150 Years After Fort Sumter: Independence Is There For Those With the Will to Take it.

150 years
ago tonight—at 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861—Confederate
forces

opened fire
on

Fort Sumter
.

My
great-great-grandfather,

William Boggs
, was an engineer who

helped prepare the gun emplacements at Fort Moultrie,

which delivered the heaviest fire. All my ancestors on
both sides of my family were

Confederates.
There is not a single Yankee in my
family tree, so my lineage is about as Southern as it
could be. What does any of that mean
146
years after Appomattox
?

Americans
are famously ignorant of history, and the past is always
receding—but for
not a few
Southerners
, The War and its consequences are never
far below the surface. William Faulkner famously said:
“The past is
never dead. It`s not even past.”
This rings true
only for Southerners (except perhaps for a few

Mayflower
-descended

Boston Brahmins
). Indeed, some Southerners still
dream of an independent nation-state of their own. Since
1994, an organization called the
League
of the South
has tried to prepare for independence,
though its leaders—thoughtful and honorable men—concede
that that time has not yet come.

Will it
ever come? There are enormous obstacles. The South is
filling up with Yankees and

Mexican
s for whom the idea of a Southern nation is
meaningless. Blacks are

moving back from the North,
and for them, a Southern
nation is

worse than meaningless
: it is anathema. Southern
nationalists imagine a

benign and romantic
revival of the Confederacy, with
battle flags, chivalry, and conservative Christianity;
but for many Americans, there can be no benign revival.
They cannot separate the Confederacy from slavery. And
any goal with even the slightest, second-hand,
undeserved, taint of slavery is at a deep disadvantage.

I am
confident that not one person who dreams of an
independent South has the slightest desire to
reinstitute slavery. But that doesn`t matter. Any
Southern sovereignty movement that even mentions

Lee and Jackson
or hums
Dixie
is automatically suspect. And what Southern independence
movement can there be without Lee, Jackson, and
“Dixie”?

It makes no
difference that slavery

flourished under the Stars and Stripes for far longer
than it did under the Stars and Bars.
It makes no
difference that

Lincoln
had

no use for blacks
and wanted them

out of the country
. The Confederacy and the entire
South have been nailed to the cross of slavery—but these
obstacles could be overcome by fiercely determined
people.

Something
more serious holds back Southern nationalism: Its
support is limited almost entirely to people who profess
a certain kind of politics, whereas national movements
must be beyond politics. An independent South would need
the support of people who may not be conservative, who
may not be suspicious of big government, who may not be
Christian, who may not

oppose marriage for homosexuals,
but who are still
devoted to the South. The roots of a

Southern nation
would have to spread widely and not
just sink deep.

Take the
admittedly unscientific sample of my sainted mother.
Born in 1922, she believed Southerners were different
from Yankees, and was thankful to have been born a
Southerner. She rose when
Dixie
was played and looked daggers at anyone who did not. She
turned her back on
“The Battle Hymn
of the Republic”
. When

Jimmy Carter
was elected—after a campaign in which

Democratic radio ads throughout the South actually
featured Dixie,
incredible as that may now sound—she thought it was
wonderful finally to have a President who did not speak
with an accent.

She lived
in Massachusetts for a year, and loved to drive through
the
New England countryside.
She didn`t know what to
make of the monuments to the

Union dead
that are in virtually every town square
until she came up with a good, Southern way to think
about of them: as monuments to

Confederate marksmanship
.

And yet, my
mother would not be part of today`s Southern
nationalism. She was a professional social worker and a

Norman Thomas socialist
. She was an early champion
of
women`s liberation
, and campaigned for gay rights.
She believed in the redemptive power of government, and
went to her grave a committed liberal.

My mother
loved the South because she grew out of that red dirt,
because that was the land that formed her. She was
Southern because she was born Southern. The Confederacy
was part of her extended family—and whatever a Southern
lady does, she loves and defends her family.

But today,
how many Southerners feel as she did about the South
unless they
also are deeply conservative? The cause of the South
must be at the political center, not the fringe.

