The Southern Agrarian

Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

Tag: southern agrarianism (page 1 of 2)

New Era Resolutions

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America continues down the path to a new era – not because of who does or does not occupy the White House, but because about half of American voters now follow the cult of collectivism and egalitarianism while the other half bitterly opposes it. There is no room for compromise, no chance for reasoned debate. Both sides see this as “winner take all”. Both sides see no alternative to total victory or total annihilation. If this were just another political split, it would be a minor issue to be addressed in a future election. It is not. This represents an extreme cultural split on a massive scale. Our task as Southern Agrarians is to move as far away from that dividing line as possible. We must stake out the cultural high ground so that there can be no doubt as to which camp we belong – or neither camp.

To that end, this is a list of tangible things we can do, presented in no particular order.

  1. Be an encouragement and a help to your extended family in a way that will make it easier to decide to have a larger family. If that doesn’t apply directly to your current situation, then spend time helping another worthy family. The break-down of the multi-generation family has resulted in serious consequences for society.
  2. Boldly proclaim the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Leading a soul to eternal salvation is a greater accomplishment than anything else in this life.
  3. Live a virtuous life at home, at work, and in public. Always speak the truth. We are ambassadors of our great Southern culture and must serve as an example of what that culture stands for.
  4. Be part of a church that truly believes The Bible 1 as the literal word of God – and acts on it. There are far too many modernist churches that lower standards and try to become like the rest of the world. If you’re in one of those modernist churches, leave and find a real church that is not focused on entertaining the congregation.
  5. Use the power of the spoken and written word to advance the cause of restoring civility to America.
  6. Dress more formally than what is customary in today’s society. It demonstrates a respect for others – and for yourself.
  7. Pay close attention to manners and etiquette, and make them a part of your daily life.
  8. Pray – not a vain repetition, but pray like you are talking directly with The God who created the entire universe, because that’s exactly what you are doing. He listens to “specks of dust” like us.
  9. Seek out like-minded people, and form strong bonds with them.
  10. Treat others with respect. As conditions worsen, there will be those who proudly provided for their families in the past, but find themselves without work or, if they are fortunate, doing menial work. Your turn may come. While those who willingly live off of money stolen from the productive deserve our open contempt, resist the urge unless pressed.
  11. Follow the Boy Scout slogan of “Do a Good Turn Daily”. Find some way to help someone who would not expect it.
  12. Follow the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared”. When hard times come, you can depend on no one but yourself and your closest friends and family.
  13. Produce some of your own food by gardening or small-scale farming, and raising chickens. Those are valuable skills that cannot be learned by just reading a book. It is also the key to our Southern Agrarian culture.
  14. Understand the foundation of what Southern Agrarianism is by reading I’ll Take My Stand. While Southern Agrarianism is not strictly defined by this book, it is the starting point.
  15. If you are living in an urban area, move to a semi-rural or rural area. The cities are not only increasingly dangerous, they are corrosive to the soul.
  16. Arm yourself and learn and practice to become effective in the defense of yourself and your family. Armed men are free men – disarmed men are slaves.
  17. Turn off the TV, cancel the cable subscription, and disconnect the antenna. TV has done more than anything else to destroy our culture. Don’t allow the filth and propaganda into your home.
  18. Home-school your children and help and support other home-schoolers if you can.
  19. Take control of your future by investing your retirement savings yourself so that the government cannot gain control of it.
  20. Make your home more self-sufficient: put in a well, start a garden, own a sewing machine 2 to make and repair your clothes, install a wood heating stove, increase the insulation in your attic.
  21. Adopt the idea of “Not for Our time, but for All time” when considering choices for your family and your home. Homes that were built centuries ago still stand today while houses slapped together only a decade or so ago are abandoned and demolished. Think long term for your family and your home.
  22. Secure your home. Rampant crime is just one of the results of a decaying society where civility is no longer revered.
  23. Embrace old-school ways of doing things: use paper and pen rather than an electronic device for taking notes (bonus points for using a fountain pen 3); shave with a double-edge safety razor and brush and mug rather than the latest multi-blade gizmo; resist the temptation to automatically upgrade to the latest technology 4.
  24. Resolve to give no credibility to political correctness. When it comes up, question it and force the source to justify what was said or written. Don’t accept it.
  25. Watch your language. Make a conscious effort to avoid any obscene or profane word coming from your lips. Crude language identifies the speaker with the worst elements of any society. That such language is now commonly used by “celebrities” is reason enough to shun it.
  26. Cherish those who are close to you and resolve to repair any relationships that need repairing. Your family, your spouse, your friends – those are more important now than ever, and will become even more so in the future.
  27. Display the Confederate flag – any one of them – on a regular basis. (see the Code of Confederate Flag Etiquette)
  28. Sharing a meal as a family is a time-honored tradition. Make the extra effort to have a more formal, structured dinner.
  29. Resolve to take away the power that the word “racist” has over us; at the same time, remember to treat all men of every race and creed with the respect they deserve as men and as souls that Jesus died for.
  30. Language is an important part of any culture – the English language is the language of our people. Don’t allow yourself to slip into the sloppy language habits that have become a mark of modern popular culture. Writing and speaking well are the marks of a civilized man or woman. Use correct English in your speech and writing. 5
  31. Collect books – not digital text, but real paper and ink books that can be read without batteries. As the popularity of digital text increases, there are bargains to be found in used books. 6
  32. Carry a pocket knife. A generation ago, every Southern male carried a pocket knife – it was almost a rite of passage. Somewhere along the way, the Nanny-state took over, and an incredibly useful tool came to be viewed as a dangerous weapon and a threat to be banned.
  33. Get out of debt as quickly as possible. Make it a top priority.
  34. Reduce or eliminate your income dependence by laying the foundation for your own business. Find something that you truly enjoy doing and that others are willing to pay for, and acquire the tools and the skills to provide that service or product at a profit. 7
  35. The Christmas season has become the emblem of materialism in America and a brief glance at the mayhem of “Black Friday” shopping will confirm that. Turning away from the greed and materialism is a wonderful opportunity for a family lesson in setting priorities. Rejecting materialism now will make life easier later when it is forced on America by a failing economy.
  36. Find something that you can grow or make at home to give away to others. For some, it is home-canned vegetables or preserves or home-made soap; for my wife and I, it is vanilla extract; for our son, it is egg nog in a variety of flavors. Turn back the clock a bit to a day when people didn’t buy everything from the store, but made it themselves. We also give away much of what our garden produces, and the surplus eggs from our chickens and ducks.

