Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

Storm Cleanup – It’s Who We Are


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).




  1. Lisa Botts

    Doing what’s right just for the sake of doing right! Amen!

  2. Rebecca

    Excellent! This is why I love this page!

  3. John

    Another well said post, Stephen. Thank you! And, I hope all is well out your way.

  4. Stephen Clay McGehee

    We came through it quite well. Being prepared makes life a lot more comfortable when things like this happen. It was a blessing to have the whole family here during the storm (eleven people spanning three generations). Books were read, games were played, lots of talking, home school lessons for the children.

  5. John

    “home school lessons for the children.”

    There’s a lesson in that sentence. Where public schools and the “urban” world has stopped due to a storm, the agrarian, prepared life continues almost as normal. A lot of America’s self reliance has faded away. And in situations like this, it’s a gleaming example of why we shouldn’t let our guard down. Society and its urban lifestyle can do as it may, don’t let it be your shortcoming. And, that’s putting it mildly.

  6. Stephen Clay McGehee

    You’re right, John. Having some measure of self-sufficiency is far more important than most people today realize. Our number is growing, but far too many still think that the government “cavalry” will come to their rescue and make sure that their comfortable life goes on uninterrupted. Not going to happen.

    I’m still trying to work through the ideas that I want to use this blog for. Clearly, the Southern Agrarian culture is the main focus and will remain so. Preparedness is a major part of that culture, but there are already plenty of excellent resources available, so I see no need to try to duplicate that. Where we can provide truly useful information that doesn’t just repeat what other sites are doing, then I’ll certainly include that. A good example is the Food Storage Wisdom post – clearly the most popular post I’ve done here.

    It is my personal opinion that the time will come – and very soon – when the agrarian skills that were standard knowledge in previous generations will play a major role in the quality of life (or even the existence of life) for all of us. Our ancestors understood that the world can be a very unstable and unforgiving place. Those who were not prepared for the storms of life just didn’t survive those storms.

  7. J.D. King

    A few years down the road, BLM has learned to branch out into other neighborhoods and shopping districts to BLM (Burn, Loot, Murder).

    Anyhow, after year too many years of living in cities, I’m glad to be in rural America. I made the jump in 1994, and to my present spot since 2005.

    A lot of Trump signs this summer! More than in 2016.

    All that said, excellent article, Stephen!

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Thank you for the kind words – and congratulations on your move to the real world of rural! I and some of my neighbors like to take a survey trip around the area and count signs. We lost count of the Trump signs. There was one lone Biden sign surrounded on all sides by Trump signs. It’s a good idea to see where people stand now rather than waiting until it really counts. Your neighbors need to know where you stand, and for those of us on the Right, there are some good choices: Trump signs, Gadsden flags, Confederate flags, Jesus signs, etc.

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