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Don Burleson Blog 






Just for Fun. . .

Understanding Redneck Philosophy

March 5, 2004 - Donald K. Burleson

The term "redneck" is often misunderstood by those north of the Mason-Dixon line.  Many Yankees misunderstand this beloved term of endearment and treat the word as if it were some kind of insult. A true Southerner understands that achieving the state of Redneck is a noble pursuit.  The guiding principles of Redneck philosophy are easily misunderstood by outsiders, so let's take a closer look at the goals of those who strive for the state of Redneck.

Also, see my related notes on red neck art collecting,  Redneck lawn ornaments and Redneck Cuisine ideas.

The Redneck Philosophy

Being a "real" Redneck is so much more than driving a pick-up truck and naming your dog Bubba.  A true Redneck does not feel the need to impress people with the outward trappings of superficial wealth and a real Redneck is perfectly comfortable in an Armani suit or a stained t-shirt.  Redneck art is now being sold in the top galleries, and make sure to read by notes redneck animal art. Rednecks truly feel sorry for the poor bastards who work their asses off for eight years in college only to become corporate slaves; all that hard work just to get a decent BMW and a Rolex.  You see, a real Redneck would never feel the need to brag or ever think to mention to hard working yuppies that the 80 acre family farm is worth eight million dollars, and of that, five million is in farm equipment that is only used a few weeks each year.  Without trying to sound too much like Jeff Foxworthy, a great comedian who is a tad misinformed about Redneck theology, let me explain the basic tenets of achieving a state of Redneck:

  • Sense of Inner Peace – True Rednecks are at peace with the world, and this is not just because they have guns in every room of their home.  They are not remotely concerned with what others may think of their Redneck lifestyle.
  • High Sense of Duty and Honor – True Rednecks will defend their sacred honor and will not tolerate those who disparage their families, traditions or loved ones.  Many a surprised New Yorker has pondered this while visiting an Emergency Room after flipping off a Redneck.
  • Disregard for Time – True Rednecks do no respect man-made timelines.  Their lives are lived one day at a time.  True rednecks may put cars up on blocks for a decade before restoration even begins.
  • Disregard for Man-Made Mores – True Rednecks will follow their tastes and desires without regard for social customs and that which might constitute “appropriate” behavior in polite company.  Rednecks are not constrained by outsider opinions or what Madison Avenue dictates about taste, so they are free to embrace whatever they choose without guilt or remorse.
  • Honoring Ancestors – Real Rednecks know details about every one of their ancestors who fought in the American Revolution and the Civil War.  Ardent patriots, true Rednecks will always fly the Star Spangled Banner right above the Stars and Bars on every national holiday.  True Rednecks will also participate in war reenactments as a way of honoring the Redneck sacrifices of their ancestors.
  • Eschewing Wealth – My cousin Sara-Ruth lives on land with a massive garden and her own livestock.  She even has a banana tree.  The only things she buys are sugar and coffee.  Her house and properly were paid for centuries ago when our Great-Great-Great Granddaddy, Aaron Burleson, received it from the Continental Congress as a thank-you for him having fought in the American Revolution.  Sara-Ruth lives a simple and free life with none of the usual worries about money and keeping up with the Joneses.
Living around Rednecks has had a profound effect on my way of looking at life.  Once while driving my fancy new car, I visited a country cousin and committed what Redneck Theologists call the “sin of pride” when I mentioned that the car had cost me a fortune.  In good humor, he pointed to his giant farm tractor and said, “Well, I’m impressed. See that reaper over there?  She cost me over $200,000.00; I paid cash; and I reckon I only take her out a few weeks a year”.  Man, was I ever humbled in the presence of such profound Redneck wisdom.  I now think twice before bragging.

Sure, the tenets and promises of the Redneck Theology seem like unachievable goals, but I’m told that with years of conscientious study and practice, as true state of Redneck is achievable, even for a sinner like me.

Now, I ask you: How am I doing as a Redneck?

While I freely admit that I am but a neophyte, I have studied Redneck Theology for years and have tried to mold my life in the image of those who possess the true inner peace of Redneck nirvana.  While I normally don’t like to brag, I think I’ve made great progress in my quest for Redneck nirvana.


