Premature Premonitions of Civil War?
Anyone paying attention knows that America is fast polarizing to become two distinct factions. One is comprised of the coastal blue states commanded by dictators, for whom concepts like individual liberty are just speed bumps on the way to their newfangled visions of progress, and the other is largely made up of the red states in America’s heartland and Southeast, where leaders still generally fear the electoral consequences of putting their boots on their constituents’ throats.
The latter faction’s ultimate victory in the war of ideas is the only chance we have of maintaining anything that resembles the American ideal, but that chance seems to be vanishing quickly as the blue states are consolidating their current ascendency to bring blue state authoritarianism to the red states via international corporate power, social conformity campaigns, and federal tyranny in Washington, including executive edicts, unconstitutional legislation, and threats to subvert the judiciary.
It’s no wonder, you might say, that roughly two-out-of-three Republicans are open to the idea of secession, according to some polls. So, are we heading toward civil war, as many have openly asserted in recent years? And if so, what can we learn from the last one to inform us about the nature of today’s crisis? Looked at closely, there are important differences.
The media would have us believe that the blue states are the modern analogs of the free states in 1860, and the red states are the modern analogs of the secessionist slave states. And yet, this dynamic has existed almost entirely in the inverse for some time.
Let’s first consider the political dynamics in 1860. America was similarly divided into two general factions, then defined as “free” and “slave” states. Then, there was no mass exodus occurring from the free states to the slave states. What doomed the Southern slave states, both economically and politically, was slavery itself. Work was less plentiful for free laborers where the institution thrived, so they migrated to areas where their labor was more in demand, and their lives might be bettered.
Over many decades, this dynamic caused the South to grow far less rapidly in population and prosperity as industrious Southerners and ambitious immigrants sought opportunities in the North. This caused the South’s representative power in government to deteriorate while the North’s grew. It’s different now.
Most recently, if you look at North American Moving Services’ 2020 Migration Report, there are obvious patterns. The two more glaring “key takeaways” are that people “are fleeing California for Texas and Idaho” while “Illinois, New York, and New Jersey are the three states with the most outbound moves.”
California, Illinois, New York, and New Jersey are the most prominent of the solidly blue states. So why are Americans fleeing those states in record numbers to the top seven inbound states of Idaho, Arizona, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas? While not all these states are solidly red, most are, while two are purple at best.
Long-term trends could change, but the 2020 census shows that California, New York, and Illinois all lost House seats, while Texas, Florida, and Montana all gained them. Time and evidence of future constitutional power are, at least at this point, on the red states’ side.
What does this tell us? It tells us that, unlike the South in 1860, the dynamics driving the secessionist impulse of the red states are not due to their inability to compete in the economic and political landscape among free Americans in our constitutionally federalist system.
And unlike the relationship between the North and South of 1860, the relationship between blue and red states is much more politically balanced today. In 1860, there were roughly 22 million American citizens in the free states and only nine million in the slave states. Yet even that doesn’t capture the North’s overwhelming political advantage. Four million of those nine million were slaves, which was hugely detrimental since only three-fifths of the slave population was counted toward representation. This gave the North a roughly three-to-one advantage in allotted representation in the House and a two-to-one advantage in the Senate. Couple this with the fact that Abraham Lincoln didn’t even appear on the ballot of most Southern states, and it’s easy to see why the Southern states acted in such desperation.
Today, there is nothing near such heavy political imbalance in Washington. The House and Senate are roughly split in an ever-so-slight Democratic favor that is all but guaranteed to reverse in 2022 if history is any measure.
This is why, for the moment, claims that red separatists are driving imminent secession or civil war driven will remain the stuff of gossipy clickbait amongst mostly left-wing pundits. It is true that red-state denizens who value liberty and state sovereignty are distraught and aghast at the tyranny and downright buffoonery we are witnessing in Washington that are being celebrated by the media, but the truth is that it is not the Republican Party that is acting in desperation right now to tear the national framework asunder.
The Democratic Party, on the other hand, absolutely is.
Democrats know well that none of this bodes well for them in 2022, and campaign season is upon us. That’s why they’re desperately seeking to change the electoral landscape to make vote-rigging easier and desperately seeking to exert previously non-existent authority to secure power that almost certainly won’t continue to exist within our constitutional framework.
But all these desperate efforts just seem to expose Democrats’ hypocrisy in ways that open more Americans’ eyes. Screaming that requiring photo ID to vote is racist, yet requiring proof of vaccination for Black Americans to sit down and eat in a restaurant is not? Telling Americans that they need to get vaccinated to protect the vaccinated from the unvaccinated while we are simultaneously told that the vaccines protect the vaccinated who, by the way, are still equally able to get and spread COVID to others?
That’s the kind of stupid messaging that no honest person should be able to miss, and even the deftest propaganda couldn’t adequately conceal. So, people are abandoning the politicians and the party that push these messages.
This prospect of imminently losing political power just makes the Democrats more desperate to exert the party’s political will through Washington and by any means necessary. If Californians are fleeing to Texas because of California’s terrible policies, then the answer, Gavin Newsom would argue, isn’t to make California a place where Californians want to stay and live—it’s to make Texas more like California so they’ll have fewer reasons to leave.
Inversely, Texas has no desire to make a Texas out of California. Texas benefits from federalism because its policies just generally work (if being a place where free Americans want to move and live is one’s definition of that).
As I go about my day-to-day life, wondering when Joe Biden’s public health Gestapo from Washington will finally come for me, my family, my job, and my wealth, and how I’ll respond to all of that, part of me wonders if this is just the latest of our many political trials in this American experiment in self-governance that will eventually pass. Another part of me wonders if we are just marionettes in some Chinese-orchestrated puppet theater.
I know the latter may seem ridiculous to some, but you know as well as I do—the Communists in China are certainly enjoying the show.
Public domain image.
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