Category Archives: The South

FRED REED: Vendetta Over Alabama

America, Art, Crime, Culture, FRED REED, Kids, Music, Race, Relatives, The South

Fred remembers barefooted boyhood, Red Ryder BB guns, pocket knives; shooting water moccasins and making homemade ordnance; teachers who taught the Three Rs, history, the sciences; gin made the right way, the occasional paddle, but no crime, and dulcet Southern speech that flowed slow and sweet like Karo syrup

BY FRED REED

In the mid-1950s my family arrived in Athens, Alabama, I being eleven, my father a mathematician working at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency in nearby Huntsville. Athens was small, the county seat of Limestone County. The town square had the courthouse in the middle with the statue of a Confederate soldier and a Baptist church. The library was a frame building with many books and, at least in memory, a musty smell and there was Athens College, now grandiosely Athens University.

The age was politically fraught after Brown, though I didn’t know it. The South was then under siege, isolated, ingrown, defiant, idiosyncratic, tightly segregated, and determined to keep it that way. It was what it was and liked it–a land of guns, NASCAR, hot rods, dogs, and defined sexes. Dixie was the only pungent, culturally distinctive part of the country outside of New York City. An American Sicily, it shaped American music. Gospel, Southern blacks. Blues, Southern blacks. Cajun, Southern whites. Zydeco. Dixieland jazz, Southern blacks and whites. Bluegrass, Southern whites. Country, Southern whites. Rockabilly, Southern whites. Rock, Southern blacks and whites.

There was a regionalism, the attachment to the battle flag, a profound locality which amounted to “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on,” a residual, hopeless rebelliousness against the crushing power of the North.

The times were looser then, less hectored and watched. Rules were few because people knew how to behave without them. Athenians supervised their own lives and it seemed to work. The dog went out in the morning, visited such places as she thought fit and came back when it suited her. Nobody cared. It was what dogs did. We kids went barefoot, supporting the minor agony of the first week until our feet hardened to leather. In summer nothing seemed hurried. Barefoot and BB-gunned, we went forth on glowing green mornings to see what adventure offered.

Small boys carried pocket knives everywhere because no one could think of a reason why  not. There was no telling when you might need to sharpen a stick or put notches on a spool tank for traction. Teachers ignored pocket knives, though they waxed wroth over the passing of notes. BB guns were part of our anatomy, like an extra arm. There were two varieties. The plebeian Red Ryder, plain, dark brown, and functional, for four dollars, and the patrician Daisy Eagle, with plastic telescopic sight, for I think eight. Both were lever-action. They were an accepted part of society. Every corner store sold round cardboard tubes of a hundred BBs which we poured rattlingly into the barrel. Nobody thought twice about this. When you went into Limestone Drug, you left your BB gun in the corner. But more of that shortly.

In Athens in a minor valley there was the appropriately name Valley Gin Company. It was the kind of gin that took seeds out of cotton, not the kind making vodka unpalatable by the addition of juniper juice. It was of corrugated iron, run down like so much of the South, and abandoned except in cotton-picking time. There was much brush around and a creek ran through the valley, crossed by an iron foot bridge.

Here I came on the long afternoons of the Southland to lean over the bridge rail and shoot water moccasins. Actually I think they were harmless water snakes but water moccasins better caught the spirit.  There is such a thing as too much truth.

In the cool and shade of what is now another world, minnows sparkled in clear water and dragonflies flitted in metallic blues and greens. We knew them as “snake doctors,” though elsewhere they were “the devil’s darning needles,” or “mosquito hawks.” They were fast, agile, ferocious looking and I often tried to shoot them, but never with any luck.

The years with a BB gun would not be entirely without benefit. Discharging the shiny little balls against the sky, watching the coppery glint recede through the air, we developed an eye for windage and elevation, that lives later in Marine boot camp would make me the only recruit in a platoon of city kids who could shoot, and this avoided much punitive labor.

