I sought a flag to follow, A cause for which to stand.
I sought a valiant leader Who could my love command.
I sought a stirring challenge, Some noble work to try.
To give my life fulfillment, My dreams to satisfy.
— John W. Peterson
— From the hymn titled “A Flag to Follow”
For centuries, people have followed not a colorful piece of cloth on a pole, but a flag – a symbol of what they believe and support. Men have died in battle carrying the flag of their people, and others pick up the fallen flag and carry it onward – sometimes to die themselves. They do that, not for a mere piece of cloth on a pole, but for what they and their brothers-in-arms are fighting for. Their flag is the symbol of that “cause for which to stand.”
There is no “official” flag of the Southern Agrarians, but we have chosen the Second National Confederate flag – also known as the Stainless Banner – as the symbol of who we are and what we stand for. At this point, a bit of Stainless Banner history is in order:
- It was approved by the Confederate Congress on May 1, 1863.
- The first recorded use was on May 12, when it was used to drape the coffin of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
- The Savannah Morning News promoted it as “The White Man’s Flag”, but that never caught on. It became known as the “Stainless Banner”.
- It was replaced by the Third National flag in 1865; the Second National could be mistaken as a flag of surrender on the battle field when there was no wind.
There are two design elements in this flag, and both are emblematic of Southern Agrarianism: the Southern Cross in the upper left corner, and the field of pure white. The Southern Cross has its roots in Christianity, which was – and in most of the rural South still is – a very powerful cultural and spiritual force. The field of white symbolizes purity. Southern Agrarianism, at its deepest levels, embraces purity of body, purity of mind, purity of spirit, and purity of blood (family lineage) – all of this wrapped up in the agrarian life rooted deep in Southern soil.
On a practical level, what does that purity mean? Here are some examples:
- A rejection of that which pollutes the body – alcohol and other drugs, gluttony, body graffiti (tattoos, piercings, etc.).
- A rejection of the crude and profane language that has become so commonplace today.
- A rejection of pornography and sexual degeneracy.
- Eating real food instead of the chemical concoctions now sold as “food”.
- Embracing the rural and rejecting the urban.
- Embracing tradition and rejecting modernity.
Is this a list of requirements? Does this mean that to be a Southern Agrarian, one must agree to and adhere to these principles? No, of course not. These are goals to strive for; it is what we aspire to be, knowing that we are bound to fail at times; knowing that there will be some who may never have the strength to overcome habits and addictions. It is, in the words of John W. Peterson, “a stirring challenge. Some noble work to try. To give my life fulfillment. My dreams to satisfy.” Let’s give it our best.