Walking down a road lined with elm and oak,
A puzzling image strikes the wand’ring eye –
An anthill at the foot of a mailbox
Covered in a white coat of poison.
What purpose did this serve? To protect
The postman from savage stings? He is overdressed
In metal and in glass. To save the owner
Of the house? The placement of the nest
Would not make him strain his arm to get
His letters. To beautify a space?
That pile of powder looks completely out of place.
Man’s nihilistic control of nature
Is its hidden meaning; the corruption
Of the Southerner’s inner disposition –
His close-felt kinship with the creation
And his strong yearning for what is comely –
Is its final, sad conclusion.
The latest act to provoke the outrage of the faux conservative punditry is the National School Board Association’s letter to President Biden, requesting that he use the massive weight of the federal security apparatus – DOJ, FBI, Dept. of Homeland Security, Secret Service, and others – to squash the frightening terror that threatens the well-being of Americans everywhere: informed, caring parents who want a proper, moral education for their children.
On one hand, this is a serious matter. Any moves in this direction by the federal government would be yet more evidence of the brazen totalitarianism it has embraced as its guiding philosophy in recent months.
On the other hand, this shouldn’t be shock to anyone. During the misnamed Civil War, President Lincoln set the precedent for just this sort of unrestrained, unlawful federal activity. Professor Thomas DiLorenzo gives a helpful summary of Honest Abe’s virtuous acts while in the office of president (‘The Great Centralizer: Abraham Lincoln and the War between the States’, p. 263):
The problem for many of the professional conservative commentator class is that they revere Pres Lincoln and honor him as one of the greatest leaders of the united States. They have trapped themselves in a contradiction: They laud one dictator (Pres Lincoln), but then turn right around and decry another (Pres Biden).
Where were these ‘conservatives’ when another idol of theirs, Pres Reagan, vastly expanded the reach of the panopticon spy-state by issuing Executive Order 12333?
Where is their outrage over COINTELPRO, the FBI’s project in the 1960s and 70s to secretly infiltrate and bring down various left-leaning figures and groups which that agency found distasteful?
Most of the professional conservative class cares about only one thing: Preserving and promoting Yankeefied America as the sole exceptional, indispensable nation with the right to ownership of the whole globe.
Thus they can praise Lincoln (and Teddy Roosevelt, Reagan, etc.) for putting the States on this course, overlooking his criminal acts, but they will excoriate Biden (and Carter, Cleveland, Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul, etc.) for restraining American ambitions, magnifying any and all indiscretions.
Or said another way, anyone who uses federal power (whether allowed by the Philadelphia charter or not) to expand the influence of the American Empire in the world is virtuous in their eyes; those who restrict its influence are enemies. Ergo, smashing the South and her centuries-old Christian agrarian culture, or Native American tribes with their even older pre-Modern cultures – which were and remain just such impediments – and ‘Americanizing’ them, are also virtuous acts.
However, now that the well-meaning parents rightly giving their school board members a hard time for their pro-CRT, pro-LGBT curricula are being threatened by the federal storm troopers just as the South was 160 years ago, perhaps they will give a second thought to the narrative they have been told about the South and the War of Northern Aggression.
Perhaps they will now be sympathetic to the Southern desire to be left alone by the tirelessly meddlesome Yankees.
Perhaps they will understand why the South wanted to separate from the North and the federal government.
Perhaps they will reconsider the delusional Puritan myths about ‘America’s destiny’ and ‘greatness’ ballyhooed by so many fake conservatives.
Perhaps all the cultural regions of the current unnecessary, involuntary American union will now be free to discuss a way to separate peacefully, or, at the very least, to strip a great deal of power from Washington City and the various giant corporations that control most of the officials there, allowing all a measure of cultural autonomy unknown since the current federal constitution was adopted in 1788.
Ungrateful to a kindly father.
Defiler of beauty.
Scornful of a noble honor.
Ignorant of history.
Enslaved to infernal philosophers.
Men at the Final Judgment shall arise
And curse you for your monstrous parricide,
A scar of shame for all eternity.
Richmond Left Behind poster contributed by John L. Morgan III. (Morgan's website is Republic of Virginia.com. Click the link below to open high definition pdf.
We see it mentioned with depressing regularity: New Orleans is a mess. Is there a way to revive what was once one of the leading cities of the South?
