Unconditional Surrender by Rabbi Mayer Schiller
…a comment on Nadine Cohodas’ book
Strom Thurmond and the Politics of Southern Change
Published by Simon and Schuster, 1993 574pp, $27.50
Despite bombastic rhetoric and occasional physical skirmish the Southern defence of racial segregation vanished leaving barely a trace. It has been only forty years since the Brown decision, and a little over thirty since George Wallace proclaimed that segregation would endure “forever”. In that time, the system Brown sought to destroy and Wallace preserve was buried so deep that it is impossible to find in the public forum today any attempts to argue in its favour, even by the very Southerners who once swore to uphold it. Why were principles long cherished abandoned so quickly?
Is it because the empirical evidence has convinced all concerned that the quality of life has not declined as a result of integration? Were the prophecies of doom advanced by segregationists proven wrong? One of the prophets was Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina who in 1948, while running for President on the State’s Rights Party ticket, warned that if integration triumphed then :
The results of civil strife may be horrible beyond imagination. Lawlessness will be rampant. Chaos will prevail. Our streets will be unsafe. And there will be the greatest breakdown of law enforcement in the history of the nation.
Given forty-six years of hindsight, Thurmond’s remarks seem astonishingly accurate. Yet, segregation remains a cause that dare not speaks in its own defence. This is all the more remarkable given the degree of passion (or at least of passionate talk) that the segregationists once brought to their world-view. Let us listen again to Thurmond, speaking to the State’s Rights convention in July of 1948 :
I want to tell you that there’s not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the Negro Race into our theatres, into our swimming pools, into our homes and into our churches.
This commitment to, as he once put it, “the laws that are essential to the protection of the racial integrity and purity of the White and Negro races alike”, led Thurmond to vigorously oppose all attempts to dismantle segregation from the end of the Second World War till the late seventies. It was an opposition so vehement that it caused the Senator to be seen by Americans concerned with racial integrity as one of their most beloved advocates. Who else but Strom could be counted on to filibuster the longest, denounce “Northern Agitators” the loudest, and even switch parties if need be to better defend the Southern system? Yet, it was this same Strom who in the eighties began voting for “civil rights” legislation in Congress and (amazingly) supported making Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday a national holiday.
In explanation of this miraculous metamorphosis, Thurmond told a Black University Student : “When I was Governor the laws said the races should be separated. But now the law is different, customs are different, public opinion has changed, and it’s an entirely different situation.” Whatever this rather confusing sentence might mean (as it utterly ignores the basic question of whether Thurmond favours the old “laws” or the current “different situation”) it seems clear that the chameleon career of Strom Thurmond might be worthy of study for those seeking answers to our initial question of “where did segregation go?” Enter a lady…. knowledgeable and mind-controlled.
A convenient place to begin one’s investigations is the 1993 published Strom Thurmond and the Politics of Southern Change by Nadine Cohodas. Miss Cohodas (rendered on the jacket cover as “Ms”) is by no means a neutral presenter of her detailed material. She regards racial egalitarianism as Holy Dogma, and sees bussing and “affirmative action” as just methods of redressing past sins. Having been a “senior writer for the Congressional Quarterly” and “covered civil rights issues for almost a decade”, her servile compliance with the totalitarian racial zeitgeist was inevitable. Nonetheless, if the reader has strong enough stomach to ignore this volume’s obsequiousness to our mind-controllers, it is a valuable history of one man’s long retreat. Indeed, Miss Cohodas has chronicled not only Thurmond’s embracing of multi-racialism, but that of the South as a whole.
The complete tale of Dixie’s resistance is here too, with its cast of colourful characters. From the populist “Cotton Ed” Smith to the patrician Richard Russell, from the flamboyant Bilbo to the taciturn Eastland, they all enter the stage, pledge themselves to the preservation of racial separation and then exit with the cause they expound rapidly weakening before their eyes. There is a repetitive quality to it all. The national media would make the “moral case” concerning some “injustice” and the government (either through the Courts or Congress) supplied the legal framework. In response Southern leaders offered polemics long on constitutionalism and the Red Menace and short on race, ethnicity, culture, history and European Civilisation. Every act saw the seemingly inevitable denouement. Southern politicians be they named Faubus, Barnett, Wallace or whatever entertained large crowds replete with a sea of waving Stars and Bars and Bands playing “Dixie”. Always the message was the same — “We will never surrender!” And always behind the scenes they were negotiating with Eisenhowers or Kennedys to surrender…. unconditionally.
