02 April 2009

Russell Kirk On The "Problematic" South

"Far more than any other region, the South has set its face against Leviathan—that is, against the swelling omnipotent nation-state." ~ Russell Kirk

"Southern Agrarians proclaimed when I was a child that the southern culture is worth defending; that society is something more than the Gross National Product; that the country lane is healthier than the Long Street; that more wisdom lies in Tradition than in Scientism; that Leviathan is a devourer, not a savior." ~ Russell Kirk

Russell Kirk, the Northern intellectual, on the "problematic" South.


Brooks Simpson said...

It's clear to me, Richard, that your understanding of the term "problematic" is ... well ... problematic. )

The Kirk quotes, by the way, do nothing to clear that up. But whatever makes you feel good.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I understand it perfectly. I just don't apply it, in regards to the South, in the same way you do. I'm a little perplexed that you are able to perceive my understanding of the term from a very brief blog post.

Kirk's quotes were just for the sake of discussion and his perspective on "the South."

I prefer to think rather than feel.

Thanks for the input.

Brooks Simpson said...

Richard ... you used the word in your post ... I didn't.

Let's try again ... the concept of the South (as in "the South") is problematic.

If you want to call the South itself problematic, however, you are entitled to your opinion, and I guess you would say that as a native southerner you would know your own region better than some outsider. :)

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Actually Brooks, I was using the word in response to one of your comments in the "Punked" post:

"So I have some idea of what the South is, and what it is not, and I find the notion of 'the South' problematic."

So that was your opinion, not mine. My use was sarcastic. That being said, I do believe I know my region better than most outsiders. As I said before, simple logic would support that notion (in most cases).

Changing gears, what is it that you most like about the South? What is it you most dislike? (On a personal level).

Brooks Simpson said...


Good try, but, as your reposting of my post suggests, I'm talking about the concept of "the South." Thus the quotes.

I don't mind at this point that you don't get it. But I would never pretend to say what was my favorite thing about "the South" (or least favorite thing) because I found Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee different places. Perhaps I understand more about the entire South from having lived in different parts than you do from living in one part (your blog, after all, is not entitled "Old South Blog"). I don't equate the South with Virginia.

It's been real.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


You seem to be speaking in riddles. I'm also talking about the concept of "the South." I get it. I just disagree with your point of view.

I certainly equate Virginia with *part* of "the South", thus the quote of Alphonse Vinh in my header. From my perspective, it is you who does not "get it."


Anonymous said...

The second quote is hardly something a modern Republican can claim to agree with. "Country lanes"?! The South under its GOP governance is ground-zero for automotive super sprawl; you'll find much more appreciation for small communities and country lanes in New England among the yankees.
Russell is obviously dreaming and idealizing.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

"The second quote is hardly something a modern Republican can claim to agree with."

Your point? Who said anything about being a "modern Republican?"

"you'll find much more appreciation for small communities and country lanes in New England among the yankees."

I am sure there is that element of appreciation in New England, but having lived in a small Southern community all my life, I can assure you that appreciation for that blessing runs very, very deep here.

"Russell is obviously dreaming and idealizing."

I think Russell is, generally speaking, dead on. He was from Michigan.