The South Reconciled Tradition With Progress

Editor’s Note: This is going to be another long, fun and thought provoking day on this website.

William Henry Whitlow writes:

“The recent back and forth between my colleague Fulwar Skipwith and Hunter Wallace over at Occidental Dissent has been enjoyable reading on both ends. It was nice to see someone attempt to make an actual argument for why Yang should be supported, rather than the standard “THOUSAND BUCKS GET THIS MF’N BAG” which has been circling the toilet bowl that is the Alt-Right.”

It’s true that I had a very different reaction to Andrew Yang.

My honest reaction to Andrew Yang was that this is another smart, thoughtful person like me who has thought a great deal about the problem of work in 21st century America. As a historicist, I’ve thought a lot about many of the same issues for years now and so I was intrigued by what he had to say and didn’t simply automatically dismiss him because I am White and he is Taiwanese.

Believe it or not, there is no contradiction here. As a race realist, I don’t hate Andrew Yang because he is Asian. I have no doubt that he is vastly superior to Donald Trump in both his intelligence and education. Unlike Identity Dixie, I’ve grown extremely weary of living under the moron in the White House and was already searching for an alternative to Blompf before Yang came to my attention.

Last November, I was happy to post Dixie Anon’s Keeping The Faith article here though in the spirit of stimulating the discourse. At the time, I had no faith at all in Donald Trump or the Republican Party, which is why I skipped voting for my Republican congressman in the last election. In light of everything that has happened since then, I would say I have been vindicated on that front too.

“I do not agree with his premises nor his conclusions, but I respect the fact that an effort was made, when so few Yang Gangers have bothered to do so (our own Ms. Scarlett was also in this minority of seriously minded UBI defenders). In the course of Hunter’s argument, however, a rather curious contention was made: Namely, that Dixie was historically a progressive region of the country and that for this reason we ought to support Yang. Wot in Tarnation?”

This is a straw man.

It is a mischaracterization of my argument. I was simply noting the obvious fact that the South had overwhelmingly voted for nearly all of the most progressive presidents in American history. In the early 20th century, the United States was governed for decades by a populist-progressive coalition that eventually cracked apart and gave rise to modern mainstream conservatism.

I honestly have no idea how this is a controversial point. I was kind of surprised by the notion that the argument was being made that the South had always somehow been conservative or lolbertarian on economic policy. We’ve had many populist and progressive leaders throughout our history at both the state, local and the federal level. Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt are only the two most glaring examples of progressives that were overwhelmingly backed by Southerners.

As I have repeatedly explained now, I am a populist-identitarian. I’m not and never have been a conservative-identitarian or lolbertarian-identitarian. I’m someone who values social cohesion and economic fairness. In other words, I am a Left-Authoritarian voter. This is why I have responded so positively to Andrew Yang because I have always admired countries like China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. He strikes me as a progressive that I can work with.

Andrew Yang is far closer to my economic values than Blompf and the GOP:

“To further his case, Mr. Wallace utilized political maps showing how the South voted for noted progressives Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Adlai Stevenson, and JFK. This is, however, bad historiography and ignores several crucial facts.”

How exactly is this “bad historiography”?

The South voted in federal elections for Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy, LBJ and Jimmy Carter. In other words, there was a populist-progressive New Freedom and New Deal coalition that carried the South in much of the 20th century. Is there a political scientist or historian in the United States who disputes this?

“There is perhaps no more invidious facet of Imperial political discourse than the idea that the Progressive/Conservative distinction hinges entirely on economics. To the contemporary American, one is either a laissez-faire capitalist (Right) or some variant of Marxist (Left) and persons or regions cannot have a different set of valuations that lead them to support political positions which do not strictly fall along these lines. The almighty dollar, first, last, and always. Ben Shapiro Nationalism. *barf*”

I don’t believe anyone has said otherwise.

We’ve discussed at great length these divisions: conservatives are Right-Authoritarians who value social cohesion and economic liberty, lolbertarians are Right-Libertarians who value social liberty and economic liberty, Progressives are Left-Libertarians who value social liberty and economic fairness and Populists are Left-Authoritarians who value social cohesion and economic fairness. Obviously, the American political spectrum hinges on both economics and social issues.

As of the 2016 election, the actual center of the American electorate is now Left-Authoritarian. It is populist, nationalist or moderate. It has shifted from the Right-Libertarian days of the Reagan era. Today, there are very few Americans who are “Center Right” in the Reaganite sense. There will be even fewer in the 2020 election because so many Boomers are dying off and so many Millennials are registering to vote which is why Blompf is currently underwater in Georgia and Arizona.

“Dixie has always been the home of the True Right, which is centered on God, the family, and the nation. We have variously supported or rejected the economic right, which centers on laissez-faire capitalism. Our states are, by default, on the economic right at present.”

If you are saying the South is socially conservative, then I agree. As a populist-identitarian, I am also a social conservative, but I agree with Tucker Carlson that the policies of the economic right have devastated the family and have undermined social cohesion by concentrating wealth in a tiny oligarchy. That’s one of the reasons why I am supporting Andrew Yang because putting a financial floor underneath debt strapped Millennials, the White working class and the White middle class seems like a great idea.

“The Democrats are the party of moral turpitude, miscegenation, homosexuality, egalitarianism, and infanticide while, at least on paper, the Republicans are not.”

If this is a distinction without a difference, then does it really matter? The Republican Party also supports moral turpitude, miscegenation, homosexuality, egalitarianism and infanticide. The Trump administration is currently promoting both feminism and homosexuality as part of its foreign policy. It has lost the culture war on those issues. It has even lost on transgender bathrooms.

What does the GOP have to offer me on social issues? Is voting for the GOP’s Christian Zionism going to make me a better Lutheran? Is Hannity going to make me a more virtuous person? Is it going to, say, end the tyranny of political correctness in this country? I don’t think so.

