The Absurdity of ‘Unity’

Coming out of the election we hear the cries that America is breaking apart, that we have never been more disunited.  We aren’t breaking apart in the literal sense of course; we have stalled any calls for secession for awhile, though California is more than welcome to leave, if it insists.  But the country is certainly fractured, with most of the blame for this being heaped on the so called rabble that voted for Donald Trump, those boorish, offish Middle Americans who just didn’t want to be part of the, “it takes a village” collective.  Well, to all this talk about disunity, I say, Hoorah!! 

The idea that we must all be “united” should send a chill down the spines of all freedom-loving Americans.  In fact, “stronger together” is nothing but a euphemism for the loss of our individual liberty. 

For some time now, we have had a government and culture that has tried to forcibly homogenize us.  The fact is that in a nation of 320 million people, over 3,000 miles wide and 1,400 long, with massive rivers, forests, deserts, and mountain ranges that homogenization will never happen.  Huntsville, Alabama will never be Seattle, Washington, which will never be Saginaw, Michigan, which will never be Cheyenne, Wyoming.  And even within these great States, you can’t force a Fresno into being a San Francisco.  Mightily as they have tried, we are different and proud of it.

We are still living in the shadow of a post-World War II America, a brief and rare time when America seemed united in principle and purpose.  Some of that may have been a mirage, but there is no doubt that the postwar America was one with many uniting features.  But that, too, is now cracking up.

In their book America 3.0, James Bennett and Michael Lotus talk about how the managerial central planning State that has ruled since the War is disintegrating before our eyes.  With that will be the breakdown in central control, a huge devolution in power from Washington back to the States and to local communities.  We are all the better for it.  This doesn’t mean the end of the United States; in fact, I would argue it means the strengthening of our nation and an increase in our liberty.  Hillary Clinton may be the last vestige, hanging on, from this central managerial elite.  We can only hope.

The nation was not founded and was never meant to be “united” in every means and manner.  We were united in the idea that we were a compact of sovereign States with a common national government.  We have a President, a national government with very limited powers, a common currency.  But we have never even had an official national language, never a national church; we didn’t have a true national army until 1917.

Before the Civil War, the nation was united by the Constitution, but power and first loyalties were always given to the person’s home State.  After Appomattox that shifted, but it was a slow shift; habits die hard.  The hammer on individualism and local control and customs really fell hard in the opening of the 20th Century with the coming of the Progressive Era.  The advent of Public Education, the direct election of Senators with the 17th Amendment, and the implementation of the income tax were all means to bind all Americans to a more popular “unified” idea and to rid of us of our local passions and loyalties.  I love Holidays, but the fact is that America never really celebrated “National” Holidays until the 20th Century.  Independence Day wasn’t even a paid federal Holiday until 1938!!

Another point needs to be made.  Enough of all the bellowing about how we have damaged the electoral process, that we have become crass and rude and have cheapened politics and that this was the worst and most shameful Presidential election in history.  This is just pure hogwash.  Electoral politics has always been nasty and rude.  We fight it out, sometimes in our history, quite literally, and then we settle down until the next four years.  It is through the fighting and the entire ruckus that we in some sense actually do come together.  At least we aired it out and let the passions flow as opposed to one side stamping out dissent of all comers.  Isn’t that what totalitarian one party systems seek?  Is that what true unity is?

The fact that America has been able to keep the incredibly delicate balance of securing individual liberty all the while holding a national government intact for 225 years is nothing short of a miracle.  It has happened because of the genius of the Founding Fathers.  Understanding the passions and nature of man were critical in framing a government that would never allow for too much power in the hands of the national government while keeping the rights of individuals and the respective States intact in that Union.  It blew apart once and came back together.  It may even blow apart again, and the one way of making sure that happens again is to have an overarching Federal government squash the rights of local communities and individuals. 

On November 8th we dodged a bullet, maybe, quite literally.  Perhaps having as much to do with Trump himself or Hillary’s rank corruption, we were sending a signal to Washington D.C. to back the hell off and leave us be.  Let us be different, even if some find those differences to be boorish and offish.

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