by Al Benson Jr.
In getting on the computer to check my email the other day I ran across one of those classic surveys you often find on the Internet. This one listed all the different states in the country and purported to tell you which were the best ten states to live in and which were the ten worst states to live in
No doubt we have all seen this type of thing on the Internet from time to time. I don’t know if “survey” is the proper word to describe these things or not. They cover all manner of geographical topics–what are the ten best cities in the US to live in and what are the ten worst; what are the areas of the country that people are the most content in, or the least content in; what parts of the country have the cleanest air–state by state; what part of the country is the least racially prejudiced–state by state; and what parts of the country are the most economically deprived–state by state.
Over the years I’ve checked out a batch of these just to see what conclusions they came up with, although after the first two or three I’d checked, I found there was a pattern to most of these. No matter what the subject covered was, the Southern states always seemed to end up at or near the bottom of the list. Northern “paradises” like New Jersey, New York, Michigan or Illinois always seemed to be close to or at the top of the list, while Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi or Alabama always seemed to bump along somewhere in the bottom dozen.
These “surveys” or whatever you want to call them leave the distinct impression that the frozen North is heaven on earth, while the South is such a gosh-awful place that no one in his right mind would ever go there if he didn’t absolutely have to.
I hate to burst the surveyors’ politically correct little bubble (well, not really) but I think they’ve got a lot of it backwards, a not uncommon event among the politically correct.
Outside a couple years in West Virginia, a brief sojourn for me in Oklahoma before I was married, and myriad trips to the Western states over the years, my family and I have spent most of our lives in the North. Now it wasn’t all bad and there were some really good folks we knew (who were not Yankee types), but I have to tell you, after fourteen years in Louisiana, I have no desire to go back north to live. We are more content in the South than ever we were in the North, and we’d only go back under extreme duress, not by happy choice. Our son has now come south and is over in East Texas, and he really likes Texas.
One place, however, that I do have to agree with these “surveys” is when they deal with economic issues. The South is always listed as the most economically barren part of the country, with more folks at or below the poverty level and more folks on food stamps (although I don’t know how they outdo Chicago and Detroit) than most other places in the nation. And there is a reason for that–and not an accidental one. It was not always so. In fact, up until the War of Northern Aggression, the South was the most prosperous part of the country. After the shooting part of that war was over the tables were turned. When “reconstruction” (actually deconstruction) was visited on the South by a “benevolent” Yankee/Marxist regime in Washington, the South was turned into the poorest part of the country. And again, need I stress that this was no accident? Didn’t think so.
For those that would appreciated a little in-depth study as to the reasons for this situation I would urge you to read Punished with Poverty–The Suffering South by James and Walter Kennedy and published by Shotwell Publishing LLC of Columbia, South Carolina. You can find it on Amazon and it isn’t all that expensive but it is informative. In one place the Kennedys quote a Northern newspaper that stated: We mean to conquer them, Subjugate them… Never would traitors be permitted to ‘return to peaceful and contented homes’; instead they ‘must find poverty at their firesides and see privation in the anxious eyes of mothers and the rags of children’. Now I submit–here is Yankee charity at its highest point!
To bear witness to this, Francis Butler Simkins wrote in A History of the South that “As soon as the federal troops got a foothold in the South property was seized and sold for nonpayment under the Direct Tax Act…It is estimated that the federal taxes collected in the South in 1865-68 exceeded the entire amount the federal government and private Northern agencies spent on Southern relief and reconstruction during that period.” Or, as one Yankee general said in Louisiana, during the Red River Campaign in 1864: “We didn’t come to buy, we came to take.” And take they did! If this is accurate, and I have no reason to think it isn’t, then the Yankee/Marxists actually turned a profit on “reconstruction” over and above what they just stole outright.
All that to say this: before you blame Southern folks for being lazy and shiftless and whatever else you can come up with, read the Kennedy Brothers’ latest book and it will give you a very good indication as to why “it is what it is” in the South, even today.