The South had not recovered from the Civil War and, along with a middle class like any other, there was poverty. A few kids had teeth blackened with decay and one that I remember had to have his entire dentition pulled. My friend Charlie Cox lived in a shack with a light bulb dangling on a wire. Athens was the county seat of Limestone County and so comparatively advanced but in nearby Ardmore County, if memory serves, instead of summer vacation kids got off at cotton chopping and cotton-picking time.

The Limestone Drugstore was on the town square, and still is, across the courthouse and the statue of the Confederate soldier. It had the usual things one has in a drug store but also several marble-topped round tables and accompanying chairs, a soda fountain with pimply soda jerk, and a large rack of comic books. The Limestone was not a Northern chain, impelled by cutthroat acquisitiveness from corporate in New Jersey, and so was relaxed. The owner, or so we thought he was, was an old man in his seventies we all knew as Coochie, with frizzy red hair. He liked little boys. Not lasciviously as would be suspected today. He just liked kids.

I think Coochie used the comic rack as bait. Probably in all its years the Limestone never sold a comic book, or tried to. We came in, a legion of eleven-year-olds, and piled our BB guns and fielder’s mitts in a corner. It wasn’t a rule, but have you tried to read Plastic Man while holding a BB gun, baseball glove, and cherry coke? We grabbed several comics, by now crumbling and settled in. We spent hours deep in Batman, Green Lantern, Superman. It probably improved our reading, but I don’t know. I can still name Superman’s girlfriends, Lois Lane, Linda Lee, and Lana Lang, as well as Jor-El and Lara, and three different colors of kryptonite. Don’t tell me we wasted our time.

Athens Elementary, where I went to sixth and seventh grades, was not yet integrated and so had none of the problems that would soon come. The teachers were college-educated women, these not yet being siphoned off into biochemistry. They believed their job was to teach the Three Rs, as did teachers all across America then, as well as history, the sciences, and so on. There were no discipline problems to amount to anything though the Board of Education, a substantial paddle, existed to ameliorate the aborning ardor of adolescence. I once fell afoul of this instrument. It didn’t come to much.

The South did not know what to do about the Negro. His dark face loomed over everything. Integration was coming, and people knew what it would do. It did. Segregation couldn’t last, but integration couldn’t work. This left few possibilities.

At the time, virtually no contact between races existed. The water fountains on the town square said White and Colored, the bathrooms in gas stations, Men, Women, and Colored. It the movie theater, known to us as the “pitcher show,” blacks sat in the lower right-hand seats. I barely remember seeing Negros and to this day I don’t know where the black school was. About this time Emmett Till was beaten to death by Klan wannabes in Mississippi. Most people were decent. Some weren’t.

Crime did not yet exist, though it does now. Children could roam wild until late on summer nights with no hazard. A favorite haunt was the Kreme Delight a soft ice cream stand in the style of, who would have thought it, the Fifties. On summer nights yellow neon buzzed and so did bugs attracted by them and children attracted by the ice cream, though we didn’t buzz. Kreme Delight is still there. We got spiral swirls of chocolate or vanilla and felt independent in the night though of course we weren’t. If Annette Funicello had appeared and asked for a double malt, she would have fit. Young studs in their late teens drove around in fitty-six Ford convertibles, hair slicked back in tidal waves, cigarette dangling from corner of mouth, approaching manhood, well aware of it, and maybe trying to hurry things a little. Hopped-up mills, bad-ass V-8s, idled potato potato potato maybe, not really hopped up but with a hole in the muffler but it was close enough. Nothing is better than driving around the gathering point with your best girl and a noisy motor and hoping you look like Elvis. With me it was Hojo’s in Fredericksburg, Virginia years later, but the principle doesn’t change. Or if it has, we’ve lost something.

The South had much on its conscience regarding the Negro. One day Northern cities would have sprawling, semiliterate, segregated ghettos where there would be thousands of blacks killed every year, poverty, drug addiction, phenomenal crime, but these were in the future. Now it is the North that does not know what to do. Some Southerners might say, let them choke on it.