This list was inspired by a list posted at The Thinking Housewife blog. What can you add to this list?


This is an updated version of a post that I first wrote in 2012.

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Notes:

  1. Finding a church that insists on using only the King James Version is a big step in the right direction
  2. The old cast iron sewing machines will last for generations. Treadle and hand-crank sewing machines in excellent condition are still readily available – we have several of them in our home.
  3. While a quality fountain pen is not inexpensive, they will last for generations if well cared for. I have my father’s fountain pen that he purchased in the 1950’s. I had it refurbished and it is now as “good as new”.
  4. At the very least, consider using open source software and Linux rather than falling into the Windows/Mac upgrade trap.
  5. There are, no doubt, plenty of errors in grammar scattered throughout this blog. If you find them, please let me know so I can correct them.
  6. A first-class library can be assembled by making regular visits to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store.
  7. I spent nine months of evenings and weekends developing the software package that has provided a comfortable living for my family since 1995 – it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Storm Cleanup – It’s Who We Are

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The winds from Hurricane Matthew had not yet faded away when debris had been collected into neat piles waiting to be hauled away or burned. I was struck by the contrast between Agrarian and Urban in how this sort of thing is handled. It also provides a good illustration of two very different cultures in America. As Southern Agrarians, it is good to remind ourselves of that difference.

