The “Good Southerner” has much in common with his cousin the “Good Indian.” The “Good Indian” was that Native American who agreed to settle his wandering ways and adopt the ways of the European. During the wars on the Plains, the “Good Indian” stayed on the reservation, learned to farm, occasionally scouted for the U. S. Calvary, and for his efforts received spoiled rations, whiskey, and a Henry rifle. His less “good” countrymen held him in suspicion and contempt for abandoning the paths of his fathers. The trap the “Good Indian” found himself in was truly pathetic. No matter how high he rose on the ladder of “civilization,” no matter how obsequious he was to his white masters, he remained an Indian. Phil Sheridan, the maker of war upon women and children in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley captured the predicament quite well, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.” The “Good Southerner” is a more sinister and less sympathetic type. He adopts the simplistic, Manichean, moral vision of his cultural imperator and condemns any and all things that his betters condemn. If the Northern Myth of the War must replace the Southern Myth of the War then so be it, and the truth be damned. If the monuments are to come down, the flags forever furled, and the songs effaced, then to it man! Our ancestors were villains and the moral imperators must be appeased! But of course they shall never be appeased; the elect are always in need of the damned in order to be affirmed.
The “Good Southerner’s” duplicity lay in his unfaithfulness. He cares not a whit about the half-truths and detractions hurled at his ancestors, or for the distortion of history. There is money to be made, foreign industry to attract, basketball tournaments to host, bowl games to sponsor. His ancestors who are deserving of pietas for their virtues and achievements and understanding and forgiveness for their sins and defects (for who among us is without sin?) instead have been dishonored. The South was once, together with Ireland, the last non-material civilization in the West; now it has certain sons and daughters more than willing to put the patrimony up for sale, for it is always about money and power with the secular puritan and the “Good Southerner” on the make. The “Good Southerner” is the ultimate secessionist, for he has undertaken a secession of the heart. He is less pathetic and more sinister because he not only allows his enemy to define him; he welcomes this alienation as a sign of redemption and acceptance. He no longer remembers who he is, and is happy for his ignorance of and alienation from his history and his culture. ~ Dr. John DevannyMore here.