Is Southern Reaction Compatible with NRx?

This is a question that arose on Twitter earlier today and it’s a good one which brings up points I’ve been wanting to mention for awhile. For the uninitiated, NRx stands for “Neoreaction”, a diverse and somewhat amorphous intellectual movement dedicated to combating the contemporary Leftist zeitgeist. It came together around the late twenty-oughts, led by blogger Mencius Moldbug who has since stepped down. You can find links to their primary sites on the left sidebar, labeled Neoreaction.

A note- when discussing Neoreaction one must necessarily make some generalizations which may be inaccurate when applied to specific members. It’s a young group and there is much disagreement on who should be included, the core beliefs and goals, etc. Also, most of those guys are much smarter than I, so it’s very possible I get something wrong here. If so, please let me know.

I am not a Neoreactionary, although they are primarily responsible for jolting me out of the Progressive viewpoint which I never knew I had. I like NRx and most of the people in it, and read as much of their output I can. Their criticisms of Leftist society in the West are often penetrating and enlightening. But ultimately Southern Reaction is not compatible with NRx.

NRx is a coalition of the thede-less. Most grew up deep in Progressive strongholds, apparently divorced from any kind of traditional way of life. They went to Progressive schools, have Progressive family, and work with Progressive people. In a way this is a strength: they recognize the inner workings of Leftism, how it gains control and how it affects people, better than anyone. They are also better situated to appeal to the type of people who are influential in the modern world. These strengths should not be discounted and they will likely serve them well. But NRx can’t help but be foreign to the traditional Southern way of life. They may be able to conceptualize some of the benefits of our worldview, but I think ultimately it can only be a means for them to achieve a non-Progressive society, and not an end. Speaking for myself at least, I’m not aiming simply for a non-Progressive society, but a truly Southern one. I would have to regard living in a Rightist New England-style society a failure.

NRx wants to save Western Civilization, and we want to save the South. Of course, these goals are not mutually exclusive; traditional Southern society is necessarily a part of Western Civilization. But as I’ve mentioned before, the South has much more of our traditional society left than most other places in the West. NRx-ers usually point out that we lost our fight against Leftism and that we are currently in a much weakened state. This is no doubt true, but every other traditional way of life in the West also lost their fight, and most have been completely swallowed up. We have a relatively strong contingent of traditional Southerners remaining, despite hundreds of years of pressure from Leftist forces. We were among the first to come under serious attack by SJWs, and we are still here when so many others are not. I think this speaks to the strengths of our way of life, and I think it demonstrates that we are in a good position to revive our worldview to some type of prominence.

Outsiders may be forgiven for mistaking NRx as a European movement. NRx is built nearly exclusively on European [EDIT: actually, Anglophonic is more appropriate – Thanks to @Outsideness] schools of thought, uses European aesthetics, and wants to bring back some kind of modernized European-style monarchy. I praise and support their utter disdain for American-style…everything, but they disregard a rich tradition of Rightism in their own country: the South. I don’t hold this against them, it wouldn’t make much sense to try adapting San Francisco or Vancouver to the Southern worldview. But it shows where NRx’s goals and loyalty lie: not with us. Luckily, Southerners are used to this, and it shouldn’t prevent working together to accomplish mutual goals.

The biggest obstacle facing NRx is the total absence of blood and heritage tying the group together – not that there’s anything they can necessarily do about this. It is a set of ideas only, and as Chateaubriand told us, “Men don’t allow themselves to be killed for their interests, they allow themselves to be killed for their passions.” Obviously no one needs to go getting themselves killed just yet but the principle of appeals to blood over appeals to the mind stands. This avenue may be closed to NRx, but it is still open to the “provincial reactionaries”, my term for reaction based in shared blood and cultural heritage over that based in ideas. As to who has the best chance to succeed, who can tell? It is a question of goals – if yours is to save Western Civilization as a whole, or if you find yourself thede-less, NRx may be the best group for you. But my goal is to save the Southern worldview, and that is why I’m a provincial, or Southern, reactionary.

I would like to see my fellow Southern reactionaries stake out our own territory, perhaps allied with but ultimately separate from NRx, grounded in the Southern way of life and taking inspiration from Southern heroes and traditions of the past. As it stands now, I look at NRx the same way I’d view a Rightist movement in France, say, or Connecticut (albeit with some added intellectual chops): I sympathize with it, support it in a general sense, wish it the best, try to learn from it. But ultimately, I won’t put my heart into it, because it is foreign to me; it will not save my people. We still have to do that ourselves.

