Happy Easter

Gospel of John:

19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.

19:2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns,
and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,

19:3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews!
and they smote him with their hands.

19:4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them,
Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.

19:5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe.
And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!

19:6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him,
they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.
Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.

19:7 The Jews answered him,
We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

19:8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;

19:9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou?
But Jesus gave him no answer.

19:10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me?
knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?

19:11 Jesus answered,
Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above:
therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

19:12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him:
but the Jews cried out, saying,
If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend:
whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.

19:13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down
in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.

19:14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour:
and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

19:15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him.
Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King?
The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

19:16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.
And they took Jesus, and led him away.

19:17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called
the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

19:18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him,
on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

19:19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross.

19:20 This title then read many of the Jews:
for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city:
and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

19:21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate,
Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.

19:22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments,
and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat:
now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

19:24 They said therefore among themselves,
Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be:
that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith,
They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots.
These things therefore the soldiers did.

19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister,
Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved,
he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

19:27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!
And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished,
that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

19:29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar:
and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.

19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished:
and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation,
that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day,
(for that sabbath day was an high day,)
besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

19:32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first,
and of the other which was crucified with him.

19:33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:

19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side,
and forthwith came there out blood and water.

19:35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true:
and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

19:36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled,
A bone of him shall not be broken.

19:37 And again another scripture saith,
They shall look on him whom they pierced.

19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews,
besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave.
He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night,
and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

19:40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices,
as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

19:41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden;
and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

19:42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day;
for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark,
unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

20:2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter,
and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them,
They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

20:3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

20:4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

20:5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.

20:6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him,
and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

20:7 And the napkin, that was about his head,
not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

20:8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

20:9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

20:10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

20:11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping:
and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

20:12 And seeth two angels in white sitting,
the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

20:13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?
She saith unto them,
Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him.

20:14 And when she had thus said,
she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

20:15 Jesus saith unto her,
Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?
She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him,
Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary.
She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

20:17 Jesus saith unto her,
Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father:
but go to my brethren, and say unto them,
I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD,
and that he had spoken these things unto her.

20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week,
when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews,
came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

20:20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side.
Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.

20:21 Then said Jesus to them again,
Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them,
and saith unto them,
Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 

20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them;
and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

20:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

20:25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD.
But he said unto them,
Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger
into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them:
then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

20:27 Then saith he to Thomas,
Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands;
and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side:
and be not faithless, but believing.

20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.

20:29 Jesus saith unto him,
Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed:
blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

20:30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples,
which are not written in this book:

20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;
and that believing ye might have life through his name.


Excerpt- Genovese on Democracy and Natural Rights in the Antebellum South

The following is from Eugene Genovese’s 1994 book The Southern Tradition: The Achievement and Limitations of an American Conservatism, pp. 51-53. Genovese reviews prevalent opinions on democracy and republicanism among antebellum Southern thinkers. It highlights the assertion I have made that the South became generally more Rightist between the time of Jefferson and secession, slowly waking up to the fact that joining the Union in 1789 had been a mistake and dealing with the resultant dissonance holding the opposing views caused in the meantime. Highlighted passages bolded by me.

From Jefferson’s presidency to Jackson’s and on to secession, disillusionment with democracy and universal manhood suffrage rose steadily among conservatives both North and South. Electoral realities forced dissidents to restrict themselves to private or only semipublic expression, but the antidemocratic undercurrent nonetheless built steadily. G. W. Featherstonhaugh reported Calhoun as saying that the federal government worked well until northern demagogues set universal suffrage and other political contrivances in motion. In the 1850s, James Stirling found that “most intelligent Americans I have met [agree] that the plague of this country is her universal suffrage.” Yet he noted that southerners especially mix up practical questions with speculations on the principles of society. Southern principles “smack strongly of the old aristocratic leaven; and though in public politics republican equality is grudgingly admitted, in private the Southerner expresses unmeasured disdain for his Yankee brethren.”