Thurmond’s Explanation — And Ours
Miss Cohodas’ theory on the Senator’s changed spots is that throughout his career he was little more than a pragmatic politician who followed whatever political drift would bring him personal success. This is not an unreasonable thesis, as Thurmond’s support of Nixon over Reagan in 1968 and his rejection of the Wallace campaigns of 1968 and 1972 indicates.
Ever creative, the Senator himself recently offered his version of events :
I don’t think I’ve sacrificed any principle throughout my career, but times change. When I grew up the Black people were all just servants. Now they’ve developed and come up and we’ve got to acknowledge people when they deserve to be acknowledged, and the Black people deserve to be acknowledged.
It seems needless to point out that Thurmond himself favoured a system that deprived Blacks of a chance to “come up”. They didn’t just happen to be “servants”, but were put in that role by a dominant segregationist society which Thurmond spend decades attempting to preserve.
Thurmond’s self-justifications are clearly deceptions (self or otherwise). On the other hand, Miss Cohodas’ cynical reductionism seems a bit simplistic. In the 1930s-60s period there is little doubt that most Southern politicians and citizens sincerely supported segregation. Perhaps Thurmond was among them. Their eventual acceptance of its demise was due to three factors :
1. For all the rhetoric about “defending their way of life to the end”, most Southerners were very vague about what they meant by either of those two phrases. What precisely was the Southern “way of life?”. Did it involve religiosity, a code of conduct, a shared view of life, an approach to home and family and/or White supremacy? (Contemporary Southern “Conservatives” assert that their “way of life” involved all the above except the last mentioned. This is clearly a falsification of the historical record, as until the late sixties the Southern “cause” meant a devotion to White Supremacy, or at least racial separatism.)
What were the rock-bottom non-negotiable doctrines and practices of Dixie? They were never clearly articulated. Even to the extent that they were stated it was forever unclear how seriously Southerners intended to defend their “way”. Were they prepared to fight with weapons other than words? In then end when faced by federal troops they not prepared to “go at it”. Of course there were random acts of mindless terror, often directed at innocent Blacks — but the only serious defence offered, despite 40 years of heroic bravado, was the short-lived battle of Oxford in the fall of ’62.
2. Once White Southerners sensed that legalised segregation was doomed they quickly re-ordered their lives (as eventually did White people throughout the nation) in order to practice voluntary racial separatism. They moved out of major cities and whenever possible sent their children to private schools. Thus, to this day many Southerners and White Americans in general have avoided confronting face-to-face the results of policies that they either supported (in the case of the North) or surrendered to (in the case of the South).
The reality of integration and enforced egalitarianism hits them only via ever increasing taxation, ever widening no-go zones where White people fear to travel, the spread of diseases burdening the health care system, and the proliferation of incompetence in all walks of life caused by affirmative action.
Despite the pain caused by the above factors, Southerners (and all Americans) continue to submit, since the suburbs still offer a safe haven. This submission may be expected to continue to long as White peoples’ bonds of community with their less-affluent racial brethren and even their own descendants are kept sufficiently loose by the media, politicians and “educators”.
3. The South lost the moral war. There is no way around this point. Much of the Southern tendency to confine their apologetics to constitutional issues was due to an inability and an unwillingness to confront the core questions head-on. Those questions centred on the reality of racial differences, be they genetic or deeply cultural. Why not judge each individual by merit? Clear answers were not readily forthcoming. (Little did anyone dream at the time that eventually White People would be persecuted in America solely on the basis of their race!) There were two possible Southern responses to this argument, neither of which their leadership was prepared to offer. One was that, given the lesser intelligence and greater proclivity to violence of many Blacks, a severely deferential society was the only way to preserve public order. The alternative would be to admit Blacks en masse to society where large numbers of them would naturally be doomed to failure. This failure would in turn frustrate them and lead to anger and/or violence.