Bloodlines

Leftism is a parasite which feeds on Rightism, with the misplaced goal of eventually killing it. But Leftism cannot survive on its own because it is essentially antisocial, and a society obviously cannot exist without social beings, links, and constructs. This is why the West is experiencing the current upheaval; the social bonds are disintegrating as the host body succumbs to the parasite. Unfortunately, one of the most essential social bonds for maintaining civilization has also been among the most heavily damaged, perhaps irreparably in the US: the conscious connection between the individual and the ethno-cultural thede. [Note- Whenever I mention ‘thede’ in this post, I’m referring to the ethno-cultural type.]

Do these thedes even exist among whites in the US today? We can name a few, at least, depending on the definition: Southerners and Mormons appear to be the two most distinct. But for the vast majority of white Americans, the only thede they might claim would be American: nebulous, to say the least, in today’s climate. It clearly doesn’t have much longer left as a viable entity, as virtually anyone who sets foot on US soil, regardless of ethno-cultural background, gains admission to the club. Y’all know I can’t resist a quote; I’ll reuse this one from Southerner John Crowe Ransom, from 1930:

“Deracination in our Western life is the strange discipline which individuals turn upon themselves, enticed by the blandishments of such fine words as Progressive, Liberal, and Forward-looking. The progressivist says in effect: Do not allow yourself to feel homesick; form no such powerful attachments that you will feel a pain in cutting them loose; prepare your spirit to be always on the move.”

What happens when huge numbers of people are quite suddenly severed from all sense of thede? We’re witnessing it today, and it will only get worse. Individualism is, well, rampant doesn’t quite capture it. The Leftist society has not only crushed the concept of thede among whites, but has effectively planted an anti-thede, anti-heritage mindset which has surely only just begun its destructive course. The modern man thinks, “I don’t want a role, I want freedom. I don’t want anyone telling me how to believe. I don’t want anyone telling me how to live my life. I want to be free in all things.” And what’s worse – he thinks he came up with this mindset on his own.

The problem is the removal of the thede (including but not limited to its religious connotations) basically leaves it up to the individual to do an enormous amount of conscious or subconscious philosophizing and theorizing to answer all of life’s big questions alone, from “How do I act in this situation?” to “Why am I alive?” Little wonder people cannot simply live their lives in contentment; no one has any idea what they are doing here. Yes, we can read the works of Moses, St. Augustine, Marcus Aurelius, but their contributions to civilization have been stolen from hundreds of millions of people. No longer can the common person rely on the titans of Western Civilization to do the heavy thinking for him – Leftism forces him to do it himself. Of course, unable to tackle these questions satisfactorily, and lacking any sort of role in life, most turn to despondency, drugs, meaningless sex, and 24/7 soma intake via mass media, merely passing the time until death, humpday the most significant ritual in which they’ll participate.

Some will say – do not worry. The thede-less will undoubtedly form brand new thedes in time, specially tailored to the modern environment they inhabit. Which is no doubt true, but at what cost? Thousands of years of work, of construction in the fullest and best sense, will have been utterly destroyed, only a shadow of a husk surviving. St. Augustine replaced by Steve Jobs, Moses by Zuckerberg. The death and dismemberment of the Western Civilization superthede is happening now, in real time; much has already been lost.

Many reading this are no doubt victims of the war on the thede. Your parents or grandparents, tempted and pushed and coerced, abandoned their traditional thede for the trappings of modernity with the best of intentions. As a result, you were born as an individual only, growing into a lonely consumer with a TV, token political power, and not much else. I can only urge you to recover what you can from your lost heritage and pass it to your progeny.

Luckily there are traditional ethno-cultural thedes left. They are weakened, shrunken, relegated to the margins, but they exist, and I think there’s some fight left in them. The one I was born into is the subject of this blog, and I mean to do what little I can to ensure its survival. For my fellow Southerners, I ask you not to abandon our thede, both for my children’s sake and yours. A break in the continuum is irreparable, a catastrophe for your bloodline and heritage whose effects will likely be felt for generations. It takes dedication to maintain a civilization; display it with a manly vigor and pass it to your children and you will have achieved far more than most today could hope to.

Rejecting Unbridled Capitalism

Money, and the drive to get more of it, is such a dominant, all-encompassing aspect of modern life in the West that I’m hesitant to even attempt to describe it for fear of egregiously underrating it. Most people today sense it, even if it’s never quite completely grasped or articulated. The phrase “money obsession” gets 54 million hits on Google. Indeed, it’s not even limited to economics. The ultracapitalist prioritization of choice above all permeates the very fabric of modern society- choice of hairdressers, of social media, of ideas, of children, of lifestyles, of thedes, of religions, of genders, even of race. All of which, it turns out, ends up padding the bottom line of some entrepreneur, abortionist or plastic surgeon. The essence of modernity is a self-reinforcing cycle of profiting from degeneracy. Ultimately, We The People have demonstrated that we’re willing to sell everything, even that which is priceless, in the pursuit of money and choice.

