been explored somewhat more thoroughly,nespecially its literary aspects, butnit, too, still lacks its historian. When thatnhistorian appears, these two works will benvaluable grist for his mill. In A Band ofnProphets a group of mature Southernnscholars considers the meaning of thennow-famous Agrarian manifesto /’//nTake My Stand. Regionalism and the-nSouth is a collection of writings by an eloquentnantagonist of the Twelve Southernersnof the manifesto—Rupert Vancenof the University of North Carolina,nwho, besides his significance as a keynSouthern liberal thinker, is an importantnfigure in the development of Americannsociology. Thus, with the protagonists ofnthese two books the scene is set for anclassic 1930’s confrontation of progressnand reaction.nX he South is different. Even whennSoutherners do the same things as othernAmericans, it is often for differentnreasons. They sympathized with RichardnNixon, for instance, not because theynthought he was any good, but becausenthey thought he was no worse than hisnenemies. The South is America’s Basquenprovinces—a region which has alwaysncontributed more than its share to thennation, yet one that is not quite a respectablenpart of it; it is the most conservativenpart of the nation, yet it is particularistnand runs athwart the mainstream evennwhen the mainstream flows conservative.nThe Agrarians oi I’ll Take My Standnwould seem to fall to the right of anynAmerican center line, but one wonders ifnthey fit into the national left/rightndialectic at all. When William F.nBuckley, Jr. edited an anthology ofnAmerican conservative writing a fewnyears ago, he did not include any of thenAgrarians, nor even so relevant a followernof theirs as Richard Weaver; yet he includedna number of writers and themesnthat could not seriously be consideredn”American.”nSouthern liberals have almost as muchndifficulty fitting in as Southern conservatives.nIn fact, one may safely maintainnthat no Southerner can ever be fullynZ4MnChronicles of Cttlturenrespectable as a liberal. No matter whatnexcesses he may indulge in to expungenhis taint, he will never succeed. JimmynCarter knew the things one had to saynand do, and he said and did them. Butnmany Americans simply could not acceptnhis performance. (The same thing happenednto Truman and Johnson, whichnindicates the degree to which liberalismnembodies ritualistic role-playing rathernthan substantive issues.) Unwittingly, bynhis frantic effort to live up to the rolenexpected of him. Carter exhibited hownmechanical and formalistic and emptynliberalism had become and therebynrendered a great service.nIf it were not already a cliche, I wouldnbe tempted to suggest that Americannconservatives are largely 19th-centurynbourgeois capitalists (though never quitenas consistent in practice as in theory) andnAmerican liberals are 20th-century socialndemocrats (except that whereas Europeannsocial democrats are fueled by classnantagonism, American ones are drivennby puritanical fury and hypocrisy).nSoutherners, on the other hand, whatevernside they might come down on innnational politics, are still 18th-centurynrepublicans in their basal political instincts.nThey have always had—and stillnhave—by and large a different sense ofnthe dividing line between the public andnthe private, a different sense of the rangenand purposes of the state. This outsidernviewpoint has its uses. George Wallacenwas hated by both liberals and conservatives,nbut by coming, as it were, out ofnanother league, he was able to upset thenconvenient and self-serving way thengame was being played by the majornteams and to restore some competition tonthe contest. His smashing of the phonynconsensus of the early 1960’s by his successnat raising neglected issues during thenNorthern primaries was a decisive elementnin establishing the current politicalndialectic. Its power, for example, is forcingnthe Republican Party toward a grassrootsnconservative position that it wouldnnever have adopted on its own andnagainst which it struggles.nRupert Vance was, in the terms of hisnnntime, a Southern liberal. He believednthat his land, the South, was in critical respectsnbenighted and that the knowledgenand techniques of social science could benemployed to illuminate some of thatndarkness. This put him, in Southernnterms, on the left, and made him, at leastnsuperficially, an American liberal. Yetnone need only compare Vance’s approachnwith the direction sociology hasntaken in recent decades to grasp the significancenof the “Southern” in “Southernnsociologist.” For one thing, Vancenalways maintained an aristocratic aloofness,nand his sense of discipline was anhigh, rigorous and demanding one. Fornanother, his critique of the South wasnfrom the inside, which is why his essayn”Is Agrarianism for Farmers?” is thenmost effective as well as the fairest of thenmany contemporary attacks on /’// TakenMy Stand. Vance was as much a Southernnpatriot in his own way as the Agrarians. Itnwas ,afterall,his life’s work (unsuccessfulnin the judgment of his editors) to establishna regional sociology.nThus, given the perspective of time,nthe gulf between the Vanderbilt groupnand the Chapel Hill “liberals” appearsnnarrower today than it seemed to them inndie 1930’s and 1940’s—almost a tacticalnrather than a fundamental parting.n(What is said for Vance in this regard goesnequally for at least some other Southernnliberals: his Chapel Hill colleaguesnHoward W. Odum, another sociologist,nand W. T. Couch, a publisher, for example.)nAlas, Southern progressives fitnalmost as poorly into the national dialecticnas Southern conservatives.nIt is well known that Southern writersncan write. Less well known is that Southernnhistorians can write. Not known atnall, but true, is that Southern sociologistsncan write. Vance’s thought was always innfocus and his prose always lucid. Hencould explicate methodological problems,nstatistical findings, or philosophicalnpoints with equal clarity and ease. Henwas no piker as an old-fashioned socialncommentator either, as one can see bynperusing his two satirical pieces on laten