Retooling the Conservative Movement

Samuel Francis's newest book, composed of 30 essays originally published in Chronicles between 1989 and 1996, is much more than a collection of articles about matters of passing concern. Rather it attests to Francis's singular efforts in constructing a strategy by which Americans might recapture their nation from the decadent establishment now in power. He does this by challenging that world of comfortable delusion and naïveté that has come to characterize conservative thought, and by calling our attention to the fact that, if we are to prevail, we must comprehend what American civilization was and is, and to consider what we wish it to become. In other words, to formulate a successful strategy we must begin to think sociologically.

We do well to ignore the petty ideological scribblers who dominate sociology today and to remember instead the true sociological luminaries of the last two centuries. In the realm of modern political theory Vilfredo Pareto, Roberto Michels, and Gaetano Mosea must be ranked among the great masters. Yet their books are neither easy to find nor to read. Happily, the central themes encompassed in the works of these authors were epitomized and synthesized over 50 years ago by James Burnham in The Machiavellians, a genuine classic that even today remains in print.

A leitmotiv running through the works of these men is the notion that all human societies have been...

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