Friday, October 26, 2012

Backing and Forthing....

Palmetto Patriot has posted a response to my criticism at the Southern Nationalist Network blog.  Before I address the only thing I consider worth discussing at any length, let me say I make no apologies for not jumping on the Dugin bandwagon, and I stand by my statement that there are many other philosophers, historians, theologians, academics, ideologists etc., whose works would better serve the cause of Southern Nationalism.

With that out of the way, I do note a few things about this paragraph:
To remind readers, my talk was given to Southern nationalists, who were addressed as such in its title. Throughout the speech I repeated the line, ‘Southern nationalists are/were not conservatives.’ Notice that Chastain is compelled to defend George W Bush, a man whose anti-Southern policies I brought up in my speech. Notice too that Chastian is willing to  overlook or excuse those anti-Southern policies because of his position on her favourite social issues. What did Bush do to end abortion in the United States when he was in office and his fellow conservatives had control of the US Congress? They essentially conserved the status quo, like good status quo conservatives. What did they do for the South? They conserved the anti-Southern status quo (by extending the Voting Rights Act for 25 more years) like good status quo conservatives. Bush was a dreadful president from a Southern nationalist point of view – one of the worst in recent history. And yet Chastain defends him from her conservative point of view. By doing so she makes it clear that her point of view is not Southern nationalist.
What Palmetto Patriot has done in the above paragraph is to create a false dichotomy -- an either/or proposition.  I have noted before the tendency of people to create a false dichotomy by claiming there are only two alternatives -- either Idea A, or its complete and total opposite. If you don't accept and embrace Idea A in its totality, well, then, you must embrace its opposite, completely and totally.  There is no possibility of a third, fourth or fifth way of looking an issue.

I have written about the false dichotomy here, here, here and here, usually (though not always) as it is palmed off by Southern heritage critics like Brooks D. Simpson.

First, I felt no compulsion to defend George W. Bush -- and I did not defend him.  You cannot read my comments and find a defense of him, compulsive or otherwise. My comments were made to explain those Bush issues that Southern traditionalists supported and approved of.  These were based on my observation of, and conversations with, Southern traditionalists during the Bush years. Explaining likely reasons why Southern traditionalists supported Bush is not a defense of Bush, but an explanation of Southern traditionalists' views and motives. I can't really believe Palmetto Patriot does not see this.

Palmetto Patriot seems to be saying if you supported Bush's position on ANY issue, you supported his position on ALL of them (and that amounts to defending Bush).  But that is a false dichotomy that claims you must support them all, or you must reject them all. There is no acknowledgement that there is a third way ... one might support Bush's positions on some things, and reject his position on others.  Frankly,  I think few people ever agree totally with ALL of any politician's positions -- or any parent's positions, for that matter, or teacher's or wife's or employer's ... or blogger's.

I am a Southern nationalist. I support the independence of the South, and have done so since I discovered the Southern independence movement in 1999.  From 2000 to about 2004, I published an online ezine, 180 Degrees True South, the tagline for which was An e-zine for those who love the South, honor its heritage and seek its independence.  I wrote in support of independence for Dixie, and published the writings of others who also supported it.

I am also a Southern traditionalist and agree with most other Southern traditionalists on most issues, but I was not a supporter of Bush and certainly not a compulsive defender. I've never voted for him in my life, and in 180 Degrees True South, I was extremely critical of his actions regarding the Confederate plaques in the Texas Supreme Court building.  When he was president, I didn't support his wars in the Mid-East, his immigration policy or his refusal to secure our borders.

But apparently, knowing the issues for which many Southern traditionalists supported him makes me a "compulsive defender" of Bush and all his policies.  I know.  Makes no sense to me, either.

One other point. Palmetto Patriot asks, "What did Bush do to end abortion in the United States when he was in office and his fellow conservatives had control of the US Congress?"  First, Presidents and Congress cannot overturn Supreme Court decisions. But I do note that Bush nominated two justices to the Supreme Court -- Roberts and Alito -- who exhibit antagonism toward abortion and whose nomination struck terror and hatred into the abortion lobby. If abortion is to be ended, it must be done by the Supreme Court's overturning Roe v. Wade, which will require the nomination and appoinment of justices who will rule to end it.

Beware the false dichotomy.  Beware fabricating it and then palming off the notion that a critic totally embraces one of the two artificially created alternatives.  Few people, few issues, are that stark and limited.

1 comment :

  1. Excellent points that no fair-minded individual would refute. As far as working toward Southern Independence is concerned, it should be clear that the movement (such as it is) needs help in gaining traction and resonance among the Southern people. Accepting (and debating) a wide variety of ideas that might help in that endeavor should be encouraged, not dismissed out of hand because they don't adhere to some prevailing ideological prejudice. I view the ungentlemanly practice of vilifying and dismissing fellow Southerners seeking political independence as "Rainbows", or some other pejorative term, as shortsighted, counterproductive, and foolish. Our quest for State sovereignty and a referendum on our continued submission to the US Federal government needs all the allies we can muster.


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