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Southerners and Nationalism
Guest column by Greg Kay

Southerners and Nationalism - by Greg Kay

As the Southern Movement struggles along, stumbling over itself in the usual bumbling, squabbling manner that we have all come to know and shake our heads at, one is left to wonder "Why?" Not why we go on (Southerners are too stubborn to do anything else.), but why we fail? We have a demonstrably more liberty-minded philosophy in our States' Rights political creed than any other system on the face of the Earth. Even in this apostate age, we in the "Bible Belt" are the last, greatest bastion of Biblical Christianity left, not just in America but in the world. So why do we fail and keep failing?

The answer is simple and in the form of a question: "Who and what are we?" We not only don't know, but most of us don't even have a clue that we have to answer that one, overriding, all-important question. Unless and until we do that, our Cause is as truly lost as our critics claim and the whole movement is dead in the water.

Who and what are we? What is a Southerner and what is Dixie?

First, what is a Southerner? Is it a generic term referring to solely to long-time residence in a geographic area? Does simply living here make you a Southerner or does it take something else - like blood perhaps?

I submit that it does, and that the appellation of 'Southerner' is not a geographic term - it is an ethnic term, and that Southerners are part of that ethnic group that was first recognized as such in writings dating back to the 1850's - the Southern Race.

The quintessential Southern author Michael Grissom, in his greatest work, "Can the South Survive?", defined the word "Southerner" by its traditional meaning as the European inhabitants of the Southern States. Until the 1950's, 'Southerner' was the only word necessary to refer to this particular group. Other peoples, such as Negroes, live in the South, and sometimes in large numbers; however, as Grissom pointed out, the idea of 'Black Southerners' is a comparatively recent media invention originating outside the South, and 'Southerner' is certainly a term that Dixie's colored population has never sought for itself, for they see the term as defining the people whom they consider their adversaries. Despite the fact that on very rare occasions the exceptional individual with origins outside either definition - geographic or ethnic - may possibly, through a sustained, willing effort over time, be adopted into the Southern 'family' so to speak, and be either accepted or at least tolerated by other Southerners in their ranks, tradition, nature, observation, and common sense all tell us that the old definition is still the overwhelmingly correct one, and the sad fact that so many of our people are now willing to accept as Southern anyone from a Uruguayan to an Uzbek to a Ubangi who merely has the good fortune to live here is more of an example of the success of long-term Northern egalitarian brain-washing than it is of actual ethnic change.

Not only is the Southerner ethnically different from the non- Europeans who live in his native land, he is also very different from those other Western descendents who appear superficially like him in the Northern States - every bit as different as he is to his cousins in the Old World. Their close proximity does not really matter - after all, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are quite close together, and France and Germany border each other, but only a fool would insist that they are all "one people." What makes them so very different is not their cultures, but the different ancestral peoples and combinations of peoples who settled in those respective places, and fathered the races that the countries are now called after, which in turn gave rise to those cultures. A people are not the product of a culture; cultures are the products of people.

Likewise the differences between North and South; a simple study will indicate that, while the founding populations of both were European, they were formed by different combinations of peoples and in very different proportions. Over the generations, the peculiar combinations in the areas below the Mason/Dixon Line blended to form an ethnicity unique to the South and the South alone (Of course it has its own variations, but they are minor ones, like those of different members of the same family, rather than of entirely separate peoples.). This is the Southern Race; it is what has given Dixie its traditions and lifeways, and it was blood, rather than differing political ideals, that truly separated us from the North: a separation that began long before 1861.

It's not a question of locality either; as long as we maintained the same Southern ethnicity, Southerners would still be what we are if we were in Siberia rather than Savannah. The land and climate of the South did not 'make' Southerners what they are; it was the Southerners who made the South a reflection of themselves.

Which brings us to the second question, and one which underlies much of the strife in the movement, and is nearly as important to the basis of what we are doing as was the first query:

What is Dixie - this Confederacy of ours? Is it primarily a country...or is it a nation? They are two very different things, which may go together but not necessarily. It's perfectly possible to be both, but one or the other must form the basis of that state's establishment, and which one that is will determine its ultimate success or failure, as history has shown time and time again.

