How the Traditional South Committed Cultural and Political Suicide, by Boyd D. Cathey

Traditional Southern conservatism in the last few decades morphed into neoconservatism. From Boyd D. Cathey at

Robert E. Lee Statue, Charlottesville, VA. 2006

The states of the old Confederacy, of the old South, have been for four decades strongholds of GOP politics. Since the 1970s those states have been, with few exceptions (e.g., Virginia), reliably Republican. The GOP depends on Southern voters for national victory. While Republicans tout the forward-looking “conservatism” of Southern senators like Tim Scott of South Carolina, Democrats continuously attempt to chip away at this GOP base, hoping to turn select Southern states blue.

Conservatism in the South now largely mirrors the national Neoconservative vision and its premises of continually expanding rights and equality which have dominated the conservative movement and the GOP in recent years. Interestingly, those positions actually mirror, if somewhat less jarringly, the nostrums of the Left. On Fox News this is the political diet we are continuously fed by pundits like Dinesh D’Souza, Victor Davis Hanson, or Sean Hannity.

Far too many Southerners follow along and accept this vision, and assume it is a seamless expression of their conservative outlook.

But this template overlooks the lack of continuity and discordance between an older conservatism, incorporating traditions of the post-War Between States South, it politics and culture up until roughly the late 1960s, and what is depicted today as “Southern conservatism.”

The task of understanding this confusion and how an older Southern conservatism has indeed been largely transformed has much to do with the fact that good intentions and popular reactions to adverse conditions can sometimes lead to unforeseen results.

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