The Leftists like to say, “That’s not who we are” when criticizing ideas that don’t agree with their globalist fantasies. Well, it’s time to ask who the “we” is that they are talking about.

We’ll use the terms “Agrarian” and “Urban” here, but “Nationalist” and “Globalist” would also work, as would “Alt-Right” and “Leftist” or “Reactionary” and “Egalitarian”.

Across the dirt road from my house is a wooded area. I, and others living on this side of the road, keep the county right-of-way on the other side of the road clean and mowed. We do not own that land, and we have no formal obligation to maintain that land, but we do. Just as land must be constantly maintained, so too must a civilization. If the brush and debris is not quickly cleared, then it cannot be mowed. If it cannot be mowed, then weeds and brush and scrub trees will begin to take root and grow. Before long, it can no longer be easily mowed, but requires serious work to reclaim the land. So it is with a civilization. The Western European culture that built our civilization has become fat, lazy, and tolerant. We have not maintained the cultural land, and the debris that has accumulated provides shelter for the weeds and scrub that would take over and destroy us. The time for routine maintenance has passed. To reclaim our civilization, we are now left with the hard work of uprooting and chopping and clearing to restore the land – all because we didn’t keep the land clean enough through routine maintenance.

Urban culture destroys – Agrarian culture builds and maintains. Witness the Black Lives Matter crowd – their standard reaction to any perceived slight is to destroy their own neighborhoods and stores. The Agrarian reaction is very different. Those piles of debris from the storm were cut up, picked up, raked, and stacked by people who understand the necessity of taking initiative and responsibility. No one told them to clean up not only their own property, but also the road and the empty lots and fields beside them. I saw this on dirt roads beside cow pastures; I saw this in suburban developments; I saw this in a mobile home park with old but clean single-wide trailers.

It’s who we are, and we are very different from what the Left means by “we”.

 


 

(Edited to add)
It occurred to me that some folks would look at that little pile of trash and think, “That’s not much of a hurricane.” I assure you that is just there as an illustration. Much of what is awaiting disposal is far bigger than that and requires a lot more than a rake and pitchfork to move. These two photos were taken in front of our little post office (you can see it in the background of the second photo). I was driving home and stopped while our county Sheriff, dressed in a sweat-soaked T-shirt and blue jeans, used a John Deere tractor with a front-end loader to push those big logs into a pile. No photo-op for this elected official, just getting the job done (his house is across the street from the post office).

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Noblesse Oblige

NoblesseObligeIn February 2011, I wrote an essay titled White Privilege – Guilty As Charged, which is reproduced below. Closely linked to this “White Privilege” is the concept of Noblesse Oblige, which the dictionary defines as “The obligation of honorable, generous, and responsible behavior associated with high rank or birth.” White Privilege and Noblesse Oblige cannot be separated by honorable men. Privilege and Obligation go together.

Some would argue that Noblesse Oblige does not apply to them because “Noblesse” means “Nobility: Noble birth or condition,” and they are not “nobility.” That is just a vain attempt to escape the responsibility that goes with privilege. Are we to believe that because Noblesse Oblige has no legal standing that we have no obligation to do more than is required? Of course not. Noblesse Oblige is at the very core of what it means to be a Southern gentleman or a Southern lady.

John F. Kennedy said, “For of those whom much is given, much is required.” which is really just a rephrasing of the words of Jesus: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”(Luke 12:48)

Lest this discussion get sidetracked into racial issues, this applies every bit as much to “American Privilege.” For all her faults and failings, those of us fortunate enough to live in America have been blessed beyond measure. We have unsurpassed wealth and opportunity and a level of freedom seen in few other places. Such opportunity can be seized or it can be squandered. Education and opportunity to excel are freely available to all.

We have an “obligation of honorable, generous, and responsible behavior.” Are we making good on that obligation? Do we truly appreciate the blessings that have been bestowed upon us? Are we doing all we can to pass those same blessings on to the next generation? If not, it’s time to get started.