“Thus do we vote for the economic right, even though pro-business neo-liberal globalism, the only issue the Republicans truly care about, does nothing but injure the South.”

Well, I am not going to vote for cuckservatism and the economic right anymore. As a populist-identitarian voter, I think Andrew Yang has lots of better ideas.

” Trump has somewhat reversed these trends with his threats of tariffs and his economic populism, but I am skeptical that the sycophantic devotees of the Chamber of Commerce will keep those policies around after 2024. They would rather lose in service of their corporate masters than win in service of their Christian constituents. Another reason we must be free of the North and of the Republican Party.”

Let’s look at the facts:

– Illegal immigration is now at the highest point it has been in a decade.
– The opioid and suicide epidemic in White America is worse than ever.
– Blompf has succeeded in mainstreaming homosexuality in the GOP.
– The trade deficit with China is now at all time high.
– Political correctness is worse than ever under Blompf.
– Blompf and Kushner want to expand legal immigration for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
– We’re getting nothing from Blompf but the MIGA agenda.

Is there anything that is “populist” at all about the Trump administration? In terms of substantial public policy victories, there is nothing “populist” about it at all.

“The post-Civil Rights Era is not the only period in American history in which the South supported the economic right. The Antebellum South found itself on that side of the ledger, as well, because the planter class which financed the early growth of the United States did not benefit from the tariffs that built roads, waterways, and railroads in the North and West.”

As we saw this morning, this is also the fundamental reason why the Confederacy lost the War Between the States. The planter class could have supported these things, but most planters supported Wigfall’s lolbertarian attitude that the South was better off without commercial and industrial classes, investment in public education and infrastructure, dynamic urban centers, etc.

“We (or rather, our elites) paid, the Yankees (all of them) got; so it was until our failed War for Independence. The fact that the South supported the Conservative Democrats after Reconstruction is hardly worth mentioning in terms of discussing Dixie’s ideological bent. Voting had just been restored to the South after 12 years of occupation. The South would not cotton to voting for a Republican at that point in time, no matter what the Democrat stood for.”

As I explained in Identity Pellagra, the disastrous economic conditions of the New South during which the Great Depression effectively lasted from 1865 until 1940 and how that level of crushing poverty and underdevelopment finally came to an end under Franklin Roosevelt has played a major role in shaping my views of economics. It is one of the major reasons why I am supporting Andrew Yang.

“After the War of Northern Aggression and the subsequent decade of Yankee rapacity known as Reconstruction, no Southern State again voted for a Republican until 1920, when Tennessee voted for Harding. Four Southern States (VA, TN, NC, and FL) voted for Hoover in 1928, but I suspect this had more to do with rejecting the Catholicism of Al Smith than endorsing Hoover’s overt economic conservatism. Count this as neither progressive nor conservative.”

The Protestant South was strongly supportive of Prohibition and revolted against the candidacy of Al Smith in 1928 because he was perceived as a “wet” Northern Catholic.

“The solid South returned in 1932 and would remain during FDR’s three subsequent campaigns. 1948 is when the fracturing began in earnest. The Democrats under Truman had shifted toward a more progressive stance on Civil rights, signified by his desegregation of the military in the run-up to the election. As a result of the Democrat shift on this issue, third party candidates would carry multiple Southern states in 1948 and 1968. 1960 also represented a divided Dixie, when voters in Alabama and Mississippi picked electors individually and 14 of those electors (all of the MS delegation and 6 of the 11 AL) refused to back Kennedy.”

It goes without saying that the New Deal coalition cracked up over the Civil Rights Movement. This is universally acknowledged by historians and political scientists.”Conservatism” which had been discredited by the Great Depression was given a new lease on life from Barry Goldwater forward. It has lingered on through the Boomer generation down to the present day.

“So yes, it is true that the South voted almost exclusively for Democrats from 1880-1964, regardless of what the party and its candidate stood for. But does voting for the Democrats, even when the Democratic candidate was progressive, really indicate that the South is a historical bastion of progressivism? No. No. A thousand times no. Because it is imperative that we take into account what the Republicans were doing at the same time as a frame of reference.”

It’s going to take me some time to explain why you are wrong.

Southerners wanted to bust the trusts and regulate the banking system:

“Agrarian demands for an antitrust provision in the banking act yielded to a promise that the question would come up separately in 1914. The Wilson antitrust program finally took form in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Clayton Anti-Trust Acts of 1914, the latter being drafted by the House judiciary chairman from Alabama. While they supported the antitrust principle, Southern members made few contributions to the evolution of the legislation.”

George B. Tindall, The Emergence of the New South, 1913-1945, (Louisiana State University Press, 1967), p.12-13

“Before the tariff bill had cleared the Senate, the administration had underway its measure for banking and currency reform. The complicated story of political maneuver and accomodation behind the Federal Reserve Act cannot be retraced here, but the major peculiarities that distinguished the final measure from the conservative Republican Aldrich plan were largely the result of Southern influences. The dominant figure in the passage was the pugnacious little redheaded Congressman from Lynchburg, Virginia, Carter Glass, assisted by a Washington and Lee economist, H. Parker Willis. Glass’s chief contribution was the plan, which appealed to the traditional Southern fear of centralization, for the establishment of regional reserve banks. Wilson, however, insisted upon a central board of governors, with minority banker representation, as the capstone of the system.”

George B. Tindall, The Emergence of the New South, 1913-1945, (Louisiana State University Press, 1967), p.12

In addition to being an architect of the Federal Reserve, Carter Glass would go on to pen the Glass-Steagall Act during the Great Depression which shackled Wall Street until the Bill Clinton presidency. Henry Steagall, the co-author of the Glass-Steagall Act, was from down the road in Clopton, AL. He represented my district in Southeast Alabama during the Great Depression.

