The Corner

The New South, Dixie, and Death

Because I was busy eating ham, turkey, and mashed potatoes, I missed an astonishing Thanksgiving op-ed from the Washington Post condemning GOP opposition to Susan Rice (h/t Seth Mandel). Feast your eyes upon this paragraph:

Could it be, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus are charging, that the signatories of the letter are targeting Ms. Rice because she is an African American woman? The signatories deny that, and we can’t know their hearts. What we do know is that more than 80 of the signatories are white males, and nearly half are from states of the former Confederacy. You’d think that before launching their broadside, members of Congress would have taken care not to propagate any falsehoods of their own.

This is simply stunning. Attacks on white males are par for the course in mainstream liberal publications, but the whiteness and maleness of her critics don’t make Ambassador Rice’s Benghazi misrepresentations true. The more disturbing aspect of the editorial, however, is the reference to the Confederacy. This suggests the Post is drinking the Kool-Aid of the even-farther-left quarters of online and print media.

Lost in the discussion of the various secession petitions on the White House website is the extent to which the Left itself is driving talk of division — often by explicitly comparing the New South to the old Confederacy. In October, Michael Lind wrote an article called, “Forget Red vs. Blue — It’s Slave States vs. Free States in 2012.” In August, “openly disgruntled liberal” Chuck Thompson published Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession, a book widely reviewed and discussed in the mainstream media. On November 2, the day after the Post’s reprehensible op-ed, the New York Times’ Charles Blow penned “Lincoln, Liberty, and Two Americas,” a column that ended with a statement and a question: “We are moving toward two Americas with two contrasting — and increasingly codified — concepts of liberty. Can such a nation long endure?”

But here’s the fundamental irony of this leftist attempt to paint the New South as little more than Dixie reborn: It is the New South that is leading the charge to expand the “blessings of liberty” to all Americans — including the unborn, while the Blue states are doubling down on death and exploitation of the most vulnerable among us. In New York City, 40 percent of pregnancies end in death and dismemberment. Blue states have lower teen pregnancy rates in large part because they have higher abortion rates. We just ended an election season in which the winning margin with single women was created in part by the most explicit major-party embrace of abortion in my adult lifetime.  

The contrast with the red-state legislatures is profound. From Blow’s column:

According to a January report from the Guttmacher Institute: “By almost any measure, issues related to reproductive health and rights at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011. In the 50 states combined, legislators introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions, a sharp increase from the 950 introduced in 2010. By year’s end, 135 of these provisions had been enacted in 36 states, an increase from the 89 enacted in 2010 and the 77 enacted in 2009.” Almost all the 2011 provisions were enacted in states with Republican-controlled legislatures.

Yes, the cultural and political divisions between Northeast and South are profound. But the balance of moral equities has decisively shifted. The New South is not Dixie, and the New North is no longer the Union. In this conflict of visions about the definition of humanity — indeed, the very definition of life itself — this time we hope the South prevails.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Most Popular


The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Film & TV

Why We Can’t Have Wakanda

SPOILERS AHEAD Black Panther is a really good movie that lives up to the hype in just about every way. Surely someone at Marvel Studios had an early doubt, reading the script and thinking: “Wait, we’re going to have hundreds of African warriors in brightly colored tribal garb, using ancient weapons, ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More