Defy Mob Justice by Celebrating the Life of Robert E. Lee | Crisis Magazine

The acting assumption seems to be that if only we can erase any memory of the Confederacy and slavery, racism will finally be a thing of the past… [However,] it’s worth pointing out that before we tear men apart, or tear down their statues, we are duty bound to know the facts of the case, no matter our personal feelings toward, or disagreements with, the male in question.

Source: Defy Mob Justice by Celebrating the Life of Robert E. Lee – Crisis Magazine

Today marks the anniversary of the passing of General Robert E. Lee – “Marse Robert” (“Master Robert”), to his devoted men – in 1870, just over five years after he had reluctantly surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, in the realization that he had done all he could do, and prolonging the conflict any further would simply result in still more senseless death and destruction.

Although he was the greatest of many great Southern generals (and indeed, among the greatest military leaders of any land and of any time), he had never been a secessionist, and only reluctantly resigned his commission in the United States Army when it became clear that he would have to choose between what he – along with many, both North and South – saw as a voluntary Union of sovereign States, and his beloved home state of Virginia, “the Old Dominion”: it would not be possible to remain loyal to both.

He also was personally opposed to slavery, holding it to be a “great moral and political evil,” but believed that its abolition should be gradual and equitable to all parties concerned – rather than the sudden, violent, and disorganized way in which it actually occurred, which has contributed to both resentment, and many practical problems, ever since. In this, I think he was rather prescient.

At any rate, as the linked post notes,

“This man, known primarily for his dignity, his dedication, and most of all his outstanding leadership and military prowess certainly merits honor. He should be remembered with respect by history, with prayer on the day of his death, as well as being commemorated with statues. Toppling statues of Lee will not remove the shame of slavery from American history. Rather, refusing to recognize nobility among enemies—even historical ones—demonstrates symptoms of a culture purposefully ignorant of history, as well as one unable to dialogue when in disagreement…

“Immediately following the Civil War, though animosity between North and South had hardly died, Lee held the respect of the entire nation. Crocker states, “Soon after the war’s end, he was increasingly regarded not merely as a military genius but as someone to be venerated by the South and by the North, to be venerated, indeed, throughout the Western world as a great man.” His reputation as a world-class tactician, peerless leader, and humble gentleman extends beyond the bounds of this country, and beyond the limits of his own time…

“Therefore, even those who deeply disagree with General Lee ought to stand up for him now, remember him prayerfully on the anniversary of his death, and honor his memory. Rewriting history doesn’t change history or remove its errors, it merely eliminates its lessons along with examples of greatness and nobility. Likewise, failure to recognize nobility and give honor when due gives rise to the very hatred from which racism springs: the inability to recognize goodness in those who are different from oneself—whether that be in appearance, ideas, or nationality. Such an inability has its source in a refusal to dialogue in the pursuit of truth.”

An excellent article – the excerpts quoted above are but snippets. The whole thing is worth a read! And General Lee is worth remembering with respect, indeed (I believe) with reverence. He was a great General, but more than that, he was a great Christian gentleman. In the words of President (and former 5-star General and Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces Europe, in World War Two) Dwight David Eisenhower, when asked why he kept a portrait of General Lee in the Oval Office,

“General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was a poised and inspiring leader, true to the high trust reposed in him by millions of his fellow citizens; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his faith in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history. 

“From deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s calibre would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the Nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.”

Needless to say, I agree with all of the above. General Lee is one of my heroes, and one of my earliest role models. May God bless the memory of “Marse Robert”!

No automatic alt text available.

Advertisements

On “Silent Sam,” Massachusetts, and complicity

Image result for silent sam

There is a meme making the rounds to the effect that Massachusetts – of all places! – was the first colony to legalize slavery, doing so in 1641.

Well, guess what? It’s true. I’ve confirmed it from multiple reputable sources online (here is a link to the most concise one I’ve found; some of the following dates come from this timeline).

In addition, in 1643, the New England Confederation, a “military alliance of the English colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven,” adopted a fugitive slave law, meaning that an escaped slave, if found, would be returned to his or her master. And in 1650, Connecticut legalized slavery. Note: Virginia didn’t pass its fugitive slave law until 1657, although it did pass a law allowing blacks to hold slaves (!) in 1654.

