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I've been investigating the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the League of the South and the Council of Conservative Citizens.  These appear to be the largest neo-confederate groups operating publicly today.  What are their commonalities of leadership?

From an article on rebel hunter, Ed Sebesta, in the 2003 Dallas Observer:

The third rail powering this train of thought is a deep-seated and bitterly resentful rejectionism--the belief that everything in America since midcentury has been wrong-headed and a tragedy for white males...

What Sebesta has gathered, he believes, is evidence of a serious movement among educated people who are racist advocates of secession and a second civil war.

I haven't read Sartoris since a teenager, but it seems to me that the current neo-confederate movement is run by a group of men who came of age steeped in the South as lamented by William Faulkner.  Many more words have been written about Yoknapatawpha County than ever penned by Faulkner.  Perhaps somewhere, there exist great thoughts on Faulkner and his effect on  the depression era.  Can you imagine the one, two punch and being a child of the Depression and weened on the tragic novels of William Faulkner?  Why, it's no wonder these fellows sought to secede.

If I am right, the current neo-confederate movement will wane as Thomas E. Woods Jr., founder of the League of the South and senior faculty member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and his peers in this silly enterprise settle into their dotage.

Ironically, the same can be said of their main detractor, Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Until such time, Ed Sebesta will be on guard.

Originally posted to Fecund Stench on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 07:30 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Love/Hate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pucklady, Snarcalita
  •  umm ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    turnover, Asinus Asinum Fricat

    Some perfectly normal people enjoy Faulkner's work as well.  

    I'm guessing that for any prominent literary figure there are readers whose activities are a bit outside the accepted range.

    It's time for a president to to ask Americans to be patriotic about something other than war -- John Edwards

    by ThirstyGator on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 07:34:55 AM PST

  •  I don't have anything intelligent to say about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosette, Calamity Jean

    this subject, but I do have to say that 'Fecund Stench' is one of the better user IDs I've seen!

    This space for rent.

    by bherner on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 07:36:33 AM PST

  •  Have you read much Faulkner? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scoff0165

    His work doesn't generally concern the old, Antebellum South at all. It is this era of Southern history that folks like the groups you mentioned above lament.

    I'm sorry I overreacted. Really.

    by turnover on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 07:38:52 AM PST

    •  As I said, I read Sartoris in High School... (0+ / 0-)

      And prepping for this, I examined his work on the web.  And you're right, his characters lived years after the Civil War.  But his characters reflect the dissolution of the South following Reconstruction.  Those stories simulate the trouble my father and mother witnessed as children.  

  •  this isnt much of a diary (0+ / 0-)

    having said that, i am on record as having said humerous times that we should have let the south go instead of fighting the civil war. while there are good people from that region, the cultural differences from the rest of america are so great that i think for both sides we would be better off if we were not in the same country.i know its just my opinion, and i dont expect alot of people to share it, but if the south was NOT a part of the union, we would not have the tax drain on our dollars first off, and  they would have to sort out their issues regarding race on their own. perhaps, if they had done so, they would have made more progress. why? because the canard of the civil war, and  alleged northern repression of the south would not have occured, and therefore they would not have had the option of going into defensive mode regarding their past, instead they would have to confront it openly and honestly instead of ranting about heritage, one of the worst dodges for repression and racism in the history of the human race.

    there was NEVER any acceptable excuse for slavery, or for the war. never.  the kind of chattel slavery practiced by the people in the american south was one of the worst abominations against human beings in the history of mankind. the bullshit stories about  how  it was the times, how the slaves actually had it good etc, were one of the worst examples of rewriting history in the annals of mankind.

    in germany its a crime to fly the nazi flag, in the south its considered some kind of twisted badge of honor to fly that piece of garbage known as the stars and bars. its anti black, and anti american in the worst sort of way.
    until the south is ready to admit the horror it perpetrated on milions of innocent people for hundreds of years it will not be ready to deal effectively with the rest of the world.

    Welcome to the empire. life is not a dress rehearsal My record label: www.11mileswestofnowhere.com

    by johnfire on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 07:42:30 AM PST

    •  Thank you... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnfire

      It is the last in a series of diaries discussing charges of neo-confederate made against Dr. Ron Paul.  I am trying to understand the origins of the current crop of leaders as that may relate to their future strength.      

      •  mind you (0+ / 0-)

        my thoughts arent very popular. however i really think that until people are willing to look at this this way we are going to continue to have massive problems regarding the south. again. there are many good southerners, i know i lived there for 20 years. having said that there is a VAST undercurrent of racism and revisionist history there, and a real groundwswell  among many educated people that somehow they would be better off outside the union, and running their own country. generally its not discussed with outsiders ( anyone who isnt a native southerner, or whom they dont realize isnt a native southerner) its very quiet and kept under the table. personally i think we would all be better off if they got their wish, as i said, they would have to deal with it head on then.

