Neo-Confederacy And Those Who Embrace It

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of days reading the brand-new book Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction, by Euan Hague, Heidi Beirich, and Edward H. Sebesta (University of Texas Press, 2008).

And why would that be? Don’t I have some pecan divinity to whip up for Christmas?

Ahhh, but the double burner remains untouched. See, I live in a town where the most prominent Christian minister is an avowed “paleo-confederate” (this is somehow distinguished by him from “neo-Confederates,” although he’s eager to embrace Dixie at every turn) whose close friend and collaborator is a founding member of the League of the South, a group of . . . ahem . . . “academics” who rabidly defend all that was true, good, and beautiful about the Old South.

This pastor and his brother-in-arms published a book a few years ago lauding slavery as a harmonious institution maligned by godless abolitionists then and feminist sodomite-loving liberals now, and their foray into academi-Dixia is embraced by neo-Confederates all over our country. In addition, some of these defenders of the Stars and Bars (the Confederate flag that displays the St. Andrews’ Cross) regularly speak at Christ Church’s Trinity Fest. In fact, our own Douglas Wilson and his Southern Slavery As It Was co-author, neo-Confederate Steve Wilkins, both merit mention in the book — Wilson, just a couple of references; Wilkins, many more.

I would chalk this interest in a very odd interpretation of history up to the harmless academic puttering of a few curmudgeons and quacks bent on re-creating Ol’ Dixie — if it weren’t so rife with absurdity no less sobering in its strangeness. A little pseudo-historical bluster, I can handle; a culture of bigotry in the name of “orthodox Christianity,” I can’t. I’m only about a third of the way through the book, and I’ve set up sort of a parlour game in my mind while reading it:

Are the neo-Confederates mostly dangerous? (Many of the GOP’s brightest stars have flirted with neo-Confederate organizations, either seeking their endorsements or lending them their support; former Mississippi Senator Trent Lott assured the Sons of Confederate Veterans that “the spirit of Jefferson Davis lives in the 1984 Republican platform.”) (p.38)

Are the neo-Confederates mostly evil? (Wilson and other pro-Confederates revere Presbyterian theologian R.L. Dabney, who argued that social equality in the South would “mix the blood of the heroes of Manassas with this vile stream from the fens of Africa.” League of the South President Michael Hill offers this interpretation of the 14th Amendment: “. . . wrong-headed liberal interpretations of the 14th Amendment have turned Abraham Lincoln’s malignant egalitarianism into rights-based social policy . . for women, racial and ethnic minorities, homosexuals, pedophiles, etc.” And “Southern Patriot writer William L. Cawthon opined in 1998 that “segregation is not evil or wrong. It is simply a policy to promote the integrity of a group.”)(p. 158,136)

Are the neo-Confederates wildly heretical? (Sons of Confederate Veterans Chaplain-in-Chief John Weaver said in 2001, “The Confederate flag represents biblical government,” and in 1994, Wilkins declares that “to many Southerners, the defense of the Southern Cause became equivalent to a defense of Christendom itself . . . ” But maybe he’s just representing their views, not his own. Uh, no. He continues, “The War of 1861 was a war of two different world views, one based upon the Bible, the other, upon the minds of men.”) (p.66, p. 63)

Or are they just simply nuts?

Consider: The neo-Cconfederates are heavily vested in a theory of culture and ethnicity that, while having almost nothing to do, actually, with culture or ethnicity, conjures an idealized — albeit utterly silly — myth of a “race” of Southerners, or “Southrons,” descended from the ancient Celts: “The original settlers of the South,” writes Michael W. Masters in “Southern Patriot” magazine in 1995, “migrated from Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Northern Ireland . . . and Ireland itself . . . we share not only a common bloodline, but a common culture, temperament, moral values, work ethic, folk ways, and a bond to the land and to our own people that distinguishes us from other people in other lands.” He adds: “These traits, distinctly Southern, have survived twenty centuries.”

These traits, of course, are only evidenced in white males, the neo-Confederates make abundantly, despicably, tragically and vigorously clear.

Strange stuff, indeed.

And they’re in your town, Moscow. Be sure you know what you’re being “tolerant” of, please.

2 Responses to “Neo-Confederacy And Those Who Embrace It”

  1. Rather than judging us by the words of people who obsessively hate us (check out Sebesta’s web site, where he denounces Tommy Hilfiger for secretely incorporating “Confederate designs” in his clothing) how about going straight to the source?

    Read us. Read the books our members have written, read our web site, read our blog. You’ll see that we’re not the straw men Sebesta and his cohorts portray us as being. Rather than intellectual poseurs who use fancy words to disguise our irrational hatred of blacks, we’re actually patriots trying to defend our way of life, which includes our traditional liberties, liberties that are today threatened by an unrestrained central government. Big government is always a threat to life and liberty, and the murderous regime in DC justifies its unconstitutional powers by presenting itself as the champion of the oppressed at home and abroad.

    As for wanting to preserve our culture, well, guilty. That puts us in the same category as Tibetans and Jews, two peoples I admire. And as for the ethnic roots of Southerners, check out Albion’s Seed by David Hackett Fischer of Brandeis. Hardly mythical.

    In short, our worldview and goals focus on human-scaled, non-interventionist government, and the preservation of our culture. Those whose power and fortunes depend on powerful, interventionist policies (the SPLC and the Neocons, for example), are quick to denounce as as isolationist, unenlightened, and unpatriotic.

    I suppose it depends on your point of view.

    Here are a few links to short blog posts that will give you a different view of us, and then you can judge for yourself:

    Obama one-ups McCain

    The next Neocon War

    This Is Change?

    Unclear on the concept

    Beware the New Globalism

    Federal deficit on pace to reach record $1T

    Why Jesse Jackson wanted to castrate Obama

    Feel free to question me on any topic.

  2. Mr. Tuggle, thank you for comments. I have endeavored, and will continue, to use the neo-Confederates’ own words. I will read the links you’ve provided; it speaks well of you that you’ve provided them and I hope you will trust that I intend to read them. I welcome dialogue with you and invite you to email me at if you’d like to. More later, I’m sure, but until then, Merry Christmas to you and yours. Keely

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