Book Review of The Honorable Cause: A Free South (2023)
Padraig Martin, editor
From a faraway European perspective, it may sound odd to reminisce about the tragic history of the post-bellum South. College books in the US and EU still portray the South in an anecdotal, quasi–Wild West manner, the North being depicted as the eternal beacon of humanity and progress and the South as a territory of always lurking ugly White racists. The process of demonization of the South is well described by one of the contributors to the book, Jude Ruffin, who notes how the Empire subjected the South “to every form of degradation, from the mocking of our speech to the lampooning of our national character.”
The Honorable Cause: A Free South, is a collection of essays written by people active in the cause of Southern nationalism. It is valuable not only because of its throwing additional light on the rich Southern cultural heritage, but also because the contributing authors provide the blueprint for a better understanding of today’s racially polarized America in decline. These essays also serve well for a better understanding of the meaning of White identities, both in Europe and the U.S. An average Irishman, a Catalan or a Breton, who has never set foot in the US, let alone having any idea about the history of Southern culture, will better grasp the message of the present essays than an American resident scholar residing on the East or West Coast.
The book consists of twelve essays by contemporary Southern authors, each of them taking his own stand on the Southern heritage with the underlying message: the South is not the lost cause. It can live and it can survive despite the onslaught of liberal political debauchery and the leftist cancel culture.
When reading the book, what comes to mind is the manifesto, I’ll take my stand written by several Southern academics almost a hundred years ago in which they describe the efforts of the plutocratic North to despoil and brainwash the South. Does that sound familiar today? A hundred years later, the process of brainwashing the so-called “reconstructed South” was applied again by Northern world-improvers and their Soviet partners in Germany and Europe, in what was euphemistically called “reeducation.”
For this reason alone, this book represents a timely sequel to the prose of early Southern Agrarians. It should be read twice, not just by aspiring White nationalists in America, but also by the larger academic community in Europe and America. The beauty of each of those twelve essays, albeit also their difficulty, is that each essay could easily expand into a separate book. What transpires from this book, however, is that the Southern cause stands not just for a specific geographic location or a limited time span of history. Being a Southern Nationalist today, however awkward this expression sounds, means first and foremost having a different mindset and being proud of a unique brand of Western civilization. Metaphorically speaking, one can be a good Southerner even if not born in the South. To a large extent, citizens of European ancestry, wherever on earth they now reside, are subject to a predicament similar to that faced by Southern Nationalists. We all face similar fake news, we are all subjected to a similar Great Racial Replacement project, and we are all undergoing a similar process of extinction at the hand of the Global Liberal Reconstructor. Fortunately, the number of Southerners with a strong sense of their identity as White Southerners and with a sense of their interests as White Southerners is growing.
America’s South, or what remains of it, appears in many aspects more European than Europe itself, a continent which has turned by now into its own cadaverous parody. In fact, many Southerners, even simple country folks from the Ozarks still display a sense of civic duty and decency, sincere compassion, unfaked smiles, and politeness that are long gone in Europe. The South still has its distinct taste and flavor, not just in its culinary achievements, but also in a way of communication, well noted in Dixie O’Hara’s essay, “Aprons of Resistance: The Role of Women in Southern Dissidence.” Home-grown black-eyed peas or roasted chicken are far more appetizing in a small restaurant in Alabama than at some generic Denny’s along US 101.
But the South is more than just Cajun cuisine or Dolly Parton’s songs. Although now isolated and vilified, Southern Nationalists represent a peculiar breed of people that cannot be found anywhere else in the Western hemisphere. The word “honor” for instance and its verbal derivatives, used and abused by many in Europe and the U.S., retains for them its original old Latin honestas significance. It denotes constant self-inspection and an inborn character endowment that can neither be sold nor bought. In her contribution, “Reconsidering Our Nation,” Anne Wilson Smith also adds an important insight on Southern character, namely “skepticism towards (all) authority.” Put more descriptively, many Southerners abide by unwritten rules that the interests of community, kinship bondage, as well as a sense of sacrifice for the common good that precedes the individual’s sense of self-interest.
Yes, the South had given birth to distinct people, and as James Edwards notes in his introductory essay, “There’s No Place Like Home,” “great men are never made except through great trials,” a feature that can less and less be detected in Europe today, even among many self-proclaimed White nationalists. In his contribution, Father O’Dabney seconds Edwards with his simple yet profound words that “greatness is born in humility.”
The Other and the Same
Many educated Europeans, especially modern high-culture White nationalists have rightfully and for decades been very critical of America’s mercantile mindset, fleeting human relationship, hyper-individualism and excessive Judeophile messianism in American foreign politics. This is not the case with Southern Nationalists. The American global Empire and Americanism (whatever the words ‘Americanism’ and ‘America’ mean in a so-called nation that has by now almost half of non-White non-European citizens) can find their sharpest critics precisely among Southerners, as exemplified by a well-researched Rick Dirtwater’s piece, “Americanism: Death of the South.”
