Home/Daniel Larison/The Hegemonists, Thomas Woods and the League of the South

The Hegemonists, Thomas Woods and the League of the South

Thomas E. Woods Jr.’s Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, recently put out by Regnery, the venerable conservative publisher, has caused a storm of controversy, the outlines of which define the parameters of the politically permissible. In today’s constricted political “debate” – especially when it comes to foreign policy – only two flavors are allowed: right-wing neocon and left-wing neocon. A “right-wing” writer who opposes foreign interventionism, condemns World War I as the senseless slaughter it indubitably was, and shows how FDR (and the Brits) dragged us into a second world war is bound to come under attack from the battalions of the neoconized Right as well as the Left, and the frenzied response to the Woods volume has not disappointed. ~Justin Raimondo

As a member of the League of the South (though, I must admit to my discredit that I am not by any stretch of the imagination an active member), I would like to congratulate Dr. Woods on the publication of his new book. I would also like to thank him for what appears to be a restatement of the view of American history that was once a common sense, majority view, at least among self-styled conservatives, and which needs to be instilled in the modern American public again and again. It is to be expected that the awful Max Boot and his ilk would find fault with an organisation dedicated to the preservation and restoration of American constitutional traditions, traditional Christianity and especially Southern culture and identity by all honourable means. All of these things are hateful to those who want to obliterate particular loyalties, federalism, political and cultural diversity (the historical sort that arises everywhere naturally, not the artificial, ‘multiculti’, coerced sort championed by neocon and liberal) and subjugate all men to a stale and fatal creed for homogenous slaves serving faceless masters in their anti-personal and anti-religious world of abstractions and social engineering.

Let me take this opportunity to say a few words about the League of the South, a group to which I am proud to belong for these past ten years. This group of ladies and gentlemen, for whom such terms still have their traditional meaning, endeavours to preserve their Southern, Christian cultural, religious and political heritage from the ravages of the same freethinking, Yankee spirit and empire that has gone on to devastate so many other societies, including that of those northern states gulled into the cause of Unionism. Though my lineage is almost entirely from the North, ours were the sort of conservative and republican people who opposed usurpation at every turn, and as much as my kinsman, William Plumer of New Hampshire, was right in arguing for secession over the illegalities of the Louisiana Purchase the Southern states were even more justified in resisting the usurpation of their rights. In the League of the South, I see the natural home of anyone who would honour and venerate the legacy of his ancestors and the early fathers of this country.

If the first-generation American (and I apply the term here very loosely) Boot is offended by us, it is little wonder: we have an American identity that actually has meaning and an inheritance from the past before our country had been overwhelmed by the follies of modernity and the fragmenting, dehumanising forces of industry and ideology. If the modern neocon or liberal cannot sympathise with the Old America, and cannot really muster even a grudging respect for the Old South, it is because these represent a world to which such alienated and disconnected people can never belong, and so they despise it to the same degree that they deeply, naturally desire to have such bonds with their past.

We in the League believe, if I can speak for the League in general terms, that faith in Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity is imperative for salvation, loyalty to kith and kin is natural, necessary, sane and admirable, and veneration for one’s ancestors and their struggles is worthy and indeed a duty for decent people. In specifically political terms we hold that the decentralised confederation of states that we once possessed best suits the interests of local communities, traditional Christian religion, the integrity of the family, the conservation of constitutional liberties received from our fathers and is the rightful legacy of our free and honourable ancestors.

The humane and decent civilisation of the South that took root in the Southland, though of course it was never without flaws (as no earthly society could be lacking in them), informed and shaped the creation of that political structure in large measure and was the guarantor of its authentic form for several decades, both through political influence and through the cultivation of a classically educated body of men who rose to defend, first by the pen and oration and then by the sword, the true political inheritance of the Republic.

The defeat of the Confederacy, though the Confederate political experiment does not exhaust the richness of Southern culture and identity, was a defining moment when the United States took its steps towards the abyss of the monstrous centralised state, rootless society and decadent culture that we have today. In sum, the Confederacy represented much of the Old America that was swept away, and with it went everything meaningful about the constitutional republican system, and the degeneration of that system in the next hundred years was the logical and ultimately unstoppable result of Lincoln’s victory. All of this is in recognition that we are beholden to our ancestors for who we are, and we honour and remember their struggles and accomplishments not only because they can be established as reasonable, good and true but because they are the struggles and accomplishments of our people, who have made this land ours and sanctified it with their blood in defense against the wanton aggression of a barbarous tyranny.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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