Southerners supported the income tax to redistribute wealth from the industrialized and commercial East to the agrarian and underdeveloped South and West:

“Southerners led in another drastic departure, a provision in the Underwood-Simmons Act for the first income tax under the Sixteenth Amendment. Drafted and guided through the House by Cordell Hull of Tennessee, it was altered under pressures from John Nance Garner of Texas in the House and Vardaman in the Senate to include a graduated surtax on large incomes. Opponents raised objections in the press and Congress on the grounds that it was class legislation and a sectional raid on Eastern wealth, but Hull disclaimed any intention of redistributing the wealth and justified it on the principle that Eastern wealth derived from all sections of the country: “I deny the right of wealth anywhere to segregate itself and then upon the plea of segregation to exempt itself from its fair share of taxes.”

George B. Tindall, The Emergence of the New South, 1913-1945, (Louisiana State University Press, 1967), p.12

We’re going to do some deep dives into all of these subjects, but Fulwar Skipworth was right that there is a lot of good material in this book beyond pages 1, 2 and 3. Specifically, there were populists and progressives who worked together to pass all sorts of economic reforms at both the state level and federal level in Congress. It wasn’t simply a handful of progressive presidents like Wilson and FDR who were chosen because they were the “lesser of two evils” to the Republicans. The South’s loyalty to the Democratic Party was rooted in the demise of sharecropping and poverty in our region and would only fade and give way to True Conservatism™ in places like north Alabama in very recent times.

My grandmother was a lifelong Southern Democrat simply because to so many people in her generation the Republican Party and “conservatism” equaled Herbert Hoover. Yesterday, we took a look at John Rankin of Misssisippi who was a champion of the TVA and Rural Electrification Administration.

“Let us first examine the election of 1912, in which the ultra-progressive Teddy Roosevelt, whose Bull Moose party was far more progressive than Republican TR had been while in office, and the mildly progressive William Howard Taft split the GOP vote, allowing scalawag Southerner Woodrow Wilson to rise to the imperial throne. This was the first time since the War that a man born in the South would do so. He did not, however, speak for Southern interests. Nor has any US President born in the South, or anywhere else for that matter, since. But a special pox on the houses of Truman, Johnson, Carter, and Clinton for their betrayal.”

I would argue that Wilson spoke for the worldview and interests of Southern progressives which is why the federal government was resegregated for the first time since the War Between the States, the 17th Amendment was passed which established the direct election of US Senators (populists had called for this in the 1890s), the Federal Reserve was created (to inflate the money supply in the cash poor South), the income tax (to redistribute wealth from the East to the South), the Federal Trade Act (to regulate rapacious Eastern corporations), the Underwood Tariff Act (to reduce the hated tariff which punished the agrarian South), the 18th Amendment which established Prohibition (supported by the “dry” Protestant South), the Smith-Lever Act was passed (which fueled the rural extension programs of land grant colleges like Auburn and Texas A&M), railroads were regulated (differential rates had kept Southern industry subjected to Northern capital for generations), the Federal Farm Loan Act was passed (to help impoverished Southern farmers) not to mention the Adamson Act which established the 8 hour work day or the Keating-Owen Child Labor Act which was struck down by the Supreme Court but which targeted the horrific labor conditions in the textile villages of the Piedmont as well as the coal miles of Appalachia.

Most of the United States had passed eugenic sterilization laws by the time FDR was president. It was the progressive Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who penned the Supreme Court’s Buck v. Bell decision which upheld the constitutionality of eugenic sterilization laws on the grounds that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Adolf Hitler admired Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924.

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“Sure, Wilson was a progressive, and wound up following a political platform domestically that mirrored Taft and internationally one that towed the Roosevelt line (the worst of both worlds), but the South’s support of Wilson can hardly be seen as evidence of progressivism.”

Why not?

Southerners were relentlessly pushing progressive reforms at the state level throughout this period. I’ve already noted how North Carolina led the way by raising taxes, funding public education, building roads and infrastructure and regulating child labor. There were similar efforts all over the South including here in Alabama in the 1920s.

The 1920s were the final days of the old postbellum order.

The biggest change was Alabama’s volte-face on “internal improvements.” Ever since the 19th century, “internal improvements” had been controversial in Alabama due to the influence of Jeffersonian-Jacksonian ideology. The Constitutions of 1875 and 1901, which envisioned a privately owned transportation system fit for the world of the railroad and horse-and-buggy, had been careful to ban “internal improvements.” The arrival of the automobile in Alabama changed everything though.

In 1911, the Alabama Highway Department was created to build and maintain hard surface roads. The Federal Aid Road Act of 1916, which was sponsored by Alabama’s Sen. John Hollis Bankhead and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, was the first federal highway funding legislation since Andrew Jackson’s veto of the Maysville Road bill in 1830. From 1916 to 1934, Alabama received $50 million dollars in federal matching funds to build roads. As a result of this, the number of hard surface rural roads in Alabama increased from 5,000 to 20,000 in 1930. In 1920, there had been 74,637 automobiles in Alabama. By 1930, there were 277,146 automobiles in Alabama. In the 1920s, Gov. Thomas Kilby, William Brandon and Bibb Graves generously supported the expansion of the highway system.

By the 20th century, over 40,000 people in New Orleans had died from yellow fever, which also plagued Mobile and the rest of Alabama into the 20th century. Yellow fever stifled urbanization in the South and the Caribbean for centuries until it was finally eradicated thanks to the research of Dr. Walter Reed and the US Army in Cuba after the Spanish-American War. The Rockefeller Foundation played a key role in the eradication of both yellow fever and hookworms in the South in the early 20th century.