 

White Privilege – Guilty As Charged

Stephen Clay McGehee
First published February 17, 2011

One cannot be a vocal advocate of Southern heritage and culture without encountering the topic of race on a regular basis. It shouldn’t be that way but it is, so it must be confronted head-on.

I have been reading recently about the concept of White Privilege – what our accusers define as an unearned, unmerited advantage that Whites have over other races. To that I answer, “Guilty As Charged.”

Let’s look at this White Privilege that gives me an “unfair” advantage over others:

I have the privilege of being raised by both my mother and my father in a stable home where drugs, alcohol, and crime never intruded.

I have the privilege of being raised by parents who understood the value of education and insisted that I and my siblings take learning seriously.

I have the privilege of being taught at an early age that making sacrifices today in order to have something better tomorrow is one of the keys to progress.

I have the privilege of having grandparents who taught my parents these same values – and generation upon generation before them.

I have the privilege of learning about the Western European culture – the music, the literature, the science, the art – that has enriched the lives of all who care to take advantage of that culture; freely bestowed on all who care for the finer things of mankind.

I have the privilege of having a strong work ethic instilled in me from a young age.

I have the privilege of being raised in a Christian home and taught about the wholly undeserved love of a God who would sacrifice His only Son to pay for my sins.

All these privileges were given to me, completely undeserved and unearned. They were given to me by the generations that came before me because they put the best interest of their children above all else. If other races or other groups of people choose to live for their own immediate gratification with little thought for the fate of their descendants, then that is their choice. It is my fondest hope – and expectation – that one day my grandchildren, when accused of White Privilege, will proudly proclaim “Guilty As Charged”.

Plan a Lee-Jackson Dinner

Robert_Edward_LeeThe Lee-Jackson Dinner is a tradition celebrated by MOS&B, SCV and UDC groups – but it need not be limited to that. Why not have your own Lee-Jackson Dinner at home? Robert E. Lee’s birthday is on January 19, and Stonewall Jackson’s is on January 21. This next year (2014), that will fall on Sunday and Tuesday.

We have scheduled this year’s dinner for Saturday, January 18. We like to serve something a bit special each year. Our original plan called for Roasted Goose, but we decided that we’ll be going with Standing Rib Roast this year. Standing Rib Roast is basically Prime Rib with the bone still on it (hence, it can “stand” up). A dinner like this is not the time to learn, so we picked up a small one from the grocery store and Laura prepared it for dinner last week. It turned out great, but we also learned a few things that will make it better for our Lee-Jackson Dinner.

Photo courtesy of A Southern Table (Facebook page)

Photo credit: A Southern Table

An occasion like this is one that calls for bringing out the silverware and fine china that usually stays closed up and unused. Make it a special occasion. It doesn’t have to be expensive – we found our set of china at the local Goodwill store several years ago.

You could do this as a family or you could invite as many guests as you can accommodate. You could invite your fellow Southerners who may already be familiar with Lee-Jackson Dinners, or you could invite your friends who are only vaguely aware of Lee and Jackson – and educate them in the process.

Why not turn this into a home school project? Assign your children to read and do reports on Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, have them research what a typical “fancy” meal would have been like in the 1860′s, have them learn what children of their ages might have worn then and dress in period clothes. There are all sorts of ways to approach this as a home school project.

What ideas do you have for a Lee-Jackson Dinner? With several weeks to go, there is still time left to plan a first-class Lee-Jackson Dinner, so mark your calendar and start planning!

If a Lee-Jackson dinner does not fit into your schedule, you can plan for a Confederate Independence Day dinner on February 22 – the date that President Jefferson Davis was inaugurated.

A Lee-Jackson Dinner by a Sons of Confederate Veterans. I am in the dark suit and red tie in front of the window. Photo © Shoin Fukui.

A Lee-Jackson Dinner by a Sons of Confederate Veterans. I am in the dark suit and red tie in front of the window. Photo © Shoin Fukui.