        Welcome to the empire. life is not a dress rehearsal My record label: www.11mileswestofnowhere.com

        by johnfire on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 07:53:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Broad brush much? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnfire, Fecund Stench

      Without addressing your arguments against the Civil War having been fought, there are still some problems with your comment:

      while there are good people from that region

      Gee, thanks. But you do know that slavery is (as Walker Percy wrote) America's original sin, not just the South's. Some of the largest markets were in Boston and NYC. So who's rewriting history here?

      I live in Atlanta. It is without question the most integrated major American city in which I've spent time. The most segregated? Boston, Massachusetts.

      I make no excuses for the crimes against humanity perpetrated in the South. At the same time, I recognize that this was hardly an exclusively Southern sin.

      until the south is ready to admit the horror it perpetrated on milions of innocent people for hundreds of years it will not be ready to deal effectively with the rest of the world.

      Many state legislatures in the South (including in my native Alabama) have adopted resolutions making full, unconditional apologies for slavery and segregation.

      in germany its a crime to fly the nazi flag, in the south its considered some kind of twisted badge of honor to fly that piece of garbage known as the stars and bars.

      This is the United States. We do not criminalize speech or symbols here. I am as offended by the Confederate battle flag as you are, but I with absolutely defend the right of an individual to fly that flag or any other.

      I'm sorry I overreacted. Really.

      by turnover on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 08:08:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We love Atlanta... (0+ / 0-)

        and go there frequently.

      •  ill agree to disagree with you regarding the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        UndercoverRxer

        stars and bars,
        but thank you for your comments, i think its good to have the other side. as i said i dont expect people to agree with me. its just my opinon and observation on 20++ years of living there and dealing with southerners. the most racism i saw there was  usually from fairly well educated people that is what really blew my mind.

        Welcome to the empire. life is not a dress rehearsal My record label: www.11mileswestofnowhere.com

        by johnfire on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 08:19:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'll second that. X 1000 (0+ / 0-)

          The racism is subtle and hidden, particulary from outsiders. Now if you wear a Florida Gators T-shirt and talk in a drawl when you go to the auto repair shop, you'd be suprised at what you hear that you didn't when you where dressed up at work. And yes, I learned to blend in when dealing with businesses there or you'll get "yankee'd". I also heard it in supposedly rational groups like the Lions club and lots of it on the golf courses.

          My take on it is that we didn't do what most countries do to he losers of a Civil War. So was born the lost cause.

          Oh, and in southern speech, arrogent or aggressive, when in reference to an African American really mean "Upitty".

          I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

          by UndercoverRxer on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 08:30:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  all correct (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            UndercoverRxer

            this is precisely what i am talking about.
            its hidden and camouflaged. but as i posted above its alot more than racism. its a inscrutable desire for a world and belief structure that is hopelessly outmoded.

            Welcome to the empire. life is not a dress rehearsal My record label: www.11mileswestofnowhere.com

            by johnfire on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 08:32:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              johnfire

              It's amazing, isn't it. What I found in older men was a longer for a time where women and african americans lived to serve them, both in business and personal life. They then pass this down to their descendents with stories about the good old days and endless anecdotes about incompetent "others".  The hard core ones send their kids to private religious schools if they can afford it. The others have kids that are trouble in public school, and often it's the african americans kid lashing back that gets noticed. I found white in the lower socioeconomic levels a mixed bag. The lazy ones are mad at the african americans who worked harder and have their jobs. They curse them, and those on welfare, for their fate, while they often are collecting the same assistance checks. Another segment grew up in mixed neighborhoods, and have personal friendships with african americans and work well with them.
              I know this sounds almost cliche, but I found that white athletes, in general, were very tolerant from being in team situations with african american kids.

              I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

              by UndercoverRxer on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 08:48:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  my observations exactly (0+ / 0-)

                as above. i concur 110% the damage being done in the south is this longing for the old days, that some how they were the best of days and the right way to live. THEY WERENT. and that is going to be VERY HARD to root out. its part of the southern mythos. very dangerous and very evil.until its confronted directly and forcefully it wont be fixed.

                Welcome to the empire. life is not a dress rehearsal My record label: www.11mileswestofnowhere.com

                by johnfire on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 09:23:56 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  another thought (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                UndercoverRxer

                the old south is racist, mysogenistic and anti working and lower class. they desire a return to a feudal, class society, where everyone knows their place. in some sense its a harkening back to old country values, ie europe in the 1500s, where there was a clearly defined power structure, and uppity people were out right back down. it is NOT a progressive viewpoint.

                Welcome to the empire. life is not a dress rehearsal My record label: www.11mileswestofnowhere.com

                by johnfire on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 09:28:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  There is a fascinating book. (0+ / 0-)

                  The "Cousins War" about the English Civil war and in that, or another book, it talks about the royalists moving to the southern colonies and the republicans moving to new england. Then the new englanders moved west through ohio and out to the midwest, and southerners went to arkansas, OK, Tx.
                  And the royalists were the confeds and the reps the union. While there is greater mobility these days, some of these basics are still in play until today.

                  The fundy religion is the brain-washing arm of the right wingers. Teaches unquestioning obedience to leaders....just look at how the 26% still follow Bush.

