Padraig Martin, ed.
The Honorable Cause: A Free South –12 Southern Essays
In concluding his great work The Southern Tradition at Bay, which was published five years after the author’s death in 1968, Richard Weaver leaves us with some truly haunting words: “The South which entered the twentieth century had largely ceased to be a fighting South.”
Although this statement was false in a literal sense, since throughout the twentieth century the American South had provided the United States military some of its best fighting men, it was true in that these men had largely ceased fighting as Southerners. Instead, they identified more as Americans — as many of their forefathers had prior to 1861. With the American people being a reasonably cohesive mixture of various European groups at the time, this identity shift had proven to be at least tolerable for most Southerners throughout the twentieth century.
Today, however, Americans are no longer a reasonably cohesive mixture of various European groups. Foreign and hostile elites are showing their true animus against the founding white stocks of this country, as well as against whites in general, as they allow non-whites to flood across our borders. In reaction to this, Southerners are beginning to fall back on their deeper identity as ethnic and Christian Southerners. They are also adopting a fighting stance once again.
And thank God for that.
Documenting this crucial identity shift, and expounding upon its various permutations and ramifications, is the prime purpose of The Honorable Cause: A Free South — Twelve Southern Essays. Editor Padraig Martin of Identity Dixie has collected essays which not only identify and describe what it means to be Southern, but that also lay out the many threats facing Southerners today, as well as their place among the broader dissident Right and their prospects as a viable identity group in multiracial America.
Author Harry Bluff defines Southern Nationalism best in his essay “A Godly Endeavor: Worldview is Everything”:
As a movement yet in its youth, the modern iteration of Southern Nationalism is fundamentally about working towards the permanent establishment of a separate and independent Southern nation on this continent; upon the soil bought and paid for by the blood, sweat, tears, and ceaseless toil of our noble ancestors during the span of more than four-hundred years; a nation “of, by, and for” true Southerners and Southern Nationalists.
This goes well beyond the merely political to the more organic notion of nationhood. The great Southern historian Clyde Wilson, as quoted in Rebecca Dillingham’s “Is the Orthodox Faith the Solution?”, states that the South “is a civilizational reality in a sense which the United States is not, and it will last longer than the American Empire.”
Martin’s Introduction recounts his days in federal prison in 2020 when he was sentenced to six months for participating in the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right rally. This was when he decided on his present course as a Southern Nationalist. He became a voracious reader during this time, studying history and politics and focusing on the efficacy of historical revolutions. He also studied the King James Bible cover to cover and canvassed the older prisoners “about their various crimes, networks, systems, and schemes.”
Through it all, Martin envisioned two things: the eventual publication of The Honorable Cause and a realistic strategy for pursuing the goals of Southern Nationalism:
Using the time provided, I came to several conclusions as to the best way to contribute to the Southern Nationalist cause. First, it was clear that we needed to define ourselves in a better way. The movement was handcuffed by the mistakes of the past and the ability of our adversaries to characterize us. Second, we needed to work on funding for the cause. Too many men had their lives ruined by leftist agitators through doxing; my own life included. We had to have anti-fragile means of producing an income. Thirdly, we needed to change our strategy from one that involved direct action to one that was more subtle and nuanced.
One aspect of Southern Nationalism which makes it unique within the white diaspora is its intense link to geography. For most White Nationalists, Pennsylvania is as good as Iowa or Idaho as long as friendly whites occupy these places — but Southern Nationalists reject this idea for what they call home. James Edwards, host of the popular Political Cesspool radio program, delves into this attachment to home in his essay. Yes, part of this must result from the beautiful landscapes, warm climate, and rich vegetation found in the South. But mostly it’s family and history — both of which run centuries deep for Southerners:
I am extraordinarily proud of my family’s history and way of life. I am always taken back to my childhood when I revisit the tiny community center at which so many of our reunions used to be held, before so many of my kin went on to receive their heavenly reward. The place still looks as it did in some of my earliest memories. The 1950 senior class photo of my grandmother remains hanging on the wall. There is a basketball court with wooden backboards that hover over the same floor that my grandfather played on so many decades prior. There is something bittersweet and endearing to visit a place where time stands still. It puts my spirit at ease.
Clearly, Edwards’ contribution is highly personal, but it also reveals an understanding not only of the tribulations of one’s ancestors, but also their honor and dignity while enduring difficult times. Author Dixie O’Hara conveys similar notions in her essay “Aprons of Resistance: The Role of Southern Women in Modern Dissidence” when describing how Southern food has become “the cultural reminder of a people who were assaulted, occupied, and remain oppressed by a heartless foreign government.”