In 1920, there were 130,000 child laborers in Alabama, but child labor was under attack and would finally be abolished in the Great Depression. The abolition of convict leasing in 1927 put an end to the most reliable source of cheap labor that had previously been used to break strikes. The Great Migration sent an exodus of blacks north from Alabama to states like Ohio and Michigan and Immigration Act of 1924 began to choke off the annual flood of cheap labor from Europe which played a major role in raising wages.

Around the state, modern Alabama was taking shape: Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery and Fort McClellan in Anniston survived World War I to become permanent military installations. In Mobile, the federal government had spent more than $17 million dollars between 1880 and 1915 on improving Mobile’s harbor. Also, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deepened the shipping channel which allowed deep-draft ocean-going vessels to dock at Mobile’s port for the first time. In 1922, the Alabama state legislature authorized the construction of the Alabama State Docks, which after it was completed in 1927 made Mobile the cheapest coaling port in the world.

By 1930, Alabama was 28.1 percent urban, and over half of state income was concentrated in six urban counties. In 1924, Birmingham had 788 manufacturing plants employing 106,000 workers. Flynt notes that “most miners lived in company-owned houses. Few of them had running water, less than half had electricity or gas, and none had bathtubs, showers, or flush toilets. The labor-management tensions of the coal mine camp with its payment in scrip rather than cash, its expensive company commissary, and its closely guarded isolation produced bitter strikes like the 1920 conflict and would soon produce the state’s bloodiest union campaign.” Alabama was the fourth most industrialized state in the South with a heavily exploited urban proletariat in coal mining, iron and steel, along with textile and timber workers in rural areas and small towns who worked for low-wages.

The Alabama state legislature mandated the seven month school term in 1927 and passed a workman’s compensation bill in 1919. When Alabama exited the 1920s and entered the Great Depression, the state was still heavily rural, agriculture was about to reach its nadir, and a few pockets of urban prosperity had failed to translate into high living standards for the industrial workforce.

Life was still getting somewhat better though.

“That election had three flavors of progressive candidate, two of whom were Yankee Republicans. Given those choices, it seems obvious that the South would vote for the Virginian born Democrat. When bad options abound, pick the local boy. The Republicans were, after all, the party of Lincoln and there were still many war veterans around. Party loyalty meant something to the Dixian, even when his vote meant nothing to the men who received it.”

I would say that it was more complicated than that.

It wasn’t simply about choosing the lesser of two evils. While I dislike Woodrow Wilson’s foreign policy, it was military spending here during the Great War which began to transform the moribund Southern economy. This would continue through the New Deal and the Second World War and especially during the Cold War when Washington spent trillions of dollars here. It is fascinating to think about all that military spending and just giving people the money through UBI.

“It is worth noting, as an addendum to the comments on 1912, that Teddy Roosevelt is more or less the originator of the idea of civic nationalism. He believed that all people (he did mean European peoples, so let’s not get carried away) needed to drop their hyphenated identity and be American only. It was Roosevelt who first promulgated the belief that to be American was a set of ideas rather than an ethnic identity. This represents progressivism distilled into its most destructive form.”

Theodore Roosevelt was responding to the rapid loss of social and cultural cohesion in the United States during the Great Wave. He had all sorts of great ideas like conservation. It was also President Woodrow Wilson who created the National Park Service.

“While TR would certainly blanch at the current reality, in which peoples from all corners of the globe are told that they can be American if they accept our ideals, this was always an inevitability of “dropping the hyphen.” Progressivism never reaches an equilibrium and stops. It must continue to feed.”

Paleo-Progressivism was comfortable with black disenfranchisement, eugenics, segregation and all sorts of things which would horrify modern day progressives. I’ve already noted that Woodrow Wilson was a white supremacist progressive globalist who wanted to abolish war. If we are honest with ourselves, the United Nations (the successor of the League of Nations) may have been fairly successful at that given the relative peace that has reigned in much of the world since World War 2.

“Teddy’s dicta applied as much to Southerners as it did to Italians and Irishmen. It was a domestic cultural imperialism to match Roosevelt’s foreign bravado. Small wonder the sons and grandsons of the Revolution of 1860 rejected him.”

We’re going to get to the story of how the buffalo, the wild turkey, the whitetail deer, the passenger pigeon, the Carolina parakeet as well as varmints like the mountain lion and the black bear were hunted to extinction or near extinction in the South and how they were brought back. As with pellagra which afflicted millions of people here, the unbelievable ecological damage was one of the worst aspects of the South’s descent into poverty and underdevelopment under free-market capitalism.

“Once the New Deal had revealed itself for what it was, another payout to Yankees (albeit not financed by Southern money as the pre-war versions had been, for we had no money to take), there was war looming in Europe and the South electorally stayed put in 1940 and 1944, the latter being the final time the South uniformly voted Democrat (though Carter would come close in ’76, losing only Virginia).”

Fairly successful?

The whole sharecropping system came tumbling down because New Deal and World War II federal spending in the South provided Southern farmers with the capital they needed to FINALLY mechanize agriculture. The capital shortage caused by free-market capitalism had kept Southern agriculture backward for generations relative to agriculture in the Midwest.

“There were larger forces at play than an endorsement or rejection of progressivism, as again the South stuck by the party which had done nothing for it since the 1850s for want of a better option. However, dark portents were on the horizon signaling a break with the Democrats which was some 40 years in the making by this point.”

Done nothing for it?

The end of sharecropping? The arrival of electricity in rural areas? The abolition of child labor? The end of polio, pellagra, malaria, hookworms and yellow fever? The construction of a national infrastructure in the form of the federal highway system? LMAO.

