Is the South Dragging the Rest of the Nation Down? | Alternet August 1, 2014Posted by sandyclaus in Politics.
Most of Thompson’s main points are in the first 40 pages:—“It’s too bad that we just didn’t let the South secede when we had the chance.”—“Everyone has joked about a modern-day secession. Politicians, like Texas Governor and presidential hopeful Rick Perry, have even threatened it. But what would the measurable impact be if it actually happened? … In fact, for both sides, an exciting by-product of separation would be an explosion of southern tourism. … ”—“With time, Americans would start thinking of the South as another Mexico, only with a more corrupt government.”—“The South has operated like a competing nation in cannibalizing and degrading Michigan and the American auto industry.”—“ … [A] union based on such a diametrically opposed approach to social organization—uncompromising Bible literalism versus protean secular law—is like a bad marriage that needs to end in order to save the children. … “—“All these gloom and doomers … whining about a world on the brink of extinction are descendants of the Lost Cause defeatism fostered and fetishized in post Civil War southern churches. …” Let me interject: Ever since the rise of the Nashville Fugitives, a group of poets, novelists and historians who met at Vanderbilt University in the 1920s, it’s been a popular argument among Southern academics that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery but in defense of states’ rights. I’ll never forget the Birmingham News’ 1963 Civil War centennial issue that proclaimed “The True Story of the Heroic Struggle for States’ Rights.” This ties into one of the primary myths being hammered home to white school kids in the South: that because slavery only benefited the rich and not the common soldier/farmer, the latter did not believe he went to war in defense of slavery.As historian James M. McPherson noted, the leaders of the Confederacy were clear before the war that they were quite willing to fight for slavery. Here’s McPherson from his essay “The War of Southern Aggression” in The New York Review of Books Jan. 19, 1989: “Whether or not they owned productive property, all southern whites owned the most important property of all—a white skin. This enabled them to stand above the mudsill of black slavery and prevented them from sinking into the morass of inequality, as did wage workers and poor men in the North.”