Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

What’s to Like about the South

So I’m sort of the MC for a conference for undergraduates in Boston on liberty and community. One of this morning’s topics: two of the southern essays by Richard Weaver. A weakness of Weaver (a very original and engaging polemicist) was his inability to confront the simple injustice of the segregation. But he does make us reflect on some distinctive strengths of the South as "regime" (in some loose sense); Its emphasis on structure or place, its openness to communal expressions of personal transcendence, and its affirmation of the indispensable guidance of tradition or "the past." Is the strength of the generic North its principled universalism, and is its weakness its impersonality or denial of the singular significance of particular persons? Is both the strength and the weakness of the South its focus on the particular or the personal, even at the expense of the principled pursuit of justice? Everyone knows the South is now the most "livable" part of the country--but maybe that’s because the fine weather, religion, localism, and gentility have been supplemented by integration (justice) and air-conditioning (technology). We’ve engaged in decade analysis and year analysis. Now we move on to REGIONAL ANALYSIS.

Discussions - 1 Comment

Weaver should be read and reread. He saw much that few others saw. I suspect that his tragically early death in 1963 was not only a short-term, but also a long-term blow to the conservative movement.

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