ROBERT SPENCER is the director of Jihad Watch, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the author of two New York Times bestsellers on Islamic jihad. Spencer has written seven books, ten monographs, and well over two hundred articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism. Along with the bestsellers The Truth About Muhammad (Regnery) and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) (Regnery), he is the author of Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions About the World’s Fastest Growing Faith (Encounter) and Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West (Regnery). He is coauthor, with Daniel Ali, of Inside Islam: A Guide for Catholics (Ascension), and editor of the essay collection The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law Treats Non-Muslims, Stealth Jihad. ooo OOO ooo In this startling new book, New York Times bestselling author Robert Spencer, provides a warts-and-all portrait of the Prophet of Islam and draws out what his life implies for reforming Islam and repulsing Islamic terrorists. Spencer relies solely on primary sources considered reliable by Muslims and evaluates modern biographies to show how Muhammad has been changed for Western audiences, lulling them into consoling but false conclusions. Muhammad: a frank look at his influential (and violent) life and teachings In The Truth about Muhammad, New York Times bestselling author and Islam expert Robert Spencer offers an honest and telling portrait of the founder of …
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The New South in 2010: Looking Below the Surface, Seeking Truth and a Spirit and Sense of Place That Gives the New South Meaning
The New South in 2010: Looking Below the Surface, Seeking Truth and a Spirit and Sense of Place That Gives the New South Meaning
The New South in 2010: Looking Below the Surface
Seeking Truth and a Spirit and Sense of Place That Gives the New South Meaning
Donald R. Wire
Cuiridh mi clack ‘nad charn. To add a stone each time I pass. The Highland Scots brought their proclivities for war to North Carolina, the Cape Fear region and the South. Relentlessly they were on the warpath in the Scottish Highlands, defending their homes and lives. The quote in italics at the beginning of this paragraph is in their native tongue, Gaelic, a branch of the Celtic language, and translates to “to add a stone each time I pass.” When one of their kilted warriors fell in battle the war party marked the grave with one stone and then added another stone each time they passed. The piles of stones, marking the graves of their heroes were called cairn and grew over time, stretching up toward the sky as they took the worn path to war. The cairn proliferated throughout the regions where they fought their battles. To survive, the Scots obsessively maintained their weapons and always kept them by their side. The Celtic-Gaelic covenant at the beginning of this essay anoints and ignites the spirits of their Southern descendants, burning brightly like the tree limb torches that lit their passages across the rivers at night. Upon my visits to the local shrine and cairn in Wade, North Carolina on the grounds of the Old Bluff Celtic Church circa 1753 and its contiguous cemetery, I am inspired and moved to shed tears as I do when I go to the graves of our fallen heroes on Fort Bragg.
The purpose of this essay is to identify the New South through its spirit and sense of place and that which gives it and its people meaning. I am using a snapshot of Fayetteville as a basis for guidance and comparison. I have lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina since 1965 and believe that I have experienced it and know it well in the same way that I know the friends with whom I have grown up and lived. I know them not as objects recorded and perceived scientifically for the purpose of prediction or control but rather as subjects with whom I have interacted dialectically and historically over time. Therefore, I am not using empirical data alone, that from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US Census Bureau, polls and monographs on the New South. As another tenet of my epistemology, I am also using myths, oral tradition and Southern literature as human creations of the South.
Now I must define what I mean by the South and what I mean by the New South. The South and the New South are comprised of the eleven states which seceded from the United States union between 1960 and 1961 and the New South is the entity which has emerged between the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 and the present, 2010.
Who am I as the perpetrator of this adventure and challenge, navigating through the phantasmagoria of what has been labeled “Dixie”, “red neck” and “sleepy hollow” to mention a few? I came to Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1965 with the conventional stereotypes of the local color, all of which were perpetuated by my family and local community in Danville, Illinois and by Hollywood. The experiences that I had at work and play within the first year in North Carolina changed my perspective. Today I consider myself a Southerner and feel that I can appreciate the realities of the New South and at the same time not be reluctant to face directly what is often avoided by the media and editorialists inside and outside the New South. I have no compunction about hitting the raw nerve of truth about the New South and I am not trying to be politically correct. The editors must sell newspapers to survive within our capitalistic system which has exported itself to its own ongoing demise, but I do not.
