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Paleo Prophets

The 12 Southerners who contributed to I'll Take My Stand (1930) must have been a terrible failure, for the South as well as the rest of the nation ignored their warnings and injunctions. Yet, in their failure—caused in part by the frustration of the Depression and sealed by the global engagement of World War II—they were also a tremendous success. We live in the bloated and noisy wreck they foresaw, and we know it.

The cultural inversion that is promoted by big business, big government, and education has made a hash of the life of the mind, and produced, as Waco dramatized, a war on the people. The newspapers, as of this writing, are filled with dire warnings about a possible foreign war with an obscure country some thousands of miles away that might possibly possess "instruments of mass destruction," which might be identified if they could be found. But of course our own economy has been distorted to produce incalculable weapons of mass destruction with which the government routinely threatens others. Meanwhile, the rest of the front page concerns the schedule and whereabouts not of Saddam Hussein but of the President of the United States, whose devotion to duty has kept him from replying to salacious allegations which are supposed to preoccupy us for the foreseeable future.

The Southerners knew that Ideas Have Consequences. They warned that unchecked capitalism would assume...

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