Always a knit of identity, always distinction, always a breed of life.
To elaborate is no avail, learned and unlearned feel that it is so.
— Walt Whitman, from “Song of Myself”
I posted earlier today about the “Virginian” who hijacked a bus in North Carolina and took some of its passengers hostage. The news story was preceded by what was meant to be a gently ironic diatribe about what it means to be a Virginian.
Surprisingly enough, the comment thread on the post became quite serious. One commenter referred to rhetoric that “tends to exclude and divide people”. As far as I am concerned, this is a PC/MC formulation that derogates and demonizes a laudable human characteristic.
A well-functioning community “excludes and divides” by defining itself in a way that distinguishes it from other communities. This is actually a great good. It is what allowed historically vigorous and productive regions, provinces, and nations to function. A stable community, with a sense of place, values, and traditions, is a basic requirement for the psychological maturation of all children into healthy adults.
The destruction of such communities is the single greatest tragedy of modern times. Our cultures have been atomized and homogenized, sometimes quite deliberately, with the intention of destroying any sources of power that might rival the almighty Socialist state.
The destruction has proceeded so far that maintaining a sense of place and taking pride in the superior nature of one’s homeland is now deprecated as exclusion and division, rather than celebrated as self-respect and patriotism.
Preferring one’s own kind to exotic strangers and foreigners is now “racism”. Seeing one’s homeland as better than other countries or regions is despised as “xenophobia”. And so on.
Yet all of these denigrated characteristics are valuable, important, and essential to a strong and vital culture. They are part of what made Western (i.e. European) civilization the greatest in the world.
To eliminate them does not just mean throwing out the baby with the bathwater. It means throwing out baby, bathwater, bathtub, pipes, and water heater — and then burning down the house.
Our precious culture has been so effectively destroyed that many people find it difficult to grasp the simple facts described above — we are that far gone.
When I was in my late twenties, I recognized my own deep need for tradition and place, so I moved out here to the redneck outback. The venerable forms of traditional Virginia culture — both black and white — are preserved here relatively intact. This area is a remote repository for the recessive genes of our culture.
Such genes may have no special selective advantage right now, but they will come in handy in the near future, when the welfare state collapses and a new system forms. The Snatchers and Pod People (to borrow from Takuan Seiyo) will find their skills and habits useless at that point, and the old virtues will re-emerge from the rubble of the post-modern West.
But none of that is of any use right now. For the time being these sentiments are a lost cause; that’s why I feel compelled to write about them with humor and irony. I realize that I am swimming against the current. At my age, it’s rather futile — nothing that I do within my lifetime will delay the juggernaut of cultural destruction by so much as a nanosecond.
Even so, it’s all worth doing. I love my homeland. I feel the spirits of my ancestors trailing back through the 20th and 19th centuries into the 18th. I know the towns and counties where they lived, died, worked, fought, married, and raised their children.
This is my place; it is like no other. I belong here.
I inhabit the Sovereign Commonwealth of Virginia, the Old Dominion. Many valiant men stood and died on her soil in her hour of need.
Their deaths were not in vain. They and their homeland have not been forgotten, at least not by all of us.