“There are a large number, possibly a majority, of people who call themselves
conservative. But the more they are examined, the less conservative they will appear.”
Chesterton, an English Catholic version of a Southern Agrarian, once remarked that Yankee tycoons (John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, J.P. Morgan) all had the same face—a face, he added, that any decent man would relish rearranging with a fist. Similarly, of American “liberal” academics, it can be said that they all have the same mind, to the extent that it is possible to predict what they will say before they say it. I have been testing this observation for 40 years and have a 100-percent success rate in proving it.
Thus, an academic becomes celebrated and distinguished when he can say the same thing in a different way, present the familiar tune in a new arrangement. This latest investigation into the Southern Agrarians who produced I’ll Take My Stand, and their legacy and disciples, fits the bill. The author of the present doctoral dissertation has dug into the careers of such familiar second-generation Agrarians as Richard M. Weaver and M.E. Bradford, and also of the third generation, which includes the esteemed editor of this journal and other writers quite familiar to Chronicles readers. It is flattering, I suppose, that “the...