The Culture of The Old South as a Model For The Future

scm_whitebkgrnd_250x250_psThe Southern Agrarian Society is a project of Stephen Clay McGehee, but it is not a “one man show”. As with any worthwhile endeavor, it is built upon the work of countless men and women who came before – and will continue with those who come after.

The idea for The Southern Agrarian Society has been forming for several years, beginning with a suggestion from a reader of a blog that I previously wrote.

The Southern Agrarian Society is explicitly Christian in nature. That does not mean that theology is a regular topic here, but rather it is a recognition that one cannot discuss Southern culture without acknowledging the powerful role that an absolute belief in the God of The Bible has here. Without doing so would be like trying to understand Israel without acknowledging the role that Judaism has in Israel. The Deep South is called The Bible Belt for good reason.

Our purpose here is to support and advocate for our people; by extension, we encourage others to support their people. Tall trees have deep roots, and we must cherish and cultivate our own roots if we are to live up to the high standards that our ancestors set for us. No nation can survive for long if it is depending on a constitution, democracy (a nice word for mob-rule), or lines on a map to hold it together. It takes more than that. It takes a sense of belonging that only blood ties of a common heritage and ancestry can provide. That common heritage and ancestry reaches back to the Western European roots of those who settled in The South and made it their new homeland.

Southern Agrarianism is almost synonymous with the Southern gentleman and the Southern lady; all content is expected to live up to those high standards.

While I’ll Take My Stand is the focal point of Southern Agrarianism, we are not purists in trying to remain “true” to every word in that book. It is the starting point and not the destination. We look to proven, traditional ways that work; ways that bring joy and beauty to life rather than the modernist way of measuring success only in dollars. I’ll Take My Stand was criticized as being “reactionary” – an accusation that we wear with pride as a core principle of Southern Agrarianism.

Robert E. Lee became president of Washington College. A new student once asked him for a copy of the rules of Washington College. Lee replied, “We have but one rule here, and it is that every student must be a gentleman.” That sums up the rules for The Southern Agrarian Society.

Why We’re Here

The first reason is to help people appreciate our heritage. One has to understand and appreciate his heritage before embracing and building upon it. When we look at different cultures, one consistent factor found among the most successful is taking a long term view of both the future and the past. Unsuccessful cultures look for immediate gratification and have only the loosest of ties with their past. Without a long-term view – in both directions – we end up with a society that has no desire to preserve anything older than an hour ago and sees no need to work and save or do anything that does not offer instant gratification.

Our second objective is to provide and advocate for concrete steps that can be taken to adopt Southern Agrarianism as a part of our life. Developing enclaves of Southern culture – both virtual and real – are important for the long-term growth of the New Southern Agrarians.

The third objective is to consider what the future might hold for the New Southern Agrarians. America is clearly in her last days; the end of the American experiment is near, but time still marches on. What form of government, what sort of culture, what sort of economic system will come next? Repeating the same mistakes is not a viable plan, so it would be prudent to carefully consider our options and do some initial planning rather than just “letting things happen.”


Web Site Notes

  • The quotes in the sliding Header images are taken from Introduction: A Statement of Principles, I’ll Take My Stand: The South and the Agrarian Tradition.
  • The Header images used are: 1) McGehee farm in Alachua County, Florida, owned by me and farmed by two of my cousins; 2) Books in my personal library; 3) children playing in the field at our family reunion; 4) Confederate flag (Stainless Banner) flying in our front yard.
  • All comments are manually approved before appearing on this site.
  • All material here is copyrighted; however, please don’t hesitate to request permission to repost it.
  • This web site went on-line in December, 2015.
  • The Southern Agrarian family of sites that I publish include The Southern Agrarian, and Be A Southern Gentleman.