The following is an e-mail from the Southern National Congress:
The Southern National Congress is a deliberative body designed to provide Southerners with a forum to voice their authentic concerns regarding the South’s continued cultural life, prosperity, and distinctive existence. The Southern National Congress provides a means of expressing Southern goals, grievances, and solutions, in an open manner not presently existing anywhere else in the public sphere. This is being accomplished within a framework conducive to the complete independence for our southern States.
The Southern National Congress is an organization of volunteer Southern citizens whose objective is to effect the freedom and independence of the several Southern States and their People so that they may restore their historic traditions of self-government and ordered Christian liberty.
Why the SNC?
Today’s public institutions–political, financial, and cultural — have become increasingly alienated from the Southerner in his identity as a Southerner. The Southerner and the Southland are becoming mere commodities, useful one day, to be discarded the next.
This is because the political, economic, and intellectual systems that exist in these united States today are destructive of those who will not stand for themselves. The old institutional protections that in the past provided some protection for the people, their identity, heritage, and welfare, have been allowed to decay into nothing. The South must stand independently as a distinct nation, people and culture – or cease to exist.
The Congress exists as a forum to debate and resolve practical matters respecting life and liberty in the South. Its program is neither academic nor scripted; rather the Congress’ very form is quasi-legislative. And while it may lack formal legal authority at this time, it can achieve something better – moral authority. Legal authority can then be built upon that foundation.
The population of the South is approximately eighty million persons. A clear majority of these people identify themselves as Southerners. The gross domestic product of the South exceeds one and half trillion dollars per year, sufficient to make it the fourth wealthiest country on the planet.
Southern history goes back some four hundred years, beginning with the first successful Virginia settlement in 1607. By contrast, modern Spain and Russia are barely a hundred years older, and Charleston, South Carolina, has been a city since before the current British royal family, the House of Windsor, ascended the throne.
The South is a unique place, with a particular people. Unique forms of the English language (and the French and Spanish languages as well), a bevy of various original cuisines, and hundreds of masters in the various civilised arts engendered themselves in this land once known for classical education, legal prowess, martial virtues and sophisticated societal forms.The South is a land unto itself.
Yet, if the Southern people number in the millions, with their own identity, speech, ways of life, and particular manners and values, why is there no identifiable Southern voice or Southern perspective, in politics? Why is there no Southern interest, or large discernible party for the South, as there is in Westminster for Scotland for instance?
Why are the great wealth and resources of the South controlled from the outside, as if the Southern States were colonies? Why are the stock exchanges and the commodity markets for the South outside the South? Why must Southerners look for capital and finance outside their homeland?
Why are the Southern institutions of higher learning moving in lockstep to transform themselves into inferior imitations of New England colleges? Why do Southerners look for cultural examples, models to emulate, from the outside? Why are lifestyles from New York City and California the aspiration for new generations? Why do Southern forebears feel more and more like aliens, and Ellis Island stories feel more and more like the shared heritage?
Where is the Southern high culture? Where goes the Southern wealth? What happened to Southern independence? Why are we not free?
The Grand Bargain
The War has something to do with it.
For several decades following the War Between the States, Southerners followed the admonition of General Robert E. Lee, to obey the law and conduct themselves as Americans loyal to the changed circumstances. As a result, the Reconstruction and the U. S. federal occupation ended in 1877, and the Southern fibre–moral, political, and military–was added to a nascent American nationalism.
By the 1890′s this truce of sorts became social, as well as structural. There emerged between North and South what is sometimes called the “Grand Bargain.” Under this bargain, the North agreed to end the demonisation of the South and cease further Reconstruction, and the North agreed to acknowledge that the South had been sincere and honourable in the late unpleasantness. Confederate heroes like Lee and Jackson became for a time, American heroes, just as Washington and Jefferson before them.
In exchange for peace and respect, and for being permitted to memorialise the Confederacy, the South would forfeit two things: The South would concede that the United States should not have been broken up, and it would not attempt to reclaim the capital and control of its own resources that had been lost in the war. Southerners would be loyal, patriotic Americans, giving full energy to building a nation and a national economy. They would pay their taxes and send their sons to fight America’s wars.
The litmus test for the Southern portion of the Grand Bargain was to be a professed unwillingness to speak, act, or even think independently again.
Now the “Grand Bargain” lies broken—but not by the South. Therefore, increasingly, the litmus test is proving harmful; Suicidal in fact.
Conventional Politics, et al.