The following photos were provided by A Southern Table to demonstrate that you can set up for an elegant dinner worthy of honoring Lee and Jackson without spending a lot of money. All of the items shown were purchased at thrift stores such as Salvation Army and Habitat and Goodwill stores. While the colors are not appropriate for a Lee-Jackson dinner, the point here is to not let money stop you from celebrating your Southern heritage.

Photo credit – A Southern Table (Facebook page)

Complex Societies vs. Southern Agrarianism

Southern Agrarianism encompasses many things – it has aspects of politics, literature, culture, and industry/agriculture. While it is not merely a nostalgia for simpler times, simplicity is a major part of it. The opposite of the simplicity of Southern Agrarianism is the complexity of the civilization that we now have.

In this brief video, Dr. Joseph Tainter explains the collapse of complex civilizations. Dr. Tainter is the author of The Collapse of Complex Societies. Following this brief video is a series of seven videos of a lecture that explain this in a very scholarly manner.


For a more thorough discussion by Dr. Tainter, see the following seven-part series of videos:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

A World Without Electricity

A series of comments following a recent post got me thinking about just how recent things like hand-pumped water and animal power are.

  1. I am 58 years old
  2. My father was born in 1914
  3. His father was born in 1877
  4. His grandfather was born in 1846

I could go on, but my point is that my father, as a child talking with his grandfather, connects me with a man who served in the Army of the Confederate States of America. Let’s look at the way life worked in just my father’s era.

  • He was born on a farm in Alabama and moved to Florida in 1920 in a covered wagon pulled by a team of mules. His father knew that covered wagons worked fine for those who settled the American West, so he simply copied the idea to move his own family farther South.
  • He was raised on a farm that had no electricity until the time he returned home from college (late 1930’s).
  • The running water the family had was furnished by a windmill. The shower was a water spigot beneath the water tank.
  • The family plowed the fields using a mule until they could afford a tractor.
  • As was commonly done in the early 20th Century, the family produced much of their own food, and would trade and buy and sell for other items they needed.

As we sit in an air-conditioned room, using a computer giving instant communications to just about anywhere in the world, it is easy to forget just how recent this is. Even though I have not yet reached the age of 60, computers were hardly known by most folks when I was in school. It was the slide rule – not the computer or even the calculator – that represented technology for most people.

What prompted this line of thought was considering how radical a shift it would be to live in a world without electricity. There are several scenarios that could result in the near-total loss of electrical power. These are not some wild science fiction plots, but very real possibilities. Low probability perhaps, but very real and very possible. How would we get from where we are now to where life would be considered “normal” without electricity?

Although the ability to survive under such conditions is not the primary reason for Southern Agrarianism, it is a nice “fringe benefit.” Living close to the land and enjoying the simplicity of older technology provides a bridge between today and an uncertain tomorrow. Southern Agrarianism is more than just a life style of simplicity with roots deep in Southern soil – it also provides a high level of preparedness for uncertain times.

Resilient Communities

The concept of Resilient Communities is one that resonates well with Southern Agrarianism. It is a new term for an old idea – the self-contained village. Some of the large Southern plantations came close to being a resilient community, but not quite. While at first glance, “resilient community” may sound like a fancy phrase for “hippie commune”, it definitely is not the same. Not even close. Take a look at this video about a resilient community in New Zealand to get a better idea of what a resilient community is.

For more information, see the Resilient Communities blog.

Confederate Jasmine – The Sweet Smell of The South

Spring time in The South means many different thing – Azaleas in bloom is certainly one of most visually pleasing parts of Spring, but when it comes to the sense of smell, nothing beats the fragrance of Confederate Jasmine.

I don’t have the vocabulary of one who deals with fragrances, so I will have to resort to saying that it is simply beautiful. We have hundreds of feet of fence covered with Confederate Jasmine, and trees that are close to the fence become covered with it also. In the early morning and late evening when the air is still, the sweet small of Confederate Jasmine seems to be everywhere. It’s just another reason why I am so grateful to call The South my home.

Confederate Jasmine covers the fence surrounding our property.

