SubscribeStar Saturday: Considering Secession

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It seems as though I post about “the s-word”—secession—about once a year (2019, 2020, 2021), and always on Saturdays (two of those posts are behind paywalls for a reason; it’s amazing how charging a buck for something on the Internet is the best way to ensure no one ever sees it).

The recent, abysmal midterm elections got me thinking about the topic again, but what really got the juices flowing was this map my brother forwarded to me:

Secession Sentiment

The map comes from this post at Bright Line Watch, an organization that—so far as I can tell—gauges how the health of “our democracy,” to use the parlance the Left loves so well (it’s pedantic to point out, but we’re a constitutionally-limited federal representative republic with democratic mechanisms—at least, we used to be—not a democracy).  Like most such outfits, I suspect they are institutionally Leftist, but in this case, I don’t think ideology infects their numbers.

Note that 66% of Republicans in the South support secession into a new regional union, spanning from Texas to Virginia (I’d say let’s stop at the border between South and North Carolina, but that’s just me), as do 50% of Independents.  Only 20% of Democrats do, but that makes sense—they’d probably not much like being in a Southern Union dominated by conservatives.

I do think it’s a tad far-fetched to think that 66% of Southern Republicans pine for secession.  Most Republicans I know are still flag-waving Boomer types who worship Abraham Lincoln (what I was until just a few years ago).

Still, (allegedly) 44% of Southerners supporting the idea of breaking out into a thirteen-State union (the old Confederate States of America, plus Oklahoma and Kentucky) is ridiculously high.  It only takes a dedicated minority of 20% to shape policy and push change at a societal level (thus the concepts of the “Silent Majority” versus the “Noisy Minority”), so 44% is more than double that threshold.

Does it mean anything?  Is America headed for The Civil War II?

Disclaimer: I do not want or advocate for a violent revolution; I am merely exploring an issue of growing interest in our fractured political times.  The restoration of true federalism is the preferable answer, but barring that, a peaceful separation of the States could—not necessarily is—another possible outcome that prevents widespread violence and continued tyranny at the national level.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: East Coast, West Coast

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An enduring question—perhaps the enduring question—of our present age is whether or not a peaceful political solution is possible to resolve our current issues.  Any casual observer of national politics cannot help but notice that there is a deep division in the United States, one grounded in (at least) two fundamentally opposed philosophies.

To the dissident—that catch-all term to encompass of any number of alternative philosophies or worldviews to the prevailing “progressive-conservative” dynamic—both modern progressivism and modern conservatism are two sides of the same coin.  Indeed, Buckleyite neoconservatism accepts, essentially, the basic tenants of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, ideas that serve as the foundation for modern progressivism, though the two interpret that foundation in wildly different ways.

Thus, there is a paradox:  modern conservatives largely share a worldview that is incompatible with that of modern progressives’; yet, there roots originate in the same soil of the interventionist state.  The difference, perhaps, is the fertilizer:  the Leftist progressive overwaters with “equality” (now, increasingly, “equity”); the conservative presents a more balanced mixture of equality, liberty, justice, etc.

(Indeed, these shared roots likely date back even further, to the liberalism of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries; again, both the Left and the Right evoke the tenants of such liberalism [“all men are created equal”] while disagreeing vehemently on how those tenants should be expressed in public policy [equality for the Left means egalitarianism and equality of outcomes; equality for the right means “equality before the God and the law”].)

That might make the possibility of some reconciliation seem possible—with shared roots comes some shared values, some shared history.

That’s the most optimistic view.  It’s one I do not share, but nor do I adopt the view that all is lost.  I believe that a blend of hyper-federalism, radical decentralization, and institutional control by dissidents could tip the balance in a positive direction.

The problem, of course, is that none of those goals is easy to achieve; some of them are currently inconceivable.  The federal government is unlikely to devolve more powers to the States (and many States probably secretly don’t want more); radical decentralization means losing out on corrupting but succulent federal largesse; and the institutions are firmly controlled by the Left—and not likely to rewrite the rules to let us challenge their supremacy.

