“Nations are the wealth of mankind, its generalized personalities; the least among them has its own unique coloration and harbors within itself a unique facet of God’s design.” — Alesandr Solzhenitsyn
Please allow me to quote at some length from this typically excellent essay from the Abbeville Institute:
James Warley Miles was librarian of the College of Charleston in the mid-nineteenth century. He was also an ordained Episcopal priest. Miles had spent some years in the Near and Middle East collecting manuscripts and was said to know thirty languages. A philosophical book of his had been noticed in European universities. He was, in short, a typical product of the notoriously backward culture of the antebellum South.
During the brutal bombardment of the civilians of Charleston, the longest and most deadly any American city has ever experienced, Miles preached a sermon, offering comfort and encouragement to his fellow Southerners in the trials of their war for independence. Reminding them that history is an unfolding of God’s plan, he said: “No people has ever existed wholly without meaning.”
That suggests to me the way the history of the South, or indeed of any nation, should be approached. As the story of a people whose existence has meaning. But, alas, another reflection from the same time indicates the way that the history of the Southern people is more commonly told. This is the view of a Confederate soldier who had been captured at Gettysburg, written for his hometown newspaper after he had returned South. He described those among whom he had sojourned as a prisoner thus:
“They believed their manners and customs more enlightened, their intelligence and culture immeasurably superior. Brimful of hypocritical cant and puritan ideas, they preach, pray, and whine. The most parsimonious of wretches, they extol charity . . . . the blackest-hearted hypocrites, they are religious fanatics. They are agitators and schemers, braggarts and deceivers, swindlers and extortioners, and yet pretend to Godliness, truth, purity and humanity… They say that we are a benighted people, and are trying to pull down that which God himself built up.
“Many of these bigots expressed astonishment at finding the majority of our men could read and write; they have actually been educated to regard the Southern people as grossly illiterate, and little better than savages. The whole nation lives, breathes, and prospers in delusions; and their chiefs control the spring of the social and political machine with masterly hands.
“I could but conclude that the Northern people were bent upon the destruction of the South. All appeared to deprecate the war, but were unwilling to listen to a separation of the old union… A great many, I believe, act from honest and conscientious principles; many from fear and favour; but the large majority entertain a deep-seated hatred, envy and jealousy toward the Southern people and their institutions.
“They know (yet pretend not to believe it) that Southern men and women are their superiors in everything relating to bravery, honesty, virtue and refinement, and they have become more convinced of this since the present war; consequently, their worst passions have become aroused, and they give way to frenzy and fanaticism.
“We must not deceive ourselves; they are bent upon our destruction… They are so entirely incongruous to our people that they and their descendants will ever be our natural enemies.”
Those “descendants” are writing much of the accepted history of the South.
Except for substituting a form of left-wing secular Puritanism for the old religious sort – complete with trying to bring about their own version of a secular and (pseudo-)”Progressive” Kingdom of God (perhaps “Kingdom of Godlessness” would be more apt) as rapidly as possible – things haven’t changed much in the last 150 years or so, unfortunately.
At any rate, there is so much good in this essay that to truly bring it out, I should need to copy most of it verbatim. Instead, I implore you to follow the link, and to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” this essay. If you are not familiar with the reality of the South, as opposed to the caricature presented by the mainstream media and academia, it will help to redress the balance. If you are, it will reinforce the truths you know already.