Over at the Abbeville Review, John Devanny offers a highly readable and invaluable introduction to the South, the predominant attitudes and values that define it, and how it is changing. Underneath the various changes occurring before our eyes, says Devanny, we can still see the essence that makes the South what it is:
The Southerner was, and a number of them still are, philosophical realists (or as Flannery O’Connor might have said, “hillbilly Thomists”). That is why the natural world was so important to the Southern way of life. The world was real, not a play-ground for the abstractions of secular Puritans or neo-Platonic fantastics. The hillbilly Thomist conforms his mind to reality, seeks to improve what can be improved, ameliorate what can be ameliorated, and endure what cannot be changed. He embraces reality, not virtual reality. We need more hillbilly Thomists.
As Stark Young observed in I’ll Take My Stand, “That a change is now in course all over the South is plain; and it is as plain that the South changing must be the South still, remembering that for no thing can there be any completeness that is outside its own nature.” That was true in 1930 and it is true today. As our Southern grandparents would advise us, “Deal with it.”
This short and information-packed article is as encouraging as it is informative. Highly recommended.