So we come to a fundamental divide among dissidents:  what Curtis Yarvin calls the divide between West Coast dissidents (that includes Yarvin) and East Coast traditionalists (like me and, I suspect, photog at Orion’s Cold Fire) in his essay “The real Great Reset.”  The East Coast traditionalists believe that local control and working within the system can swing things in our favor and reverse course in the Culture Wars, what he calls voice; the West Coast dissidents believe that voice is useless at present, and instead reset—a total regime change of reset and replace is the answer.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Blue State Secession

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I’ve written several times about the possibility of secession—of a (hopefully) peaceful dissolution or separation of the United States.  To be clear, I do not want that to happen, and I fear such a separation would be anything but peaceful.  But if it means a world where the progressive crazies can test out their wacky theories and policies in their own land with its own borders—and I am well outside of those borders—then it may be the best possible of all options.

I tend to disagree with Daniel Webster’s assessment that “Liberty and Union” are “now and forever, one and inseparable.”  While I think the Union of the States did at one time strengthen the defense of liberty, it increasingly seems that the Union—as manifested through the power of the federal government—is trampling those liberties.  I prefer John C. Calhoun’s rejoinder to Andrew Jackson:  “The Union, next to our liberty, most dear. May we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States and by distributing equally the benefits and burdens of the Union.”  The Union is great, but only so far as it preserves liberty and the rights of States.

Quoting John C. Calhoun favorably, of course, is dangerous in these woke times, as he was an evil slave owner (per the social justice warriors) and argued that slavery was a “positive good.”  Of course the man wasn’t right about everything, but he was right about States’ rights and the importance of liberty.  I can acknowledge that Truth without accepting his other beliefs.

But I digress.  It seems that secession or peaceful separation is not merely a conservative pipe dream, a distant hope for some second chance at liberty.  The progressives are getting in on the action.  The ultra-progressive publication The Nation has a long op-ed published entitled “The Case for Blue-State Secession.”  Most of the piece is ridiculous Leftist dogma, but the fact that the totalitarian Left is toying with the idea is intriguing.

H/T to Brion McClanahan of The Abbeville Institute and McClanahan Academy for this piece; below is his YouTube podcast explaining the op-ed:

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SubscribeStar Saturday: The Mainstreaming of Secession

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The American experiment in self-government is at perhaps its lowest ebb since the 1850s, a decade whose division and partisan rancor rival our own.  That decade’s statesmen’s failures to address sectional tensions—and, ultimately, to reconcile two fundamentally incompatible views of the world—resulted in the secession of eleven States that no longer believed the national government was acting in accordance with the Constitution.

It brings me no joy to make such a grim assessment, nor to contemplate what comes next as a result, but it is a necessary task.  My sincerest wish is that our great Union remain intact, and that we see some restoration of constitutionalism.  An increase in States’ rights and federalism—greater sovereignty at the State level and less power at the federal level—would go a very long way in resolving at least some of our national issues.

Unfortunately, I and others are increasingly drawing the conclusion that such a restoration is, at best, extremely unlikely and, at worst, impossible in an age of totalizing progressivism.  When even Rush Limbaugh is musing about secession (H/T to photog at Orion’s Cold Fire) and a George Mason law professor is writing seriously on the subject, we can no longer laugh off the notion.  Secession may be the future.

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Law and Order?

It’s an election year, in case you’d missed that point, and our man Trump is up for reelection.  Trump is not doing well in the polls at the moment, but George H. W. Bush was similarly down against Michael Dukakis at this point in 1988, and won in a blowout victory.  Of course, Dukakis was an exceptionally feeble and excessively nerdy politician, and Lee Atwater’s Willie Horton ad was a gutsy, effective attack on Dukakis’s program of weekend release for prisoners.

1988 was also a very different America.  Even 2016 seems like another world.  Trump’s election was the paradigm shift of our age, spawning four years of constant resistance from progressives and neocons alike.  Joe Biden, like Hillary Clinton before him, enjoys the full support of the media and the institutions; even in his advancing senility, they are determined to drag him into the White House, where he will serve as a dull-witted, mentally-diminished puppet for every crazy Left-wing policy ever concocted in the faculty lounge of a women’s studies department.

