Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

Cultural Secession

NoTVThe idea of political secession is an interesting one, and one that is clearly a part of our Southern heritage. There are, however, so many problems with it today that it is best left in the realm of “something to consider” – for now, anyway. In the mean time, cultural secession is what we should be working toward.

Cultural secession is withdrawing our families from the corrupting influence of modern American society and instilling an appreciation for traditional Southern culture – Southern Agrarian culture. The single most effective thing we can do is to remove television from our homes. Not limiting use; not cutting back; not picking what shows to watch. No, I mean dumping it completely. Cold Turkey quitting. Cancel the cable subscription and disconnect the antenna. Keep the hardware if you want to be able to selectively watch DVDs, but stop allowing the Hollywood sewage into your home. We removed television from our home in the late 1990’s, and have never regretted that decision. What I still don’t understand is how people can find the time to waste sitting and staring at a TV.

The second most effective thing we can do is to home school our children. Ideally, some folks will form private schools that are based on instilling traditional Southern culture and a Biblical view of the world. Until then, home schooling is the only way to assure that the next generation is given the solid foundation that they will need to flourish rather that being pumped with propaganda that destroys the very culture we are trying to restore.



  1. Peter S. Kelley

    You’re right on both counts.

    My TV left the house about three years ago and I’ve been able to honestly say that I’m not contributing to the sludge being pumped out by the ‘entertainment’ industry.

    People think frequently about how upset they get at the TV moguls’ offerings but I don’t believe they think as often about the fact that whatever comes over the cable and satellite airwaves is NOT the fault of the folks in Hollywood or wherever. They use the incredible amount of money generated by cable and satellite subscriptions to pump out what sells.

    They’re knaves, opportunistic knaves, greedy knaves, amoral knaves but they’re knaves for Heaven’s sake. What do we expect??
    The real culprits are those who pay the cable bill. Really. No money – no filth, it’s just that simple. When we don’t pay that bill, we dry up the drivel. When we pay the bill it is WE, not they who are ultimately responsible.

    Much the same is true of schools. I’m pleased to say that a close friend has stopped teaching after many years out of frustration and fury at the requirements put upon her by ‘professional educators.’

    I’m looking about (without much success or progress yet) to see if there is some sort of community involvement that could lead to a group of us providing some helpful financial contribution to those few who do home school their children – maybe make it a little easier, more possible and get more doing it.

    As long as I’m being grumpy, let me expand a little beyond the subjects you’ve brought up.

    The public is disgusted with the conduct of politicians. The public has been disgusted with the conduct of politicians for decades. The same public has been voting the same two parties back into power for decades. There’s a connection there. Again, they, too act like knaves but they ARE knaves. What do we expect?? Fools who consistently return knaves to office should expect to find knaves in office.

    Very good post, Sir.

  2. Stephen Clay McGehee

    To quote that great Southern philosopher, Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  3. Herrick Kimball

    Good post. I couldn’t agree more!

  4. Linda

    My breaking point came when the same four “infomercials” were being presented at the same time on four of the 125 channels I was paying for, and my provider kept moving anything that I considered quality programming into a more expensive package. I pulled the plug two years ago and haven’t missed television at all. Amazingly, I’ve also lost 20 pounds without really trying, probably by being a bit more active.

    I’ve been a cultural secessionist for the past 20 years, thanks to my grandparents.

  5. Charles Page

    Remove the TV from the house and yet send the child to public school!!! Parents need the TV to keep up with what the kids get in school. The kids aren’t going to tell you what goes on at school!

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      I’m not sure that I understand the intent, but I have to disagree.

      First, I’m confident that you’re not going to get an accurate picture of what is really going on in the public schools through what is seen on TV. In all fairness, the only TV that I see now is when visiting my mother, and that’s usually when she is watching an episode of The Waltons. I’m going by what I hear and read from others, and what I see when reading from mainstream news sources. When I read non-mainstream news sources (WND, items featured on Drudge, etc.) I see a side of public schools that is probably not on TV.

      Second, why add more garbage into the home in order to hope to see what kind of garbage they are getting in the public schools? The objective is to take that relatively clean slate of a child’s mind, and fill it with those values and traditions and beliefs that we know to be good – before the trash of the world can creep in and take over. No, we can’t prevent the world from intruding, but we can minimize its influence to the point that children have a fighting chance to grow up into decent, Christian ladies and gentlemen.