I’ve often thought, while reading and thinking about the history of the South, that Southerners are exceptionally good at being poor. By this I mean that within the Southern way of life, money is relegated almost to an afterthought, a necessary evil for which you give the requisite time and no more. Anyone who’s grown up or spent any real time in a traditional Southern community has no doubt witnessed the phenomenon of the family of many children and little means, living in a humble house or cabin, who are nonetheless exceptionally content with their station in life, satisfied to be simply alive and well. Often they have very little choice in any of it, yet this seems to bother them not at all. Perhaps this phenomenon is only a result of decades of practice which Southerners have had at being poor, but it’s my belief that it is a feature characteristic of the Southern way of life, though it’s not limited to Southerners. Parallel scenarios come to mind, such as accounts of white captives raised with American Indian tribes who stoutly refused to go back to white civilization once recaptured.

Most who are unfamiliar with these traditional lifestyles seem to view the modern obsession with money as absolutely necessary to maintaining a livable existence. The only other option, they say, is communism, and we can all agree we don’t want that. Is this belief well-grounded? I’ll concede that it’s at least possible – I am nowhere near properly versed enough in the school of economics to conclusively prove the binary view wrong. But I will say that the traditional Southern way of life, and its disdain for dollar-chasing, is alive and well despite being surrounded by the cultural trappings of modernity, and I think this is strong evidence that it is indeed possible to survive and thrive in a non-communist and non-ultracapitalist society today. I believe ultracapitalism, far from being an unavoidable consequence of a non-totalitarian economic system, is simply another manifestation of Leftism and can therefore be repressed in a proper Rightist society.

While Adam Smith-style capitalism in the antebellum US thrived, to say the least, in the egalitarian North, it was restrained from the start in the South. One reason for this is that the planter class, exhibiting good judgement as the leaders of their society, preached the evils inherent in uninhibited capitalism. Here we call on John Taylor of Caroline:

“The whole world proves that there is no fellowship between overflowing treasuries and the happiness of the people; and that there is an invariable concurrency between such treasuries and their oppression.”

Aristocrat and plantation owner George Fitzhugh was perhaps the strongest critic of capitalism the South produced. Here is an excerpt from his Sociology of the South:

“In free society none but the selfish virtues are in repute, because none other help a man in the race of competition. In such society virtue loses all her loveliness, because of her selfish aims. Good men and bad men have the same end in view: self-promotion, self-elevation. The good man is prudent, cautious, and cunning of fence; he knows well, the arts (the virtues, if you please) which enable him to advance his fortunes at the expense of those with whom he deals; he does not “cut too deep”; he does not cheat and swindle, he only makes good bargains and excellent profits. He gets more subjects by this course; everybody comes to him to be bled. He bides his time; takes advantage of the follies, the improvidence and vices of others, and makes his fortune out of the follies and weaknesses of his fellow-men. The bad man is rash, hasty, unskilful and impolitic. He is equally selfish, but not half so prudent and cunning. Selfishness is almost the only motive of human conduct in free society, where every man is taught that it is his first duty to change and better his pecuniary situation…

A beautiful system of ethics this, that places all mankind in antagonistic positions, and puts all society at war.”

Another reason capitalism was repressed was the relatively strong hierarchical social divisions. The working classes had little social mobility due to the restrictions of the agrarian lifestyle, lack of education opportunities, and lack of political power. Earning power being thus limited, people learned to simply make the most of what they had. Cultural mores also discouraged overbearing efforts to rise above one’s class, viewed as disrespecting one’s family by “getting above your raisin’.”

Here we see strong evidence of the benefits of traditionalist, hierarchical society. The aristocracy, being tied to the common people, acted as leaders, rejecting the evils of unbridled capitalism for the good of the whole, although they would very likely have stood to gain monetarily from transitioning to Northern-style wage slavery. Also, restrictions placed on the working class against things which are taken as unqualified goods today, like social mobility and universal education, ultimately resulted in a stronger and more fulfilled society. Where opportunity, or choice, did not exist, the commoner made the best of his situation, the result being the traditional Southern worldview which still exists nearly 200 years later and still produces a happier, more satisfied person than modernity could hope to.

Tradition, hierarchy, and agrarianism provide the requisite checks to capitalism. Economics is subordinated to social and cultural values. The modern world shows us what happens when this relationship is inverted:

FT_GDP_Scatterplot

I think this graph is more useful than regular happiness surveys, because asking a person if they are happy with their life invites philosophical contemplation of a person’s current station in life against a backdrop of modern societal measures of merit. Asking about a person’s day is a better gauge of overall contentment because it is more precise. We see that the more modernized a country becomes, the fewer had good days. Could there be a reason, other than the corrosive effects of modernity? I can’t come up with one. The position of Japan suggests that this is not just a Western problem. We also see that the US is an outlier. I attribute this to the aforementioned relatively large contingent of people still practicing the traditional lifestyle, to include Southerners.

