Southern Identity vs American Identity

Hello, my name is Harold Crews and I’m a Southern nationalist.

A frequent criticism directed at Southern nationalists, and one made now and then to me personally, is that there are many Southerners who disagree with both Southern nationalism and even just simple expressions of support for Southern symbols and heritage such as flying or displaying the Confederate flag. This criticism deals specifically with the concept of Southern identity.

Certainly identity and nationalism are intertwined concepts. But identity is certainly the precursor to nationalism. There are certainly many people who have a Southern identity but who have not become Southern nationalists. But we are hardly unique in that regard. There are a considerable number of historical nations who are dominated by a more powerful occupying nation. And we are hardly alone that many of our people have been sufficiently propagandized or who have succumbed to self interest at the expense of their own people. However what is rare is a nationalism that produces an identity. Certainly there are multi-national empires but within them people retain their national identity. In time of course nationalism can re-enforce a pre-existing identity so that identity and nationalism become mutually supportive. But identity determines politics.

We have to keep in mind that Southern nationalism or Southern identity is distinct from American nationalism or American identity. American identity is based upon subscribing and adhering to certain abstract propositions. Now of course what propositions comprise American identity depends upon whom you ask and when you ask them. Depending on the occasion the propositions may be as varied as; liberty, democracy, equality, laissez faire capitalism, welfare-state capitalism, “tolerance”, diversity, Judeo-Christian morality, sexual freedom, freedom of speech, political correctness, equality of opportunity, affirmative action and so on. You will get as many different answers as you have Americans. Additionally these propositions have changed over time. American identity is not however based on: race or ethnicity; religion (at least in the conventional sense); or considering the amount of immigration the last several decades a common history, language or culture. It is instead as a propositional nation based on abstract propositions which are paradoxically held out by Americans to be universal. It is not surprising that Americans are so often fanatics. America claims to be all things to all people. Define America any way you please and then fall down to your knees and worship it. Americans have mistaken a self-refuting paradox for a mystery. They have then taken that mystery and divinized it. America is an idol made in the image of each American.

Southern identity is not a set of abstract propositions. Southern identity and therefore Southern nationalism is instead holistic. It encompasses all aspects of our humanity. It encompasses in no specific order our physical being; our mental being; and our spiritual or religious being -our body, mind and soul if you will. All of which together, unlike American identity, provide a continuity or communion between past, present and future generations.

The physical aspect of our identity is based on blood. Southerners, to the extent that four hundred years can make us so, comprise an ethnic group. Our forebears came from different parts of Europe – primarily Western Europe. During our history and formation as a people we have intermixed and blended together into an ethnic group. Which is the common experience in the formation of all ethnic groups. We simply have a shorter formation than most other European ethnicities. Southerners same as the great majority other humans have an identity based in part on ethnicity. It is those identities which do not incorporate ethnicity that are in fact unnatural and aberrant. The slight admixture with non-Europeans does not change the reality of our ethnicity. This aspect of the Southern identity simultaneously allows but limits who can assimilate into our Southern identity.

Our spiritual or religious being, the Southern soul if you will, is Christian and overwhelmingly Protestant. Without a doubt there have been Catholic and Orthodox Christians and some non-Christians who have greatly, perhaps evenly disproportionately, contributed to Southern life but the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of Christian Southerners are Protestant. However considering the few differences between Christians and the risk of secularism it is best to simply say we are a Christian people. Even though secularism is infesting the South from the United States, our South remains in practice and in culture Christian. But the longer we remain unequally yoked to America the less Christian we are likely to become.

The Southern mind comprises our non-religious traditions and customs such as: our penchant for the literary and musical arts; our manner of speech and storytelling; our cuisines; our agrarian infused ideals whether it’s gardening, farming, or the outdoor sports; our strong tendency for local and limited government; our hospitality; our martial tradition; our tradition of chivalry; our symbols; our family rootedness in a locality; and so forth. Many of these distinguish us from Americans. There are overlaps of course but no other identity has the same unique combination.

Do all “Southerners” fully participate in all aspects of Southern identity? No. Unfortunately there are many who do not. Does that make them non-Southerners? At some point yes it does make them non-Southerners. Anyone who rejects the traditions of their forebears cannot simultaneously claim to be in communion with their forebears. Southern identity as I discussed above is more than ethnicity although that is an integral part. Additionally there are identities which conflict with a Southern identity. If a person with a Southern heritage identifies as an American then there are certainly strong doubts as to whether such a person can also have a Southern identity at the same time. The difficult thing is that an American identity is so plastic that it can mean nearly anything. What a person thinks is an American identity could easily be more accurately described as a Southern identity but that person has simply never made the association so he continues to think of himself as an American. Ultimately it is our duty as Southern nationalists to bring back wayward Southerners into a deeper communion with their forebears and into their fuller and true identity.

Whether we are speaking of Southern identity or American identity or some other type of identity all identities are necessarily both inclusive and exclusive. This is not a contradiction since there is no meaningful inclusion without exclusion. If an identity is universally inclusive then you might as well simply say human being. Identity must distinguish one grouping of humans from others or else it isn’t a type of identity. But if you will allow I will divide the types of identities into two. There are parochial identities and proselytizing identities. The Southern identity is a parochial identity in that there are inherent limits as to who may be a Southerner. These limits serve as a flywheel for our people. A parochial identity is by its very nature non-expansionary at least on a historical scale. The American identity in contrast is a proselytizing form of identity. As a propositional identity there are no theoretical limits to its expansion. Whether it is through aggressive wars abroad; the erection of a totalitarian state to crush dissent; political correctness; the imposition of its culture onto the world; or by unlimited immigration all humanity can be converted into its way of life and if need be forcibly converted. This of course is only theoretically possible. It isn’t actually possible. Limits are inherent in human nature. Such expansion can only end in collapse and that is what we are witnessing for the United States.

It is just this slow motion collapse in the United States and for the American identity that has caused many of us to revert back to our true identity, our Southern identity. Only a parochial and holistic identity that encompasses all aspects of our humanity can nourish a people and nation for generations. The alternative is an identity that inevitably leads to war, fanaticism, tyranny and collapse.

My name is Harold Crews and I’m a Southern nationalist. Thanks for watching.