Monday, August 6, 2007

Catholicism, Dixie & America's Culture War

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: This is a truly fascinating article, and a must read for any Catholic American...
(Taki's Blog): ...But outside of pleasure, the problems of the South remain. She too is slowly being absorbed by the Hideous Strength that seems ever more dominant throughout the land. What can be done to unify her, to make her able to play a part in the battle that looms around us?

Two things come to mind. One is that, in many ways, as Walker Percy, Margaret Mitchell and Flannery O’Connor perceived, in the current struggle between the “Modernity” foisted on us by our elites and those who hold to the traditions they brought to this country--religious and cultural--Protestant Southerners and Catholic Midwesterners and Yankees are natural allies. Both sides must realize this.

On the other, the race issue must somehow be laid to rest. It seems to me that the best way to begin with this is an honest reevaluation of the historical relationship between the races, freed from current political agendas. One thing that I have noticed in candid conversations with white Southerners is that while they have often expressed to me disdain for blacks as a group or (more often) as a political force, when asked if they know any personally, the answer is generally “yes.” When pressed as to whether they dislike any of these acquaintances, the answer is just as often “no.” In the North and West, when folk are asked how they feel about blacks, the response is usually some variation on “they’re wonderful.” But when asked if they know any, these same people will usually say “no.” The Southern attitude would appear to be something to build on.

Beyond that, Southern whites really need to look at Black history. Some of it is propaganda, some of it is not. The Jim Crow-era led to many evils (not least of which were spoiling literacy tests for voting by making them racially based) from which the country still suffers. But blacks too must look at their history, and realize that all is (if you’ll pardon the pun) black and white. There were black Confederate troops, such as the Louisiana Native Guards, and the steadfastness of Slaves under Yankee occupation we have referred to. The South as it is, and as it was, is as much the creation of blacks as whites, and Southerners of both races have more in common with each other than they do with their fellows in the rest of the country. I personally would make the 1942 autobiography of Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Tracks on a Road, required reading in every high school in the South—or the North, for that matter. A more realistic—and mutually sympathetic—commentary on the relationship between the races would be hard to find; of course, in one of her novels, the protagonists are all white, a feat that few black authors would be able to get away with today. The epitaph on Miss Hurston’s grave is particularly fitting—“A Genius of the South.” When Confederate-descended Blacks can happily and proudly join the SCV, and when Southerners of both races can together defend their beliefs against those who would impose an alien and materialistic set of values upon them, and deprive them of the traditions that give them their identity, then the South will truly be healed—to the great advantage of us all. For the forces that are dominant in this land today mean to end all that our fathers held dear: in religion, in customs, in law. They would replace these with a manner of life, conceived in New York and hatched in Hollywood, which is as immoral as it is oppressive—far worse than anything either Whig or Tory, or Rebel or Yank, could conceive of either imposing upon or receiving from the other....

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