That depends on the solutions offered. A merely materialistic approach – good jobs with good pay, good housing, better policing, etc. – will not get us very far. It is part of the answer, but man is body and soul, not just a body. If we tend to the body but neglect the spiritual side of man, we will get an imbalance in society, which breeds societal illnesses – just like an imbalance in a single body breeds illness there. This is why, for instance, we see euthanasia increasing in wealthy American and European States/countries: Though they are awash in material comforts, they have no will to live because the Christian faith is collapsing.
We need to build with both hands, so to speak – the material and the spiritual. There are examples in Christian history we can look to for guidance and inspiration. One is the Holy Prince and Martyr Andrew of Russia (+1174), who not only built cities and defended them against enemies but also blessed them with many churches to strengthen the souls of the people:
A brave warrior [Andrew means “brave”], a participant in his military father’s many campaigns, more than once he came close to death in battle. But each time Divine Providence invisibly saved the princely man of prayer. Thus for example, on February 8, 1150, in a battle near Lutsk, Saint Andrew was saved from the spear of an enemy German by a prayer to the Great Martyr Theodore Stratelates, whose memory was celebrated that day.
And the layout of a city is also important for transmitting Christian ideals to her citizens. Father Andrew Phillips of England writes about the design of Bristol, to give but one example (this was how most cities in Christian lands were designed prior to the onset of Modernity, something touched upon also in this podcast):
Bristol provides a classic example of a later sacred town-plan. Built on untouched land on the north bank of the River Avon from the eighth century on, by the eleventh century it was the most important city in the West of England. To the south of Bristol ran the River Avon, to the north the River Frome. Bristol was built within an elliptical wall between these two natural features, with the north and south sides of the wall touching on the two rivers. It presented then the form of a circle. Within the circle, roads running north, south, east and west, formed the sign of the cross. Thus the whole plan was that of a cross within a circle, symbolising that the Cross triumphantly dominates the Universe.
Politicians often give lip-service to Christianity when campaigning for office: ‘I’m a Christian and a conservative.’ ‘I’ll fight for our Christian values.’ And so on. But they usually don’t get around to implementing truly Christian policies. For the sake of a brighter future for New Orleans, she needs someone like a Prince Andrew who will not only defeat the criminal element, not only restore essential infrastructure, not only build up private businesses; but also use the powers and finances of the city to build churches and monasteries (and otherwise adjust the fabric of the city into a Christian orientation), and encourage the folks of New Orleans to attend them – by word and example.
A good exemplar of this kind of leader in our own day is found in Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister. In a recent interview, he had the following to say, amongst other key things:
. . . Christianity, first of all, created the free man. Therefore, we must – first and foremost – protect human dignity. Then, Christianity created the Christian family. We must protect the concept of the Christian family. Next, Christianity has created nations in this part of the world. If we Hungarians had not followed Christianity for a thousand years, we would have disappeared; so we must also protect the nation. But we also have to protect religious communities and the Church. To summarize, our task is not to protect theological principles, that is the mission of the Church; but our mission is to protect the great Christian achievements of our civilization.…
Whether New Orleans thrives or continues in her slow agony of death depends on whether or not leaders with the vision, and the courage to implement it, of a Prince Andrew or a PM Orban step onto the scene. And even if they do, will the people of New Orleans welcome them or chase them away, preferring the sewer of rank materialism to the profound goodness and beauty of the Grace of God found in His Church? New Orleans already has good material to work with: St Louis Cathedral, the Ursuline nuns, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, and so forth. Hopefully, God willing, they will choose the better part if given the opportunity.
NOTE: This fictional conversation is not intended as medical advice for anyone. It is merely an attempt to explain why many Southerners have refused to let themselves be coerced into getting a treatment around which there still swirls a host of questions and concerns. The quotes from Dr. Fauci are real (with minor edits for flow) and clicking on his name links to the source of each quote.
Plain-folk Southron, Edwin: Gracious, it seems we have upset you mightily, Dr Fauci. Look at yourself – spluttering all kinds of impolite things about the South!
Dr Fauci: ‘I think there’s no reason not to get vaccinated. Why are we having red states and places in the South that are very highly ideological in one way, not wanting to get vaccinations – vaccinations have nothing to do with politics.’
Edwin: Well, sir, we agree there. But our deciding to forego your COVID shots has less to do with politics than actual science.
Dr Fauci: ‘Attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science. Because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning have been fundamentally based on science. Sometimes those things were inconvenient truths for people, and there was pushback against me. So if you are trying to get at me as a public health official and scientist, you’re really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science. And anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that. You have to be asleep not to see that.’