The second possible argument was that, despite the abilities of individual Blacks, they were still not Europeans. What this meant was that their past, heroes, myths, dreams, art, traditions etc. would always be different than that of White People. Accordingly, some form of separation would always be advisable. This separation need not be hierarchical, and could be the spoken about; but it was never attempted : “separate but equal”.
The first of the above arguments probably seemed too mean-spirited to be advanced. It granted that for individual Blacks there would always be injustice and suffering. The opposite side of the coin — the ill effects on society as a whole of integration — was too illusive when contrasted with the here-and-now suffering of individuals.
The second argument would have meant honestly admitting the imperfections of slavery and segregation. It would have required casting about for serious alternatives which granted both races dignity and identity. Believing that they could somehow stop history in its tracks the South remained forever unwilling to look for original solutions. Hence, serious discussions of voluntary repatriation, or an independent Black nation on these shores, were limited to radical circles among all races.
Strom’s Surrender — And Ours
The full extent of Thurmond’s retreat, and a fine example of the control of public discussion on racial matters by multi-racialists, may be found in his new-found support of a national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Explaining this bizarre decision the Senator said : “(I have) never opposed a day of recognition for Dr. King provided the cost problem could be adequately addressed… to the creation and preservation and development of our great nation.”
Thurmond was merely observing the absolute law of contemporary public debate : White racial identity is an unmentionable evil. A White man may have any sort of economic or other motivations; but he may not have a racial self awareness.
What Thurmond or any White leader could have said (but wouldn’t dare) would go something like this :
Dr King may be a hero for Black men for he advanced their interests. For me, however, as a White man, he was instrumental in breaking down segregation — a system which protected and preserved my race. Since the triumph of his revolution White people are far worse off than before… Should you reply that Black people are better off, I personally would disagree and maintain that a paternalistic segregation was better for the average Black than is life in the underclass; a position I would also maintain in relation to colonialism in Africa. Nonetheless, I will not belabour these points as they seem impolite to some and are certainly irrelevant. Zaire is not returning to Belgian rule. This was what the Black man wanted. So be it. Segregation will not return. So be it. The Black man wants his own identity. So be it. But, please, let us hear no further talk of us all being in this together. We all want what is best for our own kind. We are willing to discuss the terms of a mutually accepted disengagement. Having separated, you can go your way and we ours. You have your heroes and we ours. Until that time I cannot support honouring a man whose effect was to harm my people.
Of course, neither Thurmond or anyone else interested in a respected public life may voice the above sentiments! Charismatic Black bullying and fawning White cowardice has made that impossible for the time being.
Posterity’s Judgement — And The Future
Reading the Cohodas volume it is difficult at times not to judge the Thurmonds depicted in its pages harshly. Yet “Monday morning quarterbacking” is an easy task. The enormity of the racial problem confronting the White many in the South, America and throughout the world was clearly beyond the old Dixiecrats’ vision. A Camp of the Saints come true was unimaginable to them. Given their limited perspective they struggled mightily. In the end, though, they were defeated utterly.
Their defeat has cast the die for us. Beyond the comforting deceptions of issues and campaigns there looms before the Euro-American today only three paths :
1. Resigning oneself to minority status in what will very shortly be a banana republic where the Westerners may survive as a persecuted minority much as the Jews did for the centuries.
2. Attempting somehow to secure a White homeland on a small area of what is now America, a project similar to the Afrikaners’ belated moves to re-establish the Boer Republic before chaos descends on South Africa.
3. A return to Europe where, hopefully, the demise of America will spur those on the other side of the Atlantic to greater fortitude in defence of their heritage.
All of the above scenarios will require a clear vision of what the spiritual and physical essence of European man actually is. They will demand inexorable faith, resilience and courage. In sum, they will demand attributes that the Strom Thurmonds simply did not have.