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.
To the list of certainties in this life – death and taxes – we could probably add a third: Yankees will make a sanctimonious display of their righteousness.
This was repeated for the umpteenth time in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on 6 Oct. 2020 at an event called ‘It’s Time to Pray’, organized by the pastor of Times Square Church (NYC) Mr. Carter Conlon, who is quite excited and agitated over the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Pastor Carter expressed the purpose of his meeting thusly:
‘God was faithful in bringing them [the Pilgrims] here and giving them this land, but in 400 years, what have we done with the freedom He gave us?
‘We took our freedom and enslaved an entire race of people. He prospered us as a nation, and we became greedy as a people. Our families are broken. Our children are being indoctrinated in schools starting from daycare. We have changed the definition of marriage. We are aborting babies at the point of birth. Our nation is unraveling. Our only hope for the future is God.
‘That’s why we’re going back, 400 years later, to Lot # 1 where our nation began, and we’re going to pray. We are going to re-discover our roots and reclaim the promise of God that made America. When we open the prayer meeting in Plymouth, we’re going to repent and ask God to forgive us for what we’ve done with the freedom He gave us. God told me we need to confess the sins of the nation one by one and ask for forgiveness.’
Now, true repentance is a wonderful thing, but the history of New England makes us doubt this is what was experienced by most of the attendees at ‘It’s Time to Pray’. We will look at that history momentarily, but first there is one other point that makes us doubtful about the outcome of this prayer meeting: It is based on a lie.
In the quote above and on the home page for this gathering it is stated that Plymouth, Massachusetts, is ‘the place where America began.’ But it does not take much of an effort at researching to realize that the Pilgrims were not the first Englishmen to settle permanently on North America; that title belongs to the settlers of Jamestown, Virginia. The South was born first (1607), then New England (1620).
So already there is a problem with truthfulness from these folks. But more important than this is the following question: ‘Should anyone want to follow in the spiritual footsteps of the Pilgrims?’, a subject Pastor Carter and his fellows seem very concerned with. To answer this, we will begin the brief historical overview promised above.
First it is well to note that the Pilgrims were a disorderly bunch even before they arrived at Plymouth to set up their ‘City on a Hill’. This is made abundantly clear in Richard Hooker’s (1554-1600) On the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. To give but one example from his book, he said,
‘When they and their Bibles were alone together, what strange fantastical opinion soever at any time entered into their heads, their use was to think the Spirit taught it them. Their phrensies concerning our Saviour’s incarnation, the state of souls departed, and such-like, are things needless to be rehearsed. And forasmuch as they were of the same suit with those of whom the apostle speaketh, saying, “They are still learning, but never attain to the knowledge of truth,” it was no marvel to see them every day broach some new thing, not heard of before. Which restless levity they did interpret to be their growing to spiritual perfection, and a proceeding from faith to faith. The differences amongst them grew by this mean in a manner infinite, so that scarcely was there found any one of them, the forge of whose brain was not possessed with some special mystery. . . . Their own ministers they highly magnified as men whose vocation was from God; the rest their manner was to term disdainfully Scribes and Pharisees, to account their calling an human creature, and to detain the people as much as might be from hearing them’ (Preface, ch. viii, 7).
Unsurprisingly, it did not take long for the ‘chosen people’ of New England to fall head-long into apostasy. Already by 1662 they had to institute the Halfway Covenant so their unregenerate children could be assured of receiving the blessings that they believed God had promised to their forefathers - to build the New Jerusalem in North America, and all the rest of it (Sacvan Bercovitch, The American Jeremiad, Madison, Wisc., U of Wisc. Press, 1978, pgs. 62-3).
In the 18th century we find further dissensions and fragmentations of the ‘true faith’ of the Pilgrims. Rev Angus Stewart writes:
‘By now many “Strict Congregational” or “Separatist” churches had been formed by pro-revival enthusiasts. Attaching high regard to religious experiences and visions, and lacking an educated ministry, they were soon torn apart by internal divisions. While many churches gradually died out, others joined the growing Baptist movement.
‘New England Congregationalism was now divided into two camps: the New Lights—pro-revivalist and anti-Half-Way Covenant—and the Old Lights. This latter group itself was divided; containing implicit Universalists and Unitarians, as well as more orthodox Calvinists, who held to the Half-Way Covenant.’