The Civil War — or what many Southerners still call the War of Northern Aggression — still casts a long shadow over the Southern mind. Edwards shares a letter from an Illinois soldier of that conflict describing the splendid fighting prowess of his Southern enemies. What makes his letter so intriguing is the presence of several fearsome Southern women on the battlefield:
Another She-Devil shot her way to our breastworks with two large revolvers dealing death to all in her path. She was shot several times with no apparent effect. When she ran out of ammunition, she pulled out the largest pig-sticker I ever seen. It must have been 18 inches in the blade. When the Corporal tried to shoot her she kicked him in the face, smashing it quite severely. Then she stabbed three boys and was about to decapitate a fourth when the Lieutenant killed her. Without doubt this gal inflicted more damage to our line than any other reb. If Bobby Lee were to field a brigade of such fighters, I think that the Union prospects would be very gloomy indeed for it would be hard to equal their ferocity and pluck.
Is it any wonder that Edwards, O’Hara, and folks like them are proud to be Southern? Who wouldn’t be?
Another motif running through The Honorable Cause is that of unyielding Christianity. True faith and abiding by the Word of Christ comes up a lot. Furthermore, the essays in this collection remind the reader how much easier it is to respect Christianity when the Christians themselves are serious and temper their religion’s ecumenical nature with healthy doses of ethnocentrism and nationalism. Bluff asks if Southerners can “reject or renounce the Biblical-Christian worldview and still be Southern Nationalists?”
The answer, of course, is no. But in asking, Bluff establishes the following dichotomy of competing worldviews: “Biblical-Christian” versus “Secular-Pagan.” It’s either-or for Bluff, and that’s fine. But I for one would like to learn more about how Southern Nationalists would deal with those falling between these two poles — lapsed Christians or agnostic types, for example — as well as with the varying types of Christians themselves, such as Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, and so on.
Speaking of types of Christianity, Dillingham prescribes Orthodox Christianity as the antidote to the “secular fictions, utopian fantasies, consumerism, covetousness, degeneracy, and hubris” which make up the present-day United States (typically referred to by this collection’s authors as either “the American empire” or “these United States”). Orthodoxy is not merely an Eastern thing, Dillingham explains. She feels the Southern soul will be healed once the Great Schism of 1054 AD, which split Western Europe from the Orthodox Church, is reversed. This will require a rejection of worldliness, neoliberalism, and much of the Enlightenment. This will require a return to tradition and faith. Orthodox Christianity is the only thing solid enough to provide the rock upon which to reestablish the Southern nation’s “unshakable moral foundation.”
While many of these essays expound on Southern Nationalism’s uniqueness, two stand out in how they describe how unremarkable it is when viewed within the lens of the broader dissident Right. That is, in many respects Southern Nationalism is White Nationalism — and not so merely because the two share a common enemy. In “Adversaries of the South: The Left’s Failed Elites,” author Harmonica asks why the Left resorts so often to doxing. He then expounds upon Russian-American scholar Peter Turchin’s idea that “elite overproduction” is most responsible for the downfall of great civilizations. In such instances, a society produces more elite individuals than it can employ in suitable leadership roles. This results in marginalized elites attempting to horn their way into power by eliminating those elites who stand in their way. Dueling was traditionally an example of this. Today, the method of choice is doxing, an insidious tactic which both Southern Nationalists and the broader dissident Right must contend with.
In “Liberal Democracy vs. Organic Nationalism: A Template for the South” — another essay that would fit perfectly on the pages Counter-Currents or American Renaissance — author Michael Hill describes how organic nationalism requires that governments derive their legitimacy from the organic, or biological, unity of the people. Without such an arrangement, entire peoples may face their eventual extinction. This is well understood among White Nationalists, but Hill articulates the concept so well and applies it so deftly to Southern Nationalism that I lament not being able to quote his entire essay verbatim. Instead, I will have to be content with the following:
For instance, in a Christian country that enjoys a high degree of homogeneity in its racial and ethnic make-up, language, institutions, and inherited culture, most matters up for a vote are largely superficial policy issues. They don’t tamper with the agreed-upon foundations of the society. However, in a multicultural and multiracial polyglot empire, such as ours is today, the concept of majority rule is often fraught with dire (and even deadly) consequences for the losers, especially if the winners bear a grudge. As multiculturalism destroys civic identity, racial and ethnic identity rises to take its place. This is obviously not conducive to civic peace and prosperity.
