who their people were and knew the land they lived on. Herernin the Middle West, only the Indians have a right to speak ofrntheir ancestors or call the land sacred, and when they complainrnof the desecration of funeral mounds, they are defended onlyrnby crackpot leftists who have forgotten to turn down the thermostatrnin their sweatlodge. Self-described conservatives—rnwhat a word that is becoming—make fun of people who do notrnlike to see the bones of their ancestors put on display in Barnum’srnmuseum.rnA people such as we have become in the United States is incapablernof creating or even receiving the gifts of civilization.rnBecause human beings are, as a species, almost infinitely creative,rnthere are individuals sporadically writing books or composingrnmusic that is worth some attention, but there is nothingrnspecifically American unless it be that self-abusive consumerismrnthat has overstocked California with two-legged parasitesrnand keeps the national economy grinding on to therndoomsday we are preparing for ourselves. Eating and spending,rnwe lay waste our powers. If in the next century there is a civilizationrnin North America, it will have been the creation ofrnMexicans or French Canadians or Indians or even, if they survive,rnSoutherners.rnOne of the chief effects of the South’s survival would be thernchallenge it would represent to other sections. An arrogant andrnoverbearing Southern culture could antagonize Yankees orrnMidwesterners to rediscover their own identity. In the greatestrnpolitical novel of the century, Chesterton’s The Napoleon ofrndotting Hill, one of the dreariest of London’s neighborhoodsrntakes over the city, thereby inciting the other neighborhoods tornassert their independence. The rest of the country seems tornneed the South, if only as a whipping boy. What will we dornwhen it is gone?rnMuch of the South is no doubt gone, and I have never beenrnpersuaded by John Reed’s Pollyanisms about Southern distinctivenessrnsurviving in the suburbs. So much talk aboutrnSouthern identity and Southern culture cannot be a goodrnthing: members of authentic cultures do not have to wear Tshirtsrnor attend conferences to prove who they are. All the variousrnSouthern culture projects are a Disneyland surrogate forrnthe real thing, and the professional Southerner today is as authenticrnas a stage Irishman or a Stepford wife. They love thernSouth, because, now that they have got over the race thing,rnSoutherners are actually more tolerant, more humane, more—rnwell—northern than northerners. I cannot print my responsernto this nonsense in a family magazine. It is better for blacks andrnwhites to hate each other, if the fruits of toleration are lies andrncowardice, just as I would welcome the return of the persecutingrnspirit to Christianity, if it meant the faith was strongrnenough to justify torture and death.rnThe real South was and is a dangerous place, more likernMexico than Chapel Hill, and if you say the wrong thing or lookrnthe wrong way at the wrong time, there will be some cracker tornmake an issue out of it. And not just crackers. Southern menrnof good family may no longer fight duels, but they might justrnbe willing to slap you silly or take revenge in less obvious ways.rnTed Turner is reckoned to be one of the nastiest businessmenrnin America, and I sometimes wonder if he would be less ruthless,rnif he had been able to call out his rivals.rnEverywhere I go, I meet real Southerners who are not aboutrnto apologize for either their family or their flag. The otherrnnight I received a telephone call from a perfect stranger whornwanted some historical ammunition. At a local high schoolrnnamed for General Lee, some students had been displaying thernConfederate flag until the superintendent issued a decree prohibitingrnit, and my caller—an articulate but not educatedrnSoutherner—wanted to defend the students. When all is saidrnand done, there is only one argument that counts in these flagrncontroversies, and that is loyalty. One can argue all day aboutrnthe comparative sins of Southern slaveowners and Yankee capitalists,rnbut for real men and women, all that matters is the lovernthey bear their people and their land. If Southerners are goingrnto be asked to repudiate their flag and their history, do notrnimagine it will make them good Americans. The most that canrnbe hoped for is that they will turn into one more whining minority.rnThe war against the South did not end in 1865 or evenrn1876, when the last federal troops were pulled out ofrnSouthern states. After some years of peace, the war was renewedrnin the 50’s and 60’s, and under our rednecked RhodesrnScholar President it has heated up again. Consider the ByronrnDe La Beckwith trial. I had always assumed, without havingrnany particular knowledge, that “Delay” was guilty, and if I hadrnserved on his first jury, I would have voted guilty. But the jurorsrnfelt differently, and I think I understand why. Mississippirnwas under invasion, by federal marshals, northern leftists, andrna civil rights movement that was every day proclaiming race warrnagainst Southern whites. If forced to choose between their peoplernand its enemies, most decent, simple people will chooserntheir own. We cannot ask ordinary people to get above theirrnraising, and if we do, we are really demanding that they haternthemselves.rnIn any event, Beckwith was tried twice, and one had thoughtrnthat particular phase of the war was over. But no, this patheticrnand cracked old man, who under other circumstances couldrnhave plead mental incompetence, was forced to go through itrnall again. I cannot blame the family of Medgar Evers for wantingrnvengeance. In their place, I might have done it myself. Butrna show trial of this kind implicates the entire nation in a sensitivityrnwitchhunt that will be a source of embarrassment to ourrnposterity, if there is a posterity that can read books and make uprnits own mind.rnI am not in favor of any of these historic trials. There isrnsomething coldhearted and nasty about the pursuit of supposedrnex-Nazis, like John Demjanjuk, who after years of peacefulrnand harmless existence are dragged forth as scapegoats forrnthe sins of our own insensitive society. I felt the same wayrnabout the middle-aged member of the Weather Undergroundrn—a successful businesswoman, a wife and mother—rnwhat purpose does it serve to put her in jail? Campuses in thern60’s were the scene of civil war, and although I have no compunctionrnabout blaming the left for what it did in those days,rnthe war is over, and it is time for amnesty—for the students andrnfor the cops and for the National Guardsmen at Kent State andrneven for Richard Nixon and Mayor Daley.rnFor two decades after the War Between the States, thernKansas-Missouri border war was kept alive by a number ofrnyoung men who had fought under the black flag with Quantrillrnand Anderson. The Youngers were caught in Northfield, Minnesota,rnand Jesse James was murdered by an assassin hired byrnthe governor of Missouri. When Frank James finally turnedrnhimself in to be tried, no one thought Frank was exactly innocentrnof all charges, but his acquittal meant that after threerndecades of fighting, the war was over. Unfortunately, the warrnMAY 1994/13rnrnrn