And as Rev Angus suggests just above, the next ‘advancement’ in the progress of New England’s religion was Unitarianism in the 19th century:
‘By 1805, they were so advanced in their heresy and were sufficiently strong to have an Unitarian, Henry Ware, appointed as Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard College. It was never to be regained for orthodoxy. In 1819, George Bancroft brought Hegelianism to Harvard from Berlin, and the Unitarians were at the forefront of the elitist Transcendentalist movement. Through this period, the popular preaching and writing of the extremely capable, William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), brought additional prestige and acceptability to the Unitarians. The Unitarians and Universalists effectively joined hands. “The Universalists,” it was said, “believed that God was too good to damn them, while the Unitarians held that men were too good to be damned.” Their differences, being more social than theological were easily overcome’. (Ibid.)
Eventually this would morph into the atheistic Social Gospel formulated and preached by Washington Gladden. In the present day, New England has given the States ‘gay marriage’ and other such innovative rights. Their latest gift? Polyamorous marriage (i.e., a marriage of more than two people).
Keep in mind that these are only the highlights of New England’s religious development. Not included are the many other frightful schisms and sects that arose there like the Shakers, Mormons, and Christian Scientists.
Therefore, in answer to the question we posed above - ‘Should anyone want to follow in the spiritual footsteps of the Pilgrims?’ - the answer is an emphatic ‘No!’ We are grieved at the apostasy of New England and pray that she will repent and find salvation, but for anyone to place his feet on any part of her religious path and expect a good result - that person has clearly fallen into delusion. Sadly, that also applies to Pastor Carter and the attendees of his prayer gathering at Plymouth.
What is the best way forward for the South, then? A complete separation from New England’s beliefs and practices and the firm, warm embrace of the ways of our own forefathers, embodied in the deep tradition of the Holy Scriptures and the Church Fathers.
Prof Richard Weaver’s description of the modern social order has earned him a lot of well-deserved praise. In small part he writes,
‘The old idea of rewards was vanishing, and instead of receiving a station dictated by a theory of the whole of society, men were winning their stations through a competition in which human considerations were ruled out. It was the age of Carlyle’s “cash-nexus.” Everything betokened the breaking-up of the old synthesis in a general movement toward abstraction in human relationships. Man was becoming a unit in the formless democratic mass; economics was usurping the right to dictate both political and moral policies; and standards supposed to be unchangeable were being mocked by the new theories of relativism. Topping it all was the growing spirit of skepticism which was destroying the religious sanctions of conduct and leaving only the criterion of utility’ (The Confederate South, 1865-1910; A Study in the Survival of a Mind and a Culture, 1943 Doctoral Dissertation for LSU Dept of English, pgs. 257-8. Later published as The Southern Tradition at Bay: A History of Postbellum Thought.).
Much of what we are seeing today is simply the worsening of the decay Prof Weaver saw at work 77 (and more) years ago. Klaus Schwab, for instance, the founder and chairman of the globalist World Economic Forum, writes in his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution,
‘The emergence of a world where the dominant work paradigm is a series of transactions between a worker and a company more than an enduring relationship was described by Daniel Pink 15 years ago in his book Free Agent Nation. This trend has been greatly accelerated by technological innovation.
‘Today, the on-demand economy is fundamentally altering our relationship with work and the social fabric in which it is embedded. More employers are using the “human cloud” to get things done. Professional activities are dissected into precise assignments and discrete projects and then thrown into a virtual cloud of aspiring workers located anywhere in the world. This is the new on-demand economy, where providers of labour are no longer employees in the traditional sense but rather independent workers who perform specific tasks. As Arun Sundararajan, professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University (NYU), put it in a New York Times column by journalist Farhad Manjoo: “We may end up with a future in which a fraction of the workforce will do a portfolio of things to generate an income – you could be an Uber driver, an Instacart shopper, an Airbnb host and a Taskrabbit” ’ (Geneva, Switzerland, World Economic Forum, 2016, pgs. 47-8).
