Editor’s Note: This will be another long day on this website.
Occidental Dissent doesn’t want to go back to the South of company towns, sharecropping, debt peonage, pellagra, hookworms, malaria, illiteracy, poverty, dirt roads, cash crop agriculture, child labor and corn pone. We support a 21st century economy! We’re better than this, Dixie https://t.co/eggJFl7f3R
— Prozium (@CptBlackPill) April 1, 2019
Fulwar Skipworth writes:
“It is hard to tell what is going on over at Occidental Dissent these days. Simply web-searching the phrase brings humble web browsers to a link that includes the phrases “Nationalism, Populism and Reaction,” but in its erstwhile operator’s latest dissociative breakdown he has taken leave of all three, urging readers to “learn their history,” while quoting George Tindall’s Emergence of the New South (pages one, two and three). He wants us to believe “Southerners Used To Be Progressive.”
I find this to be a strange take.
The tag line of Occidental Dissent reads “Nationalism, Populism, Reaction.” It hasn’t changed in years and neither have my politics. As always, I write under the pseudonym “Hunter Wallace” on this blog, which is a nod to George Wallace. That’s because I am clearly a populist-identitarian writer.
As a populist, nationalist and identitarian writer, I am someone who values Southern identity along with social cohesion and economic fairness. This is why I incline toward Southerners in the mold of George Wallace and Huey Long. I’m kind of the opposite of folks who value social liberty and economic liberty. Honestly, I am somewhere in the center of the electorate, not on the fringes.
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this idea that Southerners were not “progressives” at some point in our history. Didn’t we vote for Woodrow Wilson in 1912?
Didn’t we vote for Woodrow Wilson in 1916?
Didn’t we vote for FDR in 1932?
Didn’t we vote for FDR in 1936?
Didn’t we vote for FDR in 1940?
How about FDR in 1944?
Didn’t we vote for Adlai Stevenson in 1952?
Didn’t we vote for Adlai Stevenson in 1956? I mean … even that guy, twice?
How about JFK in 1960?
As an amateur historian and a political scientist, I look at Southern history and notice we seem to have voted for Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson, JFK and LBJ. Now, it would seem to follow that at some point in Southern history our ancestors were populists and progressives seeing as how they voted for all of the most progressive presidents in American history.
Woodrow Wilson carried every Southern state (except West Virginia in 1916 twice). FDR won every Southern state in national landslide victories on four occasions. Harry Truman carried most of the South in 1948. Poor Adlai Stevenson only won the votes of Southerners in 1952 and 1956. Southerners continued to vote for JFK and LBJ in the 1960s. Finally, it was the populist George Wallace who led the exodus from the Democratic Party in the 1960s and 1970s before going back.
This notion that Southerners have always been conservatives or lolbertarians is historically laughable. No, the South was quite clearly the foundation of the New Deal coalition for generations, which was a populist-progressive electoral coalition. It was even customary in the Democratic Party for a White Southerner to get the VP nod on every ticket in the New Deal coalition era: to name a few, Garner, Truman, Barkley, Sparkman and LBJ. The Solid South didn’t start to reemerge as Republican until the 1990s and wasn’t this completely polarized until the 2010s. This was after Jimmy Carter won every Southern state but Virginia in 1976. Hell, even Bill Clinton carried Fulworth’s home state of Louisiana twice as recently as 1992 and 1996. Let’s set aside the idea that the South HAS ALWAYS been lolbertarian.
I’m having a dissociative breakdown … what?
No, I am simply better trained in history and political science, and I see through a lot of this obvious bullshit. Does anyone remember the 20th century?
As for my pro-Andrew Yang punditry, I sense that he has a platform and personality and messaging that appeals to younger voters. I also think he is capable of scrambling the electoral college and winning Southern states that haven’t gone Democratic in years in much the same way that Blompf carried the Upper Midwest and Pennsylvania. He can do it simply by exciting the populist and nationalist swing voters who voted for Blompf in 2016 and which he is already doing.
