It is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box
It is true that almost everyone in the foothills farmed and hunted, so there were no breadlines, no men holding signs that begged for work and food, no children going door to door, as they did in Atlanta, asking for table scraps. Here, deep in the woods, was a different agony. Babies, the most tenuous, died from poor diet and simple things, like fevers and dehydration. In Georgia, one in seven babies died before their first birthday, and in Alabama it was worse.You could feed your family catfish and jack salmon, poke salad and possum, but medicine took cash money, and the poorest of the poor, blacks and whites, did not have it. Women, black and white, really did smother their babies to save them from slow death, to give a stronger, sounder child a little more, and stories of it swirled round and round until it became myth, because who can live with that much truth.
I grew up in an atmosphere tinged with militarism, and afterwards I spent five boring years within the sound of bugles. To this day it gives me a faint feeling of sacrilege not to stand to attention during ‘God save the King’. That is childish, of course, but I would sooner have had that kind of upbringing than be like the left-wing intellectuals who are so ‘enlightened’ that they cannot understand the most ordinary emotions.