Having no more orality than is good for a small boy, I figured out how to steal twelve-gauge shotgun shells from the country store near our house by putting them in the center of a roll of toilet paper and buying it. I do not know what disease the store’s owner thought might afflict my family. We then cut the shot charge from the shell with a Buck knife—as mentioned, small boys then routinely carried pocket knives with no ill effect, unless you were a twelve-gauge shell of course. We then put the powder charge on the end of a BB gun barrel , shot the primer, and–fwoosh!—a most satisfying spray of sparks erupted.

We were probably dangerous. At least I hope we were. We took bicycle spokes and pressed match heads into the cavity, followed by a piece of birdshot, and held a match under the ensemble. A satisfying snap! Followed. I think this an important chapter in the history of American ordnance. There was a way, too complex to explain here so it will be lost forever, to turn a clothes pin into a gun that will shoot a flaming kitchen match for at least three feet. Do not think that we misspent our time.

My family first lived in a big decaying house on Pryor Street, near the country store. I was for some time known, mostly in jest, as the “Dam Yank on the corner,” until I learned the soft Rococo accents that God meant us to use. People didn’t like Yankees. I guess I still don’t if it means morally pretentious New Englanders. Hitchhiking years later in the humid stillness of the Mississippi Delta, where speech flowed slow and sweet like Karo syrup dripping on busted China, I decided the language had reached its pinnacle of dignity and humility. But Alabama was close.

My parents were Cavalier Virginians from Southside and knew participles from gerunds. My mother once asked one of my friends whether he would like to lunch with us. With curtsey native to the state, he replied, “No, thank you, Ma’am. I has done et.” She was horrified. Other elocutions were, “You ain’t got the sense god give a crabapple,” and, “do that again and I’ll slap the far outa you.” Fire. Sometimes it was “slap the livin’ dogsnot,” but that is rude, so we will omit it here.

A high point of my young life, or at least a point, was the discovery of the science building of Athens College, where my father taught chemistry as a sideline. The building wasn’t locked. In the library of the college in the encyclopedia Britannica I found the formula for thermite, a fearsomely high-temperature incendiary. (If interested, powdered aluminum and iron oxide. It proved  effective for burning Tokyo should you ever need to do that.) Anyway, I found the materials in the science building. Perry James, son of the college president, and I put some in his mother’s prize frying pan, thinking if immune to high temperatures. The resulting hole caused…well, it caused.

Being something of a mad scientist, I made rockets that didn’t work with zinc, sulfur, and stolen potassium permanganate, invented the mnemonic prometanatel, for prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase. This has not materially furthered my trajectory through life, but neither has it done harm. Free access to a science building has much to recommend it.

Athens was a monoculture and so at peace with itself. The kids had names like Jimmy-jack ‘Callister, Sally-Carol Jenkins, Johnny Loggins, or Billy-Joe Faulkner. There were exceptions, such as Sanders Dupree and my buddy Don Berzette, but these were few and, I think Protestant like us. Athens was in the Bible Belt and everyone took it seriously or at least went with the current.  The parts about fornication may have received less intense attention than others among teenagers but I don’t know because I wasn’t one. But I suspected. All were white. There is something to be said for this.

Ages later, on a mountain side in Peru while working as a journalist, I ran into a National-Guardplatoon from Athens. Did they know Don? I asked. Yep.

My family left Athens after a couple of years. Sputnik had gone into orbit and was saying beep beep humiliatingly. This couldn’t be tolerated. Desperate effort had gone into getting a Jupiter C rocket also into orbit. My family went to Redstone Arsenal to see a celebratory mockup. It was wickedly cold and a determined patriotic model in bikini stood grimly by the exhibit. Sputnik had the salutary effect of raising salaries for mathematicians and my father, a loyal son of the South, got a better deal at Dahlgren Naval Proving Ground, as it was then know, in rural Virginia. I have ever since thought well of the Russians.

Read Fred’s Books! Or else. We know where you sleep.

******************************************

FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm int the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.