“Now, excepting for a moment, the historical importance of George B. Tindall and his mammoth book (which this humble scholar has read in full, in addition to the first three pages), let’s take a look at the specific text excerpted by Hunter Wallace …”
I’m not surprised that the mental image of hundreds of thousands of White Southerners parading through Washington and doing the Rebel Yell while watching bands play Dixie in support of Woodrow Wilson is so highly triggering for Fulwar who identifies with the Bourbon Democrats.
“Three hundred thousand marchers took four hours to pass down Pennsylvania Avenue; the represented the victorious Democracy from coast to coast, but reporters noted that a vociferous “Rebel Yell” broke out whenever a Southern figure rode by or a band blared Dixie! “Thousands of voices sang the words of it in unison.” If any Southern observer caught the portent of top-hatted and gray-gloved Negroes among the Tammany braves, that detail seems not to have been recorded.”
This happened, right?
There is a lot of good stuff in this book and all the others that I have read. The Southern past was a lot more complicated than the Reaganite conservative-lolbertarian coalition. Didn’t the progressive Woodrow Wilson also love Thomas Dixon and D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of Nation?
“It is like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.” – President Woodrow Wilson
“In Tindall’s totally Reconstructed world (and, ostensibly now Wallace’s), the “agrarians” are “petty middle classes.”Populism” and the 1896 movement to coin silver and feed a cash starved rural hinterland is a “conspiracy to debase coinage.” The reactionary nationalist Bourbon regime of the late 19th century comes out cleanest– simply a normal heresy that is less sensationalized, probably because of the Bourbons’ catastrophic decision to back gold and form the National Democrat Party in 1896, thus ensuring the New York Republicans victory. We are left wondering exactly which elements of “Nationalism, Populism and Reaction,” are left over at Occidental Dissent, which now proudly claims to hold “left authoritarian” economics, while backing thoroughly libertarian Andrew Yang.”
If you look at the electoral maps above, it can be pithily summed up as one huge revolt across several generations of Southerners against the Bourbon Democrats and the lolbertarian economic principles introduced in the South after the War Between the States. Southerners voted for Wilson to redistribute wealth through the income tax and for FDR to break the back of the sharecropping system and debt peonage which had entrapped and impoverished our ancestors for generations.
BTW, everyone who has studied Southern history knows that Populists revolted AGAINST the disastrous economic policies of President Grover Cleveland, who was a Bourbon Democrat, so this idea that the Populists were at odds with tight money and laissez-faire free market economics in general … rings true? I mean … just read their platform.
“Now, let’s look at Tindall and his now apparently authoritative text on The Emergence of the New South. Tindall was, like the deified subject in this passage, Woodrow Wilson, a Southerner. Unlike Wilson, Tindall lived most of his life in the South. He was born in South Carolina, graduated Furman, served the Empire in the Pacific theater– and like many men of his generation utilized the G.I. Bill to finish his education at UNC Chapel Hill, which put his America-worshipping military training to use singing the praises of progressive democracy. He put these skills to good use in the Cold War, like many Southern historians of the day.”
There were lots of men of Tindall’s generation in the South who were populists and progressives and who supported the New Deal coalition. There was a reason for that too. It was due to the chronic poverty and underdevelopment under lolberg economics which has fortunately been largely eradicated in our own times. No one in the South suffers from malaria, pellagra, hookworms anymore.