                  BTW, I lived in Central Florida for 17 yrs, outside of the tourist belt in Polk County, now back in the midwest. Couldn't wait to get back up here.

                  I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore!

                  by UndercoverRxer on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 11:12:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  interesting. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    UndercoverRxer

                    well old ideas die hard. that is the truth.

                    like i said, my position isnt a very popular one, but lets look at the facts.

                    the south votes for the worst leaders we could have as a voting block

                    the south is poorer than any place else in the union and the rest of the country finances  them, thru an unfair distribution of taxes

                    the center of everything we stand against as progressives resides in the heart of dixie.

                    any questions.

                    Welcome to the empire. life is not a dress rehearsal My record label: www.11mileswestofnowhere.com

                    by johnfire on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 12:24:43 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  btw (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        UndercoverRxer

        for me racism is just one issue. another big one is the obsession with fundamentalist and evangelical religion. the pervasive anti science attitude of much of the south ( yes i know about GA tech, and many other fine universities. I went to the U of Arkansas, graduated at the top of my class) the obsession with right wing politics. its not just racism, is the severe cultural differences of the region from the rest of the country

        Welcome to the empire. life is not a dress rehearsal My record label: www.11mileswestofnowhere.com

        by johnfire on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 08:31:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  In Faulkner's own words... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    el maso, turnover, muffie, Fecund Stench

    This is from Faulkner's essay from Voices in Black and White on race and fear:

    ...only three hundred yerars ago the Negro's naked grandfather was eating rotten elephant or hippo meat in an African rain forest, yet in only three hundred years the Negro produced Dr. Ralph Bunche and George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington..."

    That's what the white man in the South is afraid of:  that the Negro, who has done so much with no chance, might do so much more with an equal one that he might take the white man's economy away from him, the Negro now the banker or the merchant or the planter and white man the sharecropper or the tenant.  Tha's why the Negro can gain our country's highest decoration for valor beyond all call of duty for saving or defending or preserving white lives on foreign battle fields, yet the Southern white man dares not let that Negro's children learn their ABC's in the same classroom with the children of the wwhite lives he saved or defended.

    "The people from Hope are arguing against hope." Maureen Dowd

    by jules4sail on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 07:56:16 AM PST

  •  Faulkner wasn't popular (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    turnover

    As I understand it, Faulkner wasn't very popular in the South until post-WWII.  He was perceived as portraying the South in a negative light. It wasn't until he was safely dead that he became mythologized in the region. I can't recall any KKK-type in interviews mentioning Faulkner as an inspiration. I don't think he has ever been popular among neo-Confederate types. It's hard to imagine a neo-Confederate stomaching Light in August.

    Moreover, the neo-Confederate groups have contiguous roots in various incarnations back to 1900 or so, a generation before Faulkner was writing.  

    The modern KKK's founding was inspired by the movie Birth of a Nation, which in turn was based on a novel called the Clansman (not by Faulkner). The white costumes and burning crosses were taken from the druids in Sir Walter Scott's novels.

    •  I'm attempting to focus... (0+ / 0-)

      On the intelligentsia of the South.  These fellows, born in the depression, would have served in WWII and been reading Faulkner in college, under the GI Bill.

      •  Although I have no proof... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fecund Stench

        I suspect that Faulkner's sarcasm and difficult prose style, i.e, run on sentences that last for several pages, appealed far more to Northerners and Southern progressive scholars with preformed negative ideas about the confederacy.

        I suspect that most college students were skimming over his work (did Cliff Notes exist back then?) and not ingesting it.

        Only a true sadist (like myself) would be willing to suffer through novel after novel.

        "The people from Hope are arguing against hope." Maureen Dowd

        by jules4sail on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 08:16:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Always Liked Faulkner's Humor n/t (0+ / 0-)

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Tue Jan 15, 2008 at 08:12:07 AM PST

  •  Why the slap at Morris Dees? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fecund Stench

    I think the Southern Poverty Law Center does some important work.

  •  Faulkner and the Neo-Confederacy (0+ / 0-)

      I agree with the commentators who said that we should have let the South go back in 1865.  I come from a slightly different perspective, however.  While I agree that the cultural differences between the North and the South were large and probably insurmountable, my reason for holding this position is political.
      If the southern secession had succeded, others would have followed, and North America would have balkanized into a number of rather small English-speaking republics comparable to what happened in South America, where Bolivar and San Martin were unable to effect a union of the whole.  I maintain that that would have been good: the resulting states would have been smaller, with government closer to home, and the break up would have been along rational cultural and economic lines.  
      But the best effect would have been that none would have been large or powerful enough to threaten either each other or the world.  I haven't noticed that South America has been able to bully anyone lately, although Chavez may be aspiring to that.  Whether he will succeed remains to be seen.  Look, on the other hand, at the Colosus of the North.  We have always been a bully, at least in the Western Hemisphere, and now in the world, and this is the direct result of our combined size and wealth.  If that had been fragmented permanently back in '65, the world would be a far different, and probably better, place.  No one can know for sure, but it is certain that things would be very different now.  

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