Like a Roman: The virtuous Southerner (part II)

Southern social theorist George Fitzhugh (1806-1881) of Virginia noted that the traditional South’s neo-classical structure and values bestowed upon its citizens a much greater degree of dignity than did the North’s egalitarian bourgeois structure. Fitzhugh wrote in Sociology for the South: Or the Failure of Free Society:

High intellectual and moral attainments, refinement of head and heart, give standing to a man in the South, however poor he may be. Money is, with few exceptions, the only thing that ennobles at the North. We have poor among us, but non who are over-worked and under-fed. We do not crowd cities because lands are abundant and their owners kind, merciful and hospitable. The poor are as hospitable as the rich, the negro as the White man. Nobody dreams of turning a friend, a relative, or a stranger from his door.

Fitzhugh attributed this dignity and sense of honor in part to the “loose economy” of the South, which though highly productive was admittedly somewhat wasteful as well. He saw this as a blessing as “it keeps want, scarcity and famine at a distance, because it leaves room for retrenchment.”

More importantly though, the South’s hierarchical structure and use of directed labor dignified its free citizens in a way that egalitarian societies do not. Fitzhugh compared the Southern system to that of the classical world and noted that even the poor White man in the South was treated with a respect not extended to the poor White man in the North. The Virginian pointed out:

One free citizen does not lord it over another; hence that feeling of independence and equality that distinguishes us; hence that pride of character, that self-respect, that gives us ascendancy when we come in contact with Northerners. It is a distinction to be a Southerner, as it was once to be a Roman citizen.

Also see: Part I

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    • Correct. Civilization has been largely destroyed, beginning with the revolutions of the late 1700s and 1800s. In its place we have Postmodern chaos and decline – leading ultimately to utter destruction if we do not overcome it. Mankind, whose nature has not changed over the course of the last 3,000 years, is best served by a return to classical values and structures.

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      • You mean a return to a Master and Slave system that failed and was destroyed. I don’t think so, I’m the master of my own destiny and most people feel the same way. Would you be a slave to someone?

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        • The plantation system did not fail. It was highly profitable til its final days. It was destroyed by outside bourgeois revolutionary forces at great cost – an awful tragedy for the world. But even in its final days it provided for a high culture, safety, a dignified citizenry and a conservative society in places such as Haiti, northeastern Brazil, the Black Belt of Dixie and cities such as Augusta, Memphis and Jackson – all areas now largely ruled by the descendants of slaves thanks to egalitarian democracy and plagued by high crime, poverty, failing schools, corrupt governments and utterly dependent upon wealth transfers from outside the region. Equality has made once successful regions no longer so.

          We need not return to the precise form of hierarchy and paternalism which made our society great, but we should look to incorporate its neoclassical values in tackling the crippling effects of egalitarian democracy as we overcome this dark age and move towards a system which works.

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  1. You never answered the question. Would you be or slave. Or if you and your family where enslaved would you fight to free yourself and your family.

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    • Willie, my people made this civilization. Of course I would not be a slave. That said, at lots of times in history Whites were slaves to other Whites or Arabs. It was a different system but still slavery. There have been times in my life when I would have traded some of my liberty and my franchise for work, shelter, food, etc. Not long ago I wrote about such a system. It would work, I believe. In examining our historical slavery it should be noted that very few Africans in the South revolted. Most accepted their fight. And it seems from the historical record most were content and better than they would have been if “liberated.”

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