Thursday, May 7, 2015

"The Mind of the North"

My ancestry is almost completely Scots-Irish, and both sides are from Tennessee, Kentucky and the Missouri Ozarks. We're descended from Borderers. All the men work for themselves (which I think is genetic), and none of us are military-minded (my paternal grandfather punched an officer in WWI for cursing him, and got away with it) and another uncle was thrown in the stockade in the early 50s.

None of us are anti-military but have no use for worthless wars, which are all the ones we've been involved in, including the current ones.

All of us are live-and-let-live. I see things as the Machine State (interchangeable slave-cogs in a machine) vs. the Natural State (free men).

I also know that George Bush, who started these wars, is not a Texan but a POS Yankee from the East Coast, who went to a Ivy League college there. He conned a lot of fools.

I suggest everyone read Albion's Seed.

The wrong side won the War Between the States.

This article was written by Mike Tuggle and is from the Abbeville Blog.


In my opinion, the single best short summary of the political and cultural differences between North and South appears in the movie Ride with the Devil, starring Tobey Maguire.

Ride with the Devil is powerful, visually striking movie set during the guerrilla war in Missouri during the War for Southern Independence. In one scene, Tobey Maguire’s character, a Southern guerrilla fighter, spends an evening away from the bitter fighting in the home of a Southern sympathizer named Evans. Evans pours drinks for his two guests, who are extremely appreciative of Evans’ hospitality. Despite their attempts to avoid the subject, they start talking about how the war is going.

Evans nods thoughtfully, then predicts the Yankees will win. He asks his startled guests if they’d ever seen Lawrence, Kansas. They reply they have not. Evans tells his guests what he’d seen in the town while it was under construction:

As I watched those Northerners building that town, I witnessed the seeds of our own destruction being sown. I’m not speaking of abolitionist trouble-making, or even the number of Northerners. It was the school. Before they built the church, they built that schoolhouse. Then they brought in every farmer’s son and every farmer’s daughter and made sure they would think and live the same free-thinking way they do, without regard to station, or stature, or custom, or propriety. That’s when I realized that the Yankees will surely win, because they believe everyone must live and think just like them. We don’t want to make everyone be like us. We shall surely lose because we don’t care how other people live-we just take care of ourselves.l

As Evans says, Southerners tend to mind their own business and let things be. Northerners, on the other hand, must remake things to suit them better, and to impose their way of doing things on others. As Admiral Raphael Semmes of the CSS Alabama once put it, “The Yankee is compelled to toil to make the world go around.” So what made Yankees that way?

The short answer is “The Puritans.” In Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history), David Hackett Fischer describes how the culture of the Northeast was defined by its Puritan settlers. Fischer describes that cultural migration as “East Anglia to Massachusetts.”

The South, on the other hand, was essentially a Puritan-free zone. In the migration pattern he named “The South of England to Virginia,” Fischer identified the demographics of the coastal South as “Distressed Cavaliers and Indentured Servants (Gentry influenced the Southern United States’ plantation culture).” Fischer characterized the demographics of the inner and mountain South as “The Flight from North Britain (Scotch-Irish, or border English, influenced the Western United States’ ranch culture and the Southern United States’ common agrarian culture.”

The Puritans, both in England and in New England, rejected traditional society, just as they had originally rejected the traditional church. Their doctrine of “total depravity” saw all institutions as infected by sin. Here is how A. J. Conyers describes the Puritan crusade in his book, The Long Truce: How Toleration Made the World Safe for Power and Profit:

Their zeal drove them to criticism of existing orders and institutions, fueling the wish for deliverance from the effects of human depravity. Driven in this direction, they were tempted by the same dualism that Christians of all ages have entertained. It is a kind of Gnostic style of theologizing that finds no good in the created order, in human nature, or in the institutions arising in such a world. For the gnostic–and, for the Puritan—Christianity is altogether a theology of redemption without the inclusion of a theology of creation.

The Puritans were members of the Church of England who wanted to purify the Church of non-Biblical elements. They wanted to eliminate all the practices they viewed as holdovers from the Catholic Church, which the Puritans referred to as “popery,” including the ritual robes of the priests, the various ceremonies practiced, and the overall focus and purpose of the Church. They rejected the traditional aspects of worship that did not conform to the Bible, and therefore made the Bible the exclusive reference point of their religious practices.

The Puritans not only made their reading of the Bible central to their religious practices; they went so far as to make the Bible and their understanding of it as the exclusive authority for all religious questions. They intellectualized religion to the point of excluding all tradition and custom. As a matter of fact, the Puritans came to see religion as exclusively within the realm of the mind. Education came to be the key to salvation, and this of course established and legitimized the Puritan belief that lack of formal education equated to sinfulness.

The Puritan way of thinking eventually secularized. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a proponent of the transformed New England ideal. Emerson, a former Unitarian minister, acknowledged that his aunt, Mary Moody Emerson, a devout Puritan, exerted the greatest influence on his life. Here is what Emerson said in his 1838 address at the Harvard Divinity School:

Build therefore your own world, a correspondent revolution in things will attend the influx of the spirit. So fast will disagreeable appearances, swine, snakes, pests, madhouses, prisons vanish; they are temporary and shall be no more seen until evil is no more seen. The kingdom of man over nature .. a dominion such as now is beyond the dream of God.

