Saturday, August 6, 2016

Are Southerners Different?

 smith sv

 This essay appeared in the 1984 winter issue of Southern Partisan magazine.

In the best of all possible worlds, President Reagan, George Will, William Buckley and I—conservatives all—or so it would appear—should be able to sit down over glasses of sour mash and find ourselves in such sweet agreement on the range of problems facing the world and the humankind in it that any opinion one of us stated might by and large draw nothing more than approving nods from the others.

But as most of us are constrained to notice now and again this is not the best of worlds, possible or otherwise, and the notion that conservatives east, west, midwest and south will find themselves in agreement on most matters of policy —much less on specific applications of policy—amounts to sentimentality, if not downright delusion. The truth is that the very notion of conservatism differs—on some points radically—between various regions of America.

Surely no one expects or wishes there to be a conservative creed on the Nicene model with an appropriate place at the bottom right-hand side for individual signatures. But the nagging question arises from time to time as to how much those who reckon themselves to be conservatives in various areas of the country actually have in common.

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