Here is me and my little Rottweiler, " Bear".  Other people says she is mean and dangerous (she once pinned meter-reader into a corner for three hours), but I love her anyway.


My Redneck studies have also given me the freedom to collect art.  A real Redneck buys what they like without regard for the opinions of the art-snobs, and I'm making significant progress. 

Here is my most-prized artwork, an alien face made from the rear-end of a deer carcass.  (The aliens beard is the deer's tail, Can you guess which part the mouth is?)  Only a real Redneck would appreciate the insight and creativity required to compose this bold artistic statement about 21st Century society.


Here is me with my Redneck mentor D.S., my role-model who tutors me in the finer points of Redneck theology.   D.S. is a Redneck's Redneck, free of the constraints of conventional society.  A wealthy landholder, D.S. chooses to live in a modest home and has no desire to impress anyone with the trappings of his personal wealth.

My ancestors have fought in every major conflict including the American Revolution and both my Great-Grandparents fought at Gettysburg.  Hence, I'm getting in touch with my redneck obligations above by preparing for a Civil War reenactment with my friends Mike Ault and Harry Conway, ready to get us some Yankee invaders. 


Here is "Old Yeller", my 1957 Chevy Dually.  She's a beauty, eh?
I have a hard time driving her on weekends because my teenage son uses her to pick-up girls.


I've been meaning to fix-up this car for over six years now, and someday I'll get around to it.  I think it makes a great yard ornament.


I enjoy having livestock in the house and my wife Janet uses our shower for her ponies. 


Part of the Redneck Theology is doing whatever you want without the pressures of social customs.  Smoking is considered socially unacceptable, but being a licensed North Carolina tobacco auctioneer, I feel it's my duty to support the "Golden Leaf".  I've also taken to working naked, and I find this very freeing, allowing me to express my inner Redneck.  It's also ensures that people knock before entering my office.


Any Redneck scholar will tell you that horses are better than people any day. 

In any case, I don't want this to come-off like I'm bragging because I still have a long way to go on my journey for inner peace.  With the help of my friends and mentors I continue my journey into the deep mysteries of the Redneck Theology and I continue to work hard to someday achieve a true state of Redneck.

What we really need is an airline dedicated to Redneck Cruise travel:



Also see:

Preventing Hippies

Redneck Cruise

  2012 Update:  You can now invest in original 21st century American folk art (Redneck art) created by redneck butt-master Don Burleson.




Comments from Redneck Readers:

I think you are well on your way to “redneck nirvana”. The mere fact that you are consulting with guys like D.S. and have been in pursuit of this elevated state of mind puts you way ahead of the rest of the pack.

You know what they say if you’re not the lead dog in the pack right? The view never changes.  Anyway, I won’t keep you long. I just wanted to let you know that I approve of your redneck beliefs.

This is coming from a true “high-tech redneck”, a 20 year IT person with 8 years of Oracle DBA scars notched on my laptop and just to give you an idea of where I came from, Tammy Wynette was my baby sitter. (For real! – That’s scary. Huh?)

Take care and keep up the great work! That’s a fine team of guys you’ve got there.

Sincerely, Keith Wilson, “high-tech redneck DBA from Alabama”

First of all, I absolutely love Mr. Burleson's piece on Redneck Philosophy... I've never been more entertained (or educated, as I am a young Yankee) at work so far in my young career. Second, after reading it I truly believe I am a Redneck at heart, as I'd easily be just as comfortable in a suit and tie as I would in my destroyed jeans and white undershirts.

Third, your stallion is gorgeous. And fourth, even if I'm not eligible for Redneck Status, at least I can thoroughly appreciate it....

Chad White
Toledo, Ohio

14 May 2015

I just read your redneck theology and I have to say you must be the biggest *** hole on the planet. In the pictures you have your shirt lifted as if to make fun of people like me!! You have no idea what the hell you're talking about.

It's not about old trucks or cars on blocks or livestock in the house, it's about being happy with who you are and not giving a **** what *** holes like you have to say or think about us. It is about being yourself and not caring about having to dress up but being yourself. You really need to get your facts straight before you piss off the wrong person....

Philip D.
NC State University Employee
Raleigh, NC