FRED REED: The Klan Speaks (Or, So Says Fred)

Affirmative Action, Crime, Drug War, Education, FRED REED, Race, Racism, The South

Is this satire, or are these the words of a KKK source cultivated by the great Fred Reed? You’ll never know…

By Fred Reed

In my years as a police reporter for the Washington Times, I became friends with a DEA undercover guy, soon to retire, who for complex reasons became involved (professionally) with the KKK, which sometimes finances itself through drugs. By surreptitious use of a cellphone camera, he copied a letter from a Klansman in Indiana, tried to give it to both the FBI and Washington Post and, being brushed off by both, gave me a copy. I post it unedited:

Esteemed Grand Klagon and Guide of the Knights of the Invisible Empire,

As commanded by you in your letter of 7 February instant in the Year of Our Lor 2022, I send a precis of our efforts in Washington to prevent the pollution of our hallowed land by the Negro. I can report that events go well for us, though a few things need further attention.

First, we have received the results of the quadrennial test of scholarly performance of children in the state of Maryland. They are most satisfactory. Several black schools in Baltimore had no students who could read proficiently. Others had only a handful. Later we learned by a document clandestinely provided to us that many of these students are at the level of first or second grade.

This salutary illiteracy assures their unemployability for the remaining fifty years of their lives. Illiteracy and its consequences will arouse resentment among our White population. We can count on our enemies to do nothing to better the schools as this would draw attention to their fecklessness in allowing things to reach their current state. Fortunately neither blacks nor Whites appear interested in the matter.

All has gone as the esteemed Subaltern Kleegle of the Florida Klavern has predicted: Our enemies prefer to hide their failures in managing the schools to admitting them and seeking a remedy. This is well as a public cognizance of circumstances might draw forth a foolish sympathy for the Africans among us. Thus do the race mixers do our work for us. For this we should give thanks to our Heavenly Father who sustains our struggle.

In further congruence with the foresights of the Florida Kleegle, the depraved paladins of miscegenation invest great energy in violent denunciation of White Supremacists and White Nationalists while ignoring the Negro in whom they seem to have little interest. I confess myself surprised by this curiousness. Those who purport to desire the advancement of the Negros have chosen to hide their failings rather than address them They appear chiefly interested in political dispute and the suppression of notice of their failure than in doing anything of substance.

This being so, I recommend that the various State Klaverns hold marches in full robes and hoods and, if possible without falling afoul of the law, burn crosses where this will be discovered by minions of the press. This will arouse alarm across the nation and divert thought from anything of practical import. We have further found that hanging a noose where it will be discovered will occupy them for weeks in a state of high and empty excitement. This gives them a sense of accomplishing something  of use without danger of their actually doing so. I confess I think them chiefly interested in being entertained.

On another topic if I may: In earlier years we feared that the various civil rights laws would lead to racial mingling.  This concern seems exaggerated. Klansmen who have labored here quietly for years, some on Capitol Hill, report little mixing with Negros. Those who talk warmly of integration seem little interested in practicing it. Restaurants favored by Whites almost never have more than a few Negros, and usually not those. They appear to campaign ardently for something they do not actually want. This is most gratifying and seems likely to continue. In my twenty years of serving our Cause in the Capital, often in association with people who become furious if the undesirability of miscegenation is mentioned, I have never once encountered a black in any of their homes. None would consider sending their children to the black public schools. Keeping the children apart accustoms them to separation, making assimilation at a later age unlikely. This of course is to be encouraged.

The internet has proved most fecund for our ends. As our Chief Klyton noted in last fall’s National Klavern, Whites are afraid of the Negro, yet cannot admit their fright. This fear is among our greatest assets. Our enemies strictly avoid mention of Negro crime in the media. yet the internet makes the Negro’s depredations visible to all. The consequence of this fruitless attempt to hide the violence of the Negro is to persuade much of the population that their government colludes with the darker race against them. Yet while our enemies cannot conceal the problem, neither can they do anything about it, because this would require admitting that it exists, and this they cannot do. Once again they are doing our work for us.  We should suggest to our members that on the internet they stress complicity in dismantling law and order.

At the last Klavern I differed with the Exalted Subaltern Kleegle of Oklahoma regarding the value of Affirmative Action. The Kleegle held that it promotes social contact with the Negro and might lead to the horrors of intermarriage. There is some truth to this. Yet on the whole affirmative action works in our favor. Without this discrimination against the White Race, there would be fewer Negro doctors but they would be respected by whites. At all costs we should avoid any course that makes the Negro seem able in anything beyond manual work as it might engender social amalgamation. Now Whites avoid Negro doctors while pretending they do not.