Was the Confederacy primarily a country? One of the factions of the Southern movement strongly hold that it was. A country is a construct of geography and political philosophy which define its boundaries and form the basis of its existence, rather than the dominant ethnic and associated socio-religious heritage of its inhabitants and are bound with ideas (which history has proven to be rather transient things) rather than natural associations. Countries attempt to bind divergent nations together in an unnatural cohabitation, which is why they are closely related to empires, and why they seldom prosper.

Take the country of Israel for example: it has been trying for over 50 years to forcibly tie together two nations - Zion and Palestine - and it simply does not work. The country of Iraq, given the opportunity with the abrupt removal of its government, is now showing signs of splitting into at least three different nations, all based around the ethnicity of the peoples formerly bound together there. Other good examples of countries are Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, both of whom are now largely dissolved back into the various nations that made them up; and Great Britain (not to be confused with the nation of England) which had already lost most of Ireland long ago, is in the process of losing the Northern Six Counties, as well as seeing rising separatist movements in Scotland and Wales (All three of which are nations, and as such are bound by instinct to seek the establishment of their own countries.). The United States is also a country, rather than a nation, and only two generations had barely passed since its founding when its government found it expedient to pin the nations that made it up together with bayonets. It has yet to stand the test of realistic historical time, and if it were actually a nation rather than a country, we wouldn't be having this conversation now.

A nation, on the other hand, may or may not exist as a country (In extreme cases a nation may even exist in various lands in scattered exile, like the proverbial 'wandering Jew'.), although its nature is such that it invariably strives to do so. The proper definition of a nation, from the Holy Bible to the Oxford dictionary, is not a political philosophy or a land mass, but a people, bound together with a common heritage, religion, language and, most importantly, ancestry: in short, bound in blood, which time has proven to be a much stronger and more enduring chain than politics, documents, or even seas and mountain ranges.

The Confederate States of America met the definition of a country certainly - it had a defined territory, a government, a flag, a military, a diplomatic corps, and a constitution - but did it meet that of a nation? Despite politically correct protests to the contrary, there is no question that the dominant race and dominant force behind the religious and cultural views and traditions that define the South and make it what it is, are those people previously defined as Southerners: that particular breed of European people, indigenous to Dixie, and of a common ancestry, religion, language, and heritage, which amply fulfill all of the qualifications for that latter designation.

There is also no question that many if not most of our heritage-born lifeways and traditions are unique only to us and to no other people. Similarly, despite the diligent and obsessive efforts of the 'modern' churches and the currently prevalent transcendentalism of the old radical Abolitionists that they practice, there still remains a solid core of flint-hard Biblical literalism that is the religion we still have in common, and the one that still manages to stretch across many of even our most divergent denominations. This un-hyphenated, unbending, unapologetic, and distinctly Southern Christian attitude is the spiritual glue that holds us together.

Finally, we have a common language that the occupying powers of the United States have stigmatized but still haven't managed to beat out of us: our own Southern English, spoken here in all its shades like nowhere else.

We had and still have, at least for now, all of the requirements of a nation, and I submit that a nation - the Southern Nation - is exactly what we were and are, and our wonderful political ideals are simply a natural outgrowth of our identity as a people. We are Southerners, what ever we do and where ever we go, we will still be part of the Southern Nation as long as we remember who we are and act accordingly. Once we realize that, not only will we finally be on our way toward realizing our aspirations of having a country of our own once again, but in the meantime and even more importantly, this renewed realization of our nationalism and its accompanying sense of group identity will protect and preserve us as a distinct people; it will strengthen us in our struggle to reclaim our rightful place in the world, and it will fill us with a new and much- needed resolve to better ourselves both as individuals and as Southerners while we not only reclaim what is ours but reach out and build a future that will make us proud, and a country that will not make God ashamed. A country and a future not bound simply by geography or by politics, but restrained only by the will of Almighty God, by the depth of our Christian faith, and by our own innate drive and abilities.

CSA Martian ColonyHow far can we go? Who today can say what our limits are? Perhaps, in the centuries to come, a young father with his wife and children much like our own, will say grace before a table of fried chicken and cornbread in a city called New Richmond, on a distant planet under the light of an alien star...and thank God that they're Southern!


Posted Sunday, April 27, 2003
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