Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Southern Conservatism -- A Response

Michael Cushman has posted at the Southern Nationalist Network website the transcript of a speech he recently gave at a League of the South gathering in Georgia.  The following is my response to Status quo conservatism & Southern nationalism.

I first have to note that the description/definition of "conservatives" in this article is incomplete and perhaps a bit deceptive because of it. I'm referring to this description, "...conservatives ... have wanted to preserve the status quo – the Modernist values and social order today based on democracy, equality and universalism – that we suffer under today." 

Perhaps the qualifier "status quo conservatism" is supposed to clue the reader that the article deals with a only certain type of conservatism (as opposed to, say, non-status quo conservatism) -- or perhaps a certain segment of it.  But the qualifier is neutralized by the article itself, which seems to encompass the whole of conservatism.

The source of this truncated definition is evidently Professor Alexander Dugin. I had never heard of Alexander Dugin until reading this article, so I did a brief online search about him.  Perhaps his somewhat limited definitions or descriptions of liberal and conservative are accurate to some degree, but I do not see that as a reason for Southern Nationalists to pay much attention to him -- as the old saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Just from reading his Wikipedia entry alone, I find plenty of reasons to consider his viewpoints irrelevant, at best.  He is identified as ...
...a politologist, traditionalist, and one of the most popular ideologists of the creation of an Eurasian empire that would be against the North Atlantic interests. He is also well known for his proximity to fascism, he has had close ties to the Kremlin and Russian military. He was the leading organizer of National Bolshevik Party, National Bolshevik Front, and Eurasia Party. His political activities are directed toward restoration of the Russian Empire through partitioning of the former Soviet republics, such as Georgia and Ukraine, and unification with Russian-speaking territories, especially Eastern Ukraine and Crimea.
Some may consider Wikipedia insufficient reason for rejecting an author or his writings, but if this is the description of an ally of Southern nationalists, I have to wonder who needs opponents?  I believe there are many other philosophers, historians, theologians, academics, ideologists etc., whose works would better serve the cause of Southern Nationalism.

In any case, the problem I have with this view of conservatism is that it is not only incomplete, but primarily political; it ignores cultural and social conservatism, which could also be termed traditionalism. Issues vital to social conservatives were totally ignored in Mr. Cushman's article.

For a great many Southern traditionalists (aka social conservatives), the modernist values of democracy, equality, universalism, globalism, human rights, etc., so tightly focused on in this article, are abstractions at best. Traditionalists are far more strongly focused on traditional views of social units such as the family, church, and community. They are opposed to abortion, radical feminism, homosexuality and same-sex marriage, sex education in schools and similar issues.

To the extent that they focus on politics at all, it is largely to identify politicians whose views of these issues most closely parallel their own -- or at least, whose views are not openly antagonistic to their own. Southern traditionalists didn't support George W. Bush necessarily because of his extending the voting rights act, or his foreign wars, or immigration policy. They supported him because of his record of opposing abortion, of supporting traditionally defined marriage, his public statements of faith, and similar cultural and social issues.

Wikipedia notes that social conservatives are strongest in the South.

Perhaps the greatest omission in the article is the role of faith in conservatism and the South.  Traditionalist views of social issues are virtually always based on faith, particularly the Christian faith.

Wikipedia also notes, "The Bible Belt is an informal term for a region in the south-eastern and south-central United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance across the denominations is generally higher than the nation's average."

When the definition or concept of conservatism is not artificially constricted or truncated, when it is given this more comprehensive -- and, to me, accurate -- definition, the South and Southerners are indeed conservative.

1 comment :

  1. The "Conservatism" of the Republican Party, has been a ruse to garner the support of the Southern people. It has been very effective in getting Southerners to vote for their candidates, while at the same time it has done very little in the way of conserving the Traditional, Christian values Republican politicians only manage to give lip service too. By convincing the Southern people that they "have no where else to go" with their votes, the Republican establishment is free to betray their promises and serve the financial interests of the corporate/banking elites in control of the Party machinery. This reality forces Southerners who recognize the ruse into 3rd Party groups and toward radical solutions found in principles like nullification, interposition, secession, and political revolution.


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