America is now governed as an ever more centralised nation/state with an increasingly imperialist and left-authoritarian character. But America as a society and a people is no longer coherent. A people, according to St, Augustine, are those “who hold loved things in common.” By that reading Americans are not a people.
A recent poll indicates that 44% of Southern people are in favour of separating themselves from blue-state America. The number includes 50% of Independents and 66% of Republicans, representing the more conservative part of the population. Although the fat and satisfied Republican officeholders are not about to embrace the ideas of the grassroots. The same poll shows that 39% of the people of the Pacific states also favour independence from the U.S., although probably for different reasons than the Southerners.
In these times the beleaguered Southern people are throwing up new and interesting voices of defense. It has been evident since at least the 1980s that the ruling elite and the apparatus of the U.S. government is not “a government of the people.” The South has no place in a world-wide military empire and crony capitalist state.
The survival and even resurgence of Southern identity in a regime that intensively treats Southerners as a contemptible non-people without any rights to their own history and values, may be surprising. But Southern consciousness has always grown stronger when under attack. Tearing down a statue of Robert E. Lee is bound to create a reaction—such vandalism is a product of ignorance and petty malice that makes decent, civilised people angry.
The Twelve Southerners who published I’ll Take My Stand in 1930 lived in a strong and widely accepted American state that was not particularly intrusive culturally and morally. They did not imagine an independent South but only hoped to enlighten a materialistic people about certain humane ways that the South could still demonstrate.
A half century later the scholars and writers of the Abbeville Institute successfully took up the mission of preserving the Southern tradition and demonstrating its value to an often hostile world.
History has moved on and we are now in a different time. New times bring new thoughts and a hope for new solutions among people imposed upon by the regime under which they live. The South remains a living and loved reality to a great many people. It is the oldest of American things. Indeed, there is nothing more American than the South.
An example of new stirrings: a group of present-day Southerners have just published The Honorable Cause: A Free South: Twelve Southern Essays (amazon). The editor of The Honorable Cause suggests that a regime governed by a degenerating elite is ripe for serious change. It is only the South that has a cultural and historical substance to form a real opposition to the current regime. All the Tea Party and Alt-Right nonsense are mere abstractions—notions. Indeed, one of the contributors to the The Honorable Cause points out that Southern nationalism is not “White Nationalism,” a baseless theory. To call the new Southern consciousness “racist” or “White Nationalist” is false.
That such a book, by writers mostly younger people, has appeared is indeed an indication of changed times. The twelve writers are intelligent, earnest, and thoughtful. They are a good deal more broadly learned and eloquent than most of the academic and media “experts” we hear all the time. Their idea of a self-governing South is a long shot, but it is not in the least nostalgic and not lacking serious attention to practicalities.
These twelve writers are not as distinguished as the Agrarians or Abbeville scholars. They are a lot closer to the plain folk and it is the plain folk that is their intended audience. They cover, both practically and imaginatively, many aspects of a hopeful movement. Three of the writers are women. It is good Southern women who are in the front lines of resistance to the atheism and moral degeneration of the American regime. There are many facets to the symposium, but the underlying theme is a hope for preserving faith and family and once more achieving the consent of the governed.
It is a source of uneasiness that more than half of the authors use pseudonyms. This can be understood. Who the writers are is not important. Every one of the pen-names used represents an established frequent writer for the identitydixie.com website. Readers are familiar with those pennames, while the real names would be unfamiliar to them.
We live in a time when wealthy New Yorkers identify and target every individual person they don’t like with the intention of destroying them. It is called “doxing,” which is the American version of Soviet kompramat and has already damaged dozens of people if not more. At least one of the writers in The Honorable Cause was put in prison by the feds for a trivial technical violation of a regulation. Several others have been “doxed,” have had their livings destroyed by relentless slander, with the necessity of painfully rebuilding their lives.
These writers have given much food for thought and proof that the South still draws powerful allegiance. Another promising book for these interesting times is T.L. Husley’s The Constitution of Non-State Government: Field Guide to Texas Secession. This truly remarkable work deserves to be brought to the attention of Abbevillians and will hopefully get a full review.
“They are a good deal more broadly learned and eloquent than most of the academic and media experts’ we hear all the time.”
Sometimes understatement jumps out like a panther from the swamp!
