China and Dixie: Approaching a Friendship between Two Tellurocracies
China is probably not one of the first countries that comes to mind when thinking of natural friends of the South. But she ought to be, for both China and the South, as ‘land’ civilizations (rooted in stable tradition, farming, a sacred order, etc.) rather than ‘sea’ civilizations (based on constant change, machine industry, nominalism/utilitarianism etc.), have quite a few things in common. Here is a brief look at some of the more important ones.
The Chinese, as F. H. King put it in the title of his 1911 book, are ‘farmers of forty centuries’:
The problem of poor soil management by her farmers has dogged the South for many a year. Southern Agrarian writers from John Taylor of Caroline to Andrew Lytle to Wendell Berry have all addressed the subject. But China ages ago discovered how to cultivate her land intensively, generation after generation, without wearing it out. Furthermore, both raise many of the same crops and livestock: rice, corn, hogs, cotton, peanuts, and so on. Without a doubt, there is much the two could talk about on this subject.
A short overview of traditional Chinese agriculture is provided below:
The history of agriculture in China has been one of constantly improving crop yields through innovations, improvements in techniques and intensification. The resulting surpluses have allowed the population to grow.
In late imperial times the agricultural land in the north was worked by people who owned the land while the land in the south was owned by landlords who didn't work the land themselves. Peasant who worked the land either paid for use of the land with a share of their harvest, a fixed rent in crops or a fixed rent in cash. It was more of commercial arrangement than a feudal one.
Agriculture in China is labor intensive. Women do about 60 percent of the work. Animals such as mules, oxen and water buffalo are considered luxuries and most plowing is done with sticks or hoes by farmers in lamp shade hats and rubber boots. Human excrement, urine and even burnt duck feathers are brought into the fields and used for fertilizer.
Chinese farmers are very efficient. In the Guangdong province farmers plant three crops a year: two of rice and one of legumes. The rice paddies also double as fishponds, and the dikes between them are often planted with sugarcane and mulberry trees. Chinese farmers can also be very clever. When the price of carrots went down one farmer found it was more profitable to use the carrots to fatten his pigs, when the price of carrots went up he sold the carrots on the market.
Peasant farmers in the south have traditionally used water buffalo to plow their fields, donkeys to carry goods and treadmills to pump water into irrigation ditches. Theft is sometimes a problem. During harvest time families often sleep in the fields or by their fish ponds.
. . .
Source: http://factsanddetails.com/china/cat9/sub63/item1892.html, opened 3 May 2018
While the Chinese have been farmers for 4,000 years, they have been poets, story-tellers, historians, etc. almost as long, for about 3,000 years. Some of their earliest writings are ghost stories, which will strike a chord with Southerners, whose own writers like Poe and Faulkner, also make use of the spirit world in their stories.
The earliest written works in China are ghost stories and myths. Ebrey writes how early Han literature is "rich in references to spirits, portents, myths, the strange and powerful, the death-defying and the dazzling (71)". The Chinese were especially concerned with ghosts because the appearance of someone who had died meant that the living had somehow failed them, usually by improper honor in burial, and the dead would haunt the living until the wrong was righted. If the dead could not find their family, they would find anyone nearby.
Source: Emily Mark, https://www.ancient.eu/Chinese_Literature/, opened 3 May 2018
Poetry, also a Southern literary staple, is abundant in China, too:
The rich tradition of Chinese poetry began with two influential collections. In northern China, the Shijing or Classic of Poetry (approx. 10th–7th century BC) comprises over 300 poems in a variety of styles ranging from those with a strong suggestion of folk music to ceremonial hymns. The word shi has the basic meaning of poem or poetry, as well as its use in criticism to describe one of China's lyrical poetic genres. Confucius is traditionally credited with editing the Shijing. Its stately verses are usually composed of couplets with lines of four characters each (or four syllables, as Chinese characters are monosyllabic), and a formal structure of end rhymes. Many of these early poems establish the later tradition of starting with a description of nature that leads into emotionally expressive statements, known as bi, xing, or sometime bixing. Associated with what was then considered to be southern China, the Chuci is ascribed to Qu Yuan (c. 340–278 BC) and his follower Song Yu (fl. 3rd century BC) and is distinguished by its more emotionally intense affect, often full of despair and descriptions of the fantastic. In some of its sections, the Chu Ci uses a six-character per line meter, dividing these lines into couplets separated in the middle by a strong caesura, producing a driving and dramatic rhythm. Both the Shijing and the Chuci have remained influential throughout Chinese history.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_literature#Classical_poetry, opened 3 May 2018
There is very much more that could be said about Chinese literature, but we will leave it for now to look at a final subject.
