Thursday, July 4, 2013

Allen Barra, Biographer of Bear Bryant, Agrees that North and South Should Separate

In 2012, Chuck Thompson produced a snarky, comical, and in-your-face argument for separation between the South and the rest of the United States.  He laid out his case in Better Off Without 'Em: A Northern Manifesto For Southern Secession.

Central to Thompson's call is his contention that the South is a hopelessly backwards land of reactionary politics, Protestant fundamentalism, chronic white racism, anti-intellectualism, low-wage economic exploitation, and overrated college football.  The South, in short, was and still is America's foremost abiding political, social, and cultural problem.

Southern membership in the United States, per Thompson, is a bad marriage with the only viable solution being an amicable divorce.  Ending this bad marriage would prove to be mutually beneficial for non-South and South alike.

Having re-read Better Off Without 'Em, Allen Barra now contends with Thompson, save only the matter of college football.  Barra, it should be noted, penned an admiring biography of Alabama's Paul Bear Bryant.

College football aside, Barra states that "over the past months, however, I've become more convinced by Thompson's main argument, that the South--the states that comprised the old Confederacy--should not only be allowed secede, but both countries created by the split would be better off."

Barra's column at Alternet is linked below.

Allen Barra: Chuck Thompson is Right, and the North and South Should Split

The same column from Barra at is linked below. Allen Barra: Book Review of "Better Off Without 'Em"

"In less than a generation, every Wallace segregationist Democrat I knew had turned into a conservative Reagan Republican; as the guitar-picking adviser had predicted, race almost ceased to be a political issue and, as my friend the late journalist Paul Hemphill put it, 'George Wallace’s role in framing the politics of the new South was obscured.'"

----Allen Barra

Links related to Chuck Thompson's Better Off Without 'Em: Better Off Without 'Em, A Northern Manifesto For Southern Secession

New York Times: Review of Chuck Thompson's "Better Off Without 'Em" Review of "Better Off Without 'Em"


  1. What about South Florida? Confederate membership or no, we don't by any means consider ourselves part of the Old South.

  2. Yeah, given that south Florida is more "northern" and north Florida is more "southern," one does wonder if there would be an intrastate split in the Sunshine State were secession to make a comeback.

    But what's really amazing to me is that, 150 years after Gettysburg and Vicksburg, discussions about secession are slowly creeping back into American political dialogue. i think it speaks to the degree of division the American culture war hath wrought.