Governance over any community includes not only the formal apparatus called “the government” or “the state,” it also includes all the appurtenances of power and influence in society. Some of these appurtenances are rarely under direct control of the government in a free society. However, in the situation that the South finds itself today, everything from the government to the media appears to be coordinated such that the Southern perspective and interest is removed from all consideration. Reconstruction has again consumed our Southland.
The co-ordination includes:
- U.S. federal offices, both political and judicial;
- Increasingly the State governments;
- The two party system itself at all levels, where (as former New York Senator Moynihan put it) there no longer exists any fundamental ideological differences between the two parties, much less direct representation of the South as the Southland.
- The public school systems, increasingly under U.S. federal control and hostile to all things distinctly Southern;
- The news, opinion, and entertainment media, providing an increasingly centralised conduit for values and imposed cultural models;
- The large national financial cartels, including the Federal Reserve and its allied central banks;
- The large public corporations that (true to their legal charters) shift capital and labour, and manipulate cultural mores, all to maximise profit efficiency but with no interest in privately owned property or the communities from which they spring.
Politics as practiced today cannot aid the South. Southerners are conservative and traditional by nature, intellectually taking in ancient political lessons from the Athenian democracy and the Roman republic while at the same time intuitively understanding that authority is natural, and to a certain extent, sacred. These two attributes of intellect and intuition yield a Southern conservatism that has a genetic pre-disposition to defend the status quo, any status quo.
This attitude has become increasingly dangerous. The Democrat Party, the old party of the South, has not only abandoned the South; it has turned on the South. So says even Zell Miller, former Democratic senator from Georgia. Other Southern Democrats implicitly admit this, by their votes and their actions.
The other party—the Republican Party–the recent beneficiary of Southern loyalty, is the party of pragmatism above all else. And pragmatism finds that Southern distinctiveness is inefficient and threatening, that perhaps the South should be treated as a mere temporary and necessary evil, an industrial park, or a labour resource. The blind loyalty of the South to the Republican Party therefore must be abandoned, for the South to survive. [Need to sort though comments for this sentence]
Today no independent Southern voice is heard. No party or institution speaks for the South. So an independent forum is needed, one where the distinctively Southern voice can be heard. No one is going to give the South such a forum, so the South must cry out for independence and create one for itself.
A Positive Vision
Whither the South? Will Southerners choose to do nothing but “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.” Is this choice inevitable?
No. One may always decide to whom one gives consent, and to whom one owes obedience. And a whole people may always decide to stand and not to cease.
The Southern National Congress is an application of this most powerful principle, one capable of description but not proposition. Stand and do not cease. For ultimately, despite what anyone else says or does, the will may consent, or it may not consent — freedom exists in mind and in body, if only it is exercised in its inherent form.
The Southern statesman, John C. Calhoun, considered the only original political philosopher produced on the American continent, recognised that man is a social and political being, whose life nonetheless transcends politics. True politics must be rooted, rooted in soil and kinship; its basis living in the family. Seeking harmony with the Christian heritage of the land. Recognising forms of authority other than (and higher than) the state – family, religion, even custom. True politics aspires for the positive law to be minimally intrusive, giving place to the truths lodged in man’s core, the sublime things that cannot be expressed.
The Power of Symbolic Speech
The Southern National Congress recognises an inherent right in private property and its disposal. The Southern National Congress recognises that people vote, and express themselves, in the ways they see fit. The Southern National Congress recognises that times change, as do ways of living.
However, the South cannot continue to accept gigantism and consolidation in government, business, and media. Property exists to dignify Man, not the other way round, and such conglomerations do not admit loyalty to kin and patria. Therefore, they spell death, if left unchecked.
As Edmund Burke reminds us, “There is a limit at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue.” For this reason, the Congress will elicit the thoughts and opinions of the whole South, for the first time, without preconceptions. For the first time in a long time, the South will announce what is, and what should be, here in the South, for the Southern people. As the Southern classicist Richard Weaver noted, power flows from speech, from naming that which is. The Southern National Congress will do this. Its speech will be broadcast to the whole world. Not just the United States federal government, large corporations, or hostile institutions… but to the world complete.
A Great Adventure
Only the unfolding of events will tell whether the South continues; Whether any particular people choose to live, and not to die. However, this choice is not made in an abstraction, in an ivory tower in a vacuum of reality. It is not made over time, like a Hegelian plot. Rather, it is made from moment to moment, and choice to choice.
The past is set, but the future is ours. Join us in building a Southern National Congress and in claiming the future that is our birthright.