Old Jeffersonians like Thomas Cooper and William Branch Giles joined prominent old Federalists and Whigs in the backlash. Cooper, who had been a radical in Britain and then been convicted for violation of the Alien and Sedition Acts, gave up on universal suffrage before he arrived in South Carolina. Giles, speaking at Virginia’s constitutional convention in 1829-1830, denounced universal suffrage as the gateway to demoralization and corruption. Among the Whigs, George Badger of North Carolina restrained himself in public but privately expressed disgust and contempt for “modern democracy.” A steadily growing number of prominent southerners was declaring democracy itself a failure. Even John Taylor had assailed direct democracy: “Turbulence, instability, injustice, suspicion, ingratitude, and excess of gratitude, are among the evil moral qualities, which this form of government has a tendency to excite.” He supported frequent elections because he thought they would limit democracy through the imposition of republican checks.

Calhoun pulled the threads together at the end of his life in his Disquisition on Government and Discourse on the Constitution, in which he sought to preserve a restricted egalitarianism and minimal democracy within a conservative republican framework. Following Aristotle, he insisted that men are born in society with different talents, capacities, and situations and neither have been nor can be viewed as autonomous individuals. Men, “instead of being born free and equal, are born subject, not only to parental authority, but to the laws and institutions of the country were born and under whose protection they draw their first breath.” In the Discourse he wrote, “Ours is a democratic, federal republic. It is democratic, in contradistinction to aristocracy and monarchy. It excludes classes, orders, and all artificial distinctions.” It is democratic in resting upon “the great cardinal maxim that the people are the source of all power.” It is republican because the people do not surrender power; if they did, the government would no longer be democratic. Rather, they delegate power consitutionally. In Hobbesian accents, he declared that sovereignty is indivisible, and, therefore, a sovereignty divided between the states and the federal government could not be sustained. The people alone are sovereign. The federal and state governments stand in relation to each other with respect not to their functions but to their powers, with each paramount in its own sphere.

Without blushing, Calhoun could speak of the sovereignty and equality of “the people” because his basic concepts had nothing to do with the radical egalitarianism of Rousseau, much less of a Robespierre, or even of a Jefferson in his more enthusiastic moments. Calhoun normally made careful distinctions, but he sometimes risked ambiguous formulations. He recognized natural rights when it suited him but in such a way as to justify the suspicion that his definition reduced them to one of those abstractions he and his colleagues constantly protested against. To put it another way, he in fact denied the several doctrines of natural rights in vogue at the time. Political rights, he insisted, derive from the collective will of society and are not natural. In an essay on the Dorr rebellion he explained: “When political and not natural rights are the subject, the people, as has been stated, are regarded as constituting a body politic, or State; and not merely as so many individuals. It is only when so regarded, that they possess any political rights.”

The Roots of Modern Southern Leftism, Pt. 2: The New South

Part One here.

The other day I came across this sad piece from the online publication Bitter Southerner. Read their About page. Good grief. It struck me that these are just the latest manifestations of the nearly century-and-a-half old New South movement, which has sought since its inception to modernize and progressivize the South. What started as well-meaning but misguided efforts to lift the South out of postwar poverty has morphed, quite inexorably, into a full-fledged Leftist effort to stamp out what little remains of the Southern Tradition, to reduce the South to nothing more than a place with warm weather and a few culinary peculiarities. The above piece, entitled “Dixie is Dead” clearly demonstrates the culmination of this movement – something Rightist Southerners have predicted all along. I thought it might be beneficial to return to my “Roots of Southern Leftism” series to take a look at how this movement first impressed itself on the Southern psyche.

