The South’s Losing Strategy of Perpetual Retreat

I was a small child during the heyday of the television program The Dukes of Hazzard. Somewhere in my mother’s photograph collection there is one of me proudly sitting on my General Lee “big wheel” riding toy, which was emblazoned with the Confederate battle flag just like the real one. 

It’s funny. Although leftists today would insist differently, I never once recall riding it around my driveway with the intent of terrorizing anyone. I also never remember watching the Duke boys and coming away with the feeling that they were promulgators of “hate” and “narrow-mindedness” or anything other than the “good ole boys” narrator Waylon Jennings declared them to be in the popular theme song.

But the 1980s were a different time in the South. White guilt had been planted, but had not firmly taken root nor blossomed into what has produced the terrified puddle of goo characteristic of the average Southern man today. In the four decades since, that man has been on an exponentially accelerated pace of retreat and withdrawal that has been nicely accommodating to the forces of Cultural Marxism. 

John Schneider, apparently, is not your average Southern man. Schneider played the role of Bo Duke in the long-running series. He is currently promoting an independent film he wrote and directed entitled Christmas Cars, wherein he plays a fictitious rendition of himself, a down-on-his-luck former television celebrity who earns money selling die-cast replicas of the General Lee Dodge Charger. The demand for the cars is threatened by a true-to-life boycott called for by those who view the Confederate flag as the “universal sign of intolerance and racism.”

Schneider has recently appeared on Fox News and other outlets staunchly defending the movie and the flag. “People have told me now for the last four years or five years or so, what I must think because of the car I drove on the television show,” Schneider said. “Well, who the hell are you to tell me what that car meant then or to me now?... But people are also led around by social media. We have a line in the movie where my barber – Floyd, the Barber – says, ‘People don’t think what they think anymore, they think what they’re told to think.’”

My, how true. Independent thinking is becoming a scare commodity these days. People whisper controversial truths to each other, then straighten up and recite the proverbial narrative deemed suitable by the “respectable” mainstream culture that holds sway. And the left no longer just controls the narrative, it controls thought itself. Just as Schneider and the character Floyd the Barber analyzed, it seems as though people have given up so much in this failed strategy of appeasement that they have even given up the right to determine how they feel about something. 

For traditional Southerners today (and especially for those haggard souls who have somehow managed to remain unreconstructed through it all), the flag that so many of our ancestors fought and died under defending a foreign invasion is not something to be tossed aside. The game of false compromise and perpetual retreat has won us nothing. It has conserved nothing. What it has been is a strategy for guaranteed losing and an abandonment of our God-given history and heritage. 

The Confederate flag used to be conspicuous throughout Dixie at a wide variety of happenings. It was particularly prominent at Nascar races, sporting events, music concerts, rest areas, tourist spots, and on eighteen-wheelers and pickup trucks. It was a unique symbol of the South, an area of America with its own culture and that was once its own country. 

At the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, there is a case containing the Confederate flag cigarette lighter belonging to the beloved Patsy Cline that was found among the personal effects recovered from the plane crash that took her life in 1963. Tsk, tsk. Although Patsy had a sterling reputation among those who actually knew her, the hall will probably have to remove such an offensive display, once the left tells them how Patsy really felt.

For a long time that flag flew over the capitol dome of my native State of Alabama. In the early nineties calls began coming from the usual suspects to bring it down. What I remember hearing so much from those seeking “compromise” was that this wasn’t about trying to destroy anyone’s heritage or wipe away history. It was just that flag. Put away that flag, we were told, which so many find offensive, and it will show good faith. So many of us tried to warn our brethren. We knew that this was not the end, but the beginning. It would never end. And it hasn’t. 

The South is known as the Bible Belt of America. Therein lies the last strong vestige of Christianity and Western culture that remains, which is why it has borne the brunt of the left’s blistering and concerted attacks. But Southern culture is fading fast because her people no longer have the stomach to fight the good fight.  Occasionally, someone like John Schneider will come along and provide inspiration, but his like is too few and too far between. And will he be able to stand up to the onslaught that comes with publicly supporting one of the enemy’s primary targets?

