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“If something cannot go on forever it will stop.” — Herbert Stein
One should never romanticize the break-up of the United States. If it happens, at worst it will be a violent affair that leaves scars that last generations like the Civil War. At “best,” it seems likely to be an enormously disruptive event that impoverishes people, creates massive amounts of strife, and potentially endangers the world.
Yet, this once unlikely proposition is looking more real by the day, at least in terms of people warming to the idea. According to a Bright Line Watch survey, 1/3 of Americans want to break the country up into regional areas. The number of Democrats in the Pacific region ready to secede is 40% and even higher 50% of Republicans in the South are ready to call it quits. It seems a little like the run-up to the Civil War, except arguably, that would have been an easier split to prevent than the potential current one we face because it all boiled down to a single issue: Slavery. Today, there are multiple, nearly impossible to solve issues that would have to be addressed to prevent a break-up. The odds of that happening don’t seem to be very good.
1) Liberalism has become hostile to America: What happens when one of the two major political parties in a country decides that country is no longer a good place filled with good people? What happens when they decide the Founding Fathers and heroes of the nation were all racists who should be scorned and not celebrated? What happens when they decide the Constitution is a “living” document and thus meaningless? What happens when their political strategy focuses on dividing America as much as possible while encouraging each of these groups to think of themselves as oppressed victims? What happens when it becomes impossible to reason with them because they consider disagreeing with them as de facto proof that you are a bad person and thus, are automatically wrong? Can a country that has two major political parties survive long-term when one party believes in it and the other is committed to destroying it in order to create some kind of socialist utopia from the ashes? That seems doubtful.
2) Our government is non-functional: Both parties in America have concluded that there is little to be gained politically by working with the other side and that the best political strategy is to block everything other than spending bills, blame the other party for it, and encourage the President (if he’s on their side) to rule via executive order. Incidentally, neither party is wrong. That is the best political strategy, but unfortunately, it also makes the country ungovernable. When you have two cut-throat political parties with absolutely incompatible views on nearly every type of legislation imaginable, heavy political incentives not to cooperate, and zero trust on either side, how do you make any kind of medium- or long-term deals? How long can the country run on autopilot with only an incompetent bureaucracy, grotesquely wasteful budget bills, and executive orders to guide it? Our nation is attempting to find that out and it seems unlikely that we will like the answer.
3) Deficit/Debt: Spending is the issue that everyone seems to agree will eventually cripple the country, but neither the public nor D.C. seems to have any appetite for making even the most modest attempts to address it. The eventual bankruptcy this will lead to will place a crippling level of pressure on the country in a number of ways. The economy will majorly contract, and the standard of living will dramatically drop. Inflation will eat up the retirement savings of the middle-class. The dollar will no longer be the world’s reserve currency and we will be unable to simply print money to fix our problems. Social Security, Medicare, and welfare payments will stop or be reduced to a shadow of their current levels. So what happens when those programs are gutted? Could a nation that splits off from America be in a better financial position? That is very possible. When this nightmare scenario starts to look more real to the American people – and that time will come sooner or later – a lot of Americans will start to seriously consider secession as a potential way out.
4) Incompatible world views: If you were starting a new country and you had to decide who would be a part of it, why would you choose liberals? Do you believe in capitalism? They believe in socialism. Do you believe in free speech? They believe in censoring views they disagree with. Do you believe in a small government? They believe in an enormous central government that controls your every move. Do you believe in equal opportunity? They believe in discriminating in favor of people they like and discriminating against people they dislike. Do you believe in law and order? They believe in allowing groups like Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and illegal aliens to break the law with impunity. The sort of liberals that are in power and teaching in American universities today philosophically have more in common with Karl Marx than they do with the average conservative.
5) Liberals plan to blow up the system: We are now at a point where the mainstream view in the Democratic Party is that they should try to rig the entire system in their favor to cement themselves in power. They want to open up the borders, bring in as many illegal aliens as possible, and make them citizens to get their votes. They want to get a majority on welfare so they can outvote the productive people. They intend to censor opposing points of view that are a threat to convince people they’re wrong. They plan on changing the voting system to make it easier for them to cheat and they want to stack the Supreme Court so that the law is whatever they say it is. They plan on getting rid of the legislative filibuster so they can pass anything they want, and they want to turn Puerto Rico and D.C. into states to give them an edge. They’re not a political party trying to appeal to as many people as possible in a Republic, they’re a political party seeking to change the rules to turn America into a totalitarian state where they can rule any way they see fit. If they had 5 more votes in the Senate this year, this entire laundry list would become law and the United States would have ceased to exist in any meaningful sense
These all seem to be solvable problems, but as a practical matter, no one seems to have any idea how to do it and few people even seem willing to try.
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