Looking Beneath the Surface
Fort Bragg is the US Army post which is located partially within Fayetteville and one that has had a precipitous impact upon the local economy. This fact in itself makes Fayetteville’s culture different in at least one way from that of most other cities of the New South. Both Fort Bragg and Fayetteville lie within the Statistical Metropolitan Area of Cumberland County with a 2009 reported population of 315, 207 and a 2008 reported per capita income of , 054. One compares this to the Southern state mean of , 699, a gap of only 5 between Fayetteville and the South with respect to per capita income. When both the New South and Fayetteville are compared to the nation’s per capita income of , 208 for the same year, the contrast indicates that the per capita income of the Fayetteville Metropolitan area and that of the New South are ,000-,000 below that of the nation. Even with the addition of Fort Bragg’s population and income Fayetteville falls below the national average and continues to reflect the recession economy of the New South.
The Crime Rates
The New South has the highest overall crime rate within the nation. Fayetteville fits within this extreme. One of the major premises for Fayetteville’s annexation of one third of Fort Bragg’s territory is to lower its crime rate by increasing its population. One of the assets of Fort Bragg is that its crime rate is negligible by contrast to that of the civilian populace of the metropolitan area. According to data from the US Department of Justice the Fayetteville metropolitan area’s property and violent crime rates for 2007 were respectively 5879 and 618 per 100,000 people which is in stark contrast to that of the New South’s average crime rates for the same property and violent crimes respectively, 3802 and 549 per 100,000 people in 2007. Fayetteville clearly surpasses the New South in overall crimes and crime rate. The national mean in the same year, 2007, was 3126 property crimes and 449 violent crimes per 100,000 people. This places the crime rate for the New South substantially above that of the nation as a whole and above that of any other region of the nation. The most recent data, 2010, substantiates this pattern and trend.
War and the Military
The federal government’s Base Realignment and Closings plan is becoming reality as of September 2010. Fort Bragg is being recreated as the home of the Army Headquarters with additions that augur for a combined force of 40, 000 soldiers, family members, civilians and defense contractors at Forth Bragg and therefore within the Fayetteville-Cumberland County metropolitan area. The “BRAC” impact intrinsically distinguishes the Fayetteville metropolitan area from the rest of the New South.
Both the New South and Fayetteville are an eclectic mix of Gothic and warrior traditions and Yankee capitalism. The South and New South are historically connected to a bellicose, armed and aggressive hunter-warrior culture, the body of which evolved eristically with a genteel smile of chivalry. The North has not been able to accomplish the genocide of its mind nor even a lobotomy of its frontal lobes. Fayetteville like its ancestral South has a penchant for loving eccentric aesthetes, freaks and those sensually self indulgent and prodigious. It and the New South are within the creative interchange of a dynamic dialectic of heroic patriotism and self righteous distaste for centralized government.
Like the South but even more so Fayetteville has had a salient, strategic position in the nation’s wars which is a dramatic stroke in its signature. Fayetteville is where the first radicals among the colonies published their resolutions (The Liberty Point Resolves) almost one year before the Philadelphia Declaration of Independence. The Resolves proclaimed natural rights for all citizens and independence from British rule.
During the consequent war the Red Coat army under Lord Cornwallis invaded and bivouacked in Cross Creek (Fayetteville) a day and night as it continued on its pompous march towards King’s Mountain, South Carolina to meet its tragic fate. The South played a crucial role in this war.
During the Civil War General Sherman’s army in its infamous “March Through the South” met Confederate Army and citizen resistance in Cumberland County and Fayetteville in the form of two skedaddle skirmishes, the construction of breastworks and domestic efforts to hide and bury valuable heirlooms of precious metal to protect them from the scavengers. General Sherman’s soldiers in contradiction to his own propaganda pamphlet were encouraged to spread out across the contiguous counties and pilfer food wherever and however possible. In that process the Yankees also allegedly raped and burned in the surrounding counties. Some family and other museums have evidence to support this claim. The victims of destruction within Fayetteville proper were six hundred buildings and the last standing Confederate arsenal, the relics of which survive today. The swath of destruction cut through Southern civilization and Fayetteville and Cumberland County is written indelibly upon the hearts and spirits of our homegrown Southern warriors as well as upon Southern warriors who hail from other regions of the nation. In numbers disproportional to the population of the South Southern men and women today 2010 volunteer to protect their homeland from terrorists and other intractable enemies of Christianity and democracy.