Already in the middle of the 19th century Southerners like Rev Robert L. Dabney were declaring with Sir Edward Coke ‘corporations have no souls’. But now we find in Mr. Schwab’s vision of the future an even more dehumanized economic system where men and women will be reduced to some sort of virtual haze, a ‘human cloud’, and who are expected to have a mad-dog fight with those belonging to it in order to collect enough tiny pieces of the fragmented economy to scrape together a living.
And now with news that the Federal Reserve is getting ready to replace paper money with a digital currency as part of a universal basic income scheme, the dehumanization is very nearly complete. Whenever the bureaucrats in Washington City or their bankster bosses deem a person to be expendable (because his buying habits don’t meet with their approval), they could simply delete his virtual fed coins and leave him destitute.
The Southern soul recoils at such execrable systems and abstract planning. They are all aimed at greater efficiency but at the price of destroying true personhood. Modern Yankee/globalist economics we may say, therefore, is efficient (to a degree; more on that below) but impersonal. Southern economics, on the other hand, is efficient as well, but it is also personalizing, i.e., it strengthens personhood rather than weakening it.
Since we have just spoken of money, George Fitzhugh’s thoughts on this subject in his book Cannibals All! are an apt place to begin:
‘From the days of Plato and Lycurgus to the present times, Social Reformers have sought to restrict or banish the use of money. We do not doubt that its moderate use is essential to civilization and promotive of human happiness and well-being—and we entertain as little doubt, that its excessive use is the most potent of all causes of human inequality of condition, of excessive wealth and luxury with the few, and of great destitution and suffering with the many, and of general effeminacy and corruption of morals. Money is the great weapon in free, equal, and competitive society, which skill and capital employ in the war of the wits, to exploit and oppress the poor, the improvident, and weak-minded. Its evil effects are greatly aggravated by the credit and banking systems, and by the facilities of intercommunication and locomotion which the world now possesses. Every bargain or exchange is more or less a hostile encounter of wits. Money vastly increases the number of bargains and exchanges, and thus keep society involved, if not in war, at least in unfriendly collision. Within the family, money is not employed between its members. Where the family includes slaves, the aggregate use of money is greatly restricted. This furnishes us with another argument to prove that Christian morality is practicable, to a great extent, in slave society—impracticable in free society’ (Cannibals All! Or, Slaves without Masters, Richmond, Va., A. Morris, 1857, pgs. 303-4).
Mr. Fitzhugh touches on the key to the Southern approach to economics: the centrality of the Christian family. This is what preserves and uplifts the personal identity in the Southern economic order. He says,
‘It is pleasing, however, to turn from the world of political economy, in which "might makes right," and strength of mind and of body are employed to oppress and exact from the weak, to that other and better, and far more numerous world, in which weakness rules, clad in the armor of affection and benevolence. It is delightful to retire from the outer world, with its competitions, rivalries, envyings, jealousies, and selfish war of the wits, to the bosom of the family, where the only tyrant is the infant—the greatest slave the master of the household. You feel at once that you have exchanged the keen air of selfishness, for the mild atmosphere of benevolence. Each one prefers the good of others to his own, and finds most happiness in sacrificing selfish pleasures, and ministering to others' enjoyments. The wife, the husband, the parent, the child, the son, the brother and the sister, usually act towards each other on scriptural principles. The infant, in its capricious dominion over mother, father, brothers and sisters, exhibits, in strongest colors, the "strength of weakness," the power of affection. The wife and daughters are more carefully attended by the father, than the sons, because they are weaker and elicit more of his affection.
‘ . . . It is an invariable law of nature, that weakness and dependence are elements of strength, and generally sufficiently limit that universal despotism, observable throughout human and animal nature. The moral and physical world is but a series of subordinations, and the more perfect the subordination, the greater the harmony and the happiness. Inferior and superior act and re-act on each other through agencies and media too delicate and subtle for human apprehensions; yet, looking to usual results, man should be willing to leave to God what God only can regulate. Human law cannot beget benevolence, affection, maternal and paternal love; nor can it supply their places: but it may, by breaking up the ordinary relations of human beings, stop and disturb the current of these finer feelings of our nature. It may abolish slavery; but it can never create between the capitalist and the laborer, between the employer and employed, the kind and affectionate relations that usually exist between master and slave’ (Ibid. pgs. 300-1, 302).