Look away, Dixieland…

Josh Doggrell

Josh Doggrell

7 Responses

  1. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    I knew it was all over when I traveled to Asheville years ago for the founding of the Southern Party and saw that the Confederate Battle flags were made in China.

  2. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Which incarnation of the Southern Party, the 1980’s or the later one. As for the latter, I was invited to go to the founding meeting. I was like being back in graduate school, when my department chairman, who thought of me then as a sort of Bohemian too interested in partying and courting the fairer sex, mistakenly sent me as classics department representative to the meeting of the Graduate Student Association, when it was voting to shut down the university because of the bombing of Cambodia. I realized then the utter hopelessness and incapacity of the student left- -there were black nationalists, feminists, Chicano studies reps–remember this was 50 years ago–all taking up time to talk about their own personal obsessions. If let the Southern Party meeting with the feeling and warned my friends to stay away. Naturally, Cassandra is never listened to. If she were, there would be no tragedies.

  3. Andrew G Van Sant says:

    I am not sure. When and where was the later one?

  4. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Somewhere in Tennessee, as I recall.

  5. Robert Peters says:

    Somewhere in that vast territory from Maryland, along the southern bank of the Ohio, out though Missouri and into Oklahoma and Texas, there remains in nooks and crannies, in enclaves and redoubts, not unlike a healthy bass I once found and caught by hand, trapped in a water-flooded armadillo hole after an upland creek overflowed, there are still some Southerners who exhibit those pre-modern characteristic of a transcendent metaphysics – Christianity, at the very least the haunted version written about by Flannery O’Connor; a sense of hierarchy, if not “holy order,” then at least a necessary pecking order; a notion of subsidiarity even if the word is not understood and the lines of authority and power are fading; and a vague apprehension that the land, from which even most Southerners have been estranged, is sacramental, i.e. it mediates life from God through the bounty it provides. Ironically, our enemies, who hate all of these things, sense them in us more than we are aware of them in us and hate us for something which we are too stupid to even know that we have. Our enemies hate that flag and Robert E. Lee, not because of slavery which they use to cower us; they hate it because of Christ, of holy order, of the authority of family and church, and because the land reminds that in the end we are dependent, utterly dependent, on its bounty and the Urgifter – the Triune God.

  6. Vince Cornell says:

    I can account for nine unreconstructed souls, but beyond the walls of our home I can’t make any guarantees. Thank you to Mr. Doggrell for the article. I will say that, every Memorial Day, we get a fairly decent showing at the Confederate Cemetery in Fredericksburg, and my daughters have the honor to be among those who cast rose petals around the mass grave that lies below the monument in the center. We’re not alone in our parish, either. We have more than a few souls trying to live out their lives hidden from the boot heel of the establishment that is forever hovering over our heads. Things we have in common are 1.) Homeschoolers and 2.) holding our Faith as more than a one-hour-a-week commitment.

    Now that Virginia has gone all Blue, I’m taking odds on what they’ll go after first. I know they’re going to pass gun control, higher taxes, expanded Medicaid, and the like – those are foregone conclusions, but I fear there may be one or two among the horde of Leftist Idiots with enough brain cells left to consider going after homeschoolers. It’s bound to happen sooner or later. I just pray I have enough time to get my kids safely through to adulthood. What awaits any potential grandkids, I hate to imagine.

  7. Vince Cornell says:

    Incidentally, I believe I met one of the Duke brothers when I was a wee lad (I think it might have been Tom Wopat, but I can’t be sure) . We lived in California at the time (Air Force Brat), and I was only 4 years old, but I have a vague, wispy memory of being prompted by my parents to go up to the table in a restaurant and tell him how much I loved the show (at the time I wore, every day, my Dukes of Hazzard t-shirt and carried around my big, General Lee plastic car).

    I’m afraid it’s not a show I watch with the kids, though. I just can’t get past Daisy Duke and her eponymous wardrobe. We’ve got enough external forces attacking my kids, both boys and girls, and trying to destroy any sense of modesty they might have – I can’t endorse Daisy and let a Trojan Horse within the walls. Maybe when they’re older and can handle such things, but that’s only a half-hearted maybe.