Camp Bragg was established in 1918 as an artillery training ground with an adjacent airfield which was set in the midst of the arid sandhills and long leaf pine forests which were occupied by earlier warrior hunter societies beginning around 12, 000 BC. The garrison was closed temporarily in 1921 after the end of World War I and then between 1940 and 1951 it evolved into Fort Bragg with a populace that mushroomed from 5400 to 159, 000 warriors. It also became the domicile of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Subsequently it became the center for unconventional warfare and the home of the Fifth Special Forces Group in 1961. The economy of the area has been dominated through the years by Fort Bragg’s expanding mission, population and income. Without the presence of the warrior tradition in spirit, space and time, Fayetteville and the South would have languished as a ubiquitous entities within the nation. Fayetteville’s motto asserts that it is “the home of history and heroes” as many cities and counties in the New South have claimed and continue to do so, but Fayetteville’s leaders also claim that “it is the nation’s friendliest military city.” In having traveled through other military communities and researched others, my experience supports this claim.
Southern Time Like the River Bends Back Upon Itself
The South like Fayetteville has a military spirit and sense of place which honors warriors as heroes. The historiography of the Southern states from its colonial period onward has displayed an independent intractibleness not manifest within the rest of the nation. The nullification of federal laws has been enacted by Southern legislatures and governors to intervene between the federal government and their citizens to protect them from abrogation of the Tenth Amendment and starts rights. The philosophy of Thomas Jefferson articulated within the Tenth Amendment has been asserted boldly by the political leaders and citizens of the South and now by those of the New South, 2010. One can observe this in the Tea Party movement among other popular movements. The Southern states have been ready to support with armed militias their own interpretation of the US Constitution. For this purpose they educated many of their young men in military academies whatever their economic classes. The Southern states charged these young men with the responsibility of protecting their armaments and armories while northern politicians and citizens did not rally behind this style of indoctrination of their young men. In military academies the record shows that North Carolina and Fayetteville were equally enthusiastic for education in the martial arts. According to statistics presented on the Wikipedia website about forty percent (40 %) of the military prep schools, colleges and universities are located within the New South, 2010, which comprises thirty-six per cent (36 %) of the nation’s total number.
A 2001 national poll, not recent enough, showed that at the time forty per cent (40 %) of Southerners contrasted with fourteen per cent (14 %) of those in the Northeastern cities owned a pistol. That percentage has surely increased even though I haven’t been able to update the data. The citizens of the New South as in Fayetteville are covetous of their right to possess and use arms when needed and many keep them nearby at all times as did the Highland Scots of the same area. In 2010 the opposition to the centralized national government is at an all time high in 2010 throughout the New South. Southerners continue to perpetuate and enrich the hunter-warrior predilections of the South as hunting season is never very far away.
Illusion Thinly Disguised as Truth
In Fayetteville and the rest of the South the blacks who attain wealth and power with the exception of the affluent drug dealers are still largely those who have gained the favor and support of the white power elite who reside in the upscale neighborhoods. The Southern and other conservative politicians would have us believe that integration in the South is an fait accompli and that black politicians arise to power strictly based on their own black support and votes. The attitudes of Jim Crow endure in Fayetteville and in the New South, 2010 as the reported violence and levels of tension indicate. Most of the intensity of feelings lies just beneath the surface, obscure to many first time visitors, the vibrations from below reach the surface and create waves of emotional and economic destruction, overwhelming the instrument on which they are played.
Even where there is a large but not a majority black population the blacks have let the whites into their economic and political lives while the whites have not done the same. This is the pattern in the New South and in Fayetteville today, something even audaciously attested to by a popular local journalist in the society where a relatively large number of its citizens are functionally illiterate; therefore they don’t read or understand the editorial columns. Black politicians are viewed by many other blacks as pawns in the game of politics which is like chess in the white elite structures and checkers in the ubiquitous black precincts of the New South. Blacks don’t have access to the same power brokering skills that maintain the white aristocrats through primaries and general elections. The blacks represent forty-three percent of the population but only thirty-eight per cent of the voting population of Fayetteville in national elections.
