Article by Jared Taylor. It’s great to see that even a guy like Taylor recognizes that for secession to work, secessionists cannot be constrained by narrowly focused, sectarian ideologies.
I am confident that not one person who dreams of an independent South has the slightest desire to reinstitute slavery. But that doesn’t matter. Any Southern sovereignty movement that even mentions Lee and Jackson or hums “Dixie” is automatically suspect. And what Southern independence movement can there be without Lee, Jackson, and “Dixie”?
It makes no difference that slavery flourished under the Stars and Stripes for far longer than it did under the Stars and Bars. It makes no difference that Lincoln had no use for blacks and wanted them out of the country. The Confederacy and the entire South have been nailed to the cross of slavery—but these obstacles could be overcome by fiercely determined people.
Something more serious holds back Southern nationalism: Its support is limited almost entirely to people who profess a certain kind of politics, whereas national movements must be beyond politics. An independent South would need the support of people who may not be conservative, who may not be suspicious of big government, who may not be Christian, who may not oppose marriage for homosexuals, but who are still devoted to the South. The roots of a Southern nation would have to spread widely and not just sink deep.
Take the admittedly unscientific sample of my sainted mother. Born in 1922, she believed Southerners were different from Yankees, and was thankful to have been born a Southerner. She rose when “Dixie” was played and looked daggers at anyone who did not. She turned her back on “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. When Jimmy Carter was elected—after a campaign in which Democratic radio ads throughout the South actually featured Dixie, incredible as that may now sound—she thought it was wonderful finally to have a President who did not speak with an accent.
She lived in Massachusetts for a year, and loved to drive through the New England countryside. She didn’t know what to make of the monuments to the Union dead that are in virtually every town square until she came up with a good, Southern way to think about of them: as monuments to Confederate marksmanship.
And yet, my mother would not be part of today’s Southern nationalism. She was a professional social worker and a Norman Thomas socialist. She was an early champion of women’s liberation, and campaigned for gay rights. She believed in the redemptive power of government, and went to her grave a committed liberal.