The radical leftists shown above are university students in Florida. Self identifying as Marxists, they held this rally on the 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox and happily burned the Confederate Battle flag.
…an apt illustration, I think, of how Dixie is metaphorically burning.
Her guardians – I mean, those aristocrats charged in the old days with care of subordinates in accordance with the “great chain of being” – are missing in action. As infuriating as the above image is, I lay the blame more on the managerial deserters than on the colored savages and white satanists who’ve been allowed to roam the streets.
So where are they? Where are our aristocrats? They’re boozing it up in the old town districts of Charleston.
I’ve recently read Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities”. The book was a masterpiece of conservative literature, certainly. I just wouldn’t want my mother to find it on my shelf. Full of profanity and lewd scenes, its “realism” was so filthy I wondered if Wolfe might have done better to simply state outright, in a few brief sentences, what his message was and save us from having to live through the sewers of New York to find it.
Nevertheless, Wolfe gives us, through the mouth of a famous British poet at an upscale dinner party, his view of modern aristocrats. During an after-dinner speech, the old poet comments on how America needs a great epic poem, and preferably one with rhymes like those Poe has given us. This moves him into a discussion of Poe’s “Mask of the Red Death”, and how it was applicable to the present company:
Now, the exquisite part of the story is that somehow the guests have known all along what was with them in this room, and yet they are drawn irresistibly toward it, because the excitement is so intense and the pleasure is so unbridled and the gowns and the food and the drink and the flesh are so sumptuous — and that is all they have.
Families, homes, children, the great chain of being, the eternal tide of chromosomes mean nothing to them any longer. They are bound together, and they whirl about one another, endlessly, particles in a doomed atom — and what else could the Red Death be but some sort of final stimulation, the ne plus ultra? So Poe was kind enough to write the ending for us more than a hundred years ago. Knowing that, who can possibly write all the sunnier passages that should come before?
The emphasis is mine. These aristocrats are stuck in a downward spiral of hedonism. Here’s my thesis:
Since the Yankee invasion and fall of old Dixie (which amounted to the last stand of Christendom against the forces of darkness), the aristocrats have had all formal acknowledgement of their stations ripped away leaving them as shrewd capitalists, forced to wring out a living by giving up their chivalry and honor. The market was their new master.
The sole mark of aristocracy now is one’s net worth and this bottom line must be maintained at all cost, damn the moral consequences. And once attained (usually by dishonorable means) it’s maintained with a savage ruthlessness. Gone are the days of kindly, Christ-like paternalism…it’s every man for himself. Such is the free market “liberal” utopia forced upon us by canon fire.
There is hope, however. Many Southern aristocrats lost their fortune in the War and had to live with drastically reduced means. They kept their genetic stock and their dignity, but lost their social rank. My own family is an example of this. My last name peppers the Virginia countryside on historical plaques and has its home on many a black person’s mailbox.
This “fallen” aristocratic dignity infected the blue-collar work ethic of the average Southerners and a growing middle class emerged with a frightening amount of fortitude and a smouldering wrath…of which, as you all know, I’ve inherited a fair share.
Nevertheless, the vanity of a few rich southerners lives on at the center of the bonfire; they feel the heat but have the liberty to ignore the flames, at least for now.
…they just have to remember which neighborhoods to avoid walking through.