In 1652, Massachusetts required all black and Indian (Native American) servants to receive military training, just like white citizens; but ten years later, in 1662, rescinded that decree, no longer allowing them training in arms. New York, Connecticut, and New Hampshire passed similar laws restricting the bearing of arms by blacks, in that same year.

Also, the slave trade in North America (although they were originally indentured servants; lifelong servitude was not a thing in the early days) began with the launching of the first slave-carrying ship, the “Desire,” in 1636. Care to guess where she was built and launched? Again, Massachusetts.

Now, I’m not beating up on Massachusetts. I love the Bay State, its topography and climate, its quaint villages, its glorious Fall foliage, its delicious seafood, and its many and (mostly) positive contributions to our collective history, from Lexington and Concord to its intimate connection with the sea (did I mention seafood?).

But part of that seafaring tradition included the slave trade, part of the “Triangle Trade” (a.k.a. “Triangular Trade”) that linked the American colonies to Europe (especially Britain) and Africa in a network of raw materials, finished goods, and slave labor.

All of the American colonies, later States, were complicit in that trade, either directly, or by benefiting from slave labor in the production of raw materials such as cotton, tobacco, and sugar, among other products. And the fact that New England had abolished slavery in its own territories did not prevent it from profiting mightily from that still going on elsewhere.

On the subject of indenture and slavery, in 1640, a runaway African indentured servant, John Punch, was sentenced to lifelong servitude for the crime of running away. Note: that was a sentence, in punishment for a crime. Arbitrary enslavement did not begin until the case of John Casor (1655), who was ruled by a court to be enslaved for life to Anthony Johnson: ironically, Johnson was an African-born former indentured servant who had completed his term and set himself up as a tobacco farmer, with indentured servants – and now, a slave, the first “official” one – of his own.

Incidentally, only about 10% of enslaved Africans (mostly captured and sold to Europeans, or white Americans, by rival African tribes) ended up in North America, where, as indicated above, they originally became indentured servants, but were later enslaved; the vast majority went to Central or South America (primarily Brazil) or the Caribbean Islands, where they all became slaves (see here for more detailed figures).

Why am I mentioning these things? Because there is a tendency to treat Southern folks, here in the U.S. – those who seceded and formed the Confederacy, from 1861-1865 – as if they were uniquely culpable in the slave trade, and slavery in general. The truth is rather different.

The history of slavery itself is ancient almost beyond reckoning, and worldwide in scope; but the history of slavery in America is also highly complex and multifaceted: including both sub-Saharan Africans selling other Africans into slavery to Europeans (later white Americans), and free blacks here owning slaves, as well as considerable involvement by Northern interests, including after slavery had officially been abolished in New England.

My point in all of this? It just underlines the absurdity of treating the South, and particularly the old Confederacy, as somehow uniquely culpable in the issue and institution of slavery, which it clearly was not; and using this fallacy as an excuse to tear down monuments and other historic iconography. The most recent example of this iconoclastic fervor is the toppling of the “Silent Sam” monument at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – erected as a tribute to the more than 1,000 UNC students who fought, and particularly the 287 who died, in the War Between the States.

But Silent Sam is far from the only casualty in this war against history as expressed in monumental art: many other monuments have been attacked, damaged, defaced by graffiti, or broken down; and some have been removed, under color of law, by municipal authorities who ought to know better. The justification offered is that the South was fighting to protect slavery – a notion that is, at best, simplistic, and at worst, completely and tragically incorrect – an institution for which the Confederacy (so the argument goes) was uniquely culpable. The falsity of that notion is, I hope, amply demonstrated above.

If we are to eliminate every vestige of slavery in America, we will have no choice but to eliminate a lot of good, too. Great men can do terrible things, and flawed men can do great things. The complexity of humans is part of what makes us interesting. But we lose all of that – and impoverish both ourselves, and future generations – when we choose to obsessively mono-focus our attention on a single issue, such as slavery.

Should we ignore it, and pretend that it was of no consequence? No, of course not! It was and is (for it still exists, in parts of Africa and the Middle East, and human trafficking is a thing even here in the U.S.) a moral evil, and must be decried as such.

