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Alt-South: The Code of Chivalry

Thursday, April 6, 2017 16:27
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Southern conservative intellectual and professor Richard Weaver wrote in The Southern Tradition at Bay: A History of Postbellum Thought (1968) wrote:

A part of the Southern heritage which deserves more attention of the serious kind than it has received is expressed by the term chivalry. Modern spite against all assumptions of superiority has assigned it a comic role; actually it was an institution of strong and, on the whole, good influence. Since chivalry has been one of the main traditions of European civilization, it was not strange that a chivalric code should develop in the South, which was disposed to accept rather than reject European institutions.

Notice that Weaver connects chivalry to inequality and European civilization. This makes it of possible interest for the Alt-Right – and certainly for those of the Alt-South. Weaver continues:

In Europe during the Middle Ages it had existed as a body of forms and sentiments of enormous power in elevating and refining civilization. It appears to have had its origin in the dark years following the dissolution of Charlemagne’s empire, when cruelty, rapine, and brutal anarchy so distressed men that there came a passionate reaction which enlisted men in the service of an ideal good, and later found a sanction in the Christian religion. The people recognized a class of knights as representatives of right and defenders of order, idealized them, crowned them with all virtues, both real and imaginary, and for five hundred years respected them as the ruling caste.

Does this not appeal to us as those who self-identity as Southern Nationalists or on the Alt-Right? Surely, we see ourselves “representatives of right and defenders of order” in a fallen age of darkness. And, in general, our movement is a “passionate reaction” of “men in the service of an ideal good.”

Weaver then described how this European concept was adapted to Southern culture:

Of the characteristic ideas of chivalry, none came to a more exaggerated flowering in the South than that of personal honor. In the Old World chivalry supported a caste, the distinguishing mark of which was an honor that was to be preserved at all costs. In the South, as soon as the gentleman caste had established itself on property ownership and slave labor, this concept was invoked to set it apart from the commonalty. The gentleman was surrounded with prerogatives. He could not be injured with impunity; his motives could not be impugned; and above all, his word could not be questioned. A highly touchy sense of personal pride was built on these premises, and its vindication often called for the duel, a recognized institution in America from colonial days.

ALSO SEE: Alt-South: Apollonian WorldviewAlt-South: Scientific RacialismAlt-South: Unique on This ContinentAlt-South: What is Conservative Government and Alt-South: The Myth of American Democracy

NOTE: As Hunter Wallace has explained, “[t]he Alt-South isn’t a membership organization. It is… a space for everyone in Dixie who isn’t some kind of leftist or mainstream conservative (i.e., nationalists, populists, reactionaries) to come together to discuss our past, present and common future. Southern Nationalists [are] at the core of the Alt-South.”


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