Henry Hughes, using more scientific language, says of the old feudal Southern economic system that the members of it were ‘affamiliated’. ‘The capitalist is the economic head of the family. He is the economic father of all the children. He maintains and protects them. His capital is answerable for their livelihood. He represents them; they are his economic constituents’ (Treatise on Sociology, Theoretical and Practical, Philadelphia, Penn., Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1854, p. 155).
The Southern economic system, then, is one in which employees are more than just contract laborers, here today and gone tomorrow, with whom the employer has no real deep or long-lasting bond. Quite the opposite: The ‘employee’ in the Southern economic system becomes a member of the farmer’s or business-owner’s family, which in turn strengthens the worker’s status, identity, and stability.
Perhaps a defender of the current Yankee economic system will grant that this does build up personhood. But how can it also be more efficient? Doesn’t this complex web of close personal relationships inhibit the swift working of anonymous business transactions the Yankee is so fond of? Mr. Fitzhugh has already given us part of the answer above when he says, ‘Every bargain or exchange is more or less a hostile encounter of wits. Money vastly increases the number of bargains and exchanges, and thus keep society involved, if not in war, at least in unfriendly collision. Within the family, money is not employed between its members’ (Cannibals All!, p. 303). All these ‘unfriendly collisions’ between what Rev Dabney calls ‘useless middle-men’ in A Defence of Virginia make Yankee economics less efficient than the affamiliated Southern system. Here is Rev Dabney’s full explanation:
‘The simple system of slaveholding distributed that part of the products of farms, which properly went to the labourers' subsistence, direct to the consumers, without taxing it unnecessarily with the profits of the local merchant. The master was himself the retail merchant; and he distributed his commodities to the proper consumers, at wholesale prices, without profit. The consumers were his own servants. He remarked, in the language of the country, that, for this part of his products, he "had his market at home." Now, is it not obvious that the consumer, the slave, got more for his labour, and that the system of hireling labour, by invoking this local storekeeper, instead of the master, to do this work of distribution to consumers, which the master did better without him, and without charge, has brought in a useless middle-man? And his industry being useless and unproductive, its wages are a dead loss to the publick wealth. This coarse fellow behind the counter, retailing the meal and bacon and soap, at extortionate retail prices, to labourers, should be compelled to labour himself, at some really productive task; and the labourers should have gotten these supplies, untaxed with his extortion, on the farms where their own labour produced them, and at the farmer's prices. Is not this true science, and true common sense? But this is just the old Virginian system’ (A Defence of Virginia [and through Her, of the South], New York, E. J. Hale & Son, 1867, pgs. 329-30).
It is very reasonable, then, for Southerners to prefer their own economic system to the Yankee/globalist system that has been imposed on them for more than 150 long, abusive years. For it is better at producing and distributing goods and at forming hale, balanced people, rather than meaningless wisps in the ‘human cloud’, than the latter one. It is true that the Southern system was distorted because of the presence of African slavery and because of the lengthy struggle with lunatic abolitionists, but the principle at the heart of the system – that the laborer becomes a part of the farmer’s, lawyer’s, craftsman’s, etc., family – was not overthrown prior to the War. It is that patrimony that the South must re-claim and re-implement if she wants to avoid the revolutionary violence overtaking the completely Yankeefied parts of the union.
Yet our words are poor, so we will let Prof Weaver’s much more elegant oratory help us close this essay in the hopes that they will stimulate the love of truly Southern ways:
‘The relative self-sufficiency of the plantation; the noblesse oblige of its proprietor; the social distinctions among those who dwelled upon it, which had the anomalous result of creating affection and loyalty instead of envy and hatred; the sense of kinship with the soil, present too in its humbler inhabitants, who felt pangs on leaving “the old place,” – these were the supports of the Southern feudalism, which outlived every feudal system of Europe except the Russian, until it was destroyed by war and revolution’ (The Confederate South, pgs. 19-20).
Prof Weaver would no doubt be heartened by the resurrection of traditional Orthodox culture in Russia and other countries that suffered under the communist yoke for so many years. Resurrection, through the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, is possible for Southern culture as well. But rebirth is not automatic. It requires struggle, sacrifice, repentance. And thus far the South has been far too enamored with Yankee mammon to make an attempt at them.