Blacks who are professionals and businessmen have had difficulty securing loans at local banks and avoiding foreclosures on their businesses and property in Fayetteville. However, local governments have given grants and backing to black businessmen.
New Carpetbaggers Within
One of Fayetteville’s realtors who has been a resident and citizen of Fayetteville for years has assured me that realtors have come here from other states because the Fayetteville market appears recession proof as property values have not shrunk as they have in other states in the South. These realtors indicated that they would return to their home states after property values begin to fall in Fayetteville.
The news media publishes information on foreclosures which continue to occupy many pages of small print and reflect the true state of economics in Fayetteville and the New South. Other tabloids within the New South such as the Charleston newspaper record and publish foreclosure and homeless information. The media of the New South in general has not made the homeless families and tent cities clearly visible. I believe that they are reluctant to reveal more because they are attempting to prevent panics among the local and national populaces. The New South has been ravaged by the recession more than any other section of the nation according to the data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. The politicians and managers of local governments often prefer to budget their funds for pet construction and beautification projects rather than assist the jobless and homeless. According to local reports there are about one thousand homeless families with five hundred homeless children in Fayetteville alone and there is not sufficient shelter to house all of the families with and without children.
The Greatest Need Is the First Cut
According to the data provided by the State Master site more than eighty percent of the Southern states rank nationally in the lower fifty percent of states for educational achievement. An analysis of the high school dropout ranks the Southern states in the lower third of all states while North Carolina in the analysis registers forty-seventh among fifty. The statistics provided by State Master are for the period 2007 through 2009 and can be located on the internet at www.statemaster.com/index.php. The primary source for educational data is the National Center for Educational Statistics from which State Master has derived much of its raw data and ranking components. The same eleven states considered in this essay place in the highest one third of all states for the percentage of their population living below the national poverty level for 2007 through 2009. There is in the data an obvious correlation between the parameters of poverty and educational achievement among the states. I have never seen the comparative realities of Southern and national educational achievement in presented in the local media. The local media place a positive spin on the paucity of statistics which they infrequently present and don’t explain or clarify the meaning of the ones reported.
As far as education is concerned the Cumberland County schools largely fall below the national average in the percentage of students who pass their end of grade tests. Because of the low performance of the students in Cumberland County North Carolina state officials considered plans to close a school which scored especially low i.e. where fifty percent or fewer students passed the end of course tests. The lack of discipline in the Cumberland County schools is one of the major factors contributing to its traditionally low performances. The media have avoided discussing the role which local school administrators play in setting the rules and enforcing them.
Heisting Heroes’ Homes
In a recent edition of the Fayetteville Observer as in other newspapers throughout the New South, those that I have analyzed through the Monod website, there are often ten or more pages of at least 100 home foreclosures on each small print page. It is obvious to me that many of these have been foreclosures on the homes of our heroes, the soldiers who fought in Iraq and of those who are presently fighting in Afghanistan. In Fayetteville, Cumberland County I can discern the identities from the location of the neighborhoods involved. Looking at the extent of this devastation is disgusting and makes me feel alien to the society in which I live. Almost everyday I have been saddened and depressed for those here and throughout the New South (such as in Jacksonville, North Carolina), those who are losing their homes while they fight for our freedom. I am outraged by this greed in our capitalistic system in the supposed military South and New South. The real estate brokers in Fayetteville claim that Fayetteville is one of the least hard hit by foreclosures in the South, a claim that obfuscates the local tragedies.
The Spirit and Sense of Place That Gives Meaning
Encyclopedic entries on the culture of the South miss or overlook major truths such as those revealed by Southern writers such as Carson McCullers, William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams to mention just a few. Hollywood has artfully dealt with many of these such as the spin on Southern sexuality. These so-called deviations or perversions seem to have a special degenerate quality when they appear within Southern literature and the critiques on it, emotions which are characterized as depraved although truly a part of human nature. The reality of the South today eludes the vision of many Northern whites and politicians as the New South struggles through the recession with the greatest poverty and lowest standard and quality of life in the nation. Few news commentators face the ongoing tragedies within the New South forthrightly. Look at the emphasis upon politics in most of these rather than upon the physical and emotional torment of the South. The commentators avoid transmitting the trauma of the acrid pain and virulent suffering endured by our Southern citizens today.