Affirmative Action further maintains anger among Whites at what they see as, but dare not complain of, discrimination against themselves. I am almost daily pleased to hear Whites complaining of additional work imposed on themselves to correct unusable work by Negros. I almost wish we had thought of this but, as so often, our enemies do our work for us.

We who labor here in the capital of the Northern Forces know how galling it is to see statues of our hallowed Confederate leaders pulled down. We know that it is done it unending vengeance against the South by Northerners who forget that it was they who imported the slaves. Suffer it we must. Yet in life the road to victory often passes through difficult and stressful  times. We may hope, with some expectation of a favorable outcome, that anger at the desecration will divide the country permanently and irretrievably so that, if the South cannot rise again, at least the North can, perhaps, be brought down. The insurrection occasioned by the death of the black buck Floyd shows the way.

The foregoing I hope will provide a portrait of the state of our Klan’s affairs in Washington. The question arises: Should we try to better the position of our nation’s White population by political means, or try to ignite a general nationwide insurrection and hope that our membership, being well armed, will prove able to gain control of a large territory and raise our Southern flag?

My own opinion, for what you may deem it worth, is that we should encourage rebellion. Events suggest that the time is propitious. The federal government provokes general dissatisfaction as we cannot, inciting wars, inflation, decline of the economy, sectional anger. President Biden seems almost to do this deliberately, though it is hard to tell what is in his mind. I have wondered whether he migh secretly be one of us, though this is a question above my rank. The [FR1] dissatisfaction’s  provide a fertile field for an uprising.

The key, we may hope, will be a sudden intense fury among the Negros. They see themselves kept in segregation and illiteracy, feared and secretly scorned by Whites who talk of equality while preventing it except in the few. Negros vote almost entirely for the Democrat party, which consequently has to do nothing for them, and the Republican party will not get Negro votes no matter what it does, so neither will undertake anything of substance for the dark race. Thus we can rely on continuing and growing dissatisfaction among our Africans.

Our best hope for an igniting spark is criminality among blacks that grows as their conditions worsen and they see no likelihood of betterment. We now see a sharp increase of murders of Whites by Blacks, which are hidden by the media but known on the internet. I think we can rely on this continuing. With this fortunate development fear will grow among whites who will abandon the cities, increasing poverty therein. Our enemies cannot control crime as they would lose the votes of blacks and cities would burn, so we can, I think, count on a productive increase of hostility among the African race. Sooner or later, explosion must come. For this we should pray.

I will close now, hoping this report of use. Our way ahead is beset by storm clouds and uncertainties but we may yet emerge into the light of success of our Holy Cause for the preservation of our people and nation.

Your faithful servant,

Samuel Gregory,

Exalted Subaltern Kleegle

Comment! Tell Fred why he is an affront to civilization

Read Fred’s Books! Or else. We know where you sleep.

******************************************

FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm int the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.

NEW COLUMN: 2-Party Pox: The Republicans Suck AND The Democrats Want To Kill You

Argument, Conservatism, Democrats, Government, Morality, Politics, Republicans, The South

NEW COLUMN IS “2-Party Pox: The Republicans Suck AND The Democrats Want To Kill You“. It is currently featured on WND.COM, The Unz Review and The New American.

Excerpt:

The Republican Party has never stood up for you, will never stand up for you and is not going to do what it takes. Past is prologue.

As Dr. Boyd Cathey has observed, the “party which never conserves anything” had been exposed as such as far back as 1875. “The great Southern author, Robert Lewis Dabney, writing a decade after the end of the War Between the States … expressed presciently this tendency of dominant, post-war Northern conservatism”:

The history of the Republican Party is “that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn.”

A point of philosophy arises. From the progressive perspective, society—civil and state—are what shape the human being and account for his conduct. To the extent our world is filled with perverts, grifters, and deviants—they were propelled into misbehavior by societal forces often beyond their control. Or, so goes progressive-style social determinism.

