“To restore Southern culture, Southerners must learn again to be proud to be Southerners and vigorously promote Southern culture. The consequences of at least one, and really two, generations of native Southerners accepting to look down on their own civilization is now being felt. For the first time in our history, a significant portion of our own population looks at the Yankees as liberators, bringing a superior culture rather than the busybodies and interlopers they have always been. I have a reputation within Identity Dixie writing circles as focusing on cultural elements: Southern Nationalists, and the broader Dissident Right, ignores culture at our own peril. A nation that cannot exercise, defend, and promote its own culture, and give its people a reason to love and protect it, will perish. We used to have that, and when we did the Yankees could never fully break us. The loss of that has given the Yankees that dangerous blank check. When you see young Southerners cheering on the destruction of their own inheritance and culture, an inheritance bought and paid for by the blood of Southern patriots, consider how they were taught to treat that inheritance.”
The New South (1882) by R.L. Dabney is a foundational work in the annals of Southern Nationalism:
“There is one point on which you insist too little, which is vital to the young citizens of the South. This is, that he shall not allow the dominant party to teach him a perverted history of the past contests. This is a mistake of which you are in imminent peril.
With all the astute activity of their race, our conquerors strain every nerve to pre-occupy the ears of all America with the false version of affairs which suits the purposes of their usurpation. With a gigantic sweep of mendacity, this literature aims to falsify or misrepresent everything; the very facts of history, the principles of the former Constitution as admitted in the days of freedom by all statesmen of all parties; the characters and motives of our patriots; the purposes of parties; the very essential names of rights and virtues and vices. The whole sway of their commercial and political ascendancy is exerted to fill the South with this false literature. Its sheets come up, like the frogs of Egypt, into our houses, our bed chambers, our very kneading troughs.
Now, against this deluge of perversions I solemnly warn young men of the South, not for our sakes, but for their own. Even if the memory of the defeated had no rights; if historical truth had no prerogatives; if it were the same to you that the sires whose blood fills your veins, and whose names you bear, be written down as traitors by the pen of slanderous history, still it is essential to your own future that you shall learn the history of the past truly. For the institutions which are to be, however unlike those which have been, must have a causal relation to them: must be in some sense the progeny of them.
The chrysalis is very unlike its progeny, but nonetheless its traits determine those of the gorgeous butterfly. The acorn is not like a tree, yet its species determines the shape and qualities of the monarch of the forest. To-morrow’s configuration of the planets may be very dissimilar from that of to-day, but it will be rigidly consequential thereon. Hence the astronomer who misconceives and misstates the positions of the orbs to-day, must inevitably err in his prediction of their conjunctions to-morrow. So if public men will gratify their spite, or revenge, or lust of sectional power by misrepresenting the late events, they thereby condemn themselves to fatal blunderings and mistakes in prognosticating that future which can only be the caused sequel to this.
If you would not be mere blunderers in your new constructions, then you must understand aright the structure of those recent actions on which they must found themselves. You will seek to learn them, not from a Greeley or a Henry Wilson, but from a Stephens and a Davis. While you do not allow your judgment to be hoodwinked by even the possible exaggerations of our own patriots, still less will yon yield your minds to the malignant fables of those partisans who think they can construct history as unscrupulously as a political ring.
Our age presents the strange instance of a numerous party, who think they can circumvent the resistless forces of truth by systematically misnaming facts and fallacies, who are deliberately building a whole system of empire on the substitution of light for darkness and darkness for light, of good for evil and evil for good, calling that master in our government which was servant, that patriotism which was treason, and that treason which was true, law-preserving patriotism, and that aggression which was righteous defense.
If you wish to be buried deeper than thrice buried Troy beneath the final mountains of both defeat and shame, go with these architects of detraction. They are but arraying themselves against that unchangeable God who has said: “The lying tongue is but for a moment, but the lip of truth shall be established forever.”