Martin concludes The Honorable Cause with an incisive essay on the strategies behind Southern Nationalism. An astonishing level of research is on display in it. He draws direct connections between the struggles of present-day Southern Nationalists and those of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Ireland, as well as 1960s and ‘70s Iran. Martin calls for disciplined and unified pro-Southern messaging, as well as ameliorating any fears that non-whites may have about Southern Nationalism. Martin also calls for “asymmetric organizing,” which entails a high-level council of committed nationalists who keep various grassroots efforts focused, targeted, and informed. In a sense, asymmetric organizing is aligned with Greg Johnson’s oft-repeated warning that dissidents should strike the enemy where he is weakest, not strongest. Southern Nationalists should avoid traps or “meaningless struggles” such as that of the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, and instead should
become so small and nimble they cannot define us or the movement. Rather than protesting the removal of a statue, we need to make it politically unacceptable in every small Southern town to even suggest such a thing. We may not be able to keep our statues standing in large urban locations, but it needs to be a political “death sentence” for a town councilor to even suggest the removal of a memorial in his hometown. We do this through micro action at a local level.
Essentially, Southern Nationalism is a potent cocktail of race, religion, and geography. This makes it more concentrated than White Nationalism, but also considerably smaller in scope. Former Arkansas US Congressional candidate Neil Kumar explores the differences between the two in “Cousins? Distinctions between Southern Nationalism and White Nationalism,” and is certainly one of the volume’s highlights. For Kumar, Southern Nationalism is specific and White Nationalism abstract. He also defends Southern Nationalism against the anti-Christian attitudes of many on the dissident Right, and especially against the charge that Christianity is inherently Jewish, but makes sure to underscore the fact that mainstream Christianity, in its recent turn towards globalism and transgenderism, has done much to deserve such scorn.
He also laments that many on the dissident Right “create absurd cults, adopt pagan practices centuries removed from an idealized, obscure pre-Christian past, or rely on cold, dispassionate scientism.” There might be some truth in this; I can think of a couple “absurd cults” among dissidents from the past few years. Kumar’s — and the Southern Nationalists’ — disdain for paganism should come as no surprise, but I would like to learn more about what Kumar means by “cold, dispassionate scientism.” Does he mean atheism? Race realism? Evolutionary biology?
Kumar thankfully addresses the elephant in the room, which I am sure that many non-Southern White Nationalists will find a bit painful to hear:
Pan-European unity is a fiction; White people generally do not define their identities on purely racial grounds, but rather by their nationality. Far from joining hands as racial kinsmen, the kingdoms and then the nation-states of Europe have engaged in perpetual warfare against each other. When White men refer to themselves as such, their nationality subordinated to their race, it is typically limited to situations of oppositional ethnogenesis, where an external racial threat is involved – such as Amerindians, blacks, etc. And yet, even then, these expressions of White identity are often still expressions of national identity, the nation itself understood to consist of White people, rather than a conceptually White nation.
While Kumar is certainly not wrong about most of this, the idea that pan-European unity being a fiction outside of Europe becomes more than a little problematic for the general White Nationalist platform. For example, Greg Johnson’s White Nationalist Manifesto does not delve into Southern Nationalism’s particular interests. Furthermore, Southerners still have the benefit of ethnic homogeneity — so of course Southern Nationalism and its particular platform will carry more weight with them. At the same time, however, American whites outside the South possess a greater admixture of various European ethnicities. Thus, it is natural that a broader White Nationalism will have greater appeal in the North, Midwest, and West, where Southern Nationalism does not apply.
To carry the discussion further, if it is fair to point out White Nationalism’s absurdities and abstractions, then it also becomes fair to point out Southern Nationalism’s rigidity and regionalism. No political or cultural movement is without its limitations, and since these two movements contain so much overlap and share so many enemies, it makes sense to have such frank conversations about the pros and cons of both sides. That’s how we make each other better. The Southern Nationalist may point to his people’s greater ethnic cohesion, while the White Nationalist might highlight his group’s greater numbers. The Southern Nationalist may highlight his greater attachment to the land, which instills a superior fighting spirit, while the White Nationalist might remind him that he has more space, which means more options.
So who is right? Both, I say. The Honorable Cause is such a thought-provoking volume that it made me consider all the ways in which American whites can have both Southern and White Nationalism simultaneously. There is absolutely no reason why this can’t eventually happen — and it all boils down to one thing: Red-State Secession. If Harold Covington’s dreams of a white ethnostate in the Pacific Northwest and Padraig Martin’s dreams of a restored Dixie are ever to be realized without warfare, then it will start — but not end — with Red-State Secession. One day, the United States will begin to break up under the corruption and incompetence of its non-white elites. It will get to the point that a critical mass of whites will have to secede out of sheer self-preservation. And when that happens, anything goes. Southern Nationalists will be ready to reclaim as much of their homeland as possible, and White Nationalists should either help them or stay out of their way.
Better yet, they should follow in Padraig Martin’s footsteps and set up shop in like fashion somewhere else in North America. And they can start today by reading The Honorable Cause.
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