“With the ascendancy of another scalawag (we here at Identity Dixie claim Missourah as ours) to the imperial chair in the form of Harry S. Truman, we can see an overt rejection of progressivism made by Southern voters. Truman, to the shock and disgust of the people of the South, integrated the armed forces of the United States. For a people that had served as Uncle Sam’s Janissary since the 1880s, his slave warrior elite, this was an unconscionable affront. The message was clear: The Democrats were soon to embrace civil rights; the solid Jim Crow South be damned.”

The race issue had always been the third rail of the New Deal coalition. FDR had gone out of his way to avoid that divisive subject, but the world was a different place after World War II. The United States was now the “leader of the free world” under Harry Truman.

“Why, then, if the South could see the writing on the wall, did it embrace the progressive Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and ’56 over the ostensibly conservative Republican Ike Eisenhower? Simple.”

I would say it was because of the remarkable transformation of the standard of living in the South between 1930 and 1960 under the New Deal coalition. How about you?

“Eisenhower also had signaled support for civil rights. He supported Truman’s move to desegregate the military and time would show the South was right not to trust him. It was Eisenhower who would deploy federal troops to enforce the Supreme Court’s order to desegregate our schools. Had Ike been an Andrew Jackson, willing to tell the Court to kick rocks, that might have been a different story. But bad Democrat vs bad Republican, bad Democrat gets the votes. Just like ol’ Woody Wilson.”

Try for a minute to imagine that there were other things going on in the South besides the Civil Rights Movement like the arrival of the nascent Sunbelt economy.

“Rejecting Eisenhower does not a Southern progressive make. Eisenhower was a progressive in every sense of the word. It was he who signed the law raising the top tax bracket to 91% that we hear the modern liberal mewl so much about during any discussion of tax policy.”

Well, I would say that was because “conservatism” was still so wildly unpopular in Dwight Eisenhower’s time and the New Deal coalition was still very popular. It wasn’t until Blompf when the generation that had lived through the Great Depression had almost died off that putting someone like Gary Cohn or Larry Kudlow in charge of the US economy would have been tolerated. It has taken mainstream conservatives generations to deregulate the economy and lower taxes to the current level.

“And it was he who attacked the traditional society of the South by enforcing at gunpoint an unlawful Court order to desegregate our schools. To say nothing of his role in appointing justices Warren and Brennan, who would deliver body blow after body blow to traditionalism and the power of the States during their judicial reign of terror. Short of the Tyrant himself, there are few men who have been more disastrous to the South.”

Why are we still engaging in thoughtless backlash politics by voting for the Republican Party? Is it out of sheer inertia and habit? These matters have long been settled.

“Party loyalty does mean something in American political behavior, in Dixie as well as among the Yankees. Because they lack a better alternative, we see countless voters stick by the party of their fathers and grandfathers.”

The GOP isn’t the party of our ancestors though and neither was mainstream conservatism their ideology. We ought to trash it back into the trash heap it crawled out of after the Great Depression.

“A modern example can be seen among white laborers in the Rust Belt. Labor had long been a key component of the Democrat coalition but was summarily dismissed as important during the Clinton years (Dixie knows those feels). That rejection did not shift their political behavior, though, due to the fact that the Republican party was also advocating for open borders and offshoring. Enter Trump and his calls for protecting American workers and punishing China, and all of a sudden cover exists for a political shift. First in small numbers, then perhaps more in subsequent elections.”

Yes, but that was 2016 when in theory Blompf was still “strong on the border” and “tough on China” and was going to “bring the jobs back,” but since that time China’s Great Helmsman Xi Jinping has slapped him around while banning negro music and kicking his ass in trade.

“1964 was that sea-change year for the South. Scalawag Final Boss Lyndon Johnson, with his overt attacks on Southern society and states rights in the form of grasping Civil Rights legislation coupled with his embrace of urban socialism, saw four Southern states vote for Barry Goldwater, the most conservative candidate ever to run as a Republican.”

Well, I agree.

In hindsight, we can look at Goldwater carrying four Southern states in 1964 as “conservatives” seizing on a populist backlash in the Deep South to put down roots in this area. It was the beginning of the conservative-populist coalition which would continue down to Blompf’s election in 2016. 55 years later, we can see that mainstream conservatism was nothing but a scam and that it was simply stoking populist anger and exploiting populist backlashes to further its own financial agenda.

“Johnson’s successful fear-mongering that a Goldwater win would increase the possibility of nuclear war with the Russians is the only thing that kept the rest of the South from following suit. However, the spell was broken and not a single Southern state voted Democrat in 1968 or 1972.”

We can also trace the roots of White working class malaise back to this era because with the benefit of hindsight we can see that is when the trade deficits started piling up, wage stagnation began and income equality began soaring back to pre-New Deal levels.

“If Hunter Wallace were correct that the South was a traditional stronghold of progressivism, one would think that Johnson would have been seen as a favorable candidate: his promises of dollars for the poor would have meant relief for all of Dixie’s poor, not just the blacks.”

Well, even Blompf won’t publicly say he wants to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid, but yes, the New Deal coalition began to rapidly collapse when LBJ was president. It had a last hurrah with Jimmy Carter and was superseded by the Ronald Reagan era. I never claimed it lasted forever. Obviously, there has been a shift away from a populist-progressive coalition to a conservative-populist one, which I would argue has been an unmitigated disaster for us in nearly every way imaginable.

“Well, on paper, anyway. As with all other welfare handouts, the recipients of Great Society benefits found themselves and their communities broken, burned out, and subjugated to the will of the Empire. The inner cities and Appalachia don’t lie on that score.”

Interesting.

It was “welfare benefits” which had lifted our White Southern ancestors out of sharecropping and debt peonage during the Great Depression. The system seemed to be working through the 1940s and 1950s. Maybe there was something else going on in the global economy that explains this?