There is a spirit that seeps through the tragedies and gives Southerners enduring meaning. Fayetteville is representative of the Old South and the New South in many ways from the Paleo-Indian era forward to the present. The hunter-warrior culture stalked, speared and drove mammoths and mastodons over the arroyos of rivers such as the Neuse and the Cape Fear. The hunting culture was and is the warrior culture of the South. Their footprints are visible here and around the world where we fight our wars. They are encrusted here and everywhere with the blood of their prey as far off as the Near and Far East. The Native American ritual of taking prisoners and trophies is profoundly embedded within the civilized souls of our Southern warriors. They are constrained by the rules of combat and international law and yet operantly conditioned to respond to enemies. Warriors on all levels and missions have in anonymous interviews testified to the increased intensity of operant conditioning after they understand what it is in their training. Ernest Hemingway said that the hunters of animals become the hunters of men and that given enough experience doing it actually prefer it. Chris Hedges, a former Ranger soldier who is now an author asserted in War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, 2003 that war is a force that gives us meaning. Another current author, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, also a Ranger qualified soldier, claims in On Killing, published in2009, that the increasing effectiveness of operant conditioning can endanger the United States’ society.
Although many will disagree with my assertions and tenets concerning what is the spirit of the South and New South and that which distinguishes it from the rest of the nation in its intensity and relentlessness, that which most gives the South and New South a sense of place and meaning, is the obsession with arms, the military, defense of the people and heroic sacrifice. It is the same ceaseless spirit, refreshing, provocative and sobering, as if flowing from a hidden well spring into the heart of the South, making it ethereal and providing it with faith and hope. Pernicious events such as the Katrina hurricane and the Gulf Coast oil spill of 2010 have tempered that spirit. As I see it, it is this same spirit which drives the New South through the excruciating and debilitating recession which has wreaked tragedy in most Southern cities, large and small and in the fields. The South will not merely endure because it is immortal. Even with the inexhaustible voice, it is not because of that but rather because it has the same souls which it always has, one of daring, courage, stubborn independence, social conservatism and romantic sacrifice.
The author attended Purdue University and Southern Illinois University where he earned BA and MA degrees in Government with minors in history and philosophy. He continued his graduate education at the University of Kentucky in Lexington where he was a Graduate Assistant in Political Science. He earned his PhD at Walden University in 1978.
He has instructed political science at North Carolina State University, history, political science and mathematics at Campbell University and history, political science and mathematics at Fayetteville Technical Community College , all in North Carolina.
The author served as a dean at three two year colleges and instructed mathematics at each of them.
He has received the following rewards, honors and invitations to present and participate on panels, 1965-2010: Excellent evaluations by the students at North Carolina State University, 1965-1970; Bowie Knife presentation by My Special Forces Troopers at Fort Bragg, NC, 1967; Keynote Speaker for the Independent Business Schools of North Carolina Annual Meeting;1979; Presenter of a Mastery Learning Workshop at Wayne Community College, Goldsboro, NC, 1980; Grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation for the North Carolina Native American Literature and Writers Conferenve, 1994; Grant for the same Native American Conference, 1995, referred to above; Eagle Presentation by the North Carolina Native Americans for contributions to the advancement of their culture, 1996; Panel Discussion member at the Second and Third Native American Writers Conferences: Co-producer and participant in the documentary, “The Storyteller,” financed by the NC Humanities Council; 1996; Excellence in Teaching Evaluations by the students at Campbell University Fort Bragg; two Writers in Residence Awards for the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities Writers in Residency; Southern Pines, NC, 1998 and 1999; Trustee on the Board of the North Carolina Writers Network, 1997-1999; Appointment to the Leadership Institute of Cumberland County, 2010.
The author has writen and had published academic articles, poetry, short stories and creative nonfiction.
He was born and raised in Danville, Illinois. Birthday: 7/16/1940. He is married with a son and daughter and four dogs and one cat.
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Karen Green, co-founder of the McLean County Freedom Coalition, speaks at the freedom rally in Bloomington, Illiniois. The event occurred on Sept. 12, 2009 and was sponsored by the Bloomington Area 912 Project.
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