Edwin: Do try and stay calm, Dr Fauci. This isn’t personal. Despite what you may have heard living up there in New England and within the pale of the Washington City bureaucracy, we’ve made some pretty good strides here at the South. Most of us can read now, and what we’ve seen about COVID and its treatments doesn’t incline us to follow your recommendations.
We see, for instance, that there are lots of reports of dangerous blood clots resulting from the shots intended to protect people from COVID; that they also pose an unusually high risk for children and young adults; that natural immunity is much more effective and long-lasting than that conferred via inoculation. And then there is the moral objection of folks to taking a medication that was developed using tissue from aborted babies.
Together with all that, we believe like the Psalmist: ‘For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.’
God has something to say about our bodies, not just the a-religious scientist.
Dr Fauci: ‘There are a lot of things about organized religion that are unfortunate, and I like to stay away from it.’
Edwin: That explains a few things. Be that as it may, you have to remember, Doctor, that people are not machines. Yet that’s the mindset of those who made and are promoting the COVID shots. Dr Charles Hoffe of Canada put it like this:
‘We now know that only 25 percent of the ‘vaccine’ injected into a person’s arm actually stays in your arm. The other 75 percent is collected by your lymphatic system and literally fed into your circulation so these little packages of messenger RNA, and by the way in a single dose of Moderna ‘vaccine’ there are literally 40 trillion mRNA molecules. These packages are designed to be absorbed into your cells. . . . Your body then gets to work reading and then manufacturing trillions and trillions of these spike proteins. Each gene can produce many, many spike proteins.’
A lot has changed since the War, Dr Fauci, but it is still engrained in the nature of Southerners to prefer rural ways to the factory and to industrialism in general. We want, like St John the Apostle, for everyone to ‘be in health’ (III John 2), but we prefer to reach that goal by more humble, earthy, and natural means than by ‘hacking the software of life’ with mRNA gene therapy shots – maybe some ivermectin or Vitamin D, or even an old-fashioned vaccine with a bit of dead germ in it, treatments that work with the body rather than force it to do things it wouldn’t ordinarily do. Because of all that, we are supportive of people who have decided, after examining the evidence, that they would rather not be part of this ongoing mRNA experiment.
Dr Fauci: ‘It’s horrifying, cheering about someone saying it’s a good thing for people not to try and save their lives. I just don’t get it. I don’t understand that.’
Edwin: It’s not that difficult to understand. COVID isn’t the first disease we’ve dealt with here at the South – yellow fever, cholera, pellagra, and the like. But when it comes to the advice we take, we’re not too fond of one-sidedness, overly trusting in the secular, rationalistic, scientific ideology. Even one of the former editors of The New England Journal of Medicine recently admitted, ‘It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.’
We’ve had our share of medical pioneers here – Ephraim McDowell, Marion Sims, Crawford Long – but we still like to spend plenty of time contemplating what is eternally true and unchanging, the Gospels or the exalted spiritual poetry of St Ephraim the Syrian or some other Christian work, rather than the latest scientific theories that are here today and gone tomorrow.
Ultimately, as we were saying before, this all plays a role in forming our belief that bodily health isn’t just a matter of good physical hygiene or the latest scientific advances, but that it also involves good spiritual health and discernment as well.
Dr Fauci: ‘We have some sort of a schism between some states and some areas that have a very low level of vaccination, which is really unfortunate because we want to make sure those people are protected for their own safety and their own life, but that of their family in their community.’
Edwin: A schism – unfortunately so. But have a look at yourself if you want it to heal. Southerners don’t take kindly to meddling from distant centers of authority. Twice we’ve fought wars when outsiders began to innovate where traditional customs and policies should have remained in force. If we were willing to cut ties with King, Parliament, and Sister States over bad leadership, you can be sure that we will have little compunction over ignoring dictates from medical bureaucrats like yourself whose communications have shown a willful effort to deceive the public.
Dr Fauci: ‘If you’re not vaccinated, you should be concerned.’
Edwin: (**Sigh**) Our rhetorical sparring is becoming a little tedious. Perhaps we should lay down our weapons for now. Have a pleasant evening, Doctor.
Around the still waters of the lake,
We hail our kinsmen and shyly stutter
Out a greeting to shorten the distance
That has grown up between us after a year
Has passed. But as the gap closes
And we rejoice in the communion
Of those standing visibly with us,
We become aware of a deeper mystery,
The lingering presence of those
Who have gone before us – like the fresh smell
Of rain after an evening shower –
There are Percy and Mittie Mae,
James and Percene, Raiford and Jesse;
There are Melba Ruth and others left unnamed.