But judging people, events, and even whole regions solely on the basis of their connection with slavery narrows our focus, blinds our perception, and cripples our judgment. Not for nothing do serious academic historians consider “presentism” – the tendency to look at the past through the lens of current-day standards and sensibilities – to be dangerously misleading.

We would be better off, I think, if more people today heeded an aphorism my late mother often quoted:

“There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it ill-behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.”

Or as our Lord Jesus Christ once said, “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

Bishop: Tree plaques in Brooklyn honoring Gen. Lee to be removed | Newsday

Plaques memorializing Gen. Robert E. Lee mark a

Two plaques honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that mark a maple tree outside a Brooklyn church will be removed Wednesday, the spiritual leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island said Tuesday.

Source: Bishop: Tree plaques in Brooklyn honoring Gen. Lee to be removed | Newsday

Sadly, the Episcopal Church is showing its recurrent idiocy and lack of both historical perspective and breadth of vision once again. The attacks on General Lee, of which this is but the latest of many, are particularly unjust and absurd, given the actual and expressed beliefs of the man himself.

Here, for a more balanced view, are a few excerpts from an essay entitled “The Real Robert E. Lee,” from the website of the Abbeville Institute’s “Review”:

• “First, Lee deplored slavery, describing it as a ‘moral and political evil’ in a letter to his wife, Mary Anna. Lee told her that they should give ‘the final abolition of human slavery…the aid of our prayers and all justifiable means in our power,’ praying for ‘the mild and melting influence of Christianity’ over ‘the storm and tempest of fiery controversy’ driving America to disunion. Lee elsewhere called slavery a ‘national sin’ for which he feared America would be punished.”

• “Second, Lee initially opposed secession, but his loyalty to his native state – the Commonwealth of Virginia – surpassed his loyalty to the abstraction of the Union…. Although Lee considered secession to be wrongful, he could not countenance a government based on force of arms rather than consent of the governed.”

• “Third, Lee did not believe he was fighting for the particular issue of slavery, but for the foundational principles of American freedom – self-government, independence, and the constitutional rights of the states. As the Confederacy rejected three offers from Lincoln to exchange submission to the Union for the protection of slavery, Lee’s convictions were confirmed. ‘Our sole object,’ Lee wrote to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, ‘is the establishment of our independence and the attainment of an honorable peace.'”

“Before his very first battle at Cheat Mountain, Lee did not encourage his men to fight for slavery, but for home, hearth, kith, and kin. ‘The eyes of the country are upon you. The safety of your homes and the lives of all you hold dear depend upon your courage and exertions. Let each man resolve to be victorious, and that the right of self-government, liberty, and peace shall find in him a defender.’

“Lee supported states’ rights not because they protected slavery, but because, as the Founding Fathers understood, they were the ‘safeguard to the continuance of a free government’ and ‘the chief source of stability to our political system.’ As Lee explained to Acton, ‘The consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.’

“Lee further noted that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom were secessionists in their day, opposed ‘centralization of power’ as the gateway to ‘despotism.’ According to Lee, ‘The South has contended only for the supremacy of the Constitution, and the just administration of the laws made in pursuance to it.’”

This is a man who should be honoured, and whose thoughts, expressed in his writings, should be taught to generations of school-children! As President (and former 5-star General and Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe during WW II) Dwight D. Eisenhower put it, in a letter to a correspondent questioning Eisenhower’s admiration for General Lee,

“General Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his cause which until 1865 was still an arguable question in America; he was a poised and inspiring leader, true to the high trust reposed in him by millions of his fellow citizens; he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle. Through all his many trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his faith in God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as I read the pages of our history. 

“From deep conviction, I simply say this: a nation of men of Lee’s calibre would be unconquerable in spirit and soul. Indeed, to the degree that present-day American youth will strive to emulate his rare qualities, including his devotion to this land as revealed in his painstaking efforts to help heal the Nation’s wounds once the bitter struggle was over, we, in our own time of danger in a divided world, will be strengthened and our love of freedom sustained.”

Nor was Eisenhower alone in his esteem for Lee. As the Abbeville article recounts, President Theodore Roosevelt – one of the more famous American progressives, albeit one who has also been attacked, in recent times – described Lee as “the very greatest of all the great captains that the English-speaking peoples have brought forth.” Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred to Lee as “the noblest American who had ever lived and one of the greatest commanders known to the annals of war.” And according to another staunchly progressive / liberal President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, “We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.”

