This is a hard post for me to write. Somebody will be offended. Since there is no avoiding that, the only fair thing to do is to piss everyone off. And a warning note: some of the language I use will be coarse, but when I am using it I will be quoting Yankee generals, who as a general rule despised black people (contrast that with Stonewall Jackson).
This article has several goals: I will use the thought and “soul” of High Southern culture to show the inadequacies of the Confederate position, the sinful hypocrisy of the North–which continues to this day, and to show the utter bankruptcy of modern Conservative thought (I like the moniker “High” as contrasted with “Old,” “New,” or worse, “Paleo.” I will explain why below).
As to the actual legitimization of the Confederacy I have no wish to enter that debate. I can give a passing answer: in terms of the Solemn League and Covenant, neither the Federals nor the Confederacy were ultimately legitimate. See? I can make both sides angry. I will make a few passing remarks on the Confederacy, though. I really don’t think Jefferson Davis was a competent leader. No doubt he was morally superior to Lincoln, but Lincoln was a true genius; Davis was not. Davis made a better martyr than he did a leader. (Trick question: If the Confederacy was necessarily treasonous, how come the US Government refused to try Davis for treason?)
A few words about slavery. That the Bible does not categorically condemn slavery is another instance where the sons of this world are wiser than the sons of the kingdom. Not only does the Bible legitimize forms of slavery, it is quite specific and provides details on how slavery (or indentured servitude) can better society. I remember at RTS Jackson we got to Philemon in Pauline Theology. Everyone was quick to point out that the Bible made it possible to get rid of slavery:
Me: Really, what verse?
Don’t get me wrong: I think a theology of dominion can place the discussion of slavery in a better light. Following Rushdoony (Politics of Guilt and Pity) I believe that regenerate man is dominion man; he is a priest-king ruling over the new creation. It’s usually better if he were free. Of course, modern Reformed people are scared of dominion, so they really can’t combat the secularist on this point. Chalk another one up to the sons of this world.
One thing I do not intend to give is a naive, pollyannish defense of “The Old South.” I do think it was strong in areas we are weak. Further, I think it’s existence (at least mentally today) sheds painful light on modern conservatives. It is schizophrenic for modern American conservatives to condemn Obama’s big government yet praise Lincoln. What was Lincoln but the consolidation of Federalism? And while I love the Covenanters–and I consider myself in the Covenanter tradition on the Establishment Principle–and while I understand their desire to end slavery, I do not think they were wise to support Lincoln. They are absolutely correct to condemn the anti-Christian nature of the American state. How on earth do they support Lincoln, who further empowered this anti-Christian State beyond Richard Cameron’s wildest nightmare?
So where do we go from here? As the current government spirals out of control the issue of secession will be inevitable. I only pray we can have wise thinking beforehand.
A regenerate and renewed south can sing with Dr F. N. Lee,
Now the Triune God must never be forgotten!
Again He’ll march through the land of cotton
and from here, Dixieland — we’ll yet win, America!
For the Brave New World that now is so perverted,
in God’s good time is going to get converted
and the Earth, will get full — of the fear, of the Lord!
Our God will yet revive us
and our King will bring
both Dixieland and Yankeeland
and all the world to serve Him!
Don’t shirk, let’s work,
and live the Gospel Story!
Begin, we’ll win,
and give God all the glory!