On the heels of the destructive War Between the States and the fight to overthrow Reconstruction, the crushed and dying aristocracy could not overcome the huge economic challenges. Poverty and despair were the rule of the day in the South. C. Vann Woodward tells us that in 1880 the per capita wealth in the South amounted to only 27% that of the Northeastern states. One Yankee walking the streets of New Orleans remarked, “These faces, these faces. One sees them everywhere; on the street; at the theatre; in the salon; in the cars; and pauses for a moment, struck with the impression of entire despair.” This poverty seemingly demanded a reorientation – some direction, any direction, forward out of humiliating defeat and destitution. The essentially Progressive “New South” movement filled the vacuum in short order.

Orator and journalist Henry Grady represented the earliest champion of the New South. New South proponents tended to emphasize the bright new possibilities offered by the breakdown of the aristocratical hegemony; in an 1886 speech, Grady said, “There was a South of slavery and secession – that South is dead. There is now a South of union and freedom – that South, thank God, is living, breathing, and growing every hour.” He urged the South to turn away from the agrarian roots which provided the foundation of the Southern civilisational model and turn towards industry; his leadership provided the impetus for Georgia’s iron production to quadruple between 1880 and 1887 and coal production to quintuple between 1870 and 1887 [source].

Still, the earliest New Southerners like Grady weren’t very much different from the aging apologists and Southern conservatives. In 1890, he wrote, “Anarchy, socialism – that leveling spirit that defies government and denies God – has no hold upon the South.” In The Southern Tradition at Bay, Richard Weaver writes,

Speaking at Augusta, Georgia, [Grady] urged his listeners to invite only such as would come “to confirm and not to estrange, the simple faith in which we have been reared, and which we should transmit unsullied to our children.” He was glad that the homogenous character of the South “has left us the straight and simple faith of our fathers, untainted by heresy and unweakened by speculation.”… Apart from the disavowal of sectionalism, which was certainly nothing new in 1886, Grady thus stands much nearer to the apologists than to the liberals and reformers; and his disposition to see the future of the South in some kind of sublimated reunion with the nation should not be allowed to obscure his belief that the section offered “the last hope of saving the old fashion in our religious and political government.”

Despite his words, Grady is today accurately reckoned as the forerunner to the New South movement. He ultimately sought to conform the Southern tradition, however slightly, to the modern world, economically and ideologically if not socially, and thus blazed the trail over which more liberal elements would soon trod. Grady died in 1889, only months before this next wave came on the scene.

April 1890 saw the publication of Why the Solid South? or Reconstruction and its Results, written by fourteen spokesmen to include Zebulon Vance, Robert Stiles, and Bernard J. Sage. Dedicated specifically to “the business men of the North,” it was primarily designed to win over Northern industry while simultaneously ward off any future Northern attempts to influence the Southern political realm.  Weaver writes,

“This book is more truly a document of the New South than the speeches of Grady, for whatever else may be said of the work, it was free from the old Southern rallying cries, and it was designed frankly to appeal to the self-interest of a business class. The authors were men who had been in the thick of the affairs they described, and they believed that they could win their case by making Northern business men, whose pecuniary stake in the South was growing, realize what Reconstruction had cost in money, in public morale, and in cultural retardation.”

Their wealth obliterated and influence waning due to the growing strength of the Southern Populists, the aristocracy was witness to the beginnings of the rise of bourgeois class, opportunistic, materialistic, and beholden to moneyed Northern interests. Within a few decades, this class would gain economic hegemony in much of the South – one study showed that about eighty percent of early Southern industrialists were of nonslaveowning parentage (thirteen percent were of Northern birth). The removal of the aristocracy as the binding glue of Southern society caused a rupture by which class warfare was introduced. Poor whites allied with this new bourgeois were politically pitted against the old planters allied with (often by coercion borne of desperation) Black Belt Negroes and whatever lower class whites were in their purview. It was a struggle that the aristocrats were destined to lose. In Lanterns on the Levee, William Alexander Percy informs us of the breed of politician which characterized the former group:

The most prominent politician in Mississippi at that time was James K. Vardaman, a kindly, vain demagogue unable to think, and given to emotions he considered noble… At the slightest opportunity he would quote Bobby Burns fervently and with appreciation, but his oratory was bastard emotionalism and raven-tressed rant. For political platform he advertised his love of the common people… He stood for the poor white against the “nigger”- those were his qualifications as a statesman. He was very popular in Mississippi; they called him the Great White Chief.