Our love for them and one another
Hollers after them and brings them
To our midst. And the highest form of love,
As our Savior taught and showed us,
Is self-sacrifice. May we, then, tear up
Our comfortable schedules as often
As we can, offering them like fatted calves
Upon the altar of fidelity
To our family, that the past would not be
Forgotten, that our dear ones who have
Preceded us in death would not fade
Away, but rather that they may abide
With us, and with our children’s children,
Until our Lord’s return, when death will
No longer separate us from their
Joyful faces nor their tear-filled embraces.
The Yankee Pharisee
Proclaims it his duty,
Divinely given, to build
Upon the earth
By fire and sword
And any other kind of force.
Truer son of English
And the Celts, senses
Something there amiss.
Deep within his soul
There lies a primordial
Memory, of deathless
Avalon, the Isle
The Righteous Joseph
Drove out the druids
From her hills; there he
Honored the Mother of God
With a church and an icon
That many wonders worked.
There his dry staff blossomed
Into a living thorn tree.
There, on top of the Tor,
Men besought Archangel
Michael. There, all about,
Were cells of monks and nuns.
There, saints were buried.
From there, St Dunstan
Arose to revive the Faith.
The Southron understands
That New Jerusalem
Was built long ago
By his kinsmen across the sea.
What remains for him
To do is bring the spirit
Of that place to Southern shores,
And bid it grow, and not
The slightest half-breath more.
The limits of how much good political parties can do for a people are once again being illustrated here in Louisiana, as the Republican Party leadership is quietly trying to kill legislation that would protect what is left of Christian culture in this State.
The early leaders of the American union were unfriendly toward the idea of political parties. But it is a Spaniard, Victor Pradera (1872-1936), an enemy of the egalitarian revolutionaries who were ravaging his homeland, to whom we turn today to illustrate the true nature of political parties. He lets some of the politicians of his day hang themselves with their own words:
‘ . . . “minorities constituting the strength of parties have no other ideals and principles than those of their leaders, who become real dictators.” ’
Given the real failures and the real dangers that lie within political parties, it is very much in our interest of Louisiana and the other Southern States to find an alternative to this system. We can find it in the system of corporatism that existed prior to the rise of political parties. In this system, representation in government was according to the various institutions/organizations that made up a society - churches, the guilds that represented various private occupations (doctors, carpenters, mechanics, and so forth), and actual, historical political entities like cities above a certain population and parishes/counties. Each of these would be represented in the government, not a clump of people from make-believe, gerrymandered districts who have no organic attachment to one another. The corporatist system is closer to human reality, as society is not made up of separate, isolated individuals, but of people who exist within a complex matrix of connections: family, Church, neighborhood, job, region, etc.
Vice President John C. Calhoun, the great Southern statesmen from South Carolina (who is much maligned today by the Cancel Culture crowd, though he shouldn’t be), described the functioning of such a system in his Disquisition on Government. He also thought it the best way to establish representation in government, so that, using his analogy of a living organism, through the deliberation of all the different organs of the social organism, the whole body would act harmoniously, for the good of all. And to protect each part from injustice at the hands of a combination of some of the others, each organ/institution was to be given a veto over any proposal, so that only those measures which have the approval of the whole political body could be adopted.
The idea of complete unanimity to advance legislation may be too difficult to attain in the current atmosphere (although perhaps for certain subjects it should be required); but a large supermajority, 3/4 or 4/5, should be required for the sake of achieving the common good. The rest, however, is sound.
In Louisiana, for example, perhaps the House and Senate could be re-organized along these lines: The House could remain a dysfunctional body with representation by population from artificially drawn districts and controlled by political party tyrants if it so wished. The Senate, however, would consist of representatives chosen by the aforementioned organic institutions of Louisiana (those representatives would be chosen in whatever way the members of each of those institutions thought best, and each institution would have a single vote in the Senate, no matter how many delegates they sent to the upper chamber).
Under such an arrangement, at least half the Legislature – i.e., the Senate – would stand a pretty good chance of operating effectively and honorably for the good of the whole State of Louisiana. And just maybe their good example and reputation would embarrass the members of the House to join them every now and then in enacting some truly good and helpful legislation.
And since in Louisiana the Senate has lately been the place where good legislation dies, this kind of reform would be all the more salutary and welcome.
