Quite frankly, David Brooks’ recent column on the ways in which American culture appears to be coming apart is why I now identify exclusively as a Southerner and not as an American.
The South, despite its historical baggage, always has incorporated a sense of propriety, connectedness and reciprocity in its culture – that goes for black and white Southerners alike.
Much of what we are dealing with now is bound up in the pathologies of an increasingly deracinated American national culture, which really could be likened to a dumpster fire.
To those, such as the Biden regime and the rest of the left who would characterize such talk as sedition, I readily concede that the South has secured a measure of economic and material progress through its unity with a larger polity – certainly in the aftermath of World War II. And I am thankful for the progress black Southerners have made in the last 50 years, and I readily acknowledge that this could not have been achieved but for landmark civil rights legislation.
On the other hand, I think that many Southerners are entirely unaware of the extent to which Southern history resembles Irish history in many ways – at least, in the way that the Irish have long regarded their association with Britain and how the region long functioned as a kind of economic extraction zone. Moreover, I do resent deeply how we continue to be regarded as the national foils – how everything that is f*cked up naturally has to be Southern. Moreover, I resent the extent to which the South, derided as the problem child of the American Experiment, continues to supply a disproportionate share of the manpower to advance the regime’s foreign policy, much of which, as the debacle in Ukraine so richly illustrates, is entirely ill-conceived and inimical to the interests of rank-and-fill Southerners and other red state citizens.
Someone on a conservative forum to which I belong, apparently quoting someone else, said that the North was responsible for saving the Union in the 19th century, just as the South will be in the 21st. There are many ways to read this. I think that the brilliant classicist and commentator Victor Davis Hanson recently expressed the issue brilliantly. In a recent column he argued that the things that have historically defined America – the commitment to the rule of law, colorblindedness in the application of law and a genuine openness to debate and discourse is increasingly being expressed in the South as opposed to the purportedly more sophisticated cultural enclaves of the Northeast and West Coasts.
My argument for the past 25 or so years has been that the Union serve us only to the degree that it secures our freedoms and material prosperity while insulating us against the encroachment of an all-powerful state. As far as I am concerned the apparatus that functions in D.C. no longer is a government in any real sense but rather a regime. One prime example of this regime’s dysfunction: It insists on preserving the borders of a second world country (i.e., Ukraine) on the periphery of Eastern Europe, though it can’t even summon the will to preserve one of the most basis functions of sovereignty, which is preserving the integrity of U.S. borders.
And now, increasingly, the left and its operatives in the bureaucracy and the major institutions are working to silence any form of dissent. Call me paranoid and antigovement, but this seems as plain to me and millions of other people as the keyboard on which I am typing this response.
In many respects the pathologies of American culture are utterly inimical to to Southern culture as it historically has been understood. Yet, day by day, week by week, this dumpster-fire national culture is infecting to one degree or another the entire country, and, frankly, I don’t want to see my culture brought down by these pathologies.