Father rather liked Vardaman – he was such a splendid ham actor, his inability to reason was so contagious, it was so impossible to determine where his idealism ended and his demagoguery began… A likable man, as a poolroom wit is likable, but surely not one to set in the councils of the nation… Vardaman stood for all [Father] considered vulgar and dangerous.

Nor was the New South attitude of overturning the Old Order restricted to the industrialists. New South proponents waxed gaily on the opportunities that lay in wait for the small Southern farmer, if only they came together in opposition of the aristocracy. In Origins of the New South, C. Vann Woodward writes:

It was an inspired vision, and it represented everything that the Southern farmer was not and had not. But the vision was made of the tough stuff of myths and was destined to endure. The new myth fulfilled the old Jeffersonian dream of an independent yeomanry, self-sufficient lords of a few acres. Later elaborations pictured this yeomanry “breaking up the plantation system,” or “wiping out the last vestige of the planting aristocracy,” and vindicating the Civil War as the bringer of “economic democracy” to the South. “Emancipation freed the poor whites more than it did the Negro!”

Here the self-proclaimed oracles of the New South betrayed their ultimate loyalties. They appealed to that most basic instinct – the lust for power – in a class ill-equipped to possess it responsibly, while simultaneously excoriating the old way of life which had sustained the upcountry yeoman farmer for more than a century. They denounced the “backwardness” and anti-intellectual tendencies of these Crackers, insisting that they must begin treating farming as a business requiring a “liberalized state of mind freed from narrow local concerns.” According to one Louisiana farmer, “it has become fashionable for every quill-driver in the land to inform us, ‘that we are not abreast of the age, that we don’t know how to farm.’”

Meanwhile, according to census figures the number of large plantations actually increased during this time period, though they were of shrunken size. Postwar Louisiana saw a decrease in the number of total farms, with a simultaneous almost threefold increase in the number of plantations – whereas “the state had more farms than plantations in 1860, it was dominated by agrarian monopoly in 1900.” Woodward again:

Moreover, the survival and expansion of the plantation did not mean the preservation of the ante-bellum “plantation system.” It was often the plantation without system, at least in cotton culture – the plantation minus such scant efficiency, planning, responsible supervision, and soil conservation as the old system provided. It was minus the ordinary minimum of economic virtues associated with proprietorship, for the plantation was usually minus even an owner who lived on its soil and spent the profits of another’s labor on his own family. The evils of land monopoly, absentee ownership, soil mining, and the one-crop system, once associated with and blamed upon slavery, did not disappear with that institution but were, instead, aggravated, intensified, and multiplied.

Far from being uplifted by utopian New South plans for the future, the upcountry yeoman farmer was devastated; those not among the huge multitude driven into wage slavery in horrible Northern-esque factories (the number of textile mills in South Carolina increased from twelve in 1880 to 115 in 1900, then to 184 in 1920 [source]) were often subsumed into the capitalistic sharecropper system in which the new plantation owners possessed ever diminishing amounts of the noblesse oblige that characterized the antebellum planter class. “Progress” indeed.

Even in its infancy the New South movement caused irreparable harm to the old order and way of life, falling prey to the age-old promises of Progressivism and Leftism. It achieved its goal, quite plainly – the South was modernized, achieved “progress”, and stamped what was left of the old aristocracy into the dust. Of course, they were ignorant of where it would ultimately lead – our dystopian world of McDonald’s and iPhones, gay marriage and fat positivity, and literal monuments to Satan we see about us today. Had they been able to see this, there is little doubt that they would have turned from their path of destruction; therein lies the lesson for us today. Leftism is a downhill snowball, take one step towards it and you’ve taken ten more before you know it; and those steps which you don’t take your children no doubt will.