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July 21, 2013 / JayMan

Sound Familiar?

Emphasis mine:

Reconstruction was but the first large-scale social engineering effort  by the Northern coalition. When Yankee teachers became disillusioned with the slow pace of their efforts to educate and uplift former slaves in the Deep South and Tidewater, many turned their attention to Appalachian whites, who were seen as people much like their “forefathers on the bleak New England shore.” Borderlanders began to enter popular consciousness in the North in the 1880s and 1890s, when a series of literary and scholarly articles appeared painting them as a people marooned in an eighteenth-century time warp, consumed by feuds and fixated on witchcraft and other superstitions. Studies falsely proclaimed that the Appalachian people spoke Elizabethan English and were “uncontaminated with slavery.” The Yankee-born president of Kentucky’s Berea College, Congregational minister William Goodell Frost, committed to bringing the “saving elements” of modern civilization to Appalachia, which would turn it into “the New England of the South.” Hundreds of Yankee-run freedmen’s schools were constructed across the region through the 1930s. By the eve of World War II the effort had lost its momentum—and had been forced out of parts of the southern mountains—but the region remained a place of abject poverty.

American Nations. (p. 279)

What does this sound like?

Be sure to see the tags on this post. See also:

A Tentative Ranking of the Clannishness of the “Founding Fathers”
Happy 4th of July!
clannish or not? | hbd* chick
american nations | hbd* chick

article-2134196-12BB6A34000005DC-881_470x589EDIT 9/16/13: See also modern Borderlanders, in Appalachian Kentucky. Nothing crushes the proud Borderlander spirit: 

Pictured: The modern day poverty of Kentucky where people live with no running water or electricity | Mail Online





Yankeedom3bGreater Appalachia Flag Nascar


Leave a Comment
  1. Benjamin David Steele / Jul 22 2013 11:11 AM

    I liked the article. I think reason for reactionary liberalism is the state of society at the moment. There are two specific factors I’d note.

    First, this is the post-911 era of constant fearmongering. A study showed that liberals who watched videos of the 9/11 attack supported more conservative measures than liberals who followed the event on radio. Liberalism can’t operate well under fear. It either becomes dysfunctional or stops operating at all.

    Second, we presently live in an information-drenched social environment where media is nearly unavoidable. We are bombarded by people telling us about everything that happens everywhere. A crime from one place becomes national news that can obsess the media world for weeks or months. Even though crime is at a low point, we are put in a paranoid state as if crime were worse than ever. Well-educated liberal parents maybe get the worst of it because they feel morally compelled to stay informed about every new trend in parenting, every new health study, etc.

    The human mind, including the liberal mind, was never designed to deal with all this. It is just overwhelming which leads to reactionary behavior. We live in an age of transition and uncertainty. I suspect the new generations will be more laidback about all of this since they’ll have grown up with it.

    As for the Colin Woodard quote from American Nations, it describes a clear culture clash.

    I suppose it might have been exacerbated because that was also an age of transition and uncertainty, existing in that tumultuous region between the Civil War and the Populist Era when the national economy and society seemed up in the air. We know Puritan society operated in a worldview of fear: outsiders and strangers, French and Indians, Quakers and other dissenters, witches and demons. They created such an orderly society as a talisman against fear, and for the world they lived in fear was far from unjustified.

    What occurs to my mind, however, is the culture clash that happened in Appalachia long before.

    There was always that New England culture clash that had been happening long before the Civil War and its aftermath. The South was partly made so religious because of the Northern Methodist circuit riders. Those circuit riders were seen as outsiders in, at that time, the largely secular Southern society.

    Consider even the Quakers who weren’t outsiders to the South, although they later became treated that way. Much of the criticism of slavery came from within Southern society. Many of those critics such as the Quakers later chose to leave for the North, but it’s significant that they were originally a part of Southern society.

    Appalachia wasn’t originally just a place of clannish Scots-Irish. Activists were constantly agitating for social reform in many Southern states. I know that was particularly true for North Carolina and Kentucky. It’s strange to my mind to how Kentucky became the way it is today. In early America, Kentucky was considered the leading progressive state in the entire country. Everyone was looking to Kentucky to see where the country was heading.

    When Northern social reformers came during Reconstruction, They were seeing a society that had been in steady decline since the early 1800s. This decline had been happening in states like Virginia and in states like Kentucky. The Civil War didn’t cause the decline of the South. It was the decline of the South that precipitated the Civil War. As the South declined, it became less welcoming to its internal critics and social reformers, thus becoming a place of reactionary politics and increasingly impoverished populations.

    It seems like there was something very complex going on. The South took a path that wasn’t inevitable. The results of that path then brought in Northerners with new ideas and expectations, but those Northerners were merely responding according to their culture to something that had happened in the South. When you see flies on a carcass, analyzing the flies won’t help you understand why the animal died. Social reformers like flies seek out dead and dying things. It’s just what they do.

