Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Donald W. Livingston - SVR Advisory Board

Donald W. Livingston's entry on the Second Vermont Republic's advisory board webpage describes him as "Professor of Philosophy, Emory University, and author of several books on David Hume." [1]  In fact, there is much more to Livingston's background that Vermonter's should know about since he's providing advice to SVR and those who support Vermont's secession.  I can't help but wonder, is SVR ignorant about his background and association with the League of the South?

Livingston is a former director and founder of the League of the South Institute for the Study of Southern Culture and History, is a founder of the Abbeville Institute, is associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute and has served as an editor of Chronicles Magazine. [2]  (See the SPLC's report The Ideologues describing the top 10 "thinkers" of the neo-Conservative, secessionist movement)

While Livingston formed the Abbeville Institute, in part, to distance himself from the more extreme racist elements at the LoS, he did not find them so off-putting to cause his immediate resignation from the LoS [3] or to end all association with other clearly racist writers and "thinkers," like the notorious Samuel Francis.

As it came to dawn on Livingston that he was deeply involved with racist, white supremacist ideologues, he still, as learned scholarly as he and others may think him to be, didn't really seem to get it:
"We think the Southern tradition contains a lot of wisdom," said Donald Livingston, a philosophy professor at Emory and director of the institute. "The Southern tradition is usually demonized with slavery and racism. These are things Southerners have to come to terms with, but there's more to it than that."

Livingston, however, was unaware of Hill's writings on race. Hours after first being interviewed for this story, he said the institute does not necessarily hold with all the League's positions and disavowed Hill's position and tone on race.

Still, he rejects the notion of the League as a hate group. As one example, he cites institute work that celebrates the strong black church as a positive staple of Southern culture.

"The League certainly isn't a hate group," he said. "We're trying to fashion the concept of a Southern regional culture, and there is no Southern regional culture without blacks." [4]
"Coming to terms with" racism and slavery isn't quite the same as denouncing it and completely disassociating yourself from its champions like Hill, Francis and the rest.

This is something that the Second Vermont Republic organization's local advisors and its supporters, as well as all Vermonters thinking generally about the concept of Vermont seceding from the United States, might want to think a little more about too.


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