      Let me know if I’ve misunderstood what you wrote.

  6. Charles Page

    Stephen, You are fooling yourself if your kids goes to public school and you get the truth from him/her. Course you probably have real good kids quiet different from all the others, but don’t we all!! 😉

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      I’m glad you replied back, because I obviously misunderstood your first one. Our two sons were home-schooled, and our grandchildren will be home-schooled also. The oldest is only two at this point, but we’ve been accumulating quite a library of home school materials and other general knowledge books.

      What our family does may not work for everyone, but I can say without any reservation that it has worked out well for us. Thanks again for the replies!

  7. Valerie Protopapas

    The problem is this: the parents and even grandparents of today’s children have already (in many cases) been lost to the culture. We continue to speak and act as if those in charge (or nominally in charge) of our children share the same values as us “old folks” when they do not. And the government is becoming more and more intrusive in the family structure. Some members have even asserted that parents have no “rights” to their children, that the children belong to the State (where have we heard THAT before!). Our educational system in many instances no longer bothers to conceal that its goal is not education but Marxist, one world indoctrination. Meanwhile, the openly socialist Mayor of New York City is waging a war against charter schools whose students are primarily black. Since most of New York’s blacks VOTED for this man, they are dismayed to see their children returned to horrible, violent and worthless “schools” in order to maintain the egalitarian concept of nobody better than anybody else – except, of course, for our elite rulers.

    I believe that cultural secession may be even harder to achieve than political secession.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      “I believe that cultural secession may be even harder to achieve than political secession.”

      Frankly, Valerie, I’ve never looked at it that way, but you have a good point. As always, the answer depends on the question being asked. I think we need to focus less on “the forest” and more on “the trees” – society as a whole is probably far beyond redemption. Individual families, social groups, churches, and other small groups that serve as virtual enclaves are still quite capable of cultural secession – and, in fact, are doing quite well at it in many cases.

      The problem with political secession or large scale cultural secession is that we no longer share the common bonds of culture, ethnicity, and background that once knit us together as a nation. Multiculturalism has worked out quite well for those working to break down social cohesion – which is why they push so hard for it. We still have a very good chance of success with cultural secession within those groups that we have some level of control and influence over. That is where we need to focus our efforts – not only in passing on the culture that we have, but in blocking out the corrosive culture of the rest of the world.

      • Valerie Protopapas

        The current “healthcare” contretemps is a good indicator of our problem.

        From the beginning, those who wanted it – most of the government – lied and deceived. The bill was passed over the objection of TENS OF MILLIONS of Americans and the whole Republican Party which is unusual in itself. It was passed with the STATED understanding THAT IT WOULDN’T WORK and that people would demand a “single payer system” to “fix” the matter, the original intention of all those involved in DC from the beginning (again stated).

        People and groups (including unions) who supported it are now being royally scr**ed and are complaining, but, interestingly enough, DOING NOTHING! The “uninsured” (for whom all of this was ostensibly done) are NOT signing up; neither are the young who are supposed to financially support the whole thing. Insurance companies are being forced to provide plans with features neither wanted nor needed by their clientele (pregnancy care for men and prostate screenings for women!) while those who ARE signing up are mostly signing up for Medicaid, a welfare program for which they will pay nothing while others will receive subsidies to pay for the increase in their premiums – and so on ad nauseum. Hospitals and doctors are going belly-up and STILL the public seems almost comatose, the media protects and defends Obama and even the so-called “conservative” press continue to pretend that this whole thing was just a mistake or a blunder instead of the Marxist strategy of a full government takeover that it OBVIOUSLY is.

        We are living in a dream world, or more precisely, in a nightmare and I see no hope that anything will change. The American people will follow the Pied Piper (or more precisely, the Judas-goat) of Washington evil on into the slaughter house. We have become so stupid as a people, I wonder if we will even know when they are killing us.

        • Stephen Clay McGehee

          I wish I could find a way to argue that you’re wrong, and we’re not really in that bad shape – but I can’t. We have completely lost all control of our government, yet we continue to claim, and to believe, that we really have a representative government. We point a finger at Russia and the situation in Ukraine and self-righteously order Russia to let the people decide, yet we have poured 5 billion dollars into an effort influence that country to move toward joining the EU and move away from Russia. I’d better stop there before I really get wound up.