There is a very ancient concept in the English common law known as a writ of habeas corpus. Governor Edwards’s latest proclamation requiring everyone but those his administration defines as "essential personnel" to stay at home and practice the ridiculously named "social distancing" until April 12th completely upends that tradition of freedom from arbitrary confinement.
For this reason, and for others we will get to below, we encourage everyone to peacefully disobey this order.
We are not supporters of the idea that every man may willy-nilly decide which laws to obey and which not. However, when the government acts in ways that are clearly irrational and destructive of human well-being, it becomes our duty to withstand those acts as best we can.
In the case of this illness, we now know better what we are dealing with:
But what is Gov Edwards (and many other State, federal, and local government officials) doing? They are using the proverbial axe in place of a scalpel. We can and should protect those who are most vulnerable to this disease (which has not reached the proportions of a global pandemic, contrary to the claims) - the elderly, for instance - but we can do that without destroying the livelihoods of millions of people and without wrecking the communal structures men and women need to live normal, healthy lives.
Chief among those communities is the Church. It says volumes that Governor Edwards does not list bishops, priests, deacons, etc., as ‘essential workers’. But it is clear throughout history that without spiritual health, there will be no physical health either. Some priests are pushing back against these bans on church services by the authorities. But we need many more like them to speak up and act for the good of their parishioners.
Considering all this, and considering the cowardice of all other elected officials in Louisiana and across the South, and in other States outside the South, who refuse to protect us from the destructive acts of our various governments, we say plainly: Ignore the stay at home orders. Ignore the orders to act like helpless, ignorant children. Ignore the orders that are destroying our souls and bodies. Pastors, open your churches. Restaurant owners, ready your tables. Schoolmasters, call back your students. Live bravely, like men and women who trust in the Providence of God. That will be our honor in this time, not craven cowering before a new idol: the virus.
Michael Gideon, in the woods he hid,
With many of his kith and kin.
From their homes were driven,
By foemen with clubs and bricks –
Inbreakers, young and rude,
Invaders, old and crude –
Because they loved the Confederate gen’ral
Whose statue did watch o’er the town.
Now beset it is by foemen in their fetid camp,
Awaiting its doom and fate.
Michael Gideon, in the dark of night,
He fished in the stream for fear of the mob,
Michael Gideon, his food he ate
As the plight he turned it o’er in his mind.
Tired from thought, on a tree log he sat.
With groaning prayer, Heaven’s help he besought.
Then still he sat, silent before God.
Then light he saw, radiance all around.
A bright angel he beheld.
Bewildered, to his knees he fell.
‘Rise, Michael Gideon, and be not afraid.
‘The Lord has heard the prayers of you all.
‘The Lord knows your afflictions
‘And will now deliver you from them.
‘Take this sword, and gather the men.
‘In their hands place only flags
‘Bearing Saint Andrew’s Cross.
‘You at their head, lead them
‘To the invader’s camp,
‘And say together with mighty voice,
‘ “A sword for the Lord
‘ “And the General!”
‘Shout these words, but touch not
‘An hair of their heads,
‘And you will see your deliverance.’
At this he vanished; night-dark returned.
Michael Gideon, the sword he held.
The blade, clear as crystal,
Gathered the light of the moon and stars
And shone with beauty gentle.
The hilt, smooth and silver,
Calmed and strengthened the one who held it.
Forth he strode, the men he gathered.
Out they went, together they sallied.
Scalawags round the Gen’ral were crowding.
To destroy his memory, for this they were yearning.
Michael Gideon and his host approached.
Black-skinned and white, they uplifted their cry,
‘A sword for the Lord
‘And the General!’
Again and again they shouted,
As forward they went, and new wonder they saw:
A flame round the blade was blazing,
Holy fire from Heaven to frighten the foe.
The fire of the sword, to the host it spread.
The fire of the sword, in their eyes it burned.
When the sight they beheld,
And the yelling they heard,
Struck with terror they were,
And their evil plans forgot.
In their confusion and fear,
They trampled each other.
In their confusion and fear,
They fled far away.
The townsmen lifted a mighty shout
Of thanks to God, and cleansed the statue
And square of all befouling.