Could Emerson have been any clearer in expressing the radical difference between the secularized Puritan worldview and the traditions of Aquinas and Aristotle? Those traditions, which respected hierarchy and social customs as invaluable sources of stability, continued to be embraced by Southerners, who saw themselves as stewards of God’s creation, and believed that traditional society is the result of God’s patient hand. Where Southerners saw mystery and beauty in the world, Northerners saw only chaos and untapped raw materials.

Southern religion, and therefore the entire Southern worldview, appreciates the richness of both the physical and the spiritual. We believe that both belong to God. Therefore, unlike the Puritan, we do not believe that “things” are inherently evil. Tobacco, food, alcohol, and guns, to name a few examples, are not evil in and of themselves. Evil people can abuse those things, but Southerners know that these things can be not only useful, but enjoyable.

Southerners, as a whole, appreciate nature, and tend to the agrarian belief that nature is to be both enjoyed and preserved. We accept the world as it is given to us, and believe it is our duty to find our place in it and accept our responsibilities. As stated in the original introduction of I’ll Take My Stand in 1929: “Religion can hardly expect to flourish in an industrial society. Religion is our submission to the general intention of a nature that is fairly inscrutable; it is the sense of our role as creatures within it.” Anne C. Loveland, in her book Southern Evangelicals and the Social Order, 1800-1860 wrote that Southerners are “as dubious of human ability in social and political matters as in the matter of salvation. The belief in the sovereignty of God and dependence of man was the whole of their thinking.”

Here is how Richard Weaver once described the Southern spiritual tradition: “Piety comes to us as a warning voice that we must think as mortals, that it is not for us either to know all or to control all. It is a recognition of our own limitations and a cheerful acceptance of the contingency of nature, which gives us the protective virtue of humility.”

This helps us understand some of the pronouncements coming from Barney Frank, Hillary Clinton, and the like. These people, and their followers, really believe that there is no justice, no order, no value in traditional society. If any good is to be had, it must be imposed from the outside, by force, by the ultimate sovereign, which is Big Government.

By understanding what happened to the Calvinist Puritans, we can better understand why it is true that, “The Yankee is compelled to toil to make the world go around.” It’s because of the old Puritan belief that the natural world is evil and corrupt, and that all goodness and order come from the mind-spirit of the universe that only the elite can comprehend. According to this worldview, there is no culture whatsoever in traditional society, no barn dances, no singalongs, no folk art whatsoever until Big Government creates a museum and imports artists from New York to provide cultural uplift to the unwashed masses.

And since there are no natural bonds between people, any talk about heritage and kinship as a basis for social order is illogical sentimentality. The only thing people have in common is the shared desire to make money and protect their lives and property. Since economics trumps all other considerations, why shouldn’t we open our borders to all comers? And the thought process is the same even when they call themselves neo-conservatives, which is nothing more than another name for the same ideology wrapped in the language of conservatism.

That’s why we should appreciate what gives the Southern worldview its vitality and its uniqueness, and be ready to defend it. We must defend it because it is the only barrier to the predatory Puritan mindset. That mindset, as Evans warned in Ride With the Devil, is bound to make everyone conform, and that means the end of authentic culture and freedom.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Their zeal drove them to criticism of existing orders and institutions, fueling the wish for deliverance from the effects of human depravity. Driven in this direction, they were tempted by the same dualism that Christians of all ages have entertained. It is a kind of Gnostic style of theologizing that finds no good in the created order, in human nature, or in the institutions arising in such a world. For the gnostic–and, for the Puritan—Christianity is altogether a theology of redemption without the inclusion of a theology of creation."

Kinda reminds me of the people who type at Dalrock's. Dalrock's articles themselves are not bad, but a lot of the people in the comment section who profess to be Christians share a viewpoint of the world that all his corrupted including almost every single church and they cannot go to that church because it is corrupted.

I've seen atheists and agnostics with more hope than those Christians which is kind of ironic.

Anonymous said...

The "North" is a great deal more complicated than that. New England is only one part of the North. Vast swathes of the North and Plains were not settled prior to the mid 1800's and were settled almost entirely by immigrants who were not exposed to Puritan influence. Nevertheless they share the Puritan work ethic even if they never shared the culture.

My own ancestors are Baltic; Old Prussians. They have an independent streak that puts the Scots-Irish to shame, but we are nevertheless of the North. Perhaps a more accurate description of the Northern Europeans is that our somewhat inhospitable environment compelled us to toil in order to live and in turn rewarded us by keeping out those who wouldn't toil, thus allowing us a measure of freedom.

Anonymous said...

In a sense, the end times, all is hopeless, satan is the prince of the world viewpoint actually fired back on some Christians in that they cannot even trust their own churches.