          Thank you for your comments, Valerie. Regarding the health care issue – I have started the process of switching from the insurance company that I’ve been using for over 20 years (Blue Cross – Blue Shield) to a Christian medical cost sharing system (Christian cost sharing is explicitly NOT insurance). In addition to saving a pile of money, doing so will keep us from participating in the socialized medicine train wreck. Given what the insurance companies are going to be forced to do, I am certain that their prices will continue to soar while benefits shrink. Fortunately, Christian medical cost sharing plans (at least the one that we have signed up with) are specifically exempt from Obamacare. The only reason I can imagine is that because it is so selective that only a tiny fraction of the population would qualify to participate in them, it gives the regime a fig leaf for their claims that they really aren’t anti-Christian.

          • Valerie Protopapas

            NOTHING will be “exempt” from Obamacare. The difference is that, contrary to law, Obama and his minions will simply continue to “change” the law over time until they are able to draw all into it. This is very like that famous quotation about “….then they came for the Jews and I didn’t say anything…and then they came for me and there wasn’t anybody left to say anything.” As each potentially troublesome group believes itself exempt and therefore doesn’t make a fuss about the matter, they will have time to solidify a “law” which is easily repealed if enough in Congress have the will to do so. But, of course, they don’t. Whether it is part of their ideological program or they care more for their position than for what is right and true, our remaining liberties (and they are very few indeed!) are fast being lost to an all powerful central government. Already things which we assume are “unassailable” such as freedom of speech and religion and our rights concerning our own children are proving to be subject to the “approval” of the government. We are already slaves and, sadly, we don’t even realize it.

  8. Rupert

    Thank you for saying what I have been trying to explain to friends for 25 years. It would be great if you would write an article on the best “light” youth reading that you know of. Most of the books I have for the grandkids are from the 1870s til 1907. There may be some really good books I am missing for them. Thank you for all you do.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Thank you, Rupert. This post was one that I started on a while back, but just set aside for a while. It’s an important topic to me, since it’s one of the few things that we can truly control to some extent. Changing the culture is, of course, the ultimate goal; however, that is a very long range goal taking generations to accomplish, and the odds of success are extremely slim. Cultural secession is something that we can all – as individuals – do, and we can influence our families and those around us to do the same. In terms of practical results, it’s about the only option that I see as having a realistic chance for success.

      I like the idea for the article. I’ve got a fair number of books that sound like they would fit that description, so we’ll see what I can come up with. Hopefully, such an article will prompt folks to reply with other favorites so we can compile a good list of suggest youth reading.

      Thanks again for writing!

      • Valerie Protopapas

        If we’re speaking of children or “youths” (teen-age and early 20s), I suggest something VISUAL. Ours is not a “reading culture” on the whole. There are many very useful documentaries and other video teaching tools regarding the present culture, history, etc. that young people can watch, understand and PERHAPS motivate them to read further into these matters. But somehow, the use of reading material is not going to reach the numbers we NEED to reach to turn this around – if, indeed, that is still possible.

  9. Stacy

    I happened upon this site while searching for information on homeschooling and wanted to share my family’s recent experience with public education.

    My husband and I have three children and all have been in public school since kindergarten. Our oldest son is now in college while our daughter and youngest son are in high school and middle school. Our daughter shared with me her Adv. English reading assignment and expressed feeling uncomfortable reading this book. After reading the first two chapters myself, I understood the problem. When did it become appropriate to assign a book containing how a prostitute was badly beaten up for not going through with “services”? That was the nicest way to phrase what I had read…the coarse language and subject matter are completely inappropriate. Of course, the schools response was an explanation of it being required reading for all sophomores. And, that makes it better how? Is it acceptable because all of the children’s minds are being filled with filth and not just mine?

    We can no longer ignore this battle for our children.

    I thank you for your thought provoking article and look forward to reading more.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee


      Thank you for adding to the evidence that we are, indeed, in a battle for our children. Years ago, I had a Florida teaching certificate. That basically means that I went through all the courses that told me how the government wants children to be taught. After some student teaching and some full-time substituting, I decided that I wanted no part of that. I have a brother, a sister, and a brother-in-law who are teachers. I say that to point out that perhaps I hear more about the public school system than most folks do.