Today, money is an idol to most and a god to many. This problem is part and parcel to the rest of the problems brought on by Leftism. Industrialism destroys agrarianism, severing the people’s connection to the land, encouraging individualism. Individualism destroys the patriarchal family, freeing people to forsake family for the opportunity of fortune. Equality destroys hierarchy, eliminating the controls on dollar-chasing and encouraging the measuring of a man’s merit by the size his wallet. Feminism gives women the ability to press their husbands into wage slavery so the wife can gain in status and possessions.

Today the Southern worldview is marginalized and ignored, because they have been beaten in the marketplace of ideas. Is this a vindication of the marketplace, or the idea? Modernized people, judging the idea to produce a backward and miserly people would answer the former. And yet, which group is the happier, the more contented with life? In short, which group has transcended petty materialistic concerns? The answer is obvious, and provides us with valuable insight on how we may build a future Rightist society.

The main question we face is: Can the Wealth of Nations genie be put back in the bottle? I believe so. I’d like to hope so. I do know that we can help ourselves by abolishing undue prioritization of materialism in our own lives. Work for what you need to be reasonably comfortable; no more, no less. Respect your lineage by accepting and embracing your station in life. Move to a small community where you can more easily put traditionalist principles into practice. Turn down the raise and the extra 10 hours a week if it takes away from your home life. In short, subordinate money to the higher virtues of life. I know, easier said than done. But we’re not here to take things easy. Make the hard choices and you will reap the rewards.

In Defense of Crackers

“In order to be free, we must be respected: and to this end we must defend our good name.”

Robert Lewis Dabney

If you hang around here long enough, you’ll often read me defend today’s traditional Southerners, a marginalized and shrinking group they may be. I was pleased to hear this sentiment expressed in the Neoreactionary podcast Ascending the Tower: Episode 1, produced by the Hestia Society. John Joel Glanton, a Tennessean and writer for Social Matter, brought up some excellent points about contemporary Southern culture. I’ll quote a part of their exchange, which begins around the 10:00 mark:

Nick B. Steves: Basically, I’m a culturally conservative Christian, have been all my life. This is something I’ve come to call a natural reactionary, and I do find that a lot of Southern conservatives have an issue with Neoreaction, sometimes it seems like almost an allergy. Can you get a little bit behind that mindset that causes that, that Southerners and Neoreactionaries you’d think would be on the same side on a lot of issues, and yet there’s enormous hostility.

John Glanton: I think a lot of what gets dismissed as anti-intellectualism in the South is kind of a healthy skepticism of academia, and I think a lot of that is the same sort of instinct that makes folks suspicious of, you know, if I go off to the internet or the great beyond and come back calling myself a monarchist neoreactionary, well people are going to be a little skeptical of that, just like if I went off to college and I came back and said, “Now I’m an intersectional transfeminist” or something. You call it an allergy, and I don’t think that’s incorrect, its kind of a defensive mechanism, you’re suspicious of that sort of discourse because that discourse is consistently hostile to you. That’s the reason why I’m not really in a hurry to call myself a neoreactionary or a reactionary or a traditionalist, I’ll just call myself a conservative or a Southern conservative. Those are my folks and they’re kind of rightly and justifiably suspicious of people that ‘talk fancy.’

Mr. Glanton brings up something I’ve touched on in the past, namely that the traditional Southern culture is alive and possesses strong inherent prejudices against outside influences. This attitude is a strength because it makes us naturally resistant to manifestations of Leftism, while it can be a weakness because it ensures we are relegated to irrelevance, at least in the contemporary milieu.

It’s undeniable that a certain amount of intellectual philosophy will be necessary when the time comes to overturn the current Leftist establishment and rebuild a society grounded in traditionalist principles. But we should be vigilant to ensure we do not stray from our principles while theorizing and analyzing, something that some in the reactosphere have been wont to do. As George Fitzhugh put it in 1854:

“Philosophy is always wrong and instinct and common sense always right, because philosophy is unobservant and reasons from narrow and insufficient premises, whilst common sense sees and observes all things, giving them their due weight, comes to just conclusions, but being busied about practical every day matters, has never learned the process of abstraction, has never learned how to look into the operations of its mind and see how it has come to its conclusions. It always judges rightly, but reasons wrong.”

