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Alt-South: Unique on this Continent

Saturday, March 25, 2017 13:35
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University professor, literary critic and prize-winning poet John Crowe Ransom wrote in I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition (1930) about the South’s unique position as a conservative European civilization in North America:

The Southerner must know, and in fact does very well know, that his antiqur conservatism does not exert a great influence against the American progressivist doctrine. The Southern idea today is down, and the progressive or American idea is up. But the historian and the philosopher, who take views that are thought to be respectively longer and deepet than most, may very well reverse this order and find that the Southern idea rather than the American has in its favor the authority of example and the approval of theory. And some prophet may even find it possible to expect that it will yet rise again.

I will propose a thesis which seems to have about as much cogency as generalizations usually have: The South is unique on this continent for having founded and defended a culture which was according to the European principles of culture; and the European principles had better look to the South if they are to be perpetuated in this country.

Of course, Ransom wrote this decades before the so-called Civil Rights movement and the 1965 immigration act which began the process of transforming the USA into a Third World country. It seems almost impossible for the Southern idea to ever again be “up” over the American Progressive idea in the present system. However, Ransom was on point about Dixie’s uniqueness and its “antique” or pre-Modern European-style conservatism. There is much in this tradition for the Al-South to draw from today.


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