My father introduced me to Fyodor Dostoevsky and Michael Oakeshott. And Hank Williams, who he saw at the Grand Ole Opry, and Johnny Cash and William Faulkner. And barbecue and catfish and boiled peanuts, and planting corn and how to whittle and that Catawba worms were the best bait for bluegill. He prayed with the Rev. Dr. Martin L. King and John L. Lewis, but he prayed with Klansmen because he knew that they deserved a hearing and because they were, like him, of Southern stock. He showed me how the United States used the South as the whipping boy for all imagined “sins,” the locus of Evil for which the sainted Rev. Dr Martin L. King (and George Floyd too, I guess) was martyred. He didn’t think much of the American Empire and its antics. He used to say that had it not been for World War II – he was a medic in the European theater – and the GI Bill he would have been an auto mechanic in the southern part of our state. Sometimes I think he would have preferred that. He said he hated every minute of service in the Army, came out of it with respect for the courage of the German soldiers, and had he been called up for Korea, would have fled for Canada. Like most other World War II veterans I came to know, he looked at me with a combination of disdain, pity and sadness if I invoked the “Band of Brothers” mythology, which in retrospect does seem preliminary agit-prop for the neo-con meddling of the Bush I/II period. And I don’t recall him ever speaking of the Civil Rights struggle – rather, the “Movement,” which is what he called it, pronounced “MOO-vement,” each syllable dripping with disdain – with anything but contempt for the grift it had become. He quit going to church when the pulpit became a megaphone for the latest progressive sloganeering and social-justicing. Everything is political, he said. He was as suspicious of technology and technological systems as Ted Kaczynski.
I think that at some point he realized what the Movement really was, understood the nightmare that lurked behind all of the Makes Me Wanna Holler bumper stickers. I doubt he would be surprised by anything this unhappy millennium has witnessed, from the invasion of Iraq to the destruction of Syria and Libya, the “peaceful protests” of Black Lives Matter to the complete corruption of the media to the blinkered arrogant ineptitude of the governing class and the endless hatred of Southerners by people who are not even descendants of Union conscripts or slaves. The one political figure of whom he ever spoke with respect was Malcom X, who was arguably more realistic in his assessment of the likelihood of a multicultural society, than King.
A few years before my father died, he took a final road trip through the “scary little towns” of the Deep South that were the backdrop of his youth. He wanted to see what was left, I think, what had not been devoured by industrialization and the latest American social innovations.
Because he realized that the Movement had destroyed something. I’m not sure he ever fully articulated what that something was, or that he even could even could. He used to tell me about an uncle to whom he was close, who had a fishing camp back in the swamp. One night they took food and medicine to his uncle’s best fishing buddy, who was sick with a fever; my father described a surreal night passage through a cypress swamp, a waning moon through the Spanish moss and alligators watching with their usual calm hunger. This buddy was black. My uncle going out there didn’t have a damn thing to do with race, my dad said. They did it because they were good human beings.
And because they shared a culture and a history: poor and Protestant, making a tough living farming and fishing and doing whatever one had to do to get by in the reconstructed South, the first nation to fall before the great Leviathan of radical egalitarianism, a blighted and mocked economic backwater of the United States empire, whose liberating hordes hadn’t lifted anyone so much as crushed everyone to the same level. So it wasn’t a race thing, my dad said. It was the Empire against a conquered people. This is why, I suspect, some of those bright words may have at first resonated: he and his uncle, the descendants of Confederate soldiers, had actually sat on clay banks and fished alongside the descendants of slaves.
It would appear, though, that this ship may too have sailed, another casualty, alas, of the Lincolnite dream of equality. Once the blacks and us shared a culture and, despite what one “learns” in school, lived relatively peaceably together after the stupidities of Reconstruction were unwound. And while it’s to the benefit of both peoples that we understand the truth of it, not the Marxist agit-prop developed largely by cosmopolitan liberals, that doesn’t seem in the offing at any time in the near or remote future.
These bouts of madness eventually burn themselves out; this too, shall pass, in God’s good time. But the United States is finished. To deploy a human metaphor that would likely meet with approval from Washington D.C., the United States is a transgender person of color coughing up its last on a seedy futon in a subsidized apartment; no adrenochrome will save it now. Even putative allies have had enough, with some calling it a force for evil. Interestingly, the only world leader to speak on behalf of what might be called “heritage Americans” is Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia.
Here, too, the United States is also “exceptional” in the sheer scale of its contemptible and degraded collapse, like a summer blockbuster with the usual good taste associated with Hollywood and New York. There was a solemn grandeur in the recessional of Great Britain, and tragedy in the British Empire’s dismemberment by Roosevelt and Churchill after the disaster of World War II, and its replacement by all of those ignorant, arrogant and stupid Harvard and Yale men. The United States is ending its existence as an abject, puerile farce, engineered by gutter dwellers and pornographers for a populace much of which is also ignorant and depraved.
Nevertheless, the empire, in its dotage, has once again elected to wage war upon the Southern people and our memories. The desecration of the statues of General Lee and Confederate soldiers are no different than the Bolshevik desecreati0on of the relics of St Sergius and other saints and heroes of Russia. One can’t but speculate that some of the same sorts of people are in charge. One can’t but wonder when the cultural genocide spills over into actual genocide.
Southerners must realize that the United States is not our nation. We owe it nothing. No loyalty, no respect, no deference. Not to the government in Washington, the agents of Federal power in our states, and even less its symbols and its “Constitution.” “Old Glory” is the flag of a wicked and brutal conquering power; it is, in the words of the song, “dripping with our blood.” The collapse of the United States is not our problem and should cause us no grief.
The most revolutionary act we can undertake now is to remember. We Southerners must remember who we are: one of the unique peoples of the earth, part of the family of the British Isles – English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish – with our own traditions, our own culture and our own place in the world.
We need to rediscover this tradition to educate ourselves and our children, because we will be tasked with rebuilding from the rubble.
We need to point the truth to our children, and we need to teach them to see through the lies of the United States and its imperial ideology and historians. We need to teach them first and foremost that our ancestors were brave and noble men fighting to defend that one thing that God have man to fight for: our home, our land, our families, our people.
In Russia, organizations have undertaken the restoration of the Orthodox churches despoiled and desecrated by the Bolsheviks. One day we will restore our monuments, all of them. What we must do now is remember. In these dark times, it’s the most revolutionary act imaginable. And we will carry with us knowledge of the courage and heroism of our ancestors, and that their sacrifice has been vindicated by God.
The South Vindicated, Part I may be read here.