Alt-South: The Code of Chivalry

Southern conservative intellectual and professor Richard Weaver wrote in The Southern Tradition at Bay: A History of Postbellum Thought (1968):

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 as “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.”

About Michael Cushman 94 Articles
South Carolinian. Southern nationalist. Anglican.

9 Comments

  1. Nice piece Mr. Cushman. Chivalry and personal honor are almost forgotten these days -from the unprincipled and effeminate males to the whorish dressing girls who broadcast their disrespect of themselves for all to see. I read quite a bit of gun guy and semi-aristocrat Jeff Cooper when I was a teen and young man, and thus had some sense of honor instilled in me.

  2. The chivalry didn’t serve the South in the war. Stonewall Jackson came from the same Calvinistic background many of the abolitionists came from. When the war began, Stonewall Jackson told everyone that this was a HOLY WAR, that like Joshua of old they would have to exterminate the enemy to win. Of course Lee, he and Jackson were as close as two men could be, didn’t go for this and neither did Davis. Davis under the advice of (((Judah P Benjamin))) decided to wage this hybrid offensive-defensive war believing that England, a country much more racially liberal than the Yankees, would come to Dixie’s aid for want of Cotton.

    General Stonewall Jackson’s comments to Captain Barringer:

    “I recall, Captain Barringer, the talk you and I once had at my table in Lexington in the heated party struggle of 1860. Though differing in politics, we happened to agree as to the character of this war, if it once began. We both thought it would be internecine in its results. Neither of us had any special concern for slavery, but both agreed that if the sword was once drawn, the South would have no alternative but to defend her homes and firesides, slavery and all. I myself see in this war, if the North triumph, a dissolution of the bonds of all society. It is not alone the destruction of our property (which both the nation and the States are bound to protect), but it is the prelude to anarchy, infidelity, and the ultimate loss of free responsible government on this continent. With these convictions, I always thought we ought to meet the Federal invaders on the outer verge of just right and defence, and raise at once the black flag, viz., “No quarter to the violators of our homes and firesides!” It would in the end have proved true humanity and mercy. The Bible is full of such wars, and it is the only policy that would bring the North to its senses.”

    The Richmond Whig in 1862 proclaimed that Stonewall Jackson must be stopped before he changed the humane Christian conduct of warfare

    Jackson was a brilliant warrior and a deeply complex man. Before the war he was pro-Union and actively tried to organize a national day of prayer to stop the war. Once the war started, he advocated marching north, burning Baltimore, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and living off the land so that the North would feel the pain of the war.
    Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson Hardcover 2014
    by S. C. Gwynne

  3. In Nowheresville Northeastern North Carolina, Mr. Cushman, this kind of thing is in ample evidence everyday.

    Of course, to maintain such a thing we must, as stands to reason, be anti-egalitarian and sexist, which, by the way, is not all the -ists that we are.

  4. Southern Chivalry is a good thing, but in the wrong situations it is a bad thing. If your enemy is dishonorable, be as dishonorable as he is to defeat him. The Confederacy didnt catch on to this, only Stonewall and the irregulars understood this. Honor and Chivalry should never be used with rabble

  5. Stonewall Jackson understood it Kit Dalton understood it, Captain William C Quantrill understood it, General Joe Shelby understood it, Col Mosby understood it Colonel Harry Gilmor one of Maryland’s only Partisan Rangers, led Gilmor’s Rangers he understood it too. You don’t treat rabble with kindess you treat them how they’d treat you

  6. “we see ourselves as ‘representatives of right and defenders of order’ in a fallen age of darkness”

    That’s very true, southerners in general are a moral and righteous folk. Those who seek our destruction understand this and it’s why activists are portrayed with an emotional verb, ‘hate’ movement. To verbally influence the morals of the mind in addition to the constant dirty tricks, bias, discrimination and the power of the state used to destroy us as a people. This moral mindset of our folk is also why it is absolutely crucial for us, as activists to always achieve and maintain the moral high ground. To wrap up with a combination of the words from Shakespear’s Hamlet and Jared Taylor, ‘To thine own self be true’…..and ‘only we can be us’.

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