China, like the South, had a very well-defined social structure in her earlier days:
The king and his family were placed on the topmost level of the ancient Chinese social hierarchy pyramid. These people were the most respected, owned the largest amount of land and ruled the people in the entire kingdom. Apart from king, the higher classes were also shared by soldiers who were the second most respectable people in the ancient China. They were respected greatly due to the wealth that they possessed.
After these major classes lies the actual social hierarchy of ancient China that was based on occupation of people.
The Shi were the gentry scholars in the time of ancient Zhou and Shang dynasties. These were regarded as the low level aristocratic lineage in the social structure. They also possessed certain privileges that other people were not given like they had the right of riding in chariots and command the battles from their mobile chariots. The people from this class were also appointed in civil services of the country. Earlier these were the people who were known for their warrior skills and were recognized [by the] double edged sword that was known as Jian, but later on the people started recognizing these: knowledge, scholarship and their administration abilities.
The Nong class was comprised by the peasant farmers. since Neolithic age the agriculture in China remained as a key element for the entire civilization since the farmers produced the food to sustain the whole society. These were considered as part of higher ranks compared to craftsmen and traders. Although they did not enjoy the privileges that the Shi class was given but farmers were considered as the valuable members of society. These were landholders and were responsible for producing food and crops for themselves and the society.
The Gong class was composed by the craftsmen and artisans. As per Chinese understanding these were considered as the labors. They were like the farmers but since they did not possess any land of their own therefore they engaged themselves in developing good and crafts. This was also a wealthy class but was not considered as a good class in the social structure and hence was not given privileges & rights as compared to the higher classes.
The lowermost class in the social hierarchy of ancient China was the Shang class which was composed by traders and merchants. Since these people could not achieve good status in the society so they were placed on the lowermost levels of the social structure. They had significant wealth but because they indulged themselves in trading and transporting goods that were made by the other people, they were not considered as respectable people in the society.
Source: https://www.hierarchystructure.com/social-hierarchy-of-ancient-china/, opened 3 May 2018 (a couple of edits made for clarity--W.G.)
The Southern leadership class, as in China, was also distinguished by a combination of military service, wealth, and a high level of scholarship. Also like China, farming was looked upon highly in Dixie, while salesmen/shop-keepers were not.
Since we have just mentioned military matters, it is also interesting to note that the South produced a figure similar to China’s Sun Tzu, who wrote the famous book The Art of War, in General William Hardee, who also wrote an influential book on military strategy (thanks to Dr Clyde Wilson for telling us about Gen Hardee):
William J. Hardee's 1855 textbook, Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics, was required reading for officers in both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War (1861-65).
Source: Susan Copeland, http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/government-politics/william-j-hardee-1815-1873, opened 3 May 2018
For these reasons and others, if China were ever to leave the totalitarian, Communist/globalist path she has been on for the past several decades and widely accept Orthodox Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Protestantism are both simply early manifestations of The Revolution, of Modernity), or even adopt a pre-Modern Confucian worldview again, the South (once she has recovered from the ‘cultural revolution’ imposed on her by the same Yankee Elite who have imposed a different version of it on China) - the South should waste no time in cultivating ties with her, on a level deeper than that of dull, uninspiring business transactions, which already exist. Perhaps even now a bonding could begin with those folks in China who keep to the old ways. A good friend is a valuable thing indeed.