Our… idea is an idea within a beaten idea, and has been a conquered idea too for eighty years, but we have not let it slip from us. We know what we want.
Ben Robertson, Red Hills and Cotton
Here I will attempt to outline a brief introduction to Southern Reaction (SRx) for the uninitiated, and give some thoughts on where we fit with the greater Reactionary and Southern Nationalist movements. These are my views alone, and may or may not be representative of the wider group of people who identify as Southern Reactionaries. My intention is to open a wider discussion with which we can hopefully make some progress on defining Southern Reaction more clearly, as well as identifying an optimal strategy towards achieving our goals. Therefore I encourage comments, critiques, and suggestions. If anyone is interested in helping us in other ways, please contact me.
Southern Reaction is a Rightist, reactionary movement with a distinct goal, the survival and propagation of the Southern worldview (for more on the concept of the traditionalist worldview, go here). The Southern worldview is the essence of what it is to be Southern. It’s a spiritual identity which manifests itself in all kinds of ways; I’m certainly not qualified to provide a comprehensive definition of the Southern identity. For now, suffice to say “I know it when I see it,” and I trust my fellow Southerners will understand my meaning. Here we are concerned with reconstituting the political and social manifestation of the Southern worldview, or achieving a lasting, independent society characterized by that worldview. We take the term “reactionary” because we are explicitly anti-progressive and seek to identify and root out all progressive, or Leftist, influence, of which the South has historically had a non-negligible amount.
Hence, we take a critical view of the Southern tradition; but we are critical from a sense of love, a willingness to learn from mistakes, to trim the fat, so to speak. Since 1865, the Southern idea has been a defeated idea. In order to move forward, to rebuild our strength, we must ask “Why?” for our survival depends on our ability to provide an accurate answer. That said, it also depends on our ability to discern the goodness, nobility, and Godliness inherent in our tradition and worldview, by which we believe it is characterized. We have no rose-colored glasses here, for our situation is dire. For this reason, our eyes are fixed on the future, although we view the future through the lens of the past. We have a goal, an endstate which we work towards. Losing ourselves in ancestor worship, while a very Southern temptation, is one which we must strive to avoid for the sake of our descendants. Eugene Genovese said it well:
Southern conservatives, as “traditionalists,” have espoused a “tradition” to be fought for, not a “traditionalism” cast in stone and worshiped as an idol.
Southern Reaction is distinct from, though not opposed to, other Southern Nationalist and Rightist groups. We can be viewed as an exceptionally Rightist group of Southern Nationalists, or as a group of Rightists who focus our efforts on the continuation of the Southern thede and worldview. Throughout the West, Rightism is experiencing a renaissance of sorts as increasing numbers of people of all walks of life grow tired of excessive Progressivism and comprehend its ultimately destructive social tendencies. Neoreaction is one such product of the wider disenchantment; but what of the Southerners of an intellectual or philosophical bent who long for a return to the traditional Southern way of life? Southern Reaction should be the proper place for them, a group which could theoretically maximize their intellectual talents. Natural aristocracies are composed of those types of people, and we’ll most certainly need them if our struggle is to bear lasting fruit.
Southern Reaction is dedicated to keeping the Southern sociopolitical and intellectual traditions alive. We reject Lockean notions of freedom and equality, instead following the footsteps of our Rightist Southern and European forebears in adopting a hierarchical view of society as exemplified by Robert Filmer, Thomas Carlyle, and George Fitzhugh. We look to understand and build on an already strong foundation of thought and utilize it to help rescue our descendants’ future from the dystopian Progressivist agenda. Here we will use polemics, apologia, and Southern historiography to establish and understand our and our enemies’ identity, but we are not satisfied with a solely internet-based group of anonymous bloggers; we are ultimately dedicated to, and strive to achieve, real world results.
Southern Nationalists reading this are no doubt saying, “We HAVE achieved real world results!” To which I concede the point. Groups like the League of the South have done outstanding work over the past 20 years, building a viable and forward-looking organization with thousands of members, and have successfully moved off the internet and onto the streets. I applaud them, and I’m grateful for their work – indeed, they’ve done so well that I feel bad offering criticism – however I don’t believe they alone can ultimately succeed in reestablishing the Southern worldview, even if they do have an outside shot at achieving political independence for the South, because street activism and populism cannot achieve Rightist results. The critique Southern Reaction presents to Southern Nationalism is that appealing to The Will of the People is always a losing gambit in the end, because The People are incapable of making the best decisions for themselves. The masses need leadership, an aristocracy with legitimate authority, which thus engenders a hierarchical society. That is, I believe, the missing piece of the puzzle.
Going forward, my vision is that Southern Reaction would complement the efforts of Southern Nationalists by concentrating on rebuilding the Southern aristocracy, the traditional source of leadership and guiding light for the South, while Southern Nationalists continue their work of cultivating and nourishing Southern traditionalism among the wider Southern populace, steadily expanding the base and keeping the wider movement relevant. Southern Reaction is exclusive by nature, and thus better equipped to purge Leftism from its ideology and stay true to Southern Rightist ideals – to carry the torch, so that when the time comes we can rebuild our society in the Right way.
The clock on our survival as a distinct thede is running because “conservative” strategies have utterly failed to conserve the traditional society. Preserving our worldview necessitates reconstructing the fading continuum between ourselves and authentic Southern traditions, myths, and outlooks, thus we prioritize Rightist thought and organization. We may differ on particulars with our friends in the Southern Nationalist camp, but we all have the same essential goal: a return to a lasting, healthy, strong traditionalist society characterized by the Southern worldview.