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Lazy Sunday LXIV: Grab Bag

After taking last weekend off due to severe migraines, I’m finally getting back to normal.  My fever seems to be getting lower each day, so I’m praying it’s finally running its course.  I’ve also been trying to improve my diet, with less salt and more fruits and veggies in the mix.  That’s helped with my blood pressure a bit, though I still need to get that down.  Finally, I’m seeing a neurologist Tuesday afternoon just to make sure these migraines are merely related to my fever, so I appreciate your prayers.

For this weekend, I figured I’d just grab some different posts and throw ’em up.  These are some of my classics, posts that I think were pivotal in the history of The Portly Politico:

Here’s hoping my personal health and our nation’s health both improved markedly over the next few days.  Thanks for your patience this past week with the lackluster and brief posts.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

The Cultural Consequences of the American Civil War

On Wednesday, 13 May 2020, blogger Audre Myers posted a piece at Nebraska Energy Observer entitled “What Do You Think?”  The piece prompted readers to answer the question “Would we be the America we are if the Civil War had never been fought?”

Below is my response, which you can also view here.  The TL;DR summary of my answer is that, while it was good that the Union was preserved and that slavery was abolished, it came with some heavy fees—the expansion of federal power (and the loss of liberty inverse to federal expansion), the erosion of States’ rights, and—most importantly—the triumph of Yankee progressivism over Southern traditionalism.

The temptation is always to reduce the American Civil War to being ONLY about slavery.  Slavery was, obviously, a huge part of the Southern economy and culture, and motivated a great deal of Southern politics at the national level.  But slavery was not the be-all, end-all of the “Lost Cause.”  There were legitimate constitutional questions at play.  Indeed, an open question—one the American Civil War closed by force of arms—was that, having opted into the Constitution, could States later opt out?  John Randolph of Roanoke, among others, seemed to believe this question was legitimate, and such an exit was allowed—even acknowledged.

Of course, the slavery narrative serves modern progressive ends.  It allows for throwing the baby—States’ rights—out with the bathwater.  Suddenly, States’ rights becomes “code,” in the progressive mind, for justifying slavery or segregation.  Yes, States’ rights was invoked to support wicked things.  Nevertheless, it is fully constitutional—just ask the Tenth Amendment.

Nullification and secession were dangerous doctrines, but the loss of them also meant that the federal government could expand with far fewer limits on its power.  The States lost the nuclear option, so to speak, of bucking unconstitutional acts (although, to be fair, States can challenge such acts more peacefully through lawsuits against the federal government—even if those cases are heard in federal courts).  Seeing as we’re living in times when a peaceful separation between fundamentally opposed ideologies may be the most attractive option for the future of our nation, it’s worth reviewing the history of these ideas.

Well, that’s enough preamble.  After two days of self-indulgent, girly navel-gazing, it’s time for some substance:

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Ratcheting up Towards Civil War

I’ve been catching up on photog’s excellent blog Orion’s Cold Fire, and boy did I miss a doozy.  Good ol’ photog regularly presents his pick for American Greatness “Post of the Day,” and on August 7, he wrote about a sobering Angelo Codevilla piece, “Igniting Civil War.”

Meanwhile, Southern history think-tank The Abbeville Institute posted an essay Monday asking “Is Political Separation in Our Future?”  These pieces suggest that something cataclysmic is looming for the United States.  Are they right to be concerned?

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Friday Night Recommendation: The Abbeville Institute

The Internet is a vast place, with a niche for everything.  It’s interesting to consider how much import users put into their own little online worlds—they know everything about what makes their little corner of the web tick, or click—but, if you’re outside of that niche, it’s almost like it doesn’t exist.  It’s like planets filled with intelligent life that cannot perceive or know one another, except when one spunky interstellar craft stumbles upon a distant world.

Regardless, this phenomenon certainly exists online, which explains, in part, why some Americans know everything wicked the progressive Left is unleashing upon our world, while others are blissfully unaware of their impending dooms.  One website that is doing yeomen’s work on our side is the Abbeville Institute.

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