    The social reformers of today aren’t in the position of looking at another society and thinking about how they can help those poor schmucks over there. The society that appears to be in decline today isn’t just the South but the entire nation. The social reformers are a part of the problem-ridden society and the social problems are so far beyond the standard means of social reform. People obsess about the personal when the larger problems feel insurmountable. Those personal obsessions are a sign of a deeper malaise that cuts across all regions and all politics

  2. Benjamin David Steele / Jul 22 2013 11:43 AM

    By the way, I loved the way the author concluded the article:

    “But more important, realizing that Puritanism does not equal liberalism liberates us to think of another way to be liberal: by rejecting the kind of stress that comes from Puritanism. They say hygienic reform; I say the 30-hour work week and not stressing if my children eat Kix. Liberalism, as the political philosopher Corey Robin has recently argued, should be above all about freedom. The best reasons to want a labor union, or universal health care, or Social Security are to be free of worry, want, and privation, and to be out from under the hand of the boss. It makes no sense to re-enslave ourselves with fear, worry, and stress. That is not liberal but reactionary. Just because Big Brother is inside us doesn’t mean he’s not still Big Brother.”

    I’m a fan of Corey Robin, but I’ve come to the same conclusion on my own.

    It seems wrong and inaccurate to call someone a liberal who isn’t particularly liberal-minded nor particularly interested in either liberalizing anything or liberating anyone. But that is how many of the liberal elite seem from my perspective on the ground. The average American is more liberal on many issues than the so-called liberal elite.

    I don’t care too much what people call themselves. We too often get caught up in words that have lost their useful meaning or at least such useful meaning has been lost in public discourse, especially the MSM. What I care about is meaningful dialogue. I do think it is helpful to analyze and seek to understand strange creatures like radical-minded conservatives and conservative-minded liberals, but we shouldn’t mistake them for the broader notions of conservatism and liberalism.

    Stressful times bring out strangeness in people. This is fascinating in the way studying abnormal psychology is fascinating. The point, though, of abnormal psychology is that it is abnormal. The problem with the media is that it obsesses over the abnormal. The normal is boring and doesn’t sell as well.

  3. Benjamin David Steele / Jul 22 2013 12:11 PM

    The two links I offered you are maybe not as relevant as the following one:

    In the post at that link, I looked closely at the demographic data. The confusion of labels quickly becomes clear.

  4. Benjamin David Steele / Jul 22 2013 8:52 PM

    I’ve had some time off these past few days. So, I’ve been on blog commenting spree. I hope you don’t mind me cluttering up your comments section here.

    I try to keep my toes in as many pools as possible. I find it helpful to sometimes look at something from an entirely different perspective. Woodard is talking about ethnic and regional cultures. The article touches upon the same. However, maybe some entirely other viewpoint might have more explanatory power.

    What I was thinking about is the generations theory (Fourth Turning) of Strauss and Howe. Have you heard of it? The model is of four generational archetypes that repeat every four generations. These generational archetypes each have a parenting style. Each generation is reacting to how they were parented.

    Generation X was under-parented. This is my generation. We were known as latchkey kids and it wasn’t just a name. I literally had a key on a string around my neck. I would return home every day after school to an empty house because both of my parents worked. Lot of my friends had the same experience. GenXers have grown up and now are raising their own kids. They reacted to being under-parented by over-parenting. I’ve watched this happen to my brothers with their kids. They are laidback liberals, but the moment they got kids they changed. They definitely didn’t raise their kids as they were raised, but they are raising their kids as many other GenXers are also doing.

    Going by the theory, it is cyclical. These kids, when grown up, will raise their kids the opposite way. There is a similar dynamic for the other two archetypes. I highly recommend you check it out, if you’re not already familiar with it.

  5. helvena / Jul 24 2013 4:09 PM

    Hummmm, puritanism yes, but where did these bible thumpers get their missionary zeal from…the bible, aparticularly the old testament. Like the prophets of old, they want to make the world a better place, that is a better place according to their sensibilities. And which other group sees themselves as “lights unto the world”? The Jews. Let me help you be better. Look at any “progressive” movement and you will find Jews and Jewish money working hand in glove with puritan do gooders.

  6. redzengenoist / Aug 10 2013 4:03 AM

    Well, the same people who then effortlessly wrote off the Appalachians, and who today effortlessly write off their descendants as “anti-science”, are also today effortlessly writing off you and Mrs. Chick as “racists”, with the same type of citationless assertions.

    Baldly stating that you’re an “anti-science racist” doesn’t make you one, does it?

    • JayMan / Aug 12 2013 10:53 PM

      Baldly stating that you’re an “anti-science racist” doesn’t make you one, does it?

      No, it does not. 😦


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