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Larisa Alexandrovna: South Winning The "Cold" Civil War?

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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-27-08 08:57 PM
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Larisa Alexandrovna: South Winning The "Cold" Civil War?

South winning "cold" civil war?

Michael Hirsh writes in Newsweek that the South appears to have won a new kind of Civil War. I have always called this "new" war a Cold Civil War and there is nothing new about it. Here is what Hirsh writes:

"In the summer of 1863, Robert E. Lee led an ill-advised incursion into Pennsylvania. His army was defeated at Gettysburg, and thence afterward Lee beat a fighting retreat until the South lost the Civil War. One hundred and forty-five years later, the South--or what has become the South-Southwest--has won another kind of Civil War. It has transformed the sensibility of the country. It is setting the agenda for our political, social and religious mores--in Pennsylvania and everywhere else.

This thought, which has been recurring to me regularly over the years as I've watched the Southernization of our national politics at the hands of the GOP and its evangelical base, surfaced again when I read a New York Times story today. The article was about an "American Idol" contestant--apparently quite talented--who was eliminated after she sang the title song from "Jesus Christ Superstar." When it debuted 38 years ago, the rock opera was considered controversial for its rather arch portrayal of a doubt-wracked, very human Jesus, but the music was so good and the lyrics so clever that it quickly became a huge hit. In the delicate balance of forces that have always defined American tastes--nativism and yahooism versus eagerness for the new and openness to innovation--art, or at least high craft, it seemed, had triumphed. But our national common denominator of taste is so altered today that the blasphemous dimension of "Jesus Christ Superstar" now trumps the artistic part. And somehow, no one is surprised. Our reaction is more like, "Why would she risk singing a song like that?"'

Actually while I agree in part with the phenomenon that Hirsh is describing, I would disagree on two major points.

The South has not "transformed the sensibility of the country," rather, the South has purchased enough media outlets to make it seem as though their message is all-pervasive when it is simply purchased and still as unpalatable as ever. More importantly, what is generally thought of as the South should really be defined as the corporatism or Plantationsim. It is the same forces that led us to the Civil War to begin with and to imperialism, which is now sinking this entire nation.

Hirsh goes on to write:

"In part this is a triumph of demographics. As John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge observed in their 2004 book, "The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America," the nation's population center has been "moving south and west at a rate of three feet an hour, five miles a year." Another author, Anatol Lieven, in his 2005 book "America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism," describes how the "radical nationalism" that has so dominated the nation's discourse since 9/11 traces its origins to the demographic makeup and mores of the South and much of the West and Southern Midwest--in other words, what we know today as Red State America. This region was heavily settled by Scots-Irish immigrants--the same ethnic mix King James I sent to Northern Ireland to clear out the native Celtic Catholics."

Again, I cannot emphasize enough the role corporate propaganda plays in this design. If any of these authors were observing a real shift towards the so-called Southern mentality, then why does this president have the lowest approval rating ever? Why did the pro-homophobia, anti-civil rights, entirely far too nationalistic Plantationists such as Sen. Rick Sentorum (R-PA) get purged out of Congress? And does anyone think for a moment that Bush would have won any election, let alone the presidency if the election fraud in Florida was reported on or the Supreme Court had not ruled in his favor? In fact, it seems the Southern mentality or Plantationism or Corporatism or whatever you want to call it can only win through fraud, massive propaganda, and fear tactics. Would they have to go to such great lengths if this mentality was as popular as Hirsh believes?

Finally Hirsh takes back to the days of Adams and Jefferson:

"Still, something deep and basic has changed in our country. After watching the recent, excellent (despite some historical inaccuracies) series "John Adams" on HBO, I dipped back into the Adams-Jefferson letters. Two things occurred to me: one, party politics was just as vicious back then, in its earliest days, as it is today. Nothing new there. What does seem foreign to us today is the dedication to free thought and, even more, free moral choice that so dominated the correspondence between those two great minds. When Jefferson, in his letter of May 5, 1817, condemned the "den of the priesthood" and "protestant popedom" represented by Massachusetts' state-supported church, he was speaking for both of them--the North and South poles of the revolution. Yet John McCain, even with the GOP nomination in hand, would never dare repeat his brave but politically foolhardy condemnation of the religious right in 2000 as "agents of intolerance." Why? Because we have become an intolerant nation, and that's what gets you elected.

