It has been a few years since this website has been really active in pushing for secession and Southern Nationalism. There are five reasons for that:
- The first reason is that I became increasingly convinced that White identity and Southern identity had been severely weakened and repressed over the past several generations. We have a sharp sense of racial, ethnic and cultural identity, but most people don’t anymore. We are honestly more in a rebuilding phase than a let’s raise the battle flag and revolt phase.
- The second reason is that White people and Southerners were in a complacent mood under Obama and Donald Trump. When Obama was president, it is fair to say that some people were alarmed, but the threat seemed remote. When Trump was president, millions of people had concluded that they had won, everything was going to be fine and Trump was MAGAing. Even people who had been deeply involved in “extremist” or “far right” politics checked out to hold Trump’s beer.
- The third reason is that it because increasingly obvious to me that I needed to step back and rethink things. It occurred to me that the old paradigms didn’t neatly map onto the present crisis. White Nationalism is based on the ideal of White solidarity and separatism, but experience has shown time and again that our bitterest enemies are other White people. Southern Nationalism is based on the ideal of Southern ethnic nationalism, but that is not really the divide these days either.
- The fourth reason is that I came to believe that there was really something was going on in the 2000s and 2010s and that there was a reason why these old ideas were resurfacing and the country really was becoming more polarized and disaffection was steadily growing, but we didn’t have the language to describe this divide which exists in this country, but also in other countries across the West. There are people in Britain and France who have same grievances. In fact, Britain had recently seceded from the European Union through BREXIT!
- The fifth and final reason is that the time wasn’t ripe. Even when we seceded the first time in the crisis of 1860/1861, there wasn’t a mass movement in the South that was pushing for secession or even a strong sense of Southern ethnic identity. It came as a sudden explosion of anger over the John Brown raid and Lincoln’s election. Normies seceded on their own timetable.
I think that I now have a much better grasp of the problem. Aesthetics used to be subordinated to other aspects of life like politics, religion, ethics, etc. There were limits on the self-expression of the artist. The masses didn’t have expressivist values. Now, an aesthetic drives and poisons our culture.
This divide is not regional or national. It is international. It is not ethnic or racial. It is intraethnic and intraracial. It is a divide over identity, culture and values which roughly pits people who live in rural areas and small towns against people with college degrees who live in wealthy suburbs and urban areas. The divide is also centered on cultural attitudes toward modernism, cosmopolitanism and antiracism and separates people who are social conservatives or traditionalists from people who are social liberals.
This is a global nationalist and populist movement that pits settled people who have deep roots in their countries who are predominantly, but hardly exclusively, working class natives against mobile educated, professional elites who have benefited from globalization. It is the people who have the deepest roots in their countries and who value their way of life and national identities who are furious with their transnational liberal elites who have more in common with each other as a class than with their own citizens. In most Western countries, this is how politics is gradually being reorganized.
“In our polarized times, talk of secession blooms on the losing side of bitterly contested national elections. After the 2016 election, some liberal Californians proposed a referendum to seek independence. Last December in Texas, a few leading Republicans actually threatened to secede from a nation whose courts would not overturn the 2020 presidential election. This talk of secession reflects animosities and fears, but it is also fundamentally based on a mythic and rosy version of our political origins — one that never was.
Modern secessionists claim that the Founders united to support an American creed that looks conveniently like their vision for America today. They blame their political opponents for betraying this political utopia. …
During the 19th century, most Americans tried to hold their Union together through territorial expansion, but instead they provoked a bloodbath. Unionists restored the nation through war and resumed adding territory — first Alaska, then Hawaii. But we have run out of places to acquire while the distrust between people of red and blue states has increased, creating new fault lines with ominous possibilities — unless we cherish a Union essential to our mutual safety. …”
I would say it is different this time.
In the 19th century, slavery was the bitterly polarizing issue. Slavery was bound up in larger questions about national identity like the sovereignty of the states and federal government and whether the country was founded by the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. As the Confederates argued, slavery was only the incident or occasion of the war, not the cause. It was the pressing issue which brought the true cause which was these rival worldviews about the Constitution into collision.
In the War Between the States, the two sides had different views about slavery and the constitutionality of secession, but otherwise had almost everything else in common. The Union and Confederacy both revered the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution and even celebrated the same holidays like July the 4th. It was overwhelmingly White men who fought on both sides of the war. It was a war between Anglo-Protestants which was fueled on both sides by evangelical Christianity. The flashpoint was a fight over a slight difference between the North and South over republicanism within the larger context of American national identity which was then White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant and republican. When the conflict was over and slavery was abolished and the Union was preserved, this is what allowed the two sides to get over it and move forward because they still shared so much else in common.
The origin of the huge cultural divide in this country today that has bitterly polarized the county in a far deeper way that it was ever divided over slavery can be traced back to the 1910s and 1920s. It was during the Progressive Era that the professional managerial class (PMC) began to develop and modernism arrived in the United States from Europe. In retrospect, we can look back at Sinclair Lewis’s book Babbitt and H.L. Mencken mocking the boobosie and the fight over Prohibition between the Second Klan and its critics in the 1920s as the beginning of the culture war. The break between the Progressives and the liberal intelligentsia which developed in the 1920s in the wake of World War I over cultural issues was where the rift emerged. America’s Victorian cultural unity disintegrated in the 1920s and 1930s.