The lesson here is to not easily dismiss the seemingly ignorant prejudices of the common folks. As Rightists, we should remember that we are ultimately their representatives, not in the democratic sense, but in the custodial sense. We work on the premise that reinstating a traditional society is ultimately beneficial for (nearly) all the people of our respective thedes. Many in the reactosphere, particularly those with no real thede to defend, seem to get caught up in the idea that they are coming up with a “new school of thought,” when in reality we are simply trying to breathe new life into the oldest school of thought there is. We are not here to be edgy, original, or cool. We are not here to become the new aristocracy or appoint a monarch for the sake of having a monarchy. We do what we do for God and the homefolks. Those are our ends. Everything else is a means.

The white traditional South is my thede. We are distinct from every other group of people on the planet, and therefore a civil code, economic system or government structure perfectly fitted for Massachusetts or Nigeria will undoubtedly be ill suited for us. We have a base of people still entrenched in the traditional mindset, and we have a centuries-old (mostly) Rightist political tradition. These make our position a relatively strong one. What we lack is a real aristocracy which is tied to the people; a cadre of explicitly Southern, and explicitly Rightist, leaders. Conservatism Inc. poaches just about everyone we produce who cares about politics, ultimately diverting our intellectual energies towards helping those who would destroy us for good.

I have posted my humble plan for digging ourselves out of this hole and preserving our way of life. There are those who say this is an impossible task, that our time has passed and we are merely counting days until we are relegated to the historical dustbin. I don’t deny it; indeed, I concede that it is likely. But that doesn’t absolve us from anything – worthiness of defense always supersedes odds of success.

The Pioneering Spirit and Established Society

If you haven’t noticed, I find that viewing the struggle between traditional and modern society through the lens of the established versus the pioneering spirit to be a useful exercise which can highlight commonly lost or forgotten aspects of the conflict. Here I will try to expound a little further on the concept of established society, which as far as I know was first introduced by John Crowe Ransom in his excellent 1930 essay Reconstructed but Unregenerate (compiled in the Southern agrarian manifesto I’ll Take My Stand). I’ll start with Mr. Ransom himself:

“I have in mind here the core of unadulterated Europeanism, with is self-sufficient, backward-looking, intensely provincial communities. The human life of English provinces long ago came to terms with nature, fixed its roots somewhere in the spaces between the rocks and in the shade of the trees, founded its comfortable institutions, secured its modest prosperity-and then willed the whole in perpetuity to the generations which should come after, in the ingenuous confidence that it would afford them all the essential human satisfactions. For it is the character of a seasoned provincial life that it is realistic, or successfully adapted to its natural environment, and that as a consequence it is stable, or hereditable. But it is the character of our urbanized, anti-provincial, progressive, and mobile American life that it is in a condition of eternal flux. Affections, and long memories, attach to the ancient bowers of life in the provinces; but they will not attach to what is always changing.”

Ransom posits that when the New World was settled, the Virginia and Carolina colonists built their new culture based on European cultural principles, transitioning from a pioneering society to an established society as soon as it was practicable. English, Scottish, and Irish, they recognized the quality of the land for agrarianism and tailored society towards achieving a peaceful balance with nature, taking cues from the homely English farming communities from which they came. Ransom goes on to say:

“It is the European intention to live materially along the inherited line of least resistance, in order to put the surplus of energy into the free life of the mind…

In most societies man has adapted himself to environment with plenty of intelligence to secure easily his material necessities from the graceful bounty of nature. And then, ordinarily, he concludes a truce with nature, and he and nature seem to live on terms of mutual respect and amity, and his loving arts, religions, and philosophies come spontaneously into being: these are the blessings of peace.”

As history shows, the early Southern colonists were quite successful. By the time the War came, the South was in many ways more Southern than ever before, as pressure from the North hardened and insulated the fledgling nation rather than splintering it. Economically, the 1860 South ranked fourth in the world despite an almost anti-capitalist economic system. The South alone produced the majority, and the best, of the early US political leadership. Serious internal turmoil was almost nonexistent. Perhaps the War was the best testament to the strength of Southern society, as in a matter of months a population of six million built a government and fed and mobilized an army in the midst of a powerful blockade; and in a exceptionally violent struggle against a nation of 22 million impressed the world with the sacrifices its soldiers and civilians made in the name of their way of life.

Of course, up North things turned out a little differently. Mr. Ransom again:

“But the latter-day societies have been seized-none quite so violently as our American one- with the strange idea that the human destiny is not to secure an honorable peace with nature, but to wage an unrelenting war on nature. Men, therefore, determine to conquer nature to a degree which is quite beyond reason so far as specific human advantage is concerned, and which enslaves them to toil and turnover. Man is boastfully declared to be a natural scientist essentially, whose strength is capable of crushing and making over to his own desires the brute materiality which is nature; but in his infinite contention with this materiality he is really capitulating to it. His engines transform the face of nature – a little – but when they have been perfected, he must invent new engines that will perform even more heroically.”

