Originally published April 3, 2012 on The Southern Agrarian blog.
There are few people today who understand Southern Agrarianism as well as Tim Manning. Mr. Manning regularly publishes his essays on Facebook, and he has granted permission to re-post this one here.
The following was written by and reprinted with permission from Tim Manning. Mr. Manning is the founder of The Southern Partisan and lives in Kernersville, North Carolina.
I was asked, “Tim…who are your top 3 favs Agrarian writers/titles? Thx”
1. Richard M. Weaver,
2. Andrew Nelson Lytle,
3. Donald Davidson,
4. M. E. Bradford,
5. Tom Landess,
6. Cleaneth Brooks, and
7. Marion Montgomery
Sorry, but I could not get it down to three. They are all the older and deceased writers. Among the living:
1. Clyde N. Wilson,
2. James Kibler,
3. Wendell Berry, and
4. Fred Chappell.
I will list the titles a little later.
I also like Lyle H. Lanier, Frank Lawrence Owsley, Robert Penn Warren, John Gould Fletcher and Allen Tate. It is the agrarian writers that turned me on to the Southern culture and heritage, because they gave me a sound perspective for my Christian faith in the time and world that I live in. This is an aspect of understanding missing in most churches today.
Now, Christians are waking-up and thinking that the USA may be moving into Marxism and they think that is a great insight. Most of them do not have a clue about what Marxism is and how it works. Our society, especially the political and academic world, was fully Marxist when I was born in 1945. Now we are quickly becoming a global communist empire. The word society no longer applies. We have lived in a period best described as the “death of western civilization”, meaning a society where Christian beliefs and ethical practices were the norm.
Every college student should have to take at least 2 4-hour semesters of Southern agrarianism to obtain a college degree. Instead, we were forced to read trashy New England writers (yep, a host of nasty yankee writers) that no one of faith would be reading if it were not a requirement of their school and this was in a Southern University, to their great shame. Many Southern institutes, organizations, and societies will not tolerate their members being Southern agrarian in their perspectives. Some Southern churches will not place Christian agrarians in positions of leadership and real spiritual influence.
Worse I had to pay money to study those unskilled trashy writers at a Christian University, because my church was too liberal (affected by agnostic and socialist cultural engineering) to know that these great folks even existed !!! (Insert anger and amazement for the stupid here!) My faith grew more in reading their works than in any class I took in Seminary and grad school.
Not having read this wonderful agrarian literature is why so many Southern people no longer understand the great truths of why the South was right. Many have too narrow a focus on the legal issues which are good and in our favour. If you are not acquainted with these literary giants it is likely that “you ain’t got no book learnin'”, and that is that ! Studying the battles and the great heroes is wonderful and uplifting, but it just does not have the spiritual influence of studying these insightful works which is why there is not a unified Southern movement today.
The League of the South, The Abbeville Institute, The Rockford Institute, and the Stephen Dill Lee Institute understand this. I sent my son each year to these three plus The John Randolph Club, The Mises Institute, The William Gilmore Simms Society, and The Southern Heritage Society.
If you are Southern and spending tens of thousands of dollars sending your children to today’s Marxist public American universities or the semi-Marxism Christian universities, you should make the added investment to build their spiritual understanding by having them read the agrarian writers and attend the above institutes to counteract the poison of modernity. Their lives will be spiritually enriched and will never be the same.