American cultural history can be neatly divided into two epochs. The Victorian era which stretches back to the early 19th century in which was there was a consensus over the fundamental questions of national identity and morality ended around 1920. It was followed by the Modern era after which cultural liberalism brought all of these Victorian assumptions into question. The old “mainstream” died and was replaced by our current one. It was during this formative period (1920 to 1950) that all the key institutions of the “mainstream” as we know it today which was based in New York emerged whether it was radio networks, taste setting magazines or the press. Previously, there had not been a national “mainstream” media culture dominated by New York and Los Angeles. There were regional cultures dominated by WASPs with Boston being first among equals in the late 19th century. The “mainstream” was only firmly established in the 1950s when most people began watching television which was a new technology. The very idea of trusting “objective” professional “journalists” which captivated a national television audience was new at the time. The country was unusually trustful of institutions and united in the 1950s and early 1960s.
There are several mega trends which date back to around 1920 which have increasingly determined the world we live in today:
- The growth over time of the professional managerial class (PMC) which was still small in 1930 but swells in size down to the present
- The growth in the number of Americans with a college education which was still small in 1930, but which swells in size down to the present especially since World War II. This has led to the destabilizing phenomenon that Peter Turchin calls “elite overproduction.”
- The vacuuming up of smart people from all over the country through standardized testing -> higher education -> dumping and concentrating them in metropolitan suburbs
- The growth in the wildly disproportionate wealth, power and influence of Jews who become concentrated in the professional managerial class which is our ruling class
- The obsession with antiracism which was still under the radar in 1930 but which has gradually grown toxic and has consumed everything in our own times
- The development of a modernist elite and modernist values putting down ever deeper roots in our culture due to the rise of higher education and the mass media. It is a series of “liberations” from traditional norms and sources of authority. It goes from being something alienated elites are doing in the 1920s to the way the masses are organizing and living their lives in the 2020s.
The animating impulse behind the avant-garde and modernism is to tear down everything traditional because new automatically means better. Things which are alien and stimulating novelties are better too. Since the 1920s, modernism has always been the sensibility or aesthetic of progressivism.
As this applies to America’s national identity, race and ethnicity were the first of its traditional pillars to go and was stripped out in the crusade against “racism” between the 1930s and 1960s. The American elite embraced modernism, antiracism and cosmopolitanism during these decades. It gradually became clear due to the acceptance of antiracism and multiculturalism in the late 20th century that Christianity and the English language would also have to go as pillars of national identity as well. By the 1990s and early 2000s, the “American Creed” was the only thing holding the country together, which was then by design exploding with racial, cultural and religious diversity, and scholars like Samuel Huntington began expressing doubts whether this would prove a sufficient source of unity in the long run.
In the 2020s, it is fair to say that nothing is holding this country together anymore because every source of national identity has been eliminated by our elites which are drunk on modernism, cosmopolitanism and antiracism. We can’t even agree on the most basic things now like whether men are men and women or women. The proposition that 2 + 2 = 4 is controversial in ethnomathematics circles due to Eurocentrism. Religious faith is drying up. Morality itself has largely been forgotten by our elites and has been replaced by a laundry list of -isms and -phobias which have been made up by academics. The “American Creed” no longer holds this country together because our elites no longer agree that all citizens have the same rights and liberties. This country came unglued over the “American Creed” in the 19th century in spite of everything else it had going for it which have long since ceased to be sources of unity. There are rival definitions of “justice” now which is always a sure sign that we are heading toward trouble.
I don’t think anyone else sees it this way. This is a story which has a beginning in the 1910s and 1920s when America’s 19th century Victorian culture became unglued and was challenged, collapsed and was replaced by a modernist elite, a middle in which the new modernist values of the American elite hit a critical mass in the 1960s and 1970s and an end in which those values have penetrated down to the roots of our culture and have infected the masses in the 2020s. We’re now entering a toxic phase or a crisis phase in which a culture dies. Just as romantic nationalism set nation against nation and culminated in the World Wars, modernism has rotted and dissolved nations from within and estranged and alienated established elites from the masses – the sea of bigots out in flyover country – which is leading us toward a similar crisis.
Who are the people who are “far right domestic extremists”? It is the people who haven’t degenerated and lost their national characteristics due to fashionable elite trends. If you cling to the traditional view that men and women are different and that men ought to be masculine and women ought to be feminine and that there are two genders, which is what Americans used to believe until quite recently, you fit the profile of a “domestic extremist.” If you continue to define morality as the traditional moral virtues and vices and Christianity, not as the laundry list of -isms and -phobias, you are a “domestic extremist.” If you continue to value your race and ethnicity and culture and define your sense of identity in traditional terms as a bond that stretches across generations, not in terms of which consumer products you choose or how you express yourself, you are a “domestic extremist.” If you happen to like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and don’t feel outraged and compelled to topple their statues, you are a “domestic extremist.” The definition of a “domestic extremist” are people who are old fashioned or normal Americans who are not hip to what is going on in places like Brooklyn or San Francisco or overseas in London or Paris.
The divide is between people who are staying put and people who are rapidly degenerating. Gender fluidity, censorship and vegetarianism are some new fashionable trends on the modernist side. The populist or traditionalist side continues to insist that men and women are biologically different and on meat eating and on free speech which are positions that are common among “extremists.”
Note: It all started in those bohemian neighborhoods in the Fin de siècle. The art, literature and music of a civilization are leading indicators. Cultural liberalism grew out of modernism.