“In the main, Hunter is not wrong that Dixie voted for many progressive Democrats. The vote tallies are right there to be seen by anyone. But he conveniently ignores the reasons that this occurred so as to further his argument, and that is poor form. First three pages nationalism. Credit where it is due, I did have a laugh at “Identity Pellagra,” but overall, the claim is specious at the national level.”

Oh, I see.

They voted for the New Deal coalition because the Democrats were “the lesser of two evils” even though blacks didn’t return to Southern politics until after the Voting Rights Act. LMAO.

“If one goes no further than the outward face, these men might seem like avowed leftist progressives. They did, after all, frequently attack big business. But digging a little deeper, a different picture comes into focus. Long made a populist name for himself attacking railroads and Standard Oil in Louisiana. Yankee businesses both, granted favoritism and fat contracts by progressive governments in Washington and by the machine Democrats in Baton Rouge who were and are, at least, as corrupt as their counterparts in Chicago. These businesses and the politicians who enabled them abused the people of Louisiana and so Long saw a means to power in taking these Yankee interests and their paid scalawags head on. …”

George Wallace and Huey Long were Southern populists … like me.




“The man was a populist, not a progressive. The former is one who genuinely cares about the well being of the people and is not afraid to attack the powerful interests in order to defend the little guy. The progressive, as shown by Roosevelt (both of them) et. al., is someone who hears the complaints of the little guy and tosses them a bone so as to shut him up. Gnaw on that and suck out the marrow after the large and powerful are done chewing off all the meat.”

I’m not sure who said that George Wallace and Huey Long were “progressives.” They were Southern populists like Theodore Bilbo and John Rankin.

“All while undermining the traditional pillars of society so that those who receive the bone become dependent on it. Weaponized welfare is a concept which dates back to the Roman Empire and has been used to great effect in pacifying and subjugating dissident groups in the United States. A fact that Yang Gang would do well to remember. Those who know history are doomed to watch others repeat it.”

See the previous articles Identity Pellagra and Is Yang Gang a “Gaggle of Morons” for my take on this conservative and lolbertarian argument. Obviously, I find it historically ludicrous given the way this absurd ideology underdeveloped the South before the War Between the States and literally crippled it for generations afterwards. The Boomer generation has given conservative and lolbertarian economics another whirl and have achieved predictable results for Millennials.

“In no way does this sound like a progressive mantra, which typically calls for minor reforms that leave the powerful unmolested. Indeed, more often than not it is the powerful who write the reforms and in a perverse way, benefit from whatever noble intent fueled the progressives at the grass roots level before the proposal reached the avaricious businessmen and their venal lackeys in Washington.”

Yes, the last two years have been quite an education in the reforms that mainstream conservatives will pursue when they are in a position of power. Certainly, it seems the idea is to “tether” populism to conservatism in order to advance the economic agenda of the latter.

“There might be some commonalities in my words and those of men such as Long and those of the progressives, but some overlap does not prove Hunter’s thesis. Wanting a fairer shake for the common man and having a loathing for the monied interests of Wall Street does not make one a progressive.”

The populists and progressives of the New Deal coalition had a shared attitude about economic fairness. They agreed on economics, but differed on social issues. Similarly, I agree with Yang on lots of his economic proposals, but I supported Trump in 2016 over immigration and political correctness.

“Progressives exist to serve those monied interests, no matter what good they believe themselves to be supporting. Indeed, I’m disinclined to give them even the slightest benefit of the doubt, because at this point, if one cannot see that progressivism is malignant rather than palliative, one is being deliberately obtuse.”

I’ve just studied our history and can’t see why conservatives and lolbertarians are so opposed to government spending on infrastructure projects like the TVA which tamed the Tennessee River, spurred industrialization, attracted NASA, generated cheap electricity for millions of White Southerners, reduced soil erosion, ended malaria and created employment. In theory, the entrepreneur should have responded under the paradigm of free-market capitalism, and government intervention in the Tennessee Valley would have proven harmful or unnecessary at best.

“Or to put it in a less fancy way: they’ve purposely stuck their heads up their asses. Dixie has forever been at odds with these progressives and their monied masters, going all the way back to Alexander Hamilton and the first Bank of the United States. Dixie will remain the enemy of these interests until we are freed from the yoke of Yankeedom.”

That’s kind of the way I look at conservatives and lolbertarians.

How on earth can you look at millions of White Southern children living in absolute destitute poverty, making less than $60 cents a day chopping cotton, eating a diet of niacin deficient cornpone and suffering from pellagra and environmental induced mental retardation and draw the conclusion that this economic theory makes any sense whatsoever. Yangism is a better paradigm.

“With regards to George Wallace, I am reminded of his appearance on Firing Line with Yankee conservative William F. Buckley. Wallace goes into great detail talking about how in the years after the War, Yankee business worked to keep the South down by buying the government and enacting onerous shipping prices for Southern goods transported on Yankee rail lines. To ship from Mobile to New York cost three times what the reverse trip cost. To ship from Mobile to Montgomery cost the same as Mobile to Pittsburgh. These rail regulations were sold to the public as progressively minded reform. The people were told that the regulations would help keep the prices down for consumers and producers. And they did – in the North and West, Dixie made up the shortfall for the railroads but we did not matter then or now to Yankee politicians. Wallace decrying this unjust law was not progressive– it was ANTI progressive, for it was the progressives who had subjected Alabama and the rest of the South to those prices. Because Alabama and the South were and are “backwards” and traditional, so who cares about us? Progress has its winners and losers, and the South should be made to be the loser. All while the champions of progress feign stupefaction at the audacity of Southerners to reject their program. HOW DARE WE.”

LMAO.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, okay?

Here in the Alabama Black Belt, I grew up on what used to be Comer plantation, in a little hamlet named after Braxton Bragg Comer who was the 32nd governor of Alabama.

Governor Comer was a strong advocate of the regulation of railroads.

