Dr. Samuel Francis describes secession as an “infantile disorder” and casts The League of the South in the role of Margaret Mitchell’s impetuous Stuart Tarleton in contrast to the part he imagines he is playing—the cool, rational Rhett Butler. But if Dr. Francis had bothered to read the League’s literature, he would have learned that, while we honor our Southern ancestors and believe they were right in leaving the Union in 1860-61, we do not dwell in the past. We look to a future in which all Americans will be free from the intrusion of the Leviathan state. And we don’t hate all “Yankees”; in fact, the League has chapters in 27 states and members in 48. When we use the term “Yankee” pejoratively, we speak of the smug, self-righteous attitude that still exists toward Southerners in some places above the Mason-Dixon Line and of a government whose questionable lineage began with Appomattox. The Yankee government, and not the Northerner, is the target of our criticism.

Secession, as Dr. Francis has admitted, is a legal recourse against tyranny. Moreover, he concedes that the South in 1860 “had an arguable case for separation” in order to protect its economic interests. However, he sees the situation as radically different today because the South has been the recipient of so much federal largesse. While it is true that the South has received more federal dollars than it has paid out in taxes, this does not mean that the region’s interests have been advanced by the government in Washington. It is not too difficult to buy off most of the current crop of “Bill Clinton is no Jeff Davis” politicians in Dixie, but in the South there are still millions of decent, honest Americans who deplore the golden chains of dependency with which the central state has bound them.

One of the dirty little secrets of American politics is that, over the past 30 years, the South’s congressmen and Senators in Washington have been consistently outvoted on issues such as abortion, gun control, immigration, and racial quotas. Conservative Southerners realize that these enormities have been forced down their throats by the very same Solons who supposedly represent Dr. Francis’s Middle American Radicals.

I continue to admire Dr. Francis for his outspokenness on the issue of immigration. However, he is mistaken when he points to a demographic future of the South in which white Southerners will be a minority except in a few areas of the interior uplands. This future is likely to become reality only if the national government is allowed to continue its current open-door policy.

In criticizing the League of the South and its belief that secession should be viewed as a viable option for all states—not just Southern ones—bedeviled by an intrusive federal government. Dr. Francis reveals himself as an arch-nationalist intent on saving the whole of America. Battened on a steady diet of Antonio Gramsci and assorted leftist thinkers, Francis apparently believes that a nation lost to the liberal-socialist “Great March” through its institutions must be reconquered in the same manner. Perhaps it could be, if we only had the luxury of time. But already, as mentioned above, the golden door beckoning Third World immigrants has been knocked clean off its hinges, and it would be naive to think that the elites in Washington and Manhattan will bow to the demands of Francis’s Middle American constituency.

Middle American nationalism, according to Francis, is the key to “resisting the domination of the ruling class and its anti-white and anti-Western allies in the underclass.” If such a successful resistance could be mounted, the resulting state of affairs would indeed be desirable. Breaking the stranglehold of the elite-underclass alliance should be the right’s first order of business; success would mean a rebirth of American independence. But is Francis’s vision realistic?

Obviously, Dr. Francis and I disagree on the means, not the end: liberty and self-government. Since its inception in 1994, The League of the South has stood firmly for Southern independence. Our position is based on the fact that the South has always been a “nation” in the historical and Biblical sense: a people with a distinct religious and cultural identity. Independence, as the League’s leaders have said repeatedly, can be achieved by restoring the federal Constitution complete with the 10th Amendment’s guarantee of the rights of the states. In practical terms, the League’s members support every measure that would bring about a Constitutional restitution. If such efforts fail, then it will be up to the states themselves (not to an organization) to determine their future relationship to the union. It is not the League that is seeking to break up the union but the various ethnic revenge movements—Latino, black, and white. Indeed, Dr. Francis has lectured to groups that have indulged in ill-considered discussions of ethnic separatism. He had better save his unionist rhetoric for racialist organizations that are promoting both ethnic antagonisms and hatred for the Christian religion that serves to unify rather than to divide Americans of good will.