To put it plainly, the pioneering spirit was not simply used and then put away in the North. It was declared to be an end in itself, instead of only a means to an established society. Any good Rightist should be able to recognize this plant – or at least the seed which produces it:

“Deracination in our Western life is the strange discipline which individuals turn upon themselves, enticed by the blandishments of such fine words as Progressive, Liberal, and Forward-looking. The progressivist says in effect: Do not allow yourself to feel homesick; form no such powerful attachments that you will feel a pain in cutting them loose; prepare your spirit to be always on the move. According to this gospel, there is no rest for the weary, not even in heaven.”

We know now, as Mr. Ransom postulated, that the everlasting pioneering society ends up simultaneously chasing its own tail while grinding down any opposition in its path. Leftism cannot flourish without the pioneering spirit. Progressives need a mobilized populace to accomplish their aim of destroying the bonds that hold societies together. They introduce ethnic and cultural diversity, class warfare, and give political power to as many as possible. They take away a person’s role and give him a purpose. A great mass of people who feel they have a purpose can then be gently “guided” to charge any hill the puppet master wishes. Very few people in America today can even fathom what living in an established society is like, because the pioneer spirit has been in control of mainstream American society in full since 1865. Even the few pockets of the established culture left must exist as ever-diminishing holdouts, isolated and constantly under siege.

Clearly, the pioneering spirit isn’t bad in and of itself. Pioneers are necessary to explore and settle new areas, overcome obstacles, and defeat enemies. Indeed, those of us on the Right should feel free to consider ourselves pioneers; we are pioneering with a specific end goal in mind, pioneering as a means, rather than as an end. Herein lies the difference between Rightist and Leftist positive action. To protect ourselves from crossing this line, we turn to Julius Evola’s concept of the “worldview”:

“In every civilization but the modern one, it was a ‘worldview’ and not a ‘culture’ that permeated the various strata of society; where culture and conceptual thought were present, they never enjoyed primacy, for their function was as simple expressive means and organs in service of the worldview…

‘Culture’ in the modern sense ceases to be a danger only when those who deal with it already have a worldview. Only then will an active relationship toward it be possible, because one will already have an inner form enabling him to discern confidently what may be assimilated and what should be rejected—more or less as happens in all the differentiated processes of organic assimilation.” [Emphasis added.]

In crushing the Southern agrarian worldview, the Yankee pioneering spirit removed the major obstacle preventing its spread into the South, and thus we see more clearly the necessary antidote. We can work either to replace the current pioneering culture with our deposed but surviving worldview, which is uniquely suited to our people and our land; or come up with an entirely new worldview and somehow effectively promulgate it among a people renowned for being resistant to new ideas. I believe the former is our only viable option for the survival of our people.

Reviving Southern Agrarianism Pt. 2

“The Earth is good, bountifully sends food and increase; if man’s unwisdom did not intervene and forbid.” – Thomas Carlyle

In my last post I outlined how the Southern identity is necessarily agrarian, and how our previously established society was succumbing to Yankee pioneering spirit. Now I will discuss some ideas I have for strengthening our agrarian spirit today, and hopefully increasing its lifespan beyond that of our Leftist society.

We are currently much too marginalized to affect any large-scale societal change, certainly not in the Right direction. I should hope that this fact is blatantly obvious. Some would resort to Leftist tactics such as activism to try to increase our influence, but down this road lies failure; Leftism is a stubborn thing, and once introduced tends to expand uncontrollably. Regardless, any Rightist movement that becomes even a whisper of a threat to the current establishment would almost certainly be crushed or subverted. Here’s my plan, humbly submitted for your approval:

Step One: Accept Responsibility

The sickness of modern society encourages placing 100% of any blame on your opponents, while declaring yourself or your group innocent. Resist this temptation; acknowledge that we are part of the problem. Even the oldest of us have not escaped the destructive influence of modernity and its legion of manifestations. Not so! says you. Perhaps, but likely not. Nowadays, if you subscribe to satellite TV, surf Youtube occasionally, or whatever, you are contributing in a small way to the problem of modernity. I’m not asking you to become a Luddite, but accepting responsibility for our actions is the first step to overcoming any Leftist obstacle. Continue to watch TV, but once you are aware of its influence, you will watch it a little more carefully. Acknowledging the logs in our own eyes frees us to more carefully consider our future actions.

Step Two: Work on Yourself

Now that we are looking at ourselves in a critical manner, we can more easily determine where we, as individuals, are going wrong. Work and pray to overcome your deficiencies, always holding yourself to the highest standard. We are all sinners, and none can hope to live perfectly; the striving is what matters here. We are laying a strong foundation from which we can build a lasting structure, though this step should never end. To stop striving towards perfection is to start sliding towards destruction.