“Historians have claimed that the Progressive era in Alabama politics began with the governorship of Braxton Bragg Comer (1848-1927). Scion of a well-to-do family, this successful industrialist and planter spent four stormy years as Alabama’s governor, which were marked by progress in education, railroad regulation, tax funding, and conservation. …

While in Anniston, Comer learned that his Atlanta competitors could undersell his and other Alabama businesses because of Georgia’s lower freight rates. By the time he had built Avondale Mills, Comer was the state’s most vocal advocate of controlling Alabama’s railroad rate structure. The Birmingham Commercial Club, which Comer helped to organize in 1893, and the Birmingham Freight Bureau, also led by Comer, both investigated freight rate discrimination and recommended that rates be controlled by expanding the powers of the state railroad commission. Comer’s organized efforts failed to persuade legislators of the need for reform during the 1890s, but he and his allies renewed their efforts at the Constitutional Convention of 1901, where they campaigned to include in the document the establishment of an elected railroad commission with extensive powers to regulate rates. When that effort failed, the reformers compromised and accepted a provision in the document that gave the legislature sweeping authority over railroad rates.

If the railroads had continued to dominate all branches of government as they did in the 1890s, the new legislative power over railroad rates would have meant little. But efforts to disfranchise African Americans and poor whites and the establishment of a direct primary made it possible for popular forces to challenge entrenched power groups without fear of the manipulation of black votes that often blocked contentious legislation. In 1903, urban reformers failed to get the railroad commission to lower rates. As a result, Comer decided to seek the commission presidency, which the legislature had made elective. He profited from the new primary system and was nominated and then elected to the commission. But Comer found that being president of the commission gave him little power. The two appointed incumbents who held the other commission seats supported the railroads. When they made decisions favoring the railroads in 1905, Comer decided that he had to run for governor to achieve change. Comer knew that he must win not only the Democratic nomination for governor but also control of the legislature. Legislative candidates began to align with or against him.

The new governor devoted much of his inaugural address to the issue of railroad reform and requested the legislature pass 20 separate laws to give the railroad commission strong rate-making and enforcement powers. His program was enacted with few changes by March 1907. Lawmakers also added a provision that would revoke the state business license of any corporation bringing suit in federal court on any issue already before a state court.”

“Again, we see a populist and one far more traditionally oriented than was Long. These words drip with disdain for Yankee progressivism. Wallace was an ardent defender of what he dubbed the Anglo-Saxon Southland. A Southland whose values were and are anything but progressive. Traditionalism now. Traditionalism tomorrow. Traditionalism forever. Sorry, Occidental Dissent.”

Sorry, Identity Pellagra.

I would say that my family probably knew George Wallace a little better seeing as he was also from Barbour County, AL. George Wallace was an ardent defender of the Anglo-Saxon Southland, but he also was known for building roads, bridges and community colleges all over our state.

“Progressivism can take many different forms, it can be economical, social, societal, or any combination thereof. At all turns has the South rejected progressivism in any of its forms.”

I’m sorry, but this is just pure ahistorical lolbertarian nonsense. For most of the 20th century, a populist-progressive coalition reformed our economic system.

“We might share a dislike of the bankers with the Yankee progressives, hippies, and socialists, but our reasons are different. They hate the bankers for their wealth, we hate them for the power they wield over us. Wealth in and of itself is not the problem for the Southern populist, ill-gotten wealth acquired in unholy congress with the Yankee government is the problem. This type of collusion is antithetical to the ideals of Dixie, just as socialism is, for both interfere with the natural hierarchy of mankind that has traditionally served as the backbone of the Southland. I will close with some words from John Crowe Ransom in his essay “Reconstructed but Unregenerate” from “I’ll Take My Stand.”

This is simply a conservative or lolbertarian perspective.

What’s more, I wouldn’t romanticize the 1920s and 1930s South as some kind of agrarian paradise, albeit one that featured pellagra and was Erskine Caldwell’s subject in Tobacco Road. Just ask yourself why the people of Enterprise, AL have built a monument to the boll weevil for liberating their ancestors from the decadent economy of cotton monoculture.

“Eternal war and endless, rudderless progress for its own sake. This was written in 1930 and has turned out to be depressingly prescient. I can think of no ideology more antithetical to the South and her interests than the nebulous cancer that is Yankee progressivism. We are not, never have been, and never will be progressives. Don’t believe me? Ask a Yankee prog yourself what they think of the idea of Dixie being a historically progressive part of the country. The ensuing guffaws will last as long as it took you to read this article. Maybe longer. Which, full disclosure, was my initial reaction to the contention made by Occidental Dissent. But Hunter put forth effort and so I must as well. Cheers, OD.”

I’m a fan of both tradition and progress.

As I have explained here recently, I like Alasdair MacIntyre so much precisely because has spelled out so eloquently how the Western moral, cultural and scientific tradition was progressive. It was men like Galileo and Newton building on the work of Copernicus in science and men like St. Thomas Aquinas who built on the work of Aristotle and St. Augustine in moral theory. Finally, as a historicist who has studied Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Foucault and other writers, I am not dumb enough to see tradition and progress as being inherently antithetical. This is really just a very dumb conservative or lolbertarian take.

Deo Vindice, ID

About Hunter Wallace 9628 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

9 Comments

  1. Man, Hunter, you’re really on fire, and it’s fascinating. I’m really enjoying your train of thought. You make me think. Always a good thing.