Another expert on the mores of the South, author Michael Lind, notes this change is also attributable to the rise of the mass media and the eclipsing of the patrician culture that produced both Adams amd Jefferson. "Both the New England Yankee and the old Southern colonel are gone," he says. "It's a battle between folk cultures, and it seems the Jacksonian is the more dominant." It's not a clear-cut victory, but the South has won the day."

No, I would disagree. While Adams and Jefferson did vehemently disagree on policy issues, they never once would have allowed the destruction of the Constitution the way the Plantationists have done. The one person that Hirsh does not mention as likely the godfather of the corporate agenda is Alexander Hamilton, the icon of the far right corporate utopia extremists. Of course, even Hamilton would have been shocked at how extreme and corrupt, even anti-American the so-called Southern mentality has become and the systemic blood poisoning it has caused in the body-politic.

Again, when I say Southern-mentality, I don't mean in a geographical sense, rather, in the sense that the same type of profiteers who led us into the Civil War to begin with have never seized trying to rape this nation for profit.

As for the religious elements Hirsh and others point out, they are almost as meaningful as the lapel pins made in China. The religious zealots are nothing more than a tool used by the Plantationists to create a veneer of morality to their criminal activity. If anyone is in doubt, just ask the faith-based how much daddy Bush has given them in the way of pro-homophobia laws. Other than massive campaign propaganda and subsequently a great deal of hate, what did the Christian soldiers actually get from their sugar daddy?

All of that said, are the Plantationists winning the Cold Civil war? I think so, yes, but not because their ideaology is popular or because their leaders are so beloved. No, they are winning because they are the only ones fighting to rip the Constitution into pieces while the other side, the Americans are simply paralyzed by such openly aggressive and illegal tactics. The Plantationists also happen to have the most important weapon - corporate media , which can present their ideaology as popular, their crimes as a matter of interpretation, and their destruction of the Constitution as nothing more than a philosphical disagreement.

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terrell9584 Donating Member (549 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-27-08 09:17 PM
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1. I don't know where this theory came from.
It's all bunk. If anything, the South has always been about the idea that each major city was a world into itself, and that in the country, the county was all important. Nothing corporatist or "plantationist" about it.

And while we are at it, Evangelicalism did not rise into the South until after the region had been devastated by both total war and the kleptocratic carpetbagger governments that ran the region during the immediate post war period, driving every Southern city and state government into a state of default. Evangelicalism was the way for people to make sense of their defeat, and Evangelicalism, if you look into it, was in fact, opposed to Bourbonism. Evangelical religions predominated among the poorer citizens and more staid faiths predominated among the more wealthy.

And George Bush is not a Southerner. He may have grown up in Lubbock, but he has no Southern roots whatsoever and so he doesn't qualify.
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-27-08 09:39 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. That's what the OP said... "not southern in the geographic sense"
The OP agrees with you. Read it more carefully.
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Beregond2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-27-08 09:18 PM
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2. Yes, yes, yes!
Exactly. Americans have been so misled, not to say brainwashed, that they never see who the real culprits are. Or if they do, they feel paralyzed, powerless, which is part of the corporatist message, of course. The average white person in the old south was as much a victim of slavery as the slaves themselves were. Slavery made it impossible for working people to earn a decent wage, when they had to compete with unpaid labor. But did they understand that, did they rise up against their oppresors? No, they fought to preserve their "way of life," thanks to the propaganda they had been fed for generations. And the same thing continues to this day. Too many Americans imagine that the enemy is liberalism, the force that seeks to help them, rather than the rich who exploit them.

In regard to this, I always remember a brilliant exchange in the musical "1776." John Dickinson says: "Most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor. And that is why they will follow us." The corporatists created and constantly maintain the myth that America is all about "free markets," and that those markets will solve everyone's problems if left alone. Of course, there is nothing free about it. The whole system is rigged to sustain the ruling class.

With regard to the Civil War, I think we have to be careful not to imagine that the coporatist interests were only represented by the South though. It was really a war between two business factions, two models of capitalism. The northern model won, and we got the Robber Barons. We must guard against the idea that war is ever noble, on either side. It is always really about competing economic interests.
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-27-08 09:40 PM
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4. Plantationism is a good word. . . . n/t
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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-28-08 12:12 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Racism is easier to pronounce. That is what this is about.
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