As a Southern aristocrat, I highly doubt that Fulwar even likes severely niacin deficient cornpone, which once afflicted millions of our ancestors with pellagra under free-market capitalism:
“The first case of pellagra in the United States was reported in 1902. Soon pellagra began to occur in epidemic proportions in states south of the Potomac and Ohio rivers. The pellagra epidemic lasted for nearly four decades. It was estimated that there were 3 million cases and 100,000 deaths due to pellagra during the epidemic. The exact cause of pellagra was not known. The patients felt ostracized and were shunned. The social stigmatization was similar to that of the present day epidemic of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Joseph Goldberger of the US Public Health Service solved the secret of the malady of pellagra. Goldberger’s epic work and the social history of the pellagra epidemic in the United States are reviewed. …
Pellagra was a rural disease among the sharecroppers, tenant farmers, and cotton mill workers of the South. Its occurrence in epidemic proportions was linked to the economic depression of the times and the monoculture of cotton cultivation. Depression meant less money for food and subsistence on an inadequate diet. The cotton monoculture and nonexistent animal husbandry resulted in a lack of locally produced food. Along with poverty, corn was the common denominator among pellagrins in the United States and Europe. Corn had been the staple diet among the natives of Mexico and Central America for several centuries without causing pellagra. Why had corn suddenly become pellagragenic in United States and Europe? The answer to the problem lay in the methodology of corn processing, cooking, and milling. The natives of Mexico and Central America had always soaked the corn in alkali before cooking. The alkali treatment liberates the bound niacin in corn, thereby enhancing the niacin content of the diet to the point of being protective against pellagra. The process of degerming in the preparation of cornmeal became feasible with the development of the Beall degerminator in 1905. The process of degermination reduces the niacin content of corn and could have precipitated the development of pellagra among a vulnerable population.
Public awareness campaigns, agriculture diversification, change of food habits, and food fortification with nicotinic acid were all responsible for the eradication of pellagra in the South. The recommendation of the Food and Nutrition Board regarding the enrichment of bread and flour with thiamine, niacin, and iron was endorsed by the members of the baking and milling industries in 1941. Soon the food fortification program played a crucial role in eliminating pellagra. The consumption of enriched flour and bread ensured that the dietary intake of niacin and thiamine was adequate, thus ensuring the prevention of pellagra and beriberi. Pellagra was truly conquered in the American South during the Second World War. Paradoxically, there was relative prosperity during the war. The economy improved, there were more jobs, and almost everyone had an income. The wartime rationing also made the people conscious of eating high quality food. By 1945, pellagra had become extinct in the South, and the pellagra producing 3-M diet of southerners had become a relic of the past.”
We’ve made a lot of progress since those days.
You’ve got to remember that the Great Depression lasted in the South from 1865 until roughly 1940. There was a time when the dumb Southerner became a national stereotype because our people were so poor under free-market capitalism that they couldn’t afford shoes for their children. They were literally made retarded by hookworms and the lack of public investment in education.
I’m not, okay, a fan of free-market capitalism. I’ve written here for years about how the coal was ripped out of the ground in Central Appalachia while the profits were funneled elsewhere, how much of the hardwood forests of Appalachia were clear cut by Northern timber companies while the profits were also sucked elsewhere, how those same timber companies decimated the piney woods around the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast from one end of Dixie to another (the damage is only now being repaired), how the oil wealth of Texas and Louisiana was funneled into an oligarchy of billionaires who funded “conservative” causes rather than distributed to the people.
Bourbon Democrat economics led to decades of economic misery in the South. It was Southerners who supported creating the Federal Reserve and dropping the gold standard to reinflate the money supply (it worked largely through military spending). It was Southerners who supported the income tax to redistribute wealth to the South and the West. It was Southerners who supported nationalizing and regulating Northern railroads because the differential rates they charged kept the South in a state of industrial and economic subservience to Northern capital. The South was for all intents and purposes was a Third World country until the New Deal and World War 2 ended sharecropping and started to build critical infrastructure in our region like, obviously, the TVA and through the Rural Electrification Administration brought electricity to millions of rural White Southerners.
It was the Woodrow Wilson administration which ended child labor in Southern textile mills. It was also the Wilson administration that resegregated the federal government for the first time since the War Between the States and cut the tariff which punished Southern agricultural products. The South in the years also passed anti-miscegenation laws, segregation laws and eugenic sterilization laws. It was those generations who built the Confederate monuments in the early 20th century. Did you know the Glass-Steagall Act which shackled Wall Street for generations was written by two Southerners?