In the Spring, Confederate Jasmine is covered with these small white flowers that have the sweetest fragrence.

The bees are always at work when the Confederate Jasmine is in bloom.

Looking Out Our Bedroom Window


This cardinal was kind enough to build her nest in the gardenia bush just outside our bedroom window. One of the great pleasures of rural living is being able to watch the cycle of life. This was taken on April 19, 2012.

Tim Manning on Southern Agrarian Writers

Tim Manning

Much of the material we have here at The Southern Agrarian is about the “how-to” aspects of living an agrarian life – raising a garden and chickens and that sort of thing. As important as that is, we need to also understand the philosophical aspects of the Southern Agrarian movement. There are few people today who understand Southern Agrarianism as well as Tim Manning. Mr. Manning regularly publishes his essays on Facebook, and he has granted permission to re-post this one here on The Southern Agrarian.

The following was written by and reprinted with permission from Tim Manning. Mr. Manning is the founder of The Southern Partisan and lives in Kernersville, North Carolina.


I was asked, “Tim…who are your top 3 favs Agrarian writers/titles? Thx”

My reply:

1. Richard M. Weaver,
2. Andrew Nelson Lytle,
3. Donald Davidson,
4. M. E. Bradford,
5. Tom Landess,
6. Cleaneth Brooks, and
7. Marion Montgomery

Sorry, but I could not get it down to three. They are all the older and deceased writers. Among the living:

1. Clyde N. Wilson,
2. James Kibler,
3. Wendell Berry, and
4. Fred Chappell.

I will list the titles a little later.

I also like Lyle H. Lanier, Frank Lawrence Owsley, Robert Penn Warren, John Gould Fletcher and Allen Tate. It is the agrarian writers that turned me on to the Southern culture and heritage, because they gave me a sound perspective for my Christian faith in the time and world that I live in. This is an aspect of understanding missing in most churches today.

Now, Christians are waking-up and thinking that the USA may be moving into Marxism and they think that is a great insight. Most of them do not have a clue about what Marxism is and how it works. Our society, especially the political and academic world, was fully Marxist when I was born in 1945. Now we are quickly becoming a global communist empire. The word society no longer applies. We have lived in a period best described as the “death of western civilization”, meaning a society where Christian beliefs and ethical practices were the norm.

Every college student should have to take at least 2 4-hour semesters of Southern agrarianism to obtain a college degree. Instead, we were forced to read trashy New England writers (yep, a host of nasty yankee writers) that no one of faith would be reading if it were not a requirement of their school and this was in a Southern University, to their great shame. Many Southern institutes, organizations, and societies will not tolerate their members being Southern agrarian in their perspectives. Some Southern churches will not place Christian agrarians in positions of leadership and real spiritual influence.

Worse I had to pay money to study those unskilled trashy writers at a Christian University, because my church was too liberal (affected by agnostic and socialist cultural engineering) to know that these great folks even existed !!! (Insert anger and amazement for the stupid here!) My faith grew more in reading their works than in any class I took in Seminary and grad school.

Not having read this wonderful agrarian literature is why so many Southern people no longer understand the great truths of why the South was right. Many have too narrow a focus on the legal issues which are good and in our favour. If you are not acquainted with these literary giants it is likely that “you ain’t got no book learnin'”, and that is that ! Studying the battles and the great heroes is wonderful and uplifting, but it just does not have the spiritual influence of studying these insightful works which is why there is not a unified Southern movement today.

The League of the South, The Abbeville Institute, The Rockford Institute, and the Stephen Dill Lee Institute understand this. I sent my son each year to these three plus The John Randolph Club, The Mises Institute, The William Gilmore Simms Society, and The Southern Heritage Society.

If you are Southern and spending tens of thousands of dollars sending your children to today’s Marxist public American universities or the semi-Marxism Christian universities, you should make the added investment to build their spiritual understanding by having them read the agrarian writers and attend the above institutes to counteract the poison of modernity. Their lives will be spiritually enriched and will never be the same.

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