Many critics of the South, especially in Europe, are mistaken when they assume that the whole of the South is run by contingents of Bible-thumping Christian Zionists. Unfortunately, lots of foreign outsiders have never made acquaintance with the Deep South. The irony of history is that early Southerners were far more successful in preserving many ancient European traits in their culture, such as chivalry and self-sacrifice than Europeans did. It is often overlooked, even by many conservatives and rightwing literati in France and Germany that the antebellum and postbellum South was at some point in its history the only speck in the Western hemisphere that was not plagued by the ideas of the 1792 French Jacobins and their egalitarian delirium. Nor was it infected by the European 1848 Liberal Revolution and its secular religion of economic progress. Moreover, the South was fully spared from the 1917 Bolshevik nightmare and its subhuman creature homo sovieticus. This has now changed for the worse, as noted by Michael Hill’s succinct comment: “Liberal Democracy has become the civic religion of America and the West.”
Indeed, what communist utopia could not accomplish in East Europe, Liberalism is now carrying out in a far more sophisticated manner, fully enforcing its destructive transgender and paleo-communist ukases in the “reconstructed” South. The D.C. Deep State doxing and demonizing of Southern thinkers and academics, as the contributor Harmonica (pseudonym) notes in her “Adversaries of the South: The Left’s Failed Elites,” makes the entire American-imposed educational system in the South look like a carbon copy of the former Soviet People’s Commissariat for Communications. In her contribution, Rebecca Dillingham illustrates this Sovietization process of the System brainwashing, noting that America
is an amorphous blob composed of polyglot territories cobbled together by secular fictions, utopian fantasies, consumerism, covetousness, degeneracy, and hubris.
Frankly, I’ve never seen a more succinct, absolutely accurate description of contemporary America.
Southern nationalism can also stand as a shorthand for White nationalism worldwide. Can they be used synonymously? Yes and no. Let us face it. White nationalists have for centuries shown that they are their own worst enemies. Neil Kumar, who is himself of mixed racial origin, raises a haunting yet critically important question regarding the future of Southern (and) White identity. He states a very unpleasant truth for many Whites world-wide. “Far from joining hands as racial kinsmen, the kingdoms and then the nation-states of Europe have engaged in perpetual warfare against each other.”
After all, the war between Southern Confederates and the Northern Unionists was a war of people sharing the same gene pool. The list of inter-White wars, from mythical Troy to the Thirty Years War, from the Spanish Civil War to World War II and the recent Balkans wars, shows time and again that Whites enjoy killing each other on a grand scale. Witness the ongoing war between two closely related European peoples in eastern Ukraine (here).
The book raises more questions that it can possibly provide quick answers to. The co-editor of the book, Padraig Martin, offers some interesting formulas as to how to proceed with Southern revival and building White identity. One must agree with him that we must first and foremost abide by the law of the land “and minimize communications that are “anti-others.” This “anti-others” attitude is a typical feature of many White nationalists who build their national awareness solely on the hatred and exclusion of the Other, such as English vs Irish, Serbs vs. Croats, Flemings vs. Walloons, North vs South in the U.S. It’s a long list. Such a form of “negative legitimacy” in the quest of identity has been over centuries self-destructive for all White peoples, serving only the interests of hostile global elites.
The book is a must read for every student dealing with the issue of identity in postmodernity. Does one become a Southerner by decree, by birth, or by his free will? Must one become in the future a levitating airborne and rootless White nationalist without his soil beneath his feet, like many Jews who have carried for centuries their identity in a suitcase? What happens when a mischling, i.e., a person of mixed race, a “half-breed,” for instance of combined Kurdish and German ancestry decides to look for his new identity in his new Middle Eastern or German homeland? One must agree with modern sociobiologists’ claim that cultures can be learned and unlearned, homelands can be exchanged and swapped, mother tongues can also be fully forgotten and replaced by some weird global Sovietspeak or the virtue-signaling Liberal Volapuk. One can also change citizenship and obtain half a dozen different passports. But the iron laws of heredity can’t be learned or changed. Man’s genes are given; they are transmitted through the bloodline stretching through countless generations. They are the inborn material of every man and every Southerner regardless whether he lives in Atlanta or in New York, or decides to relocate to somewhere in Europe. The future identities of Southerners and for all Whites worldwide will be based on their inborn racial identity, hopefully moving beyond parochial turf wars with a first-door White neighbor. With present storms of huge racial replacement, Southerners, along with White nationalists, must consider where in the South, or where else on earth they will establish their own sweet home.