Part of the blood that flows through the veins of the Southern ethnos is French blood, both of the high-born that settled in places like New Orleans and the plainer folk like the Cajuns of Acadiana and the Huguenots of South Carolina. This being so, and it also being the case that all true sons and daughters of the South are engaged in trying to roll back a revolution imposed on them by the Yankees/proto-globalists in 1865, Dixie stands to gain quite a lot from the study of the French traditionalists who stood against the French Revolution of 1789. We will take a look at the writings of two of these great men in this essay, Louis de Bonald (1754-1840) and Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821).
Since Bonald is the more concrete and practical of the two, we will begin with him. And right away the South will find in him a firm friend, as he strikes at the heart of the Yankee ideal for society – i.e., every individual becoming as rich as he can – while offering a healthy, Christian alternative to it. The way he judges a culture’s goodness is similar to the South’s own non-commercial criteria such as manners, hospitality, the quality of the cooking, and so on:
‘To consider wealth in nations: Does not extreme misery go hand in hand with extreme opulence? Is not the nation with the most millionaires always the one that contains the most paupers? . . . I repeat: The wealth of a nation is its strength, and its strength is in its constitution, its morals, and its laws, and not in its money. One can even be certain that given equal territory and population, the more opulent nation, that is to say the more commercial one, will be the weaker, because it will be the more corrupt, and that with the worst of all corruptions, the corruption of greed’ (‘Political Reflections on Money and Lending at Interest’, The True & Only Wealth of Nations: Essays on Family, Economy & Society, C. O. Blum, translator, Naples, Fl., Sapientia Press, 2006, p. 57).
Just prior to this last quote, Bonald says something that will also ring true with Southerners, vis-à-vis the idea that a nation is not simply ‘a collection of individuals’: ‘One may instead defend the view that a nation is, as a society, something greater than a collection of individuals’ (p. 61). And, truly, Bonald strives to show that the family, not the individual, is at the foundation of a country. Claude Polin explains Bonald’s belief thusly:
‘First the individual is not only a destructor of society, he is also a sort of fake substance; no man is an island, all men are born and raised in families, which is the original natural society that corresponds to the social nature of man. The family, not the individual, is therefore the basic brick of the social building, and anything that endangers the family, like divorce, also endangers the whole society. . . . Second, within the family lies the first model of the authority necessary to unite the social body; the benevolent altruistic authority of the father, which, though not devoid of coercive power, is inspired by the love of his offspring, the paternal authority aiming at nothing but to serve’ (‘Foreword: In Defense of Louis de Bonald or the Nature of Human Societies’, Ibid., p. xiv).
But it is not just the isolated nuclear family cut off from its past that protects society from decay. It is the family with a long memory of the generations that have come before it:
‘Each man has it in himself to be almost immortal, for families are but everlasting individuals. Families are the channel through which habits can be transmitted and turned into the personal traditions to which the heirs become linked by honor and duty. True societies last because they do not need individuals eager to show off their abilities so much as long lines of sons picking up the job after their fathers’ demise, with a sense of fulfilling an office. To do this they do not need talent so much as virtue. If virtue is a habit then obviously time can consolidate virtue, not only through individuals but mainly through families whose life span is indefinite. Once there are enough families endowed with respect for their own traditions, a society is really founded and built to perpetuate itself. Thus nature wants societies to hold together by a double bond: a spirit of public service on one hand, hereditary functions on the other’ (Polin, p. xviii).
A family extended thus through long ages of time is not a mental abstraction. It needs an actual physical place in which to exist:
‘Families being the bricks natural society is built with, it is only natural that property become the mortar that binds them together and also holds each of them together. Bonald’s idea is, as usual, as simple as it is common sense: By nature there is no family where there is no family home, or more generally “propriété de famille.” . . . The long possession of an estate, large or small, is the visible symbol of its continuity, that is to say, of its subsistence through time, and therefore of its very historical reality. Everyone has a family that dates back millennia; everyone goes back to Adam. But no family is as traceable, as obviously an entity by itself, as the family whose ancestors already owned the same building centuries ago. Is it necessary to note how all that points to landed property as the type of property most befitting its natural purpose? Bonald’s natural society is made up of landed families—which was still the common idea behind those famous races that took place during the American conquest of the west in which everyone could compete for a piece of uninhabited land. And it should be mentioned Bonald wished such ownership to be shared by the greatest possible number of citizens’ (Polin, p. xx).
The idea of the Southern plantation in particular, and the Southron’s love of his family’s homeplace in general, is well reflected in Bonald’s thinking.
But how can landed property, and the farming economy of which it is a part, be protected from the encroachments of industrialism? Bonald’s answer is quite unique and worthy of our attention . . .
The Abbeville Institute also published a little different version here:
Thanks to both sites for posting it.
Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð, unworthy though we are!
Anathema to the Union!