether there will be a revival of this type of movement and a repeat of the wars that have been so damaging to the conservative movement."
This proffered advice leads us to consider just what it is that motivates such an unholy alliance, white racialists like Lubinskas' and Taylor's American Renaissance in league with David Horowitz, whose The Art of Political War was touted by Bush strategist Carl Rove and who seems to style himself the Lenin of compassionate conservatism. A look at the evolution of the Frontpage website in terms of subject matter is instructive. Initially, the great preponderance of articles on the site were concerned with foreign policy, as well as general conservative themes, and specifically with pushing the idea of an impending military threat from either China, Russia, or both, with emphasis on the former. Wen Ho Lee, victimized by the New York Times, was also vilified in Frontpage, and a special front group was set up demanding that Dubya make a radically increased "defense" budget the linchpin of his campaign. But the emphasis began to change a few months ago with a flood of articles about the alleged frequency of "black hate crimes." Studies purportedly showing that blacks not only hate whites, but are also a physical danger to them studies also circulated by the "New Century Foundation," publisher of American Renaissance, with Lubsinkas listed as the contact person have recently been touted on Frontpage as "proof" that Black Hate is a Major Threat. Aside from a mutual resentment of Buchanan and his lasting influence on conservative opinion, what appears to unite the followers of Jared Taylor with the ostensibly neconservative Frontpage is a growing rapprochement over the Race Question. While they may agree to disagree on the genetic and "scientific" basis of their joint political program, they share a common style on matters of race and, besides, compassionate conservatism, whatever its other virtues, does not exactly inspire the troops with genuine passion, nor does it keep the contributions flowing. When the alleged threat of the Yellow Peril failed to catch fire with conservatives, a danger of another color was required. Horowitz has been accused of racism before, but always by politically correct liberals out to mug someone who dared to stand up to them. This latest development, collaborating with neo-Nazis, however, is troubling evidence that perhaps Horowitz's critics were not too far off the mark. Neoconservatives should, at the very least, sit up and take notice at Horowitz's Faustian pact with the intellectual heirs of Lothrop Stoddard and Alfred Rosenberg.
Far from being "finished," the paleoconservative challenge to neoconservative hegemony is stronger than ever. Already, we are seeing a general shift in the key area of foreign policy: most conservatives today are what the neocons would disdainfully refer to as "isolationists." The Weekly Standard complains about this profound shift every opportunity it gets, and there are plenty of those. Today's spotlight, a major polemic against internationalism by two well-known conservative leaders, is just the latest expression of the dominant trend in conservative thought. We are winning the battle of ideas, if not the battle at the polls quite yet and it is only a matter of time before these ideas achieve some kind of mass political influence. The achievement of the Buchanan campaign was to establish the precedent of independent political action on the Right, and Pat's status as a leader of that movement is in no way diminished. Without crackpot racialists like Jared Taylor a charming man, whom I like personally, but who is sadly misguided by his all-consuming and horribly narrowing obsession and Mr. Lubinskas, a movement that coalesced around opposition to the American empire and the growing power of big government is healthier by far. Racialism is more a psychological illness or, at least, a personal failing, rather than a political ideology: like cancer, one is always better off without it.
The Buchanan campaign wisely guarded against infiltration by racialist groups that sought to hitch a ride on Pat's personal popularity and standing among conservatives. Several racist operatives were purged from the campaign, and the Buchanan Reform organization was all the stronger. If David Horowitz wants to take in these rejects from Buchananism, he is more than welcome to them.
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