Lee was not perfect, of course; there has been precisely one perfect Man, and he was born in Bethlehem and died on the Cross on Calvary. But that makes it all the more sad that, instead of using the present controversy as a “teachable moment” to show forth the truth that in God’s Providence, great men can be flawed and flawed men can be great, the Episcopal Church has chosen instead to kowtow to – nay, to embrace – willful historic ignorance, presentism (see also this), and political correctness.

We are all, present and future generations, impoverished by such choices.

Nathan Bedford Forrest | Abbeville Institute

https://americangallery.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/general-nathan-bedford-forrest.jpg?w=505&h=610

Source: Nathan Bedford Forrest | Abbeville Institute

While Nathan Bedford Forrest, the “Wizard of the Saddle,” is fascinating in his own right [*], this essay is even more important for what it says about our own time. Following are a few of the more prescient words:

“So in a very literal sense the Civil War was the first World War. It not only created a powerful nation of organized resources and potential military might, but the greater world wars took their pattern from the American one, even to the trench system Lee set up at Petersburg. These wars were internecine, all of them; but it was not in this that we find the crucial resemblances. In view of a common Christian culture, wars within Europe would of necessity be internecine, but at least at one time there were Truces of God. What this country brought to Europe was unconditional surrender…

“The result of these wars has been the self-exhaustion of Europe, the loss of prestige before the world, and another possible shift in power from West to East. We seem to accept this with a fatalism strangely foreign to us [indeed it is, given the history of Europeans prior to this age]. The battle of Lepanto was fought and won by a Christian prince [to which I would add: as was the battle at the Gates of Vienna!]. Since that time Christendom, if we can still call it such, has been free of danger [until recently], but there is a strange resemblance between that time and this. The Christian princes were divided among themselves as in our world wars; they were threatened by their own invention, the firearm, which the Turk added to the first use of the disciplined regiment.

“We have only to remember Spengler’s warning as to the folly of teaching the techniques by which the West had overwhelmed the world and wonder [is not this also true today, given that the third-world population explosion which threatens to overwhelm the West was made possible due to Western advances in agriculture and medicine?]. Will the time come when we will pray for another Lepanto? There is no Christian prince today strong enough to take a stand. This country [the U.S.] is presumably strong enough at least to risk a defense, but to stand always on the defensive is to prepare for defeat…”

I am reminded of the words J.R.R. Tolkien placed in the mouth of Boromir, prince of Gondor, in The Lord of the Rings: “Gondor wanes, you say? Yet Gondor stands. And even the end of its strength is still very strong.” True enough; yet only with the aid of the Riders of Rohan was Gondor able to break the siege by the forces of Mordor – and even then, were it not for the destruction of the One Ring and consequent overthrow of the Dark Lord, Sauron, that victory would have been but a respite.

Where are our Riders of Rohan, our Winged Hussars? And how shall we unmake the “One Ring” of our own age?

 


 

* And no, to get this old shibboleth out of the way, Forrest was not the founder of the KKK, though he was elected – in absentia, and with neither his knowledge nor desire – its head. Rather, he used his considerable moral authority to disband that first incarnation of the Klan, when it had ceased to be a protective organization, and become one engaged in mere vigilante and often criminal activities.

 


Do you appreciate and/or enjoy these posts, and want to support The Anglophilic Anglican in my defense of Western Christendom, and enjoyment of Western culture and civilization?

Then please consider supporting me on Patreon!

Many thanks in advance.

The Red Hen, The Murder of Southern Hospitality and The Spirit of Destruction | The Stream

What happened to Sarah Sanders Friday night [June 22nd] at the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia is an abomination.

Source: The Red Hen, The Murder of Southern Hospitality and The Spirit of Destruction | The Stream

Most of us, I suspect, have heard of this incident, and I have commented on it elsewhere. My issue with the episode – aside from the rudeness, which, granted, was extreme – is the hypocrisy. I do believe that a business has or should have the right to refuse service to anyone, at any time, for any reason, or no reason at all.

(But the time to make that decision is before you have begun to serve them; kicking them out in the middle of dinner, unless for disruptive behavior, is extraordinarily unjust, mean-spirited, and inappropriate, in my book.)