      I took a quick look at your Subtle Details blog – enough of to make me certain that I want to spend more time there. If you’ll click on the “Links” menu item and let me know which category you think it fits best under, I would be honored to include your blog on the list. We have so much in common!

      Again, thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  10. richard grossman

    Mr McGehee,
    First, let me say I enjoy your posts and every comment here. I do want to give you some food for thought about one of your comments.
    “The problem with political secession or large scale cultural secession is that we no longer share the common bonds of culture, ethnicity, and background that once knit us together as a nation. Multiculturalism has worked out quite well for those working to break down social cohesion – which is why they push so hard for it”.

    I think knitting us together through common national culture is the antithesis of agrarianism. A large part of my family successfully maintained a Christian agrarian culture because they successfully resisted the forced use of English through public school laws in Pennsylvania in the early 1800’s.

    The right of a family to educate their children in a common local language (Deitsch) with Luther’s Bible and the small and large catechisms was once the essence of American freedom. It was the freedom to reject a common national culture in favor of a culture that fit the local circumstances.


    Richard Grossman

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      You are right – definitely food for thought, and I really appreciate you bringing that up. My initial thought is that the two positions are really not incompatible as they seem to be at first glance. I think the issue is more one of scale and location. An enclave of like-minded agrarians would be, in essence, a nation unto themselves when you look at the early definitions of the word “nation.” My intended point was against the importing of foreign cultures and forcing them into an existing culture. Your ancestors had their own culture and lived separated from others (“the English”) in that area. If they had been forced, by law, to accept others into their community, then that would have done much to destroy the agrarian life that they enjoyed.

      I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this. I also look forward to spending some more time on The Midland Agrarian – we have so much in common.

  11. richard grossman

    “My intended point was against the importing of foreign cultures and forcing them into an existing culture.”
    Indeed, you are correct. You might argue that:

    Foreign, ie “urban” culture was forced upon the South, Pennsylvania and rural New England alike. I tend to blame school marms and the New York/Boston Commercial Class. Here is something I wrote a while back about it:

    We do have a lot in common, and glad you are writing in service of the cause!

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Excellent article, sir. You said, “War is a great enemy of agrarian society” which pretty well sums it up. In fact, it is probably the great enemy of agrarian society. How we long for a world where we can simply be left alone to pursue life as we wish to live it – without the power struggles and rampant greed that rules this world.

      Hermann Goering stated it well at the Nuremberg Trials shortly before being sentenced to death:
      “Of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood.”

      Nothing really changes. We long for peaceful days spent near the soil with our children and grandchildren, and along comes the creatures in power to stir things up.

  12. roger u

    I keep wondering when traditionalists, or conservatives or watever, are going to take advantage of the internet and create alternative media: internet tv and radio stations, publishing, music, etc. Maybe we’re just not that creative!

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Oh, I think we’re every bit as creative as the liberals. It really comes down to money. To give an example, you used to be able to turn on the AM radio, tune up and down the dial, and be guaranteed to hear solid Bible preaching any time of day. That is almost gone other than for a very few churches (like the one I attend) that foot the bill for the air time. Advertisers will not buy air time on “traditionalists, or conservatives or whatever” programs in the kind of quantity that is needed for financial viability. Without that financial support, you’re left with viewer/listener supported programming for the most part. There are some notable exceptions (Rush, Beck, Jones, and others), but they are clearly the exception.

      There are some independent internet radio and TV programs with a conservative agenda, but they are still on the margins. I had thoughts of starting something like that some years ago. I signed up for a channel, and now I don’t even remember the name of the company but they’ve long since gone out of business.

      I certainly don’t know the answer. I suspect that a part of the “problem” is that we have more sense than to sit in front of a video screen all the time being spoon-fed propaganda by the mass media. That attitude tends to carry over to all media regardless of the political slant. That’s just a guess though.

  13. roger u

    One of the stereotype conservatives is the businessman, but businessmen don’t want to buy ad space on conservative media!? Another stereotype is that we’re cheap and risk averse. I think that might be more accurate, we aren’t willing to put our money where our ideals are.

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