Categorized | Politics, Society

Is Southern Agrarianism America’s Final Hope?

If there is any hope for the future of America, it lies in the South.

While it is duly noted that the American spirit, generally speaking, is different from that of the Old World, in that it is more libertarian, it is in the South that there is yet a semblance — though arguably an obscured one — of some form of a traditional society.  It is also where, a truly conservative “revolution,” as well as ”folk-communities” are likely to arise on the basis of the values which, though forgotten elsewhere, can still be found in the South.  In contrast, the materialistic, spiritually vapid North holds little hope of any sort of revival.

The American hope will not lie with the Washington-based regime, or with the visions of progress touted endlessly by politicians, or with visions that somehow the Federal government’s endless and wasteful wars are to bring about a Pax Americana in various distant lands.  In fact, the Washington-based regime has proven to be the worst enemy of the vast majority of Americans.

It goes without saying that since the 1960′s, America has changed profoundly.  In 1965, America was roughly 90% European and 10% African.  Today, Europeans are becoming a minority in a land that they founded, American culture has degenerated beyond recognition, and every aspect of the traditional Christian society is slowly being eroded by progressives on both the right and left.  We only need to look at places like New Orleans and Detroit to see the future of America should it continue along this same path.

Detroit: The Beginning of the End of American “civilization”

A future America which continues along this same path could more closely resemble the former nation of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), but in fact, that thinking could be quite optimistic.  Zimbabwe, for all its corruption, has not squandered billions on wars abroad, and many politicians are there are not in denial about the pitiful state of their country.  Moreover, Zimbabwe faced over a decade of sanctions, which arguably damaged its economy.  America, in contrast, is the opposite: trillions — not mere billions — have been spent on wars in the Middle East and elsewhere, and trillions more have been paid out to foreign nations in the form of foreign aid.  American politicians are in denial and vigorously reject the possibility of any sort of reform.  It is arguable that America has survived only thus far because its politicians have been able to keep the illusion going for longer than the Mugabe regime.

Of course, changes will not happen overnight; Rome was not built in a day, but it was not defeated in a day, either.  Massive social changes, imposed by liberals and progressives will accompany the demographic shifts, leading to an increasingly polarized society.  On the one hand, will be neoconservatives, progressives, and liberals who clamor for a linear version of history, in which each value of the past must systematically be destroyed and consigned to the graveyard of ideas.  On the other hand, will be more traditional-minded individuals who believe in preserving what still remains, or those who wish to return to more timeless and transcendent values.

But the modern values can only be suited to a society in which quantity reigns supreme over quality, a society which at its core is mechanical, sterile, bureaucratic, and inorganic.  Thus, though attractive to the current elite, they will be of no use when American society finally breaks down.  When this happens, those regions of America (namely the South), which have preserved their values will be more likely survive, whilst those who are rootlessly anti-traditional will be more likely to fail.  Much of American society, with its anti-moral and permissive values, will quite possibly descend into a state of anarchic violence, leaving much of the Northeast United States, as well as the West Coast in a state of disrepair for decades to come.

And what of the South?  If the South could weather this storm, the “new” Southern outlook might resemble the North American analogue of Eurasianism: oriented away from the Atlanticist worldview, and towards the “heartland” of the North American continent.  Just as the next European century will be oriented Eastwards towards Russia, so too, in the 21st century, America’s future will be oriented towards Dixie.  This worldview will be, in reality, be a resurrection of their previous Agrarian worldview first exposed in the early 20th century by the Southern intellectuals such as Allen Tate, Donald Davidson, and Robert Penn Warren.

These men, collectively known as the “Southern Agrarians,” their manifesto was a critique of the rapid industrialization and urbanization during the first few decades of the 20th century in the Southern United States and elsewhere. There was no doubt that those formative years of the 20th century were times of rapid change, but the Southern Agrarians were able to see past the prevailing winds of the day, and propose an alternative to the “brave new world” which was sweeping America.  Rather than a blind faith in the memes of that era, they posited an alternative based on a return to the more traditionally rural and local/regional culture, a balance between individuality and community, and agrarian American values.  They were opposed to the then-popular “myth of progress” of the early 20th century, and made such views clear.  Today, Southern Agrarian ideas are once again encountering a resurgence in popularity, with some of their social, economic, and political ideas being discussed by Allan C. Carlson and Wendell Berry.

We should not harbor any illusions.  The future of the Washington, D.C.-based regime is highly uncertain.  It could very well collapse within a generation, or slightly longer.  It may either Balkanized and split into several smaller nations, or merely waste away into social and financial ruin.  But there is one final hope for America: the hope that some way or another, the South might rise again.

About William van Nostrand

William van Nostrand is a native of Chicago, Illinois and is currently the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of RidingTheTiger.org. He holds a B.A. in Economics as well as a minor in cultural anthropology. His interests are highly varied and include late medieval European architecture, German romantic classical music, and travel.

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