Male and female
God did make them;
Did man remake them.
The body of fixed tradition
Writhes in a conflagration.
On its blackened bones
Gorge their mouths and bellies,
Their given forms.
Has broken the horizon,
Its way onward
Queen of Lawlessness;
From the God of Light
And the Heavenly
Hosts of Brightness;
With dark hordes of demons,
Whose anger and despair
Are the only non-illusions
There, in the whirling wrack
Of chaos and confusion.
A couple of recent news articles should make the blood of any tradition-friendly Southerner run cold:
Trump carried the Gem State by 2 to 1 against Hillary Clinton in 2016. While he’ll easily win there against Joe Biden, polls show he'll be lucky to do as well this year. Idaho-registered Democrats increased 47% between November 2016 and June 2020, or almost twice the rate of new Republicans during the past four years. The state’s dynamic business diversity likely has a role in its changing politics.
And from The Washington Post:
In the four years since the last presidential election, at least 2 million people have moved to Texas, many of them Democrats from places like California, Florida, New York and Illinois. An estimated 800,000 young Latino Americans have turned 18, and a wave of immigrants became naturalized citizens. More than 3 million Texans have registered to vote.
Dig a little deeper into the changing demographics of most of these ‘red’ States and the narrative connecting them is that people are moving to take advantage of their growing economies.
This raises two important questions.
First, what is a State? Is it primarily an economic enterprise that exists to provide good-paying jobs with good benefits to anyone who can make it within her borders? However shallow and crass it might strike the ear, that is the view that predominates, and, therefore, the only goal that really matters is having a dynamic, modern, expanding economy. In such a State, people become empty ciphers, replaceable parts, in service to the mechanical dynamo that presses out the blessed manna of GDP. It really doesn’t matter where they come from or what they believe, so long as they are ‘productive workers’.
What is missing in that conception of a State is any idea of the preservation and nurturing of a particular, deeply rooted, long-growing culture and the practices that grow out of it. In a society that honors and lives its historical culture, people are not faceless, nameless spare parts: Each person, according to the gifts given him by the Holy Ghost, is instead a unique defender and transmitter of that culture, and a creator within it of new and loftier possibilities.
But this state of affairs should not strike anyone as all that unusual given that the foundational political documents of the current union, the constitutions of the 50 States and the Philadelphia charter of 1787, are written with as much touching eloquence as the instruction manual for an electric toaster oven. In the Preamble of the Philadelphia charter, we read about ‘establishing justice’, ‘promoting the general welfare’, and ‘securing the blessings of liberty’. Justice and welfare according to what standards? Liberty to do what? These vague and undefined words are a great aid to radical groups like Antifa and BLM (or LGBT activists and the rest), who give them a meaning consistent with their Marxism and then agitate for their fulfilment.
Our constitutions, if we are to continue with written ones, need to read like a poetic historical narrative, defining who we are as Southerners in general and as the folk of Mississippi, Virginia, Tennessee, etc., in particular. Let us speak of the Holy Trinity; of Jesus Christ the God-man, born of a Virgin for our salvation; of Jamestown and the agrarian vision; of Pindar, Homer, and Horace; of Sir William Berkeley and William Gilmore Simms and General Lee; of Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty; of the common law, ancient political institutions, and hierarchy; of literature and songs. Then our children and generations beyond them will have a much better idea of what is meant when words like justice and freedom are used in our constitutions; they will know something of the community of which they are a real and integral part.
To help safeguard such an order of things, we must now raise the second question. If States in the South and elsewhere are really alarmed at the prospect of ‘turning blue’, if they have seen the vanity of the view that the people exist for the sake of the economy (rather than the economy existing for the sake of the people), how can they prevent it? The power to regulate immigration must be removed from federal hands and placed back into the hands of each individual State. The free movement of people across State boundaries is destroying what is left of their historical identities rooted in shared love and self-sacrifice and making them barbaric dens of selfish money-making.
It hardly matters what amendments are added to written charters if the people writing them will be replaced shortly by outsiders with wholly different histories and beliefs. Each State, whether using official or unofficial processes, must take up once again the exercise of her inherent power to regulate immigration into her own lands. This is, after all, not a game being played for the sake of utility or expediency, but a matter of cultural survival.
Walt Garlington is a chemical engineer turned writer (and, when able, a planter). He makes his home in Louisiana and is editor of the 'Confiteri: A Southern Perspective' web site.