I love receiving my Daily Dose of Dixie, and I get excited when I see the published article was written by Dr. Clyde Wilson. I thank God that I found the Abbeville Institute (not quite 10 years ago). I’m trying really hard to catch up on a lot of lost and squandered times. I was clueless on Southern history, culture, and traditions. But I have become a student for the remainder of my life to indulge myself in Southern Studies. I will pick up a reprint copy of “I’ll Take My Stand” and this new book “The Honorable Cause.” Thanks to all of the writers and other contributors from the Abbeville Institute. God bless y’all!
You speak the truth. I have experienced the North Eastern centered Yankee terroirs attacks and wave after wave of reconstruction all my 71 years. It first became apparent early on, albeit I did not understand until years later, when the witch,Mrs. Moore , my third grade teacher in 1960, stole my Confederate Kepi.
I had brought it for show and tell. I would be pleased to learn that she shared a nursing home room with a Dixie music aficionados with large “ Boom Box.” And crossed The Jordan River with the sweet refrains of “Dixie Land” in Her ears. I am proud to have discovered this site.
Semper Fi And Good Night Chesty Puller Where Ever You Are!! (Chesty is My Cousin as are Stonewall and Andrew Jackson, Robert E. Lee , Jefferson Davis and others)
I’m curious about the book and its content, though I have too many things to read in the meantime that keeps me from purchasing it.
That said, I’m curious about the association of contributors in the book with the Identity Dixie website. I’m always on the lookout for interesting resources and gave their website a look. Honestly, I was troubled by what I saw. I skimmed a couple of articles–I have no idea if the writers of those articles are contributors to the volume discussed here by Dr. Wilson–and found the tone unbecoming and vitriolic in one article in particular. However, it was the comments that I read that were the most troubling to me. I love the South. My family’s blood, sweat, and tears have soaked into her soil for generations. We were settling towns and planting crops when Alabama and Tennessee were the frontiers of a burgeoning nation. Yet am I disheartened when I read rhetoric on Identity Dixie that would be right at home at a Klan meeting. What I read there seems to be so indicative of the time we live in. We live in such a time of vitriol from the Left. Yet, I see their kindred spirit in those on the Right.
Long live Dixie, but may it not be some bastardized version of her.
I welcome discourse for what I’ve written here in a manner that is reflective of our Southern ideals and Christian virtues.
I do not presently own this book and don’t have it in front of me, however I briefly flipped through an acquaintance’s copy and landed on a particular article written by an individual named Neil Kumar. His “about the author” blurb noted that he had written for Identity Dixie as well as other outlets with similar ideological inclinations such as VDARE. I believe this is the article that Mr. Wilson was referring to above when he wrote:
“Indeed, one of the contributors to the ‘The Honorable Cause’ points out that Southern nationalism is not ‘White Nationalism,’ a baseless theory. To call the new Southern consciousness ‘racist’ or ‘White Nationalist’ is false.”
Unless I have dramatically misinterpreted Mr. Kumar’s argument in my brief review of it – or unless Mr. Wilson is referring to another article entirely – Mr. Kumar in fact argued that Southern nationalism, while not perfectly equivalent to White nationalism, is a manifestation of it (his direct response to the question “Is Southern nationalism the same as white nationalism” is “yes and no”). Initially I thought his assertion that Southern nationalism is essentially white would be a provocative way of pointing out the reality that many of our once-treasured political ideals, now so tarnished in the American consciousness by the Left – limited, constitutional, confederal government, natural rights, property rights, equality under the law, etc – arose from a distinctly Anglo-Saxon political tradition. However, this did not appear to be the case in my quick read, as he briefly acknowledged the presence of non-white ethnicities within the South, before just as quickly dismissing them as not being “of” the South as he envisions it. I find the implications of this line of thought deeply disturbing; innumerable tyrannies throughout history have shown us that when those in power consider the realization of their ideal society to be of greater import than the people living within it, the door is opened to myriad abuses of power.
Curiouser still is the fact that Mr. Kumar, as his name suggests, is a mixed-race individual, descended from an Indian father and a (white) American mother. Again, I am open to the fact that I have misinterpreted his argument in what was a quick read, but if I have understood it correctly, it appears that his vision of Southern nationalism is one in which he is, by his own definition, excluded. It would seem that, by his logic, I, a Pennsylvania born-and-raised transplant to the Old North State, would have a greater claim to a Southern nationalist identity than Mr. Kumar, a native of the South, on the basis of being more white than he.
