CONFESSIONS OF A NEO-CONFEDERATE
Clyde N. Wilson
My title is a little tricky. I do not consider myself a "Neo-Confederate," though I have been labelled as such, with malice aforethought, by self-appointed snarling watchdogs of orthodoxy. I am a Southerner who dwells not in the past (which is like a foreign country: we can learn a lot from it but can't live there) but is looking forward to a new millenium.
Yes, I am proud of the struggle of our people for independence in 1861-1865, which was truly heroic and produced deeds and leaders that won the admiration of the world. But my people have a history of three and a half centuries. I am also proud of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas and Eliza Lucas Pinckney; of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and Old Hickory; of Edgar Allan Poe, William Gilmore Simms, William Faulkner, and Caroline Gordon; of Will Rogers, Richard Petty, Hank Williams and Louis Armstrong; of Sam Ervin and the Shag; of Cajun cuisine and barbecue; of Magnolia Gardens and the Alamo; of good manners and strong, quiet faith. Not as marketing opportunities but as precious possessions. I admire Ralph David Abernathy's humour and candour and Jesse Jackson's ability to upset self-righteous people, and Walter Williams's courage and learning.
Without my people civilization in America would lack most of what is good about it and would be an even more shoddy, shallow and pathetic operation than it is, with nothing to recommend it except its former free institutions and an increasingly insecure material prosperity. Such a people as mine deserve to govern themselves and not be the economic and cultural whipping boys of the "American" regime. Not be, as they are now, living under a moral regime dictated by Soddom and Gomorrha (i.e., San Francisco and New York).
I do not wish to take Fort Sumter or Cemetery Ridge. I do not wish to reinstate slavery or Jim Crow, though I would like to restore the U.S. Constitution if that were possible. What I want is for my people's unique and admirable culture to flourish and decide its own future. This is a happy and positive mission in tune with a changing world. If we don't accomplish that goal the future will indeed be a sad place.