  2. Hunter, your posts on southern history are really helpful. I only knew about people like Truman, who at first saw himself as a southern democrat. He originally got into politics to get roads for Missouri farmers. Democrats, in my history books, were the party of making improvements that benefited the lives of the poor. When I was in school as a kid, however, I never heard about any of this side of Southern politics. The South was portrayed as a creepy, backward, and dangerous land filled with racial terrorists keeping the black man down, until civil rights was imposed by virtuous northerners like Eisenhower and Kennedy and then finally passed in the sixties. Economics or impoverishment (except of blacks) was never brought up, but segregated lunch counters and schools were. Yankees need a bit of reality instruction that goes beyond the level of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

    • @Rich L

      ‘Yankees need a bit of reality instruction that goes beyond the level of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

      They need to be instructed on the nature of a federal republic, and to respect the Constitution and laws of the United States.

      They also need instruction in republican virtue, and to be taught to respect the legal and political rights of their fellow Americans in the South and West.

      Which means that they’re not entitled to superior rights, or authority, over other Americans, nor are other Americans their subordinate subjects. Nor does “Democracy” mean they have the right to determine the outcome of elections, or interfere in the polical processes and governments of, other people’s states.

        • @Rich L.

          “How has Northern interference in the South manifested itself in recent times?”

          In State and Federal elections.

          Especially the Georgia Gubernatorial election. Kavenaugh’s bid for Senate, the Ted Cruz/Beto run.

          Thousands of Northern political activists showed up in these states to influence, or try to influence, the outcome of these elections. The New York, Boston and Chicago based print/e-media gave their support all the way.

          Here in Texas, for instance, People were calling into WBAP radio in Dallas to report the large numbers of vehicles with Northern plates at rallies for Beto.

          The owners of these vehicles weren’t transplants, because Texas law requires you to get Texas plates within one month of new residency. Furthermore, many of these callers said that they spoke to these people, who told them that they were just in Texas, temporarily, to support Beto.

          I saw a car, in Paris, Texas, with Illinois plates and a Beto sticker in the window. All of these people couldn’t be new residents coincidentally with Beto’s bid for Senate.

          Northern SJWs bring in Federal Judges to overturn or reverse the outcome of elections and referendums, or legislation and laws.

          They’re the main reason for the push for voter ID laws in the South and some parts of the West.

          Northern SJWs’ stated concerns for election integrity in Southern States, and their activism over it, apart from the fact that it’s none of their business, actually corrupts the political process and drives Southern politics in a reactionary and defensive direction.

          How can I, as a Texan, or Southron, vote with confidence, when hordes of New Yorkers, Pennsylvanians and Ohioans are sure to show up, federal judges in tow, to subvert or nullify my vote?

          In General Political Activism

          Around 2015, thousands of people marched on the Texas capitol, demanding that the Texas legislature change our gun laws. They were all from up North and specifically came here for the protest. The counter protest was by The Texas Nationalist Movement and non aligned Texans/Southrons.

          The same kind of activities take place at the Capitols of every state in Dixie.

          Alyssa Milano in the Georgia state legislature, is the most recent example of this phenomenon.

          The protests in Ferguson, Missouri were turned into riots by activists from Chicago and New York. They were arrested and deported back to Yankeedom, by the Missouri State Police.
          The Northern media covered up for them.

          Antifa: A Jewish organisation from top to bottom, to be sure. But their foot soldiers are overwhelmingly young Yankees and Pacificans, even in Dixie.

          The North Carolina Worker’s Party.

          Rest assured, there are no “workers,”
          North Carolinians, or Southrons in its ranks. It’s full of Communist Yankees and Jews.

          Battleground Texas.

          A political organisation headquartered in Ohio, staffed by Ohioans, and dedicated to changing Texas politics for the betterment of Ohio and her people, and the North in general.

          There are countless other such organisations from Texas and Oklahoma, over to Virginia and Florida, and all across Dixie. All staffed by Carpetbaggers and Jews.

          The Cultural fight.

          In Texas, it’s always Carpetbaggers behind the attempts to remove statues, ban Rodeos, the Fort Worth Livestock Exhibition, The Texas State Fair and suppress Texan/Southern/Confederate symbols and culture. It’s also Yankee college students and in one case, a middle school boy who’s family had moved here from up north.

          Friends living in other Southern States report pretty much the same thing going on where they live.

  3. What do conservatives conserve? What do progressives progress?

    To this day in Russia if you introduce yourself as a progressive, you will either make a friend or an enemy. They do not forget what progressives did to them in the USSR.

  4. “I honestly have no idea how this is a controversial point. I was kind of surprised by the notion that the argument was being made that the South had always somehow been conservative or lolbertarian on economic policy.”

    The South was conservative/lolbertarian on economic policy prior to the 1880s/1890s and after the 1970s/1980s. Between that was a century of various forms of support for centrist to left-wing economic policy. The fact this originated only as a result of the South falling behind the North economically in the late 19th century and began to collapse only years after the beginning of the New Deal coalition (the “conservative coalition” in the Democratic Party of the late FDR years was largely a Southern phenomenon) suggests this shift left was temporary and unsustainable. Modern conservatism, as manifested in the GOP, spread out of the most anti-Black parts of the South, as well as the most elite urban/suburban. The last place in the White South to adopt it was the interior of machine-dominated Eastern Kentucky, which had no Blacks and no elites.

    Actually, Joe Manchin still won last year, I guess (though there is no chance he will win again), so Southern economic populism is not yet entirely dead.

    “Today, there are very few Americans who are “Center Right” in the Reaganite sense.”

    The GOP flipped four Senate seats last year, as well as held on to many governorships. There are still plenty of examples of election results that look like this:

    https://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?fips=37&year=2018&f=0&off=52&elect=0

    The only Republicans to win Clinton districts last year were Hurd, Katko, and Fitzpatrick. All of whom voted for the Trump Tax Cuts. The Reaganite center-right is alive and well.

  5. “who has thought a great deal about the problem of work in 21st century America.”

    The 21st Century is being kept from emerging in America by the ghosts of Lincoln, Marx, WWI, WWII, the Cold War and the ghost of John McCain.

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