by Steven Yates
Johnny Jay: Did you know that there are some folks in the North that are tired of us Southerners and think we should be tossed out on our fannies?
Billy Ray: You're kidding me!
Johnny Jay: No, it's right here, in this column "Let's Ditch Dixie" by Mark Strauss.
Billy Ray: Never heard of him.
Johnny Jay: He's a senior editor at Foreign Affairs. That's Council on Foreign Relations.
Billy Ray: At least we know what to expect.
Johnny Jay: Well, what he does is make fun of the League of the South and their Declaration of Southern Cultural Independence – signed last year in Montgomery. He also ridicules the Southern associations of folks like John Ashcroft and Gale Norton, calling the latter the GOP's "honorary Dixie chick," but then he makes an allegation that's nothing short of astounding – coming from a Yankee.
Billy Ray: Which is?
Johnny Jay: That the North and the South "can no longer claim to be one nation."
Billy Ray: A Northerner said that?
Johnny Jay: Yes, and a lot more besides. He mentions last year's electoral map, but it's almost like he saw the infamous county-by-county map and actually figured out what it means. The one showing all the "red counties" that voted for George W. Bush and all the "blue counties" that went for Al Gore.
Billy Ray: They showed that counties full of our people, tending to be rural, Southern, or western – except for the heavy Hispanic regions way out west – tended to go for Bush. All the urban areas tended to go for Gore.
Johnny Jay: True, but they also show how Bush won the South hands down, and that without the South he wouldn't have won. He doesn't think much of our culture, that's for sure. He uses references to NASCAR and WCW fans to ridicule it. But the guy's at least noticed – there's something different about the South that makes it not like the North – meaning by that the Northeast, mainly.
Billy Ray: And his conclusion is that instead of us having to fight our way free, like we tried to do just over 140 years ago, that we be kicked out instead?
Johnny Jay: Here's what he says: "… North and South should simply follow the example of the Czech Republic and Slovakia: shake hands, says [sic.] its been real, and go their separate ways. And if the South isn't inclined to leave anytime soon, then we should show them the door by seceding unilaterally."
Billy Ray: Northern secession?!
Johnny Jay: Yup. He says we're dominating them, because of Southerners in the White House, Southerners picking up population, votes in the Electoral College… Gore won California, New York and Pennsylvania, and he still couldn't win the election. He couldn't even win his home state.
Billy Ray: Because of the Dixie mindset?
Johnny Jay: Yup. This guy even says that the Democrats are becoming "Dixiefied." Yankee liberal progressives no longer have their own party. That explains Ralph Nader. But here's the really good part. Listen to this: [Reads]: "The South is a gangrenous limb that should have been lopped off decades ago. More people live below the poverty line in the old Confederacy than in the Northeast and Midwest combined – "
Billy Ray: Couldn't their policies have something to do with that? Going all the way back to the War of Yankee Aggression that burned down our cities and towns and raped our land? We never really recovered.
Johnny Jay: Could be. Anyway: "You are three times more likely to be murdered in parts of Dixie than anywhere in New England – "
Billy Ray: Aw, c'mon, that's horsehockey! Guess this guy's never spent much time in New York City or downtown Washington, D.C.
Johnny Jay: Doesn't say. Goes on with more benefits to having an independent Northern state, though, such as – hmmm – higher average test scores, more opportunities for women, less opposition to gay rights.
Billy Ray: More logical thought?
Johnny Ray: He doesn't go that far.
Billy Ray: I hope not.
Johnny Jay: But he does say that without Dixie the Northerns will be able to pass tougher gun laws, legislation barring discrimination against homosexuals, and that won't have to deal with those annoying commercials offering Dale Earnhardt memorabilia for sale.
Billy Ray: Ah. Why don't we trade. We'll keep our Dale Earnhardt memorabilia if they'll keep their laws. If they want to disarm their own people and their own people don't care, let u2018em. I rather like the idea, if the North is independent from us. Why don't we give a good Rebel yell tell this guy, hell yeah, let's go for it. We'll leave you alone if you'll leave us alone! I may not like their stupid laws, but I like this guy's solution to his "Dixie problem."
Johnny Jay: Well…. There's a catch.
Billy Ray: Oh? If it sounds too good to be true it usually is. What else does this joker say?
Johnny Jay: He thinks that an independent North will be able to "cure" us Dixie-ites of our bad habits. Listen to this: [reading again]: "With the South banished from the Union, we could begin to correct the most objectionable aspects of Southern behavior with the same tools we use to engage countries such as China: by making trade and continued foreign aid contingent upon sincere efforts to clean up the environment and improve human rights. We could implement "Plan South Carolina" to convince tobacco growers to develop alternative crops. Northern observers could ensure democracy in Florida polling places. Peace Corps volunteers could teach the necessary skills – "
Billy Ray: Whoa, wait just a cotton pickin' minute! That's not separation, that's just more Yankee imperialism! Why should we want to trade with them, anyway?
Johnny Jay: I guess this guy thinks we'll end up like China.
Billy Ray: Wonderful that he's bothered to research the South and find out a little about us, isn't it? Has he forgotten that a Southerner penned the Declaration of Independence? That our ancestors contributed massively to writing the U.S. Constitution – and then led to the adding of the Bill of Rights when it wasn't clear that the Constitution didn't centralize the new government too much?