It was Southerners who championed building public infrastructure like rural roads and public parks after opposing “internal improvements” in the antebellum era. I could continue with the land grant colleges that were built all over the South and the importance of their agricultural research to diversifying Southern agriculture into new crops like peanuts in the Alabama Wiregrass. The South as we know it today is largely their legacy. The degenerate cotton economy reached its apogee here in the 1920s before it was wiped out by the boll weevil (it has a monument in Enterprise, AL).
“He was part of a contemptible gaggle of scholars known as the “Consensus Historians” and among the Southern breed of them, the primary target for demolition was the “Dunning School,” which had for the better part of 50 years written excellent (and now mostly disgraced) histories of Reconstruction lashing at Imperial injustice following the failed Revolution of 1860. These narratives, dominant for so long, were problematic for the emerging Atlanticist block of Western nations, who sought to militarize “American values” against the USSR. This rogue’s gallery of “values” and puritanisms included corporate capitalism, individualism, and problematically, egalitarianism. See, egalitarianism is also an important talking point among Communists– and the opposition to the Atlanticists in Eastern Europe were waging a propaganda war against the American Empire by highlighting anti-egalitarian racial strife in the crumbling Jim Crow South. The Emergence of the New South is the text that cracked the spine of the Southern narrative of Southern history and fed it back to the Empire.
Here’s a radical concept: the Southerners of the 1900s, 1910s, 1920s, 1930s and 1940s were largely interested in their own times and were much less interested in Reconstruction. There were no blacks in Southern politics throughout this period. George H. White gave his farewell address in 1901 and he was the last negro to sit in Congress from the South until after the Voting Rights Act. While the negro had been made politically irrelevant by Jim Crow, Southerners concerned themselves largely with how to end the poverty and underdevelopment that had lingered since the War Between the States. Now, of course, the New Deal populist-progressive coalition would later crack up over race and culture, but it really struggled and lingered on until Jimmy Carter was president.
“There were of course others, like C. Vann Woodward’s Strange Career of Jim Crow, which is now held in higher esteem, but at the time Tindall was lauded by his colleagues for turning on his Dunning mentors and selling his homeland back into intellectual bondage. David Potter, perhaps the most famous of the Consensus historians (also a Southern turncoat), reviewed Emergence for the Journal of Southern History saying”
Selling his homeland into “intellectual bondage”?
What do you call economic bondage aka debt slavery to Northern company towns in Appalachia and textile villages in the Piedmont? What was the relationship of the cotton tenant farmer to Wall Street in the late 19th century South under the glorious reign of free-market capitalism?
“Put another way, it is revision so skillful the uncritical reader (always the target audience) will read it as Gospel. That was George Tindall. Unlike Van Woodward, Tindall never recanted or drifted to the Right following the disastrous cultural revolutions of the Progressive consensus. Apparently, now it is Hunter Wallace, or maybe he just swallowed the hook.”
Grandma used to tell me about how back in her day growing up in Georgia during the Great Depression how all the parents would make clothes for their children out of potato sacks. She was never a fan of Herbert Hoover, the Republican Party and “the Right.” I kind of understand her point of view given where “conservatism” led the country – straight off the cliff – in the 1920s. I’ve always shared a negative attitude toward “conservatism” largely because of the degree to which it failed our ancestors. I see it failing us again and want to be done with it.
“Tindall’s goal (and Wallace’s goal) in recounting the dramatic re-ascendance of Southerners to High Imperial Office reads as triumphant, and it may even have worked had Wilson not proven to be the most disastrous president in the Empire’s history. And, he was a failure precisely because of his capital-p – Progressivism.”
Well, it really was a triumph over “conservatism” and crushing poverty. It is one of the reasons why I admire China’s triumph over poverty. I don’t like the foreign policy of Wilson or FDR at all, but even that had a positive effect in that it was all the military spending in World War 1 and World War 2 which revived the Southern economy which had been flatlined since the Confederacy.