Libertarians, for their part, also often err on the side of a structurally similar social determinism. The State, their reasoning goes, accounts, for the most, for deviance in society. Remove the State and you remove the incentives for people to behave badly.

This Hebrew takes the biblical view tested by time. It is that, as stated in Genesis 8:21 (with thanks to my editors), the instinct of man is evil from his youth. (Or, wackily mistranslated: “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”) …

READ THE REST. New column is “2-Party Pox: The Republicans Suck AND The Democrats Want To Kill You“. It is currently featured on WND.COM, The Unz Review and The New American.

 

National Review ‘Conservatism’: As Ugly As The Promulgators

America, Boyd Cathey, Conservatism, Federalism, History, Race, Racism, The South, The West

Can there be unity with those who wish our extinction and replacement, or with those who urge us to surrender our beliefs?

By Boyd Cathey

Now, after what may have been a racially-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo (May 14) by a deranged young man, new insistent calls go out for the government to fight “white nationalism” and “right wing domestic terrorism.” Attorney General Merrick Garland has already signaled more than once that this is the nation’s major challenge—not the illegal drugs epidemic, not the rampant criminality tearing our cities apart, not the huge spike in gang violence, not the literally millions of illegals coming across our borders; no, not any of these, but homegrown “extremism” coming from disaffected, white segments of the American population.

In addition to new surveillance and potential censorship measures, such as the Disinformation Governance Board, and additional government intrusion into the lives of American citizens, also come the now-accustomed demands from various anguished personalities, political and otherwise, with pained expressions on their faces, pleading for national unity. “Can’t we all get along,” they mumble, echoing words uttered decades ago by Rodney King. (Remember him from the violence in the streets of Los Angeles?).

But such desired “unity” is always one-sided, meaning that we must discard our beliefs, our principles, and accept the latest agenda item, the latest conquest advanced by the post-Marxist Left. Far too many so-called “conservatives” in positions of leadership in America have embraced this elastic strategy, of first opposing something (e.g. same sex marriage), then almost abruptly reversing course, even showcasing their about-face, while defending it as completely consistent with “conservative principles.”

Then, whether from pundits at Fox News or from the Rich Lowry and Kevin Williamson types at National Review, we are instructed to follow suit, to unite around a refashioned definition of conservatism which always seems to tag along just a few steps behind the worst outrages of the radical Left.

The great Southern author, Robert Lewis Dabney, writing a decade after the end of the War Between the States (1875), expressed presciently this tendency of dominant, post-war Northern conservatism:

“This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn.”

Thus, a Robert E. Lee and a “Stonewall” Jackson were only a few years ago honored not just by conservatives but nationally, but now lightweight Neoconservative historians like Allen Guelzo dictate for us positions scarcely distinguishable from views current on the extreme Left. And Fox News personalities like Bret Baier and Brian Kilmeade do their damnedest in unserious, ghostwritten potboilers to publicize the greatness and sublime conservative vision of figures such as Ulysses S. Grant, Frederick Douglass, and Abe Lincoln.

We are told that we must discard what once we believed were fundamental principles, that we must unite around the evolving definition of conservatism.

But what are those beliefs around which we should unify? If what was once posited as fundamental truth can simply be discarded, tossed on the ash heap, or ignored, where does that leave us in the immense culture war that we have been losing now for more than half a century?

The strategy of the present-day “conservative movement” almost exactly parallels the observation made by Dabney nearly 150 years ago. It has failed abysmally, and, in fact, its most significant achievement is to lead well-meaning citizens away from genuine and effective opposition to the rot which threatens to engulf us.

On the contrary, my mentor the late Dr. Russell Kirk, who in many ways was the father of an older conservatism (back in the 1950s), stated what should and must be our essential credo: We hold a series of immutable beliefs as fundamental, and those principles and that vision are necessary for a just society. Those beliefs and principles come to us as a precious legacy from our ancestors and from our Western Christian traditions.