Step Three: Consider your Sphere of Influence

If you’re doing Step Two correctly, you’ll never be completely satisfied with yourself, though eventually you will have to exert influence on your fellow man if you want to save him. Christians withdrawing into themselves is part of the reason why society is in the state it’s in. Work within your sphere of influence, and disdain straying outside of it. Possibly that sphere includes yourself only. Do not despair; holding yourself to a higher standard will likely attract others to your worldview in a short time. More likely, you have a family; they are included in your sphere, especially if you are a man. As a husband and father, you should be the undisputed leader of your household. Perhaps you are a natural leader with many people around you who value what you have to say. Don’t be afraid to use your ability to influence others; most people anywhere are sheep, needing and desiring to be led for their best interests. The problem arises when you begin to sacrifice principles in order to artificially increase your sphere of influence, a tried and true Leftist tactic. Recognize what you can control, and control it. Recognize what you cannot control, and leave it be. It really is that simple.

Step Four: Build

My apologies, I’ve somehow let this thing turn into a How To Fight Leftism 101 seminar. But the problem of agrarianism vs industrialism, tradition vs modernity is really the same as Rightism vs Leftism. The solution is the same in all cases: withdraw yourself and build anew. Now to the building part.

To rebuild, or reclaim, the established society (at least in the South) necessitates a return to agrarianism, I think. Obviously I don’t mean tear down all the factories and turn the South into a giant farm, although I do think factory building is ultimately harmful. You can be employed anywhere, really, and retain the agrarian mindset (some jobs make it harder). Remember, we’re taking baby steps: nurturing what’s left of the Southern identity so that it will still be alive when our great-grandchildren come along. Also, these are not short-term goals, any single one may take decades to accomplish. Be prudent, be patient.

Step Four Point One: Expand Your Sphere

If you’re single, get a family. If you are a man with a family, lead them, and work to become a leader in your community. If you are a follower, find a good leader who shares your worldview. If you’re a woman with a family, serve your husband dutifully, and use any influence you have with other women to encourage them to do the same.

Step Four Point Two: Find Your Roots

If you have ancestry in the South, I would recommend returning to the area they are from if you’ve left. For me, knowing that my great-great-great-grandfather is buried a scant few miles from my house fosters a nearly spiritual link with the land and the people. I really can’t imagine moving to another area permanently. Knowing that the people that surround you are your people is a feeling that you really can’t get anywhere else. Put aside petty quarrels with neighbors or family members that may make you hesitant to return. We’re working for our descendants here, and making their ancestral home a suburb of Fresno isn’t doing them any favors.

Step Four Point Three: Build a Dynasty

In established and agrarian societies, there is really no such thing as an individual. Everyone is a son, a brother, or a cousin; one’s identity is inherently wrapped up in the family’s. Foster this attitude within your sphere of influence, but especially within your family. I’ve not raised kids yet, so I’m not going to embarrass myself by going into detail here. Please consider it a humble suggestion.

Strong, rooted families are absolutely essential to the agrarian lifestyle. Each person is born to a station, a set of responsibilities that must be adhered to if the established society is to be maintained. Concepts of equality and fairness should be suppressed; they are soft mindsets, encouraging the working classes to sloth and the aristocracy to greed and meanness. Own your station in life and encourage others within your sphere to do the same. If you’re going to be a dirt farmer or factory worker, be the best one you can be and by doing so you are building an intangible monument to agrarian principles which you can pass to your children and their children.

Step Four Point Four: Be Established

The established society is the peaceful society. We can’t modify the current mess into an established society, we have to build it. Be peaceful. Work to earn the amount of money that corresponds with your station in life; no more, no less. Exerting yourself trying to “get above your raisin‘” is a manifestation of the pioneering spirit and is courting disaster. Go to church, plant a garden. Be respectful and forgiving. If you can follow no other step, follow this one, because this is really what it all boils down to. To preserve the agrarian ideal means to live it. Living it properly is really the best testimonial to our way of life that you can possibly give to the people around you.

Thanks for reading. I’ll leave off with a final quote from the great Rev. Robert Lewis Dabney:

“Hence it has usually been found, in the history of subjugated nations, that they receive at the hands of their conquerors this crowning woe – a depraved, cringing, and cowardly spirit. The wisest, kindest, most patriotic thing which any man can do for his country, amidst such calamities, is to aid in preserving and reinstating the tottering principles of his countrymen; to teach them, while they give place to inexorable force, to abate nothing of righteous convictions and of self-respect.”

For more information on the particulars of living the agrarian lifestyle:

http://www.southernagrarian.com/
http://www.deanabbott.com/category/food/ (h/t @rebelpapist)
http://gardenandgun.com/
http://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/topics/southern-culture/

Reviving Southern Agrarianism Pt. 1

30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.