But what really gets my goat is that this is seen as acceptable, even praiseworthy, by some or many Democrats, while at the same time, a Christian baker who politely declines to craft a special cake for a same-sex wedding – even offering to help the parties find someone who doesn’t share his moral compunctions – is excoriated by the Left-wing establishment. And don’t even get me started on Maxine Waters…

That, however, brings us squarely back to that pesky issue of civility, or as this article names it – appropriately – hospitality. Don’t want to serve someone? Fine, don’t: but politely turn them away at the door, don’t wait until they’ve ordered and are eating before you kick them out. Once you have welcomed them into your establishment, no less than if it were your home, they are your guest, and deserve to be treated as such, unless they do something egregious.

This goes (as does Southern hospitality in general) all the way back to the ancient Celts, who believed that even an enemy could not justly be attacked, once he had been afforded guest-right within one’s hall. So long as he behaved himself, a guest was sacrosanct – and sometime even boorish behavior was tolerated, so long as the person was a guest. This is the tradition, and reasonable expectation, that was turned on its head by the owner of The Red Hen, one that goes back literally millennia. No wonder many people are up-in-arms about it!

It would be as if the aforementioned Christian baker had started working on the cake, and then, half-way through, decided, “Y’know, I don’t think I should be doing this. I’m going to stop, and tell them to go somewhere else.”

Worse, even, because traditionally, an inn, tavern, or by extension, restaurant, has been seen as a “house,” and those served are “guests,” in a way that customers at an ordinary business are not. Again, the owner should be free to decide who he or she lets into his or her house, but once guest-right has been granted, they should be treated like the guests they are.

Unfortunately, as this article points out, this is part of a larger problem, a larger societal malaise. Civility, courtesy, and the traditions which mandate and enforce them, are out of vogue with a dismayingly large percentage of the population, these days. Iconoclasm, and destruction of traditional norms and mores, is becoming the “new normal,” among too many segments of our present society.

But of course, actions have consequences; and while some folks may have applauded the actions of Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner and a transplanted New Yorker (surprise, surprise… a Yankee, or perhaps one ought to say, a “damned Yankee”), many others did not – and that includes other businesses in town, who realized the damage this has done to the image and reputation of Lexington, Virginia, itself. As the article puts it,

“If you come across I-40, then head north for several hours on I-81, Lexington is a natural place to stop, but not necessary. How many will now drive on by, worried that their presence is not welcome? ‘That’s the place that wouldn’t serve Sarah Sanders.'”

GOP Congressional candidate Ben Cline quickly tweeted,

“On behalf of my hometown of Lexington, I want to apologize for the rudeness of one liberal New York transplant (who also happens to be Meryl Streep’s cousin). We hope you will come back and enjoy our area’s true southern hospitality,”

while Historic Downtown Lexington’s Facebook page pleaded,

“We do not condone the actions of Stephanie Wilkinson, owner of the Red Hen Restaurant and Director of Main Street Lexington.

“The negative impact and nasty backlash towards our little community is downright appalling.

“Please do not condemn our town for one persons actions.

“To The People, Mr. President Trump & Secretary Sarah Sanders we sincerely apologize for the poor behavior and decision of ONE PERSON!”

In a fine example of democracy and free enterprise working the way it should, Ms Wilkinson was voted out as director of Main Street Lexington, and The Red Hen itself was closed for ten days, although it reopened yesterday – unsurprisingly, to both protests and defenders. Its ultimate disposition remains in doubt. But this controversy is a symptom of a larger disease, one battle in a larger war.

That war is, as I have pointed out in more than one post on this blog, a war against Western civilization itself, and the norms and values that underpin it. Here in the U.S., the most recent outbreak of hostilities began with attacks on the Confederate flag, moved on to renaming streets, parks, and schools, then to removing monuments linked to the Confederacy.

But the War Between the States was only low-hanging fruit; soon protesters were attacking monuments to people who had nothing to do with the Confederacy, including Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Francis Scott Key – even Washington and Jefferson. And since his election, they have been going after not only President Trump but, now, anyone associated with him.