And as a necessary corollary: there can be no real agreement, no real unity with those who openly and forcefully reject that foundation and those essential principles as poisoned by racism, sexism, homophobia, and “white privilege,” not to mention hints of “fascism” and other not-so-pleasant “isms.”

Let’s consider some history.

The old American republic was formed through a kind of understood compromise between the colonies; the Authors of our constitutional system fully comprehended that there were diverse elements and interests that must be balanced to make the new nation at all workable. But in 1787 there was essential agreement on fundamentals that a seemingly miraculous result was possible. Yet, those far-sighted men also feared what might happen should that which they created be perverted or turned from its original propositions.

The central Federal government was counter-balanced and limited by newly and fiercely independent states which jealously guarded a large portion of their own sovereignty. Voting was universally restricted to those considered most qualified to exercise the franchise. Universal suffrage was considered by the near totality of the Fathers of our Constitution to be a sure means of destroying the young republic: absolute democracy and across-the-board egalitarian views were considered fatal for the future of the country. Such views were sidelined to the periphery, without practical voice in the running of the commonwealth.

Above all the American republic was, in all but name, a “Christian” republic. Certainly, the basic documents of our founding did not formally state as much. There was no formal national “religious establishment,” as existed in almost all European countries. Yet, despite that lack of national confessionality, the new nation, while demanding freedom for religious expression, professed de facto the Christian faith as a kind of understood basis of the new nation. As is often pointed out, almost immediately after adopting the Bill of Rights in 1791 (authored, ironically, by slaveholder James Madison), including the “freedom of religion” First Amendment, Congress provided for paid Christian chaplains in the new Northwest Territories. Even more confirming is the fact that nearly every one of the original thirteen colonies/new states had a “religious establishment” or religious test of some sort on the state level, and those establishments were left completely untouched by the First Amendment, which was understood to mean only the formal establishment of a national supported state church.

Above all, there existed amongst the new Americans the ability to converse and communicate with each other, using the same language, and employing the same symbols and imagery that had brought them together originally as a country. Appeals to traditional English law and the historic “rights of Englishmen,” the belief in a God of the Old and New Testaments whose prescriptions found in Holy Writ informed both the laws of the state and the understanding of justice and virtue, and an implicit, if not explicit, agreement that there were certain limits of thought and action beyond which one could not go without endangering the republican experiment, formed a kind of accepted public orthodoxy.

That modus vivendi—that ability to get along and agree on most essentials—continued, sometimes fitfully, until 1861. The bloody War Between the States that erupted that year might have been avoided if the warnings of the Authors of the Constitution had been heeded, if the Federal executive in 1861 had understood the original intentions of 1787 and the precarious structural balance that the Philadelphia Convention had erected. But that was not the case, and four years of brutal war followed, with over half a million dead and thousands more maimed, and, most tragically, that essential “via media” between an increasingly powerful central government and the rights of the states and of communities, and eventually, of persons, distorted and perverted.

The resulting trajectory towards centralization, the growth of a powerful Federal government, has continued nearly unabated for 150 years. With it and with the gradual destruction of not just the rights of the states, but also of communities and persons, came the institutionalization of a large and mostly unseen permanent bureaucracy, a managerial and political class, that took upon itself the role of actually ruling and running the nation. James Burnham and the late Samuel Francis have written profoundly on this creation of a managerial state within the state.  Indeed, in more recent days we have come to label this establishment the “Deep State.”

Concurrent with this transformation governmentally and politically, our society and our culture have equally been transformed. It is certainly arguable that the defeat of the Confederate states in 1865, that is, the removal of what was essentially a conservative and countervailing element in American polity, enabled the nearly inevitable advance of a more “liberal” vision of the nation. At base, it was above all the acceptance by post-war Americans of nearly all persuasions of the Idea of Progress, the vision that “things”—events, developments in thought and in the sciences and in culture, as well in governing—were inevitably moving towards a bright new future. It was not so much to the past we would now look, but to the “new” which always lay ahead of us.  And that future was based squarely on the idea of an “enlightenment” that always seemed to move to the political and cultural Left.