I do recall that he briefly took a swing at Yankee whites as an external threat to the South. As a white Yankee, I must agree. I’ve heard it said that Anti-Southernism is the last socially acceptable form of bigotry. It resounds through our historical education, where the Southern identity is demeaned and diminished – from a Yankee education, one would believe that the only Southern tradition is racism. It wasn’t until college (in rural Pennsylvania, no less) when I was introduced to the beauty of the Southern tradition and what it represents – agrarianism, Godliness, a healthy mix of individualism and community, conservatism in the classical sense – by an excellent professor who gifted me a 1983 print of “I’ll Take My Stand,” which occupies a permanent place of pride on my bookshelf. While my interest remained academic after my graduation in 2017, my relocation to the great State of North Carolina in 2022 gave me the impetus to re-immerse myself in the richness of Southern tradition. After all, grandma didn’t raise a carpetbagger!
As for the rest of the “The Honorable Cause,” I cannot speak to much of it as I have yet to avail myself of a copy, and I have plenty to read in the meantime. However, I quickly skimmed an article late in the book that I wish I had been able to dedicate more time to – one examining Eastern Orthodox Christianity as a possible spiritual solution to some of the South’s woes. This is particularly interesting to me as a convert to the Orthodox Faith – while a predominantly Greek and Russian Faith may not seem to mesh with the predominantly Protestant South at first glance, there is plenty of opportunity for synchronicity between the Orthodox Faith – which has remained obstinate in the face of an increasingly Godless world – and the Southern tradition. My only caution is that one should never seek religion for political expediency. One comes to the Christian Faith because it is the capital-T Truth, not because it is politically convenient to do so.
Mr. Allen, I look forward to continuing this conversation if you are open to doing so. May God bless you.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. The topic of nationalism is complex. I appreciate that you seem to recognize its complexity. For one thing, the origin of national values which we find in concert with foundational ideals of a country and biblical Christianity are good and ought to be recognized as such. That recognition ought to be so even when we see the carriers of such orderly establishment coming from a narrow ethnic makeup. That’s the beauty of Southern ideals. Yes, its foundations were established by Anglo-Saxon peoples (along with Spanish and French influence; especially the latter). Yet these ideals know no ethnic boundaries. That’s evidenced throughout history when one explores the positive influence of Christianity on the world, as one preeminent example.
Therefore, a South that excludes others willing to uphold her ideals betrays the very ideals displayed in Southern Heritage. That you, as a Northerner, are seeking to live in accord with Southern ideals displays the strength and beauty of the Southern way of life. After all, I believe the ideals formed and found in the South are foundational to the original vision of America.
Thank you for the kind words. A common attribute of those with a Yankee upbringing is to barge into situations we do not fully understand and immediately declare that we know best, and I was concerned that I may have been doing the same with regards to my thoughts on Southern culture. That a native Southerner echoes some of the same views gives me some sense of relief that I’m on the right track!
It’s fitting that you note the French influence on Southern culture – I recall that ages ago I read that a belief in the “irresistibility” of French culture was central to the French identity. I believe that Southern culture has a similar irresistibility to those with the willingness to learn from it. Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone can or should uproot themselves and relocate to the South, but Southern culture and tradition certainly has something of value and beauty to teach all of us. Speaking as a millennial, many of my generation are starved for meaning and substance – we grew up in soulless worlds of cultural relativism – and the Southern tradition offers a culture that stands for the good, the true, and the beautiful. It’s a culture of meaning.
This has special relevance for those of us who originate in the North. Back in college, I took a class on the Civil War; the content was mostly what you’d expect from a class on the Civil War taught in a Northern university. However, during the class, I read a fascinating article that I have long since lost that argued that Northern “culture” was, in fact, formed entirely around a core of anti-Southernism, defining itself not on its own values, but simply in opposition to all that was Southern. In essence, an anti-culture. We can see how the results of this have echoed through the ages and led to the cultural relativism of today. Again, traditional Southern culture beckons to us as an alternative.
One other thing that I would argue is that Southern culture is not a monolith, but a patchwork. Within it there are subcultures upon subcultures, each coexisting within a greater Southern identity. There are certainly overarching values held in common as I noted in my previous comment (agrarianism, classical conservatism, etc), but these manifest in different forms. If one speaks to a Louisianan, an Alabaman, a Tennesseean, and a South Carolinian, they are speaking to four quite different Southerners! But Southerners nonetheless. As you thoughtfully noted above, Southern ideals were foundational to America. The United States, as founded, was meant to be a similar patchwork of States united by their overarching values in a confederation for the common good. Though that vision is lost, we can still find those ideals faithfully represented within the beautiful tapestry of Southern culture.
I appreciate what you’ve written here. Thank you for interacting with my comments. I hope this exchange was as edifying to you and other readers as it was for me.