Anyone who thinks that this was about the Confederacy, or slavery, or anyone who think it’s merely about the President, is sadly deluded. This is, as one Facebook friend of mine has phrased it, a slow-moving Kristallnacht against our nation, and against Western civilization / Christendom itself. As the linked article aptly notes,

The spirit that has been unleashed on this nation is one of destruction. It has but one goal. Remove Trump from office? No. You’re deluded if you think it stops there. He’s just one chunk of flesh and blood. The goal is to consume in fire. To consume common decency, to consume friendships, to consume civil discourse, to consume any hopes of compromise and problem solving, to consume our nation.

It must be resisted, as the article again states, “with fervent prayer and determined voices.” Indeed! Let us do so.

 


Do you appreciate and/or enjoy these posts, and want to support The Anglophilic Anglican in my defense of Western Christendom, and enjoyment of Western culture and civilization?

Then please consider supporting me on Patreon!

Many thanks in advance.

Spoiled leisure – from “I’ll Take My Stand”

Related image

Here’s a thought to “cheer” your Saturday:

“It is common knowledge that, wherever it can be said to exist at all, the kind of leisure provided by industrialism is a dubious benefit. It helps nobody but merchants and manufacturers, who have taught us to use it in industriously consuming the products they make in great excess over the demand.

“Moreover, it is spoiled, as leisure, by the kind of work that industrialism compels. The furious pace of our working hours is carried over into our leisure hours, which are feverish and energetic. We live by the clock. Our days are a muddle of ‘activities,’ strenuously pursued. We do not have the free mind and easy temper that should characterize true leisure.

“Nor does the separation of our lives into two distinct parts, of which one is all labor – too often mechanical [whether literally or figuratively] and deadening – and the other all play, undertaken as a nervous relief, seem to be conducive to a harmonious life. The arts will not easily survive a condition under which we work and play at cross-purposes. We cannot separate our being into contradictory halves without a certain amount of spiritual damage.

“The leisure thus offered is really no leisure at all; either it is pure sloth, under which the arts take on the character of mere entertainment, purchased in boredom and enjoyed in utter passivity, or it is another kind of labor, taken up out of a sense of duty, pursed as a kind of fashionable enterprise in which one’s courage must be continually whipped up by reminders of one’s obligation to culture.”

— Davidson, Donald: “A Mirror for Artists,” I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition (1930).

Be A Southern Gentleman – Defining The Southern Gentleman, Part 1

Every man is going to be something. Be a Southern gentleman.

Source: Be A Southern Gentleman – Defining The Southern Gentleman, Part 1

From the inestimable Stephen McGehee, who notes:

“Being a Southern gentleman is a state of being. It is not something that is put on to impress others and then taken off. It is a lifestyle based on the ancient code of chivalry. It is a mindset of putting others first and having a truly humble spirit. It is a respect for others – and for oneself. It is respecting the dignity of all men, no matter what their station in life may be. It is a deep and abiding reverence and respect for women, coupled with the manners and etiquette that outwardly demonstrate that reverence. It is the understanding that we are not self-made men, but we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. It is a reverence for the God who created us, and who is the source of all of our many blessings.”

While cautioning us to understand that “no one possess all of these traits. Most of us are fortunate if we can successfully cultivate even a few of them,” he reminds us that

“What sets a man apart as a Southern gentleman is that he understands the goals, knows that they are important, and strives with every fiber of his being to be a Southern gentleman. When he fails, he is determined to do better next time and never makes excuses.

“Being a Southern gentleman is a journey. It is not a destination.”

Indeed it is, and a journey worth embarking upon, regardless of where one is geographically located. As another Southern friend of mine has remarked, these days not all Yankees (properly damnedyankees) are in the North, nor are all Southerners in the South. Yet as Mr. McGehee further points out, in a comment to another post,

Southern culture – and the Southern hospitality that is so much a part of it – is still alive and well in much of The South; especially in the more rural parts. Much of this came from the culture of the English Cavaliers who came to The South during the English civil war and brought with them their respect for good manners and gracious hospitality.

Reassuring indeed that so much of it still survives! It is not so in all areas of this once-great land of ours. Yet cultural influences, for good or ill, can long linger. See David Hackett Fischer, Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, to learn more about how the points of origin of the original settlers of the British North American colonies, that later became the original United States, continues to affect the character and ethos of the regions they settled, many centuries later.

I am eagerly looking forward to Mr. McGehee’s “Part 2.” God save The South!