The Grand Bargain - not finished
The Grand Bargain
The War has something to do with it our situation.
For several decades following the War Between the States, Southerners followed the admonition of General Robert E. Lee, to obey the law and conduct themselves as Americans loyal to the changed circumstances. As a result, the Reconstruction and the U. S. federal occupation ended in 1877, and the Southern fibre--moral, political, and military--was added to a nascent American nationalism.
By the 1890's this truce of sorts became social, as well as structural. There emerged between North and South what is sometimes called the "Grand Bargain." Under this bargain, the North agreed to end the demonisation of the South and cease further Reconstruction, and the North agreed to acknowledge that the South had been sincere and honourable in the late unpleasantness. Confederate heroes like Lee and Jackson became for a time, American heroes, just as Washington and Jefferson before them.
In exchange for peace and respect, and for being permitted to memorialise the Confederacy, the South would forfeit two things: The South would concede that the United States should not have been broken up, and it would not attempt to reclaim the capital and control of its own resources that had been lost in the war. Southerners would be loyal, patriotic Americans, giving full energy to building a nation and a national economy. They would pay their taxes and send their sons to fight America's wars.
The litmus test for the Southern portion of the Grand Bargain was to be a professed unwillingness to speak, act, or even think independently again.
Now the "Grand Bargain" lies broken—but not by the South. Therefore, increasingly, the litmus test is proving harmful; Suicidal in fact.
Conventional Politics, et al.
Governance over any community includes not only the formal apparatus called "the government" or "the state," it also includes all the appurtenances of power and influence in society. Some of these appurtenances are rarely under direct control of the government in a free society. However, in the situation that the South finds itself today, everything from the government to the media appears to be coordinated such that the Southern perspective and interest is removed from all consideration. Reconstruction has again consumed our Southland.
The co-ordination includes:
- U.S. federal offices, both political and judicial;
- Increasingly the State governments;
- The two party system itself at all levels, where (as former New York Senator Moynihan put it) there no longer exists any fundamental ideological differences between the two parties, much less direct representation of the South as the Southland.
- The public school systems, increasingly under U.S. federal control and hostile to all things distinctly Southern;
- The news, opinion, and entertainment media, providing an increasingly centralised conduit for values and imposed cultural models;
- The large national financial cartels, including the Federal Reserve and its allied central banks;
- The large public corporations that (true to their legal charters) shift capital and labour, and manipulate cultural mores, all to maximise profit efficiency but with no interest in privately owned property or the communities from which they spring.
Politics as practiced today cannot aid the South. Southerners are conservative and traditional by nature, intellectually taking in ancient political lessons from the Athenian democracy and the Roman republic while at the same time intuitively understanding that authority is natural, and to a certain extent, sacred. These two attributes of intellect and intuition yield a Southern conservatism that has a genetic pre-disposition to defend the status quo, any status quo.
This attitude has become increasingly dangerous. The Democrat Party, the old party of the South, has not only abandoned the South; it has turned on the South. So says even Zell Miller, former Democratic senator from Georgia. Other Southern Democrats implicitly admit this, by their votes and their actions.
The other party—the Republican Party--the recent beneficiary of Southern loyalty, is the party of pragmatism above all else. And pragmatism finds that Southern distinctiveness is inefficient and threatening, that perhaps the South should be treated as a mere temporary and necessary evil, an industrial park, or a labour resource. The blind loyalty of the South to the Republican Party therefore must be abandoned, for the South to survive. [Need to sort though comments for this sentence]
Today no independent Southern voice is heard. No party or institution speaks for the South. So an independent forum is needed, one where the distinctively Southern voice can be heard. No one is going to give the South such a forum, so the South must cry out for independence and create one for itself.
A Positive Vision
Whither the South? Will Southerners choose to do nothing but "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die." Is this choice inevitable?
No. One may always decide to whom one gives consent, and to whom one owes obedience. And a whole people may always decide to stand and not to cease.
The Southern National Congress is an application of this most powerful principle, one capable of description but not proposition. Stand and do not cease. For ultimately, despite what anyone else says or does, the will may consent, or it may not consent -- freedom exists in mind and in body, if only it is exercised in its inherent form.
The Southern statesman, John C. Calhoun, considered the only original political philosopher produced on the American continent, recognised that man is a social and political being, whose life nonetheless transcends politics. True politics must be rooted, rooted in soil and kinship; its basis living in the family. Seeking harmony with the Christian heritage of the land. Recognising forms of authority other than (and higher than) the state – family, religion, even custom. True politics aspires for the positive law to be minimally intrusive, giving place to the truths lodged in man's core, the sublime things that cannot be expressed.
The Power of Symbolic Speech
The Southern National Congress recognises an inherent right in private property and its disposal. The Southern National Congress recognises that people vote, and express themselves, in the ways they see fit. The Southern National Congress recognises that times change, as do ways of living.
However, the South cannot continue to accept gigantism and consolidation in government, business, and media. Property exists to dignify Man, not the other way round, and such conglomerations do not admit loyalty to kin and patria. Therefore, they spell death, if left unchecked.
As Edmund Burke reminds us, "There is a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue." For this reason, the Congress will elicit the thoughts and opinions of the whole South, for the first time, without preconceptions. For the first time in a long time, the South will announce what is, and what should be, here in the South, for the Southern people. As the Southern classicist Richard Weaver noted, power flows from speech, from naming that which is. The Southern National Congress will do this. Its speech will be broadcast to the whole world. Not just the United States federal government, large corporations, or hostile institutions… but to the world complete.
A Great Adventure
Only the unfolding of events will tell whether the South continues; Whether any particular people choose to live, and not to die. However, this choice is not made in an abstraction, in an ivory tower in a vacuum of reality. It is not made over time, like a Hegelian plot. Rather, it is made from moment to moment, and choice to choice.
The past is set, but the future is ours. Join us in building a Southern National Congress and in claiming the future that is our birthright.
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue?