The traditional South placed great importance on inequality and interdependence “that brings about the beautiful Harmony of Nature.” US Vice President and Southern political theorist John C. Calhoun viewed this as key to governance and social harmony. August O. Spain explains in The Political Theory of John C. Calhoun (Bookman Associates, 1951):
In Southern society, then, a superior race governed and directed the labors of an inferior people for the best moral and material welfare of both. In any complete society a variety of skills and abilities of low and high degree were essential to its efficient functioning. The caste organization of Southern society resting upon the social subordination of the Negro slaves afforded the necessary variety; and, furthermore, it met the requirements of morality by distributing social privilege according to power, knowledge, and virtue. Something of the Platonic conception of justice was included in the emphasis that Dabney, Hammond, and Simms placed upon the necessity of order and rank in society and their identification of them with justice when distributed properly. “Each in his place” made for justice, order, stability, and progress of civilization. The harmony, happiness, and resulting stability of this society were especially impressive to Calhoun and Fitzhugh. The latter claimed, apparently taking his cue from Calhoun, that the Southern farm was a joint concern in which slave consumed more of the coarse products than the master and was far happier; it was the “beau ideal” of communism. It was a favorite idea of Calhoun that the Southern plantation was simply an extension to the community of the family regime, communistic and benevolently paternal. “The Southern States,” he declared, “are an aggregate, in fact, of communities, not of individuals. Every plantation is a little community with the master at its head who concentrates in himself the united interests of capital and labor, of which is the common representative. These small communities aggregated make the state in all, while action, labor, and capital is equally represented and perfectly harmonized. Hence the harmony, the union, and stability…” of the South.
This focus on social harmony, the extended family regime, paternalism and the united interests of capital and labor distinguishes the Southern tradition from the failed philosophies upon which Modern and Post-Modern Western societies have been built. These latter societies pit individual against individual, divide the interests of capital and labor and achieve no harmony or moral distribution of social privilege. The man they produce is a deracinated, soulless and besieged creature with no home or proper place.