Johnny Jay: Oh, this Strauss fellow is in love with centralization. He's Council on Foreign Relations, after all. Remember?
Billy Ray: He hasn't figured out yet that centralizing the government, the economy, you name it, doesn't work? That it hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried? This guy talks out our test scores.
Johnny Jay: Limited to "public school" kids.
Billy Ray: Figures. They don't teach about our ancestors there anymore, or so I hear. They're more likely to teach tolerance and tree-hugging. I've heard they're trying to introduce ethnic math, or something like that.
Johnny Jay: That's the Yankee influence. Or maybe Left Coast. Hard to tell, when you get right down to it.
Billy Ray: Then that's why the test scores are falling. And I hear theirs aren't exactly setting the world on fire, either.
Johnny Jay: No. They're falling everywhere. Or so I hear. Not that that's what counts. It's not enough just to be educated. It helps to know what is right, and do it. Lenin and Stalin were both smart cookies, after all.
Billy Ray: They'll never get there by making homosexuals an affirmative action group.
Johnny Jay: You know that, and I know it. Anyway – and this is really sad! – this guy Strauss's piece ends by comparing us to the Russians.
Billy Ray: He does what???
Johnny Jay: Just listen: "[T]he only obvious downside is that the South would almost certainly insist on keeping the 3,150 nuclear warheads that are scattered throughout Georgia, Texas, Louisiana and Virginia. Maybe we could strike a deal to get those nukes back, the same way Russia did with Ukraine after the Soviet Union broke up. If not, then perhaps national missile defense might not be such a bad idea after all."
Billy Ray: That is sad! Not to mention paranoid. Sounds like he's afraid of us.
Johnny Jay: I rather agree. He's right about the different cultures, though, and about how leftists keep running up against Dixie as the main factor keeping them from getting their way. So if it ever comes to pass that the powers that be up in Northern la-la land want us out, we ought to oblige them – so long as we close our borders afterwards! They won't get our missiles, and they won't be able to migrate down here in droves to escape their crime rate and their awful weather.
Billy Ray: They'll regret letting us go so easily.
Johnny Jay: But it'll be too late! [Smiles gleefully.]
Billy Ray: So how'd they get that way. Guys like this Strauss, that is.
Johnny Jay: Wasn't from reading that other Strauss, that's for sure. The one named Leo. Seriously, it goes back to what we were saying about centralization. We have these two basic philosophies, the one coming out of the Northeast that's basically secular and materialist. The way it's evolved, it favors expansionist government, high taxes to support it, welfare, dependency, gun control, multiculturalism, affirmative action, feminism, open homosexuality, bad food and bad music. The other comes from down here. We're still basically Christian and want to depend only on God and our families, but otherwise on our own two feet in a free economy. We believe that independence is a good thing and that manliness is a good thing – that's why so many of us are NASCAR fans, by the way. We like real men, not the silly flower children of Ivy League campuses and Left Coast beaches. And women who really are women, not Janet Renos and Donna Shalalas – or Hillary Clintons. We're just daring the clowns running Washington to try and take away our guns. We think affirmative action is nothing more than quotas and preferences that discriminate against white men. We don't think men and women are interchangeable. We're still u2018backward' and think homosexuality is a sin.
We're loyal to something besides money and power. Our sense of place is reflected in our music. We prefer songs like "Sweet Home Alabama" to noise-set-to-a-beat about killing cops. Ever hear anybody call New York City or Washington, D.C., "sweet" anything? But anyway, it all comes down to this: accept the world view that's taken over the North and you get one solution whether you realize it or not: in the last analysis, power gets the last word. That's why they end up trying to centralize everything in sight. That's why even after they've kicked us Dixie-ites out, they'll conduct an economic war of imperialism designed to control us, to rid themselves of our "corrupting" influences. Behind all the power-obsession, though, is something they dare not face – not honestly, anyway. A sort of emptiness. The emptiness of the soul that comes from accepting that this life is all you have, that morality is just a man-made creation, and that you might as well grab for whatever goodies you can get because once it's over, it's over.
Billy Ray: Hmmm! Sad. But if they ever want us out and they mean it….
Johnny Jay: Then I guess we'll have to oblige them.
Billy Ray: This is just one writer, though, for a Northern Internet site hardly anyone reads because it's so liberal. The folks running the Washington Empire wouldn't let us go so easily.
Johnny Jay: u2018Fraid not.
Billy Ray: They'd miss those vacation spots too much once we closed our borders.
Johnny Jay: And don't forget that terrific mustard-based barbecue sauce we've got down here in South Carolina!
Billy Ray: That too!
Johnny Jay: Well, I've had some Boston clam chowder. It was pretty good.
Billy Ray: [Looks contrite.] Oh, I'm sorry. They've accomplished one thing up there….
Steven Yates has a Ph.D. in Philosophy and is the author of Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action (ICS Press, 1994). He is presently compiling selected essays into a single volume tentatively entitled View From the Gallery and a work on a second book, The Paradox of Liberty. He also writes for the Edgefield Journal, and is available for lectures. He lives in Columbia, South Carolina.