Then heartily they cheered for the Gen’ral they loved.
Michael Gideon took his sword,
The flame now gone, and with priestly blessing
Laid it in church atop the altar
For safe-keeping against an evil day.
Michael Gideon, the statue he saved,
The foes away he chased.
Michael Gideon, no praise he seeks,
Only to plow his fields and teach Old Greek.
How much influence should large metro areas have in Statewide elections? That is a question nearly all the States face today. Kentucky’s recent election for governor puts the question starkly before us: In a State with 120 counties, only 23 have decided the winner. The results of Louisiana’s choice for governor are similar, though less lopsided.
The backcountry is not being well-served by this system. The more traditional voices of the sparsely populated ‘red counties’ are being drowned out by the overwhelming numbers of the enemies of tradition in the ‘blue counties’. The strife this creates is obvious for all to see, but it is the necessary outcome of adhering to the doctrine of the numerical majority.
There is no reason, however, to bind ourselves forever to the rotting carcass of this pestilential political ideal. It is time for what Englishmen and Romans (the spirits of both of whom have been very much present in the South) have excelled at so often in their histories: a little prudent reform. No building castles in the clouds; rather, only realistic, concrete proposals for human beings living in this part of the world.
As we have said above, two main divisions exist in the States at the present moment: the untraditional large cities and the traditional hinterland of the counties. A way for the two to protect their interests at the State level is needed. John C. Calhoun nearly two hundred years ago, provided us with an answer: the plural executive, each with the power of veto.
His examination of Roman and English history showed him the benefits of this type of system. What he says about Ancient Rome, which had developed a system by which the two main classes in the Roman lands, the patricians and plebeians, could veto one another’s proposed laws as well as stop the execution of them, is worth examining. In the passage below, Mr Calhoun details the benefits such a system bestowed upon Old Rome, exactly the kinds of benefits the States are missing out on with their current winner-take-all, single executive system:
No measure or movement could be adopted without the concurring assent of both the patricians and plebeians, and each thus became dependent on the other; and, of consequence, the desire and objects of neither could be effected without the concurrence of the other. To obtain this concurrence, each was compelled to consult the goodwill of the other, and to elevate to office, not those only who might have the confidence of the order to which they belonged, but also that of the other. The result was, that men possessing those qualities which would naturally command confidence—moderation, wisdom, justice, and patriotism—were elevated to office; and these, by the weight of their authority and the prudence of their counsel, combined with that spirit of unanimity necessarily resulting from the concurring assent of the two orders, furnish the real explanation of the power of the Roman State, and of that extraordinary wisdom, moderation, and firmness which in so remarkable a degree characterized her public men.
Now, the best system of government the States have lived under seems to have been the one they were born into – not one stitched together from new theories and speculations but one of inherited, time-honored lore and customs. In it, each colony/State/ethnos was able to live life according to its own folkways without interference from the others. The harmony of all of them was maintained by occasional regulations from the King of England and his Parliament, which were enforced by the royal governors and other officials appointed by the Crown. But local political bodies (town councils, county courts, State Houses of Representatives, jury trials, etc.) kept careful watch and objected if any of them overstepped proper bounds. But if the peoples of the States will not have it (and various strains of ‘American exceptionalism’ make many people recoil from it as though it were a venomous snake), then what Mr Calhoun proposed with his plural executive is a good alternative.
One of the worst political mistakes the States have made has been to jumble all ages, classes, occupations, etc. into one undifferentiated mass of voters and then ask this polyglot creation to speak with a unified, harmonious voice. What we have gotten instead is unending friction and dissatisfaction. Instead of trying to enforce a false, chimerical unity, we need to winnow and separate. Let the two dominant interests in each State, the rural and the urban, elect its own executive (the current governor chosen by a Statewide vote would no longer be necessary). Population density above or below a certain threshold would qualify a county as either urban or rural. Only when the two executives are in agreement should a proposed law or executive order be enacted, or an executive action undertaken. But if either one of them object, the proposal will not be enacted or undertaken.
If this makes political action at the State level more difficult (and it probably would), then it is a great opportunity for local institutions to take the reins and govern. This is where most decisions ought to be made, in counties and towns, neighborhoods and churches.
