Edward Erler writes “The New Oligarchs Will Not Tolerate Secession.” King George of Great Britain felt the same way in 1776, but by 1783, force of arms convinced him to tolerate the secession of 13 colonies. The U.S. ruling class will certainly be a centripetal force, but it might not manage to counter centrifugal forces that have split countless empires.
Immigration has caused the U.S. to become an empire, not a nation. Its current polity has divisions such as Anglo/Latino, red/blue, and foreign/American. It doesn’t meet the definition of a nation because it is not unified by a common descent, common language, common history, or national symbols. It doesn’t even have a common religious worldview, or sense of justice, or view of the ends of government.
The ruling class is formidable, but no empire lasts forever because empires do not have a unified populace. Indeed, in all human history, only countries or empires including either China or India have managed to compel the obedience of more people than the U.S. does now. The U.S. and these two are outliers. The ability of the U.S. to hold such a populous and varied empire together was caused by the unifying effect of twentieth-century wars and the Cold War. And China will not provide a unifying effect now. China does not seem interested in or capable of subjugating the U.S., although it certainly sees the benefit of meddling in our politics to moderate U.S. policy toward China.
Almost all colonies have gained home rule since World War II. Today, red states feel like colonies of a coastal ruling class that has alien values. Another trend is the division of countries. Czechoslovakia split into Czechia and Slovakia, and the USSR split. UN membership has grown from 51 sovereign states in 1945 to 196 today.
No empire, not even Roman, has lasted forever. The U.S. won’t. Those who, like David French or “Rebecca,” look at centrifugal forces in the U.S., such as red/blue animosity, can’t imagine how the U.S. will hold together when it hits the next shock. Triggers for a split could be ethnic, as in Rwanda, or economic, such as a collapse of the dollar or a U.S. debt crisis, a nuclear attack, a truly deadly bioweapon pandemic, etc.
For the ruling class, what is the economic cost/benefit analysis of forgoing an attack on a seceding Texas, or of letting the U.S. split in half? After a split, trade would go on as before, although possibly with some tariffs. The ruling class would continue to make money on both sides of the new border. The blue states, or the red states, could retain the benefits of printing the world’s currency of choice. The instability of the U.S. is already a reality. But choosing warfare would be choosing disruption that would paralyze the economy. Splitting the US is as popular with Democrats as with Republicans, so a fraction of the ruling class is likely to favor the idea.
An empire has never faced an armed populace such as the U.S. does. Government forces paid to carry weapons are outnumbered by civilian gun owners, many of whom are veterans, by perhaps 80 to 1. How could the U.S. attack Texas? Every unit of significant size in the military, which is 10% Texan, relies on Texans to fill their role. Not only is the military split between Biden and Trump supporters, but a 2014 poll showed that 47.4% of active duty members of the military want their own state to secede (the number would be presumably much higher if not including landlocked states and Republicans living in blue states or Democrats living in red states). A 2018 poll showed that only 32% of respondents thought attacking a state is preferable to allowing it to secede. Americans are far more averse to casualties now than they were in 1861. An order to attack a U.S. state could lead to a coup or impeachment of the one giving the order.
If the ruling class does not allow the red states and blue states to get their policy preferences on their own territories, partisanship in the U.S. will get positively murderous, especially toward the ruling class itself. This does not serve the interests of the ruling class.
One new development is that those who use social media in a social bubble can’t understand why their preferences haven’t been expressed in policy yet, and they are out of patience. “Preference” is a weak word to describe the concerns of Christians who feel that the requirements of U.S. citizenship (regarding worship during the lockdown, or compelled speech regarding transgenders and moral issues) are becoming incompatible with the requirements of fealty to Christ the King. “Jesus is Lord” is the fundamental confession of a Christian.
Pressure is rising in this empire-wide potboiler, and this steam can not be blown off by emigration of conservatives. There is no place more red-state than a red state. There is no English-speaking country more likely to keep the requirements of citizenship compatible with the requirements of the Christian conscience. Christians are dead-enders in the U.S., to use Donald Rumsfeld’s memorable phrase. Libertarians and people who feel threatened by the new racial consciousness are also nearing a breaking point, as is the Left, who seem to already have quite a few broken constituents.
How can a split happen?
How can a split happen? The barriers are high. First, a governor needs to gain the loyalty of his state police, state judiciary, militia, and electorate. The state can pass a law to protect its people (especially its leadership) from federal officers despite federal law and federal judges. It can develop a state banking system for intrastate commerce independent of the banking system that the federal government can control. After a state announces that it will be independent at a certain future date, it can negotiate to take its share of the federal debt in return for its share of federal assets, including military assets. Many of its citizens would leave the U.S. military to join the state’s new military.
If other red states recognize the futility of trying to win federal elections without the state that has already announced its secession, then they could announce their own impending secession and negotiate with Congress as a group. If most blue states want to separate from most red states, Congress will not be an obstacle. Only the negotiations themselves will be problematic. In the end, taking a loss during negotiations is better than staying with a Union that is already headed toward insolvency because of its irresponsible electorate. We are in a treacherous season because of the sense that the current power struggle will decide whether the Left (including the Left-leaning ruling class) shall have unrestrained rule over us all for the foreseeable future, at least on social issues.
The Left’s control of the most-watched media is a formidable challenge on the road to red-state independence. Curtis Yarvin recently wrote about the recent evidence that the Supreme Court, as other branches of government, does whatever the media forces it to do. Although elections (fair elections) are downstream of culture (including the media), Yarvin teaches that culture itself is downstream of (constrained and shaped by) those who hold real power in a society to punish those who spread narratives that offend the ruling class. Currently, that’s bad news for the growth of a red-state independence movement, because currently, government allows blue-state billionaires to control the output of the media companies they own.
Media does not have to be our ruler. Force of arms, the ultimate expression of sovereignty, is all that is required to regain control over media, so that we can regain governance by the informed consent of the governed. Most coups start with a few men with rifles entering a television station building. A revolution or secession could implement punishments for media bad behavior within red-state territory, and constrain blue-state media’s reach and profit making there.
The only reason our politicians and judges are ruled by the media is because they don’t feel free to take decisive action, and the 50-state electorate is difficult to win for Republicans. Trump worries about being impeached, and other men worry about losing elections. But what if the next election were irrelevant? It is irrelevant to some politicians who plan to retire, or believe the next election will be rigged anyway, or plan to acquire control of the media before the next election. If a revolution or secession happen, these men could temporarily take control of the media and use it to popularize their actions.
In the long term, media, including social media, could be fined with a sufficiently large fine every time it offends red-state sensibilities or violates national security (national cultural sustainability) as defined by the government of a federation of red states. In a federation of red states, a national internet firewall, such as China has, should not be necessary because the majority of the red-state electorate is already distrustful of blue-state media.
If Brazil can be independent of the political preferences of the blue-state ruling class, why can’t a federation of red states? Brazil bulldozes rain forest amidst a climate panic. A federation of red-states is far too large to be boycotted as South Africa was, because it produces things that are necessary to blue states. Yes, the blue-state ruling class will always be welcome to invest in the red states. But maybe not in red-state media.