While loudly professing and pushing for more “openness” and more “freedom,” liberation from the “straight jacket” of traditional religion and religious taboos, and propounding equality in practically every field of public and private endeavor, ironically, the underlying effect and result of this “progress” has brought with it, in reality, a severe curtailment of not just many of our personal liberties, but of the guaranteed rights once considered sacrosanct under our old Constitution.

This long term, concerted movement, and eventual triumph of nineteenth and twentieth century progressivism, politically, culturally, and in our churches, not only placed into doubt those essential and agreed-upon foundations that permitted the country to exist in some form of “unity,” but also enabled the growth of ideologies and belief systems that, at base, rejected those very foundations, the fragile creed, of that origination.

In one of the amazing turnarounds in history, the fall of Soviet Communism in 1991—hollowed out and decaying after years of boasting that it would “bury” the West—witnessed almost concurrently the exponential growth and flourishing of an even more insidious and seductive version of post-Marxism in the old Christian West, in Europe and the United States. A century of the ravages and termite-like devastation by liberalism and progressivist ideology had debilitated the foundations—and the required will—to resist the attractions of a cultural Marxism that eventually pervaded our culture, our education, our entertainment industry, and our religious thought. Older and gravely weakened inherited standards and once-revered benchmarks of right and wrong, of justice, of rights and duties, were replaced by what the Germans call a “gestalt,” or a kind of settled overarching Marxist view of society and culture which had no room for opposing views. Dr. Paul Gottfried has written extensively on this phenomenon.

That dogmatic vision now pervades our colleges and public education; it almost totally dominates Hollywood; it controls the Democratic Party and huge swathes of the Republican Party; it speaks with ecclesiastical authority through the heresiarchs who govern most of our churches; and, most critically, it provides a linguistic template—an approved language—that must be accepted and employed, lest the offender be charged with “hate speech” or “hate thought.” Its goals—the imposition of a phony democracy not just in the United States but across the face of the globe—the legislation of an across-the-board equality which is reminiscent of the kind of “equality” the pigs in Orwell’s Animal Farm “legislated”—the perpetuation of a largely unseen, unanswerable, unstoppable managerial and political class, secure in its power and omnipotence—the proclamation of the United States (and Europe) as an “open nation with no physical borders”—have been and are being realized.

It is this overlay, this suffocating ideological blanket, with its dogmas of multicultural political correctness, its anathematization of perceived “racism,” “sexism,” homophobia,” “white supremacy,” and other characterized forms of “bigotry” as unforgivable sins, that now has assumed near total dominance in our society. The older forms of liberalism were incapable of offering effective opposition, for cultural Marxism utilized liberalism’s arguments to essentially undo it, and eventually, absorb it.

Yet, there are still millions of Americans—and Europeans—who have been left behind, not yet swept up in that supposedly ineluctable movement to the Left. They are variously labeled the “deplorables,” or perhaps if they do not share completely the reigning presumptions of the Mainstream Media and academia, they are “bigots” or “yahoos,” uninformed “rednecks,” and, increasingly, maybe “white nationalists,” or worse. The prevailing utter condescension and contempt for them by the established Deep State would make the most severe witch-burner of the 17th century envious.

So I ask: we are asked to unify around what? Unite with whom? On what basis and on what set of fundamental principles? Can there be unity with those who wish our extinction and replacement, or with those who urge us to surrender our beliefs?

Frankly, such unity is neither possible nor desirable…unless millions have a “road to Damascus” conversion, or some major conflagration occurs to radically change hearts and minds.

==========================================

~ DR. BOYD D. CATHEY Dr. Cathey earned an MA in history at the University of Virginia (as a Thomas Jefferson Fellow), and as a Richard M Weaver Fellow earned his doctorate in history and political philosophy at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. After additional studies in theology and philosophy in Switzerland, he taught in Argentina and Connecticut before returning to North Carolina. He was State Registrar of the North Carolina State Archives before retiring in 2011. He writes for The Unz Review, The Abbeville Institute, Confederate Veteran magazine, The Remnant, and other publications in the United States and Europe on a variety of topics, including politics, social and religious questions, film, and music. Dive into Dr. Cathey’s Barely A Blog archive and latest Hard Truth interview.