– Proverbs 24:30-32, KJV

Nostalgia is a feeling which is nowadays universally despised and dismissed as childish and sentimental, a brief bout of irrationality which is better to simply overcome and forget about. I disagree with this assertion. It is my belief that nostalgia can act as an intuition, one’s mind intoning that something important to the soul has been lost. When experienced by an entire thede, it may be critical to try and determine what has been lost and, if possible, make an effort to regain it.

A foreigner living in America today may be forgiven for thinking that nostalgia is a primarily Southern phenomenon. One writer says “…nostalgia is arguably
the most prevalent paradigm of current southern poetics, even as
much post-World War II verse works in contrast to a pathos-laden view
of the past.” Nostalgia seems almost an integral part of Southern identity today; books on the subject could fill libraries. Can you imagine a truly Southern person who is satisfied with the modern world, who doesn’t long for bygone times? If you can, great, but I’ve yet to meet him. Embracing modernity necessarily jettisons the Southern identity.

So nostalgia is a feeling not easily dismissed, and Southerners experience much more than our fair share of it. Now our task becomes to figure out what important thing has been lost, and see what can be done about getting it back. I assert that modernity has separated us from our agrarian essence, and retaining our Southern identity depends on reviving agrarianism to the furthest extent possible

From the start, agrarianism was at the core of the Southern worldview and way of life, from which most or all distinctly Southern traits stemmed. As Frank Lawrence Owsley told us in 1930:

“The fundamental and passionate ideal for which the South stood and fell was the ideal of an agrarian society. All else, good and bad, revolved around this ideal… Thoughts, words, ideas, concepts, life itself, grew from the soil.”

With the notable exception of George Fitzhugh, whose views could certainly be described as eccentric, nearly every single Southern writer or thinker pays homage to the Southern agrarian tradition or its manifestations. To be Southern was to be agrarian, even if you didn’t own or work a farm yourself, as evidenced by John Crowe Ransom’s depiction of the Southern character:

“The [antebellum Southern] establishment had a sufficient economic base, it was meant to be stable rather than provisional, it had got beyond the pioneering stage, it provided leisure, and its benefits were already being enjoyed. It may as well be admitted that Southern society was not an institution of very showy elegance, for the so-called aristocrats were mostly home-made and countrified… And even the squires, and the other classes, too, did not define themselves too strictly. They were loosely graduated social orders, not fixed as in Europe. Their relations were personal and friendly.”

Here and elsewhere in the same essay, Ransom outlines the benefits of living in an established society grounded in agrarianism, as opposed to a pioneering society grounded in an ongoing and ever-escalating war on Nature. “The American Spirit” is always referred to as a pioneering spirit, and the history of the United States vividly displays the hidden costs therein. Yes, you may receive a great deal of temporary benefits for a time by warring on Nature, but Nature always comes back to collect the bill. That is why it is Leftist; it can only lead to eventual destruction if followed to its logical end.

Opposite to the pioneering society is established society, which becomes so by making peace with Nature. An established society, which is necessarily a traditionalist society, prioritizes leisure over money and is in no great hurry to change itself. It takes what it needs from Nature to live comfortably and no more, devoting any excess time to leisurely pursuits and personal growth. This type of society fosters an elevation of the human condition for its members. Julius Evola touches on this briefly:

“The [traditionalist] worldview may find clearer expression in a man with no formal education than in a writer, just as it may be more strongly represented in a soldier, an aristocrat, or a farmer who is faithful to the earth than in the bourgeois intellectual, the typical ‘professor,’ or the journalist.”

To be agrarian is to be tied to the land and to respect Nature. To be industrial is to become a cog, no longer a person, but instead a set of hands to be hired for a pittance. To be agrarian is to be responsible for life, instead of simply a bottom line or quota. Leftism cannot live long on a farm, but flourishes downtown. Wherever industrialism goes, so goes bizarre and twisted depictions of humanity and its true relation with Nature.

As I said earlier this week, the South still has a relatively strong agrarian contingent practicing Rightist principles. But because our ancestors lost their fight against industrialism and modernism, we have inherited a society largely stripped of its agrarian character, and so Southern identity is destined to continue to weaken for the foreseeable future. If it cannot outlast the Leftist disease in America, it must eventually be snuffed out completely.

We, as Southern Traditionalists, cannot hope to gain enough power to change the direction of our society in the contemporary milieu without risking Leftist subversion, and so we must scale back our expectations and goals. To preserve our way of life, focus on preserving it in the areas that you can control: yourself, your family, and your sphere of influence. My next article will go into more depth on some ways you can implement agrarian ideas today.