At that point, you don't even need to send enemies to the church, the church is fine at dismantling itself. There is no trust there. There is no hope, no love within those certain individuals commenting on Dalrock's yet they are called upon to take and use the hope and love Jesus gave them, but instead spread fear, paranoia, distrust, hopelessness.

Those are the fruits of the flesh not the spirit according to the Bible.

On the other hand Bob, I was accepted into medical school, and the doctor I was shadowing was an Irish Catholic who swore all the time, derided organized religion and looked like he took the world in a "don't give a shit attitude". However he still went to mass at least once a week, and he impressed me because it seemed to me he had genuine piety, not the false piety at all times a lot of evangelical protestants seem to put on. He wouldn't pretend to be a saint and he was more than anything, a no bullshitter. I think a lot of Irish people have that attribute, after having gone through so much shit throughout history.

Shaun F said...

That was thought provoking, much appreciated.

Bob Wallace said...

"The "North" is a great deal more complicated than that."

Indeed it is, which is why "Albion's Seed" only deals with the British Isles and those four groups from there. It doesn't deal with continental Europe at all.

For all practical purposes, the War Between States was a cousin's war between some of those groups from mentioned in the book.

James said...

The wrong side won the war in The Great War as well. Since you are sympathetic to the American south, please be open minded as well in viewing this documentary:
http://www.hellstormdocumentary.com/

Glen Filthie said...

Well Bob - just curious... how would you recommend we respond to the events of 911? Or to a nuclear Iran? Or attacks on US interests abroad?

Bob Wallace said...

James,

It would have been better if Germany had won WWI.

Glenn,

No Muslims in the U.S. and there would have been no problem. And yet we are still importing these vermin. We brought out suicide on ourselves.

Anonymous said...

The Puritans were members of the Church of England who wanted to purify the Church of non-Biblical elements. They wanted to eliminate all the practices they viewed as holdovers from the Catholic Church, which the Puritans referred to as 'popery,' including the ritual robes of the priests, the various ceremonies practiced, and the overall focus and purpose of the Church....
Could Emerson have been any clearer in expressing the radical difference between the secularized Puritan worldview and the traditions of Aquinas and Aristotle? Those traditions, which respected hierarchy and social customs as invaluable sources of stability, continued to be embraced by Southerners, who saw themselves as stewards of God’s creation, and believed that traditional society is the result of God’s patient hand.
"

It's largely forgotten now, because it doesn't fit the Southerners-as-ignorant-Xenophobes and Yankees-as-welcoming-saints narrative, but in the mid-19th Century, the South was actually far more hospitable to Catholics than the Northern cities they crowded into. The Confederate President's cabinet had a Catholic and a Jew long before either religion was represented in a Presidential cabinet in DC. Jefferson Davis was educated by Dominicans, while Bostonians of about the same period preferred to burn convents. Yankee support for compulsory public education was directly tied to the growing influx of Catholics; they wanted to scrub immigrants' children clean of their Papist superstitions.

Pope Pius IX, the only European prince to have granted semi-official recognition to the CSA, perceived in Lincoln's aggression the exact same homogenizing mania driving the Piedmontese to annex the Mezzogiorno and the Papal States. Garibaldi saw the same connection from the opposite perspective, abortively attempting to join the war on the Yankee side. In both cases, sudden forced liquidation of an agrarian feudal society by a bureaucratic Machine State caused a massive outbreak of banditry and murder, ordinary people trusting their own home-bred thugs (the KKK in one case, the Mafia in the other) to administer "rough justice", rather than trusting the incompetent and hostile bureaucrats of an occupying power.

AAB said...

Is that the same 'borderers' as the 'border reivers'? I only ask because there was a documentary about Celtic history or something that mentioned a curse that the Papacy put on the Reivers:

In 1525 the reivers had become such a nuisance that the then Archbishop of Glasgow, Gavin Dunbar, put a curse up all the reivers of the borderlands.

"I curse their head and all the hairs of their head; I curse their face, their brain (innermost thoughts), their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their forehead, their shoulders, their breast, their heart, their stomach, their back, their womb, their arms, their leggs, their hands, their feet, and every part of their body, from the top of their head to the soles of their feet, before and behind, within and without."

"I curse them going and I curse them riding; I curse them standing and I curse them sitting; I curse them eating and I curse them drinking; I curse them rising, and I curse them lying; I curse them at home, I curse them away from home; I curse them within the house, I curse them outside of the house; I curse their wives, their children, and their servants who participate in their deeds. I (bring ill wishes upon) their crops, their cattle, their wool, their sheep, their horses, their swine, their geese, their hens, and all their livestock. I (bring ill wishes upon) their halls, their chambers, their kitchens, their stanchions, their barns, their cowsheds, their barnyards, their cabbage patches, their plows, their harrows, and the goods and houses that are necessary for their sustenance and welfare."


and on it goes.

(Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/cumbria/features/2003/07/restoration/the_curse.shtml
and so on.

Bob Wallace said...

The Border Reivers were psycho and put the tanned hides of English soldiers on their walls. I think that's where the Reivers from "Firefly" came from.

AAB said...

Gotcha, cheers.