“Whatever elation Southerners may have felt, and there was enough to produce some measure of spectacle ahead of his inauguration, President Woodrow Wilson was as much a friend of the South as Donald Trump is of his far-right fanboys, which is to say he was glad of their votes. His coinage of phrases like “moral imperialism” and his willingness to use the blood of Southerners to “make the world safe for Democracy,” tell the true story. Indeed, while Wilson was able to leverage Southern voters with platitudes about their past, he did so only to spurn them when he was elected to office, where in 1914, behind closed doors the original American Internationalist told the National Foreign Trade Council “There is nothing in which I am more interested than the fullest development of the trade of this country and its righteous conquest of foreign markets.” That audience included no Southern business interests.”
How was he able to do it?
What was the secret of his success? From Wilson to Jimmy Carter, Southerners were loyal to the Democratic Party largely because it had lifted them out of poverty.
“To clarify any conception that we may be ret-conning Wilson’s ambivalence to Southern interests, it is worth pointing out that such opposition was vociferous and contemporary. While Southerners are well known as the most amenable demographic in America to military intervention, this was not the case in 1917, as historian Anthony Gaugnan points out in his exploration of the topic, “Woodrow Wilson and Interventionism in the South.” Gaugnan writes”
Citing (among other instances) the Wilson administration’s inactivity in the face of an illegal British embargo on cotton exports to the Central Powers, Gaugnan notes not only failing support for Wilson among Southern elites like Senator James Vardaman of Mississippi and Robert Hoke of Georgia, but also rising opposition from labor associations like the Texas Farmers Union, the North Carolina Farmers Union and the entire Georgia legislature. …”
And yet, Wilson was reelected in 1916 and every Southern state but West Virginia (itself under the thrall of Northern industrial corporations) voted for him. Obviously, the answer is because he resegregated the federal government, never really opposed the South on racial issues and supported economic development in Dixie. They voted for him in spite of World War I which tells you a lot about their view of free-market capitalism and the “Party of Lincoln.”
“Now, Mr. Wallace’s schizophrenic theme of the month has been the virtues of New York native, Taiwanese-American, and moon-shot candidate Andrew Yang.”
I literally wrote on this website in 2015 about how I wanted to vote for a candidate who would bring a more Chinese-style version of capitalism to the South. Feel free to explore the archives where I have criticized lolbertarianism and free-market capitalism here for over a decade.
“Thus far, we have been told that Southerners will somehow become the new “master class,” with robots serving as their surrogate slaves, thus fulfilling the agrarian prescriptions of George Fitzhugh, but that is all nonsense.”
I spent the morning cutting my grass here in the Alabama Black Belt with my Husqvarna riding lawnmower while drinking a nice cool glass of lemonade. This old girl works better and faster and gets the job done better than 100 slaves could cut my yard in 1860. I can’t wait to get the automated version where she just rolls out in the yard and completes the task without even being told to do so.
“There is a pro-Southern, pro-UBI argument for Yang’s presidency, but with the candidate polling at between 0% and 1% depending on whose metrics are preferred, it may not be worth the time and effort.”
Well, I disagree.
I’m supporting Yang because I want to be rid of mainstream conservatism. We need to get back to work solving problems like the opioid and suicide epidemic in White America. We’ve dealt with bigger problems in our past like the eradication of polio, malaria and pellagra.
“But please, Mr. Wallace, before you implore Southerners to learn their own history, read past the third page of a book.”
Listen guys, I don’t know how to break it to y’all but lolbertarians don’t have any monopoly on Southern identity. There are also populist-identitarians (me), progressive-identitarians (see Drive By Truckers, for example) and conservative-identitarians (Hank Jr.)
Note: No hard feelings. It is better in the end to colonize the entire political spectrum. I also want to thank Andrew Yang. We’re now arguing about ideology and economics instead of identity politics. Yang isn’t even president yet and he is already stimulating the discourse.