Because of this, everyone would have a little breathing space, a little elbow room, a chance to tend and nurture his own culture and appreciate the good in the culture of his red or blue neighbors in the other counties. And through this arrangement, perhaps more cooperation and less partisanship could be found at the State level. But if not, then at least each culture will be able to live peaceably enough under the diligent guardianship of the co-executive it has sent to the capital to protect its way of life.
But none of this will happen so long as the erroneous doctrine of the Supreme Court in Washington City of ‘one man, one vote’ is in force. Mr Justice Frankfurter well described the futility of trying to enforce a rigid numerical equality of representation within the States in his dissent in Baker v Carr, one of the lynchpins undergirding ‘one man, one vote’:
A hypothetical claim resting on abstract assumptions is now for the first time made the basis for affording illusory relief for a particular evil even though it foreshadows deeper and more pervasive difficulties in consequence. The claim is hypothetical, and the assumptions are abstract, because the Court does not vouchsafe the lower courts -- state and federal -- guidelines for formulating specific, definite, wholly unprecedented remedies for the inevitable litigations that today's umbrageous disposition is bound to stimulate in connection with politically motivated reapportionments in so many States. In[p268] such a setting, to promulgate jurisdiction in the abstract is meaningless. It is as devoid of reality as "a brooding omnipresence in the sky," for it conveys no intimation what relief, if any, a District Court is capable of affording that would not invite legislatures to play ducks and drakes with the judiciary. For this Court to direct the District Court to enforce a claim to which the Court has over the years consistently found itself required to deny legal enforcement and, at the same time, to find it necessary to withhold any guidance to the lower court how to enforce this turnabout, new legal claim, manifests an odd -- indeed an esoteric -- conception of judicial propriety. One of the Court's supporting opinions, as elucidated by commentary, unwittingly affords a disheartening preview of the mathematical quagmire (apart from divers judicially inappropriate and elusive determinants) into which this Court today catapults the lower courts of the country without so much as adumbrating the basis for a legal calculus as a means of extrication. Even assuming the indispensable intellectual disinterestedness on the part of judges in such matters, they do not have accepted legal standards or criteria or even reliable analogies to draw upon for making judicial judgments. To charge courts with the task of accommodating the incommensurable factors of policy that underlie these mathematical puzzles is to attribute, however flatteringly, omnicompetence to judges. The Framers of the Constitution persistently rejected a proposal that embodied this assumption, and Thomas Jefferson never entertained it.
As the Justice shows elsewhere in his dissent, this kind of egalitarianism has never been part of the English or American (of whatever section of the unnecessary union) political traditions; or, we might add, since we have mentioned her above, the Roman political tradition. There has always been a disproportionate distribution of political power given to the various classes, orders, etc. of those societies in order to keep a healthy balance of power amongst them. This disproportion has shifted over the years, but the principle has never been repudiated. Even today under the current federal constitutional plan, the Electoral College and the Senate give a greatly disproportionate weight to the small States like Delaware and Rhode Island that is quite at odds with the doctrine of ‘one man, one vote’.
Good neighbors build tall fences, Prof M. E. Bradford once said. But in order to build those fences within the States between the urban and rural counties, Baker v Carr and its wretched offspring must be challenged anew (or, dare we say it, simply ignored, since they are very far from the norm found in the common law).
Our old traditions must be reclaimed and vindicated. And at this present hour, one way of doing that is to establish the plural executive.
Into the violent wagon
We all are loaded
And go a-trundling
With radio blaring
At speed immoderate;
Passed the cell phone towers
With their spikes a-bristling,
For an age humane;
To cross a river,
Up an absurdly arcing bridge,
Metal coach rumbling
Above the squirrels’ nests;
Asked the computer
Oracle, ‘Are we lost?’
The motor killed,
The doors fly open,
Arms are flung around necks -
What a pretty way
To visit distant kin.
The Holy Apostle Paul warned the elders over the Christians in Ephesus that ‘grievous wolves’ and other dishonorable men would arise in their congregation shortly after his leave-taking from them (Acts 20:29, 30). We believe that such men have come amongst us here in the South, where many of the churches have become yet another means by which to destroy Southern culture and identity, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
Displaying the American Flag