Let me be
clear: I am not blaming today`s Southern nationalists
for their political opinions, many of which I share. I
am pointing out only that the broadly-based Southern
patriotism of which my mother was a part is gone. There
are not many Southern nationalists today who would march
for

gay rights
or would expand the welfare state.

Fifty years
ago was the 100th anniversary of firing on Fort Sumter.
In 1961 I was a fourth grader in w:st="on">Richmond, Virginia,
and my teacher,

Bela Outlaw,
was an outspoken Southern patriot. We
were never to talk in her class of the


“Civil War”
but of the
“War between the
States”
because, as she explained, ours had been a

battle for independence,
not a fight over who sat in
the White House. She taught us that secession was in the
tradition of the American Revolution—which
was
secession from England
—and that

George Washington
is on the

Great Seal of the Confederacy
because

our ancestors believed they were acting in his name
.
She taught us that the 9th and 10th Amendments cannot be

read as prohibiting secession
, and that our
ancestors were legally and morally right.

All my
classmates were staunch Confederates.
“Yankee” was
a term of contempt. The Battle Flag was our symbol of
bravery and devotion. That year, I saved up my meager
allowance and bought two genuine

Confederate $20 bank notes.
I thrilled to imagine
whose hands might have touched those sacred relics.

Fifty years
later, after the

enforcement of
Brown vs. Board
and what can only be called the

Second Reconstruction,
I suspect today`s Richmond
fourth graders are not as Confederate as my class was.
I`m certain their teachers are not as Confederate as
Bela Outlaw was.

And yet
Miss Outlaw was not a conservative. There were rumors
that
black children
might be coming to our all-white
school, and she had firm views about that, too. She said
she would treat black children exactly as she treated
us, and, like it or not, we had better do the same.

I don`t
know about my class-mates but I remain

sympathetic
to

secession
. I would be glad to see an independent
South—or an independent

Vermont
or

Texas
or Cascadia. I applauded the disintegration of
the Soviet Union, as
much because it meant independent homelands as because
it signaled the death of

Communism
. Today, I root for the Chechens against
the Russians, the South

Sudanese against the Arabs
, the
Kurds
against the Turks
, the

Flemings
against the

Walloons
, the Quebeckers against Toronto. Men need

homelands that are
theirs
,
that commemorate their heritage and
ensure its survival.

But when
the Czechs and the Slovaks peacefully seceded from each
other, it was because millions of people were Czech or
Slovak nationalists first, and many different things
second. They set aside all other disagreements in the
name of nation.

The
American South does not now have the same broad-based
national fervor, and the few sparks of Southern
patriotism that remain are smothered by newcomers who
are indifferent or hostile to the South.

Looking
back 150 years, I am struck by how remote an irritant
the federal government then was. About the only brush
with
Washington

most Americans ever had was buying stamps at the

post office.
The feds never dreamed of telling you
whom you had to
hire,
what you could put in your
food, or
how many days off you had to give the help. No American
had to account to w:st="on">Washington for every penny he earned, and

then hand over a big part of it.
Not even Louis XIV
or

Ivan the Terrible
exercised that kind of tyranny.
The people of Illinois
and Wisconsin would
have voted articles of secession before
South Carolina

did if they had lived in the grip of today`s central
government.

And yet,
the irony is that today`s pestilential

bureaucracy
has nothing like the resolve
with
which Lincoln`s government fought the war
. A country
that chants mantras about diversity and tolerance has no
idea what it even is. It has no identity to impose on
people who know who they are, know what they want, and
are prepared to fight for it.

The real
tragedy is that Southern nationalism crested 150 years
too soon. I am convinced that if, today, the people of
the South—or of any state—were as determined to secede
as my ancestors were in 1860 and 1861, the federal
government
would
not now slaughter them
to
keep
their corpses in the Union
.

Independence is there for any group of Americans that is
united in its determination to take it.



Jared Taylor (
email
him) is editor of


American Renaissance

and the author of 
Paved
With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in
Contemporary America
.
(For Peter Brimelow`s review, click


here
.)
The long-awaited sequel,

White Identity: Racial Consciousness In The 21st
Century, will be published this year.