In North Carolina and South Carolina native observers have noticed a phenomenon frequent enough to have a label–Halfbacks. This does not refer to football.  It refers to well-to-do Northerners who have moved to Florida, become discontented, and moved halfway back. The coastal areas of the two States are full of gated communities of mini-mansions already occupied by Northerners who the Halfbacks are now joining. This is true of other attractive areas as well. Asheville is now almost as rich and lavender as San Francisco.

The presence of such people produces their familiar atmosphere–electric car charging stations, elite shopping, jogging paths and green spaces seized from private property, demand for taxpaid public services customary in wealthy Northern communities, and general contempt and condescension for the locals. All of which is more a burden than a benefit to the natives. One is tempted to say that their presence recreates the conditions they fled the North to get away from.

The South long ago made a bargain with the Devil. To relieve our chronic poverty created by the brutal war against our independence and our “Reconstruction,” we sought Northern capital, having little of our own left.  We have indeed alleviated some of our poverty.  Things look better than they used to, and many are happy with the bargain.

But there have been costs, some tangible and some not so tangible. The newcomers often have no connection with our history and blood,  our still cherished unique identity.

We have bent over backwards, never a good position to be in, to bring in industry with subsidies and tax breaks. Our well-placed native lawyers, bankers,  developers, and  the beneficiaries of crony capitalism have done very well.  I am not so sure how successfully the new prosperity has trickled down. In my observation most of the hard hands-on work is done by the natives, white and black.  And their situation, like that of all American labour, is becoming more tenuous  and marginal all the time.

In newly imported industries the executives are also imported. It is the hard-working natives who fill the lower ranks. In fact, throughout the South, Northerners occupy most of the seats of power in the corporations and progressive state government agencies that have come into existence through federal orders or cost-sharing temptations.

The truth is many of our State and local leaders have long nourished an inferiority complex. We are backward and unprogressive and must strive to be more like the North. This is most evident in higher education. There is hardly a college in the South without imported administration and faculty. Our leaders never had a clue about the wonders that could have been created with the great expansion of higher education if we had nourished our native culture.  Their idea of progress was a second-string Ohio State or Purdue.

There are other causes as well, but the newcomers have helped the flourishing of a dominant  but useless Republican party, which accepts our votes and holds us in contempt. The Republican party takeover of the South is without any benefit. It has been entirely negative. And the unceasing leftward movement of the federal government is a direct consequence of the disappearance of the restraining  power of the old Southern Democrats.

In South Carolina, the “conservative” Republican legislature and governor spend more money than any Republican legislature in any State. The money does not go to failing institutions like education and law and order, but to flourishing crony capitalism.  The State government is a crony capitalist enterprise managed by politicians without any motive other than improving their own status. The same is true of other Southern States.

Without question many good people from beyond the Potomac have come to the South, attracted to us not by money and warm weather but because they recognized something worthwhile. Select outsiders have always been attracted to us. I know quite a few such people and I salute them.

Clyde Wilson

Clyde Wilson is a distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the University of South Carolina where he was the editor of the multivolume The Papers of John C. Calhoun. He is the M.E. Bradford Distinguished Chair at the Abbeville Institute. He is the author or editor of over thirty books and published over 600 articles, essays and reviews and is co-publisher of, a source  for unreconstructed Southern books.


  • RD says:

    Dr. Wilson. Thank you for this. There are a lot of truths in this. I think many on the traditional side have fallen to “blaming the victim.” It is not the fault of decent Southerners that Charlotte is overrun with Yankee interlopers or that Nashville is a bastion of northern hipsters trying to cash in on the Southern-created music business. Nearly all unique American culture is the product of Southerners. The Northeast created almost nothing that wasn’t a crude aping of English, French, Italian, or German culture. I cringe when I hear that Americans have the “leaders that they deserve.” I don’t think that most Southerners, or Midwesterners, for that matter, have the leaders that they deserve. I’m an ethnic Catholic with Southern ancestors (on one side) and Southern sympathies. There is no doubt, to me, that the increasingly small Remnant, was forced into a pen, against their will, kicking and screaming, and has been winnowed away for the better part of the past century.

  • Clif McGhar says:

    Dr. Wilson,

    I always enjoy your writing. We are much indebted for you stand and work, you are our finest Historian. Long live South Carolina! (I’m an Alabamian but have much respect for the legacy of South Carolina and some of my ancestors migrated from there to central Alabama. )
    I always love the way you put things because I feel as though you understand how disgusted aware Southerners are with migrations from blue states, lack of backbone to support Southern identity among politicians and community leaders, as well as the fact so many people think overcrowded streets and larger school systems with ever increasing taxes to be progress. It’s as though they ultimately want to turn the whole of the South into Chicago or Boston, or even the modern ugly Atlanta.

    Thank you Dr. Wilson!

  • Konreid Etheredge says:

    Dr. Wilson,
    The worst thing about the Halfbacks is that they get to VOTE! We have just suffered through an election runoff in Georgia. Eleven counties highly populated with Halfbacks elected a left-wing Senator who in two years rubber stamped every radical move by the Biden-Harris administration. The other 148 counties voted for the conservative Republican candidate. Many of the citizens of these more rural counties are natives of the state. They have the honorable Christian values handed down by their ancestors who built this once great state with honest hard work. It’s time for a swing toward the old County Unit System which gave more voting power to the smaller rural counties to prevent the large counties populated by Carpetbaggers from turning the state into a California. The South should be allowed to be Southern!

  • Konreid Etheredge says:

    Thank you Dr. Wilson!

  • Valerie Protopapas says:

    Sadly, however, Dr. Wilson does not take into account how much EVERYBODY has changed in this, the third decade of the “New Millennium.” Between the chemical additives to our collective diets and the ongoing intended destruction of decency and history, many of those involved suffer from matters beyond their control such as poor parenting during childhood and the culture’s constant reiteration that sufficient desire is enough to change reality. I believe it was Ayn Rand who said that one can ignore reality but one cannot ignore the consequences of doing so. When people believe that Utopia can be created if we only try HARD enough, they don’t really make good neighbors. I don’t know if these people are the majority in this world ~ I tend to think not! ~ but our elite rulers are on their side and that does not bode well for anyone’s future, North OR South.

  • Daniel Strobel says:

    Dr. Wilson:

    You are perfectly spot-on here. America has been sliding down hill since the war precisely because there was removed the “restraining power of the old Southern Democrats”. Was that not the real purpose of the war? Along with them God was removed as well. Is it any wonder “robber barons”, Wall Street and the so called “federal reserve” banking cartel rose to prominence after the war? Now people move to the South from all over the world with no connection to the culture or the religion and immediately run for office. And the worst thing is, they actually get elected (example: Nicki Haley, born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa).

    Control the money and you control the media and education, and if you control media and education you can control the minds of the people. The most egregious crony capitalism starts at the fountainhead of the money supply and this current constitution is apparently to vague and powerless to do
    anything about it. We need a constitutional amendment in the prohibitory style of the First Amendment making a full and final separation of banking and state. This will occur most likely, if at all, through the state legislatures, that is an Article V convention.

  • Clark Summers says:

    Dr. Wilson – thank you for this excellent post. In particular, this passage stands out to me: “There are other causes as well, but the newcomers have helped the flourishing of a dominant but useless Republican party, which accepts our votes and holds us in contempt. The Republican party takeover of the South is without any benefit. It has been entirely negative. And the unceasing leftward movement of the federal government is a direct consequence of the disappearance of the restraining power of the old Southern Democrats.”

    So, too, in North Carolina. But what are our options? Is it even viable to consider attempting to re-capture the Democratic party from the death-grip of the Progressives? It seems to me that the choice is between a party (D) that hates me outright, and another (R) that despises me, but is grudgingly willing to make concessions because it has to.

  • Rick Swan says:

    This article is only referencing the major problem with voting, and potential voting, patterns. It is clear that large cities dominate their state’s politics with vise like dictatorships and shows it is time to eliminate the “population” criteria for selecting representatives. It’s not just Georgia & Atlanta but every state that has a city with a herculean population. Perhaps the more “republican” plan would be to scrap using population and go to a plan for legislative selection based on geographics. Consider the counties of each state. If each county were to select (vote) for two candidates from a roster of those with interest in being a legislator, there would be no need for political party involvement and the two would be members of the state legislature and population tyranny would not exist, due to equality between counties. The state legislature would consist of twice the number of counties in the state – regardless of the un-even number of counties each state may have. The national legislature could be composed of members selected by each state legislature, limited to the equal number per state and consist only of a single house. Please NOTE: since the passage of Amendment 17, we have had a unicameral (one house) legislature – the Congress: it just meets in two separate rooms.

    All this would require a NEW constitutional convention which some would say is long overdue. Such a convention would be like the previous – by INVITATION ONLY! That would clearly clean house by deliberately denying the troublesome states from participation: New England and California, particularly, but also the ‘Rust Belt’ states (that border the Great Lakes) and the remaining West Coast states. Those enumerated are the cause of most of our country’s problems with their Marxist thought and actions – therefore, non-participatory.

    Radical??? Yes!!! But so was the Declaration of Independence in 1776! I have been a student of Thomas Jefferson AND the South-land for a better part of 65 years. Although born and reared a northerner, a descendant of “those people,” I have been waiting for my Southern friends to stand up for their beliefs, their land, their customs, their life. I believe it is their PRIMARY responsibility to defend and only theirs; it is for me, and others, to encourage and support them in such endeavors – unfailingly! Organizations like Abbeville has worked miracles in educating Southerners (and Northerners) of Southern culture and the need to preserve it. Destruction of the South is occurring daily and with increasing velocity. How much longer can our Beloved South withstand the tremendous onslaught against it? Perhaps I am speaking as an impatient northerner when I would say to my Southern Friends, “it’s time to use the porcelain fixture you’re sitting on or get off and do something else,” before it’s too late! Maybe something safer and less demanding.

  • Tom Wiggins says:

    Truer words have never been spoken, Mr. Clyde.

    I think of the most beautiful land, a place in lower Alabama that my forefathers settled. The state owns much of it now. They claim some yankee from ohio “discovered” a salamander there in the 1970s. The only trace of their toil and magnificence are some old cemeteries on clay roads. My 5th great grandfather (hero from the battle of Wilmington) rests in one. Had a rock for a tombstone till the DAR put one there for him in the 1990s.
    Trying to be an optimist, i ponder how beautiful the landscape of the Southland would be if much of it, especially where the cities are, was returned to nature. As an electrical contractor, I would be proud to say goodbye to HVAC and lights.

  • David LeBeau says:

    Clyde Wilson is the GOAT. I wish everyone would read what Clyde has to say, I love his works.

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