Abraham Lincoln's famous "Nation Divided" quote was from his speech on America as it slouched towards Civil War.
Some people feel that sentiment is applicable to the nation today. A spontaneous movement among 23 states (as of this writing) to secede from the union reflects a profound disconnect between the states & the federal government.
Red states are governed very differently from blue states. Of the 22 right-to-work states, which have provided 72% of the jobs under the weak Obama recovery, only Iowa (divided), Nebraska (nonpartisan unicameral legislature) and Nevada (Democrat-controlled legislature) are not solid red. Meanwhile, the bluest states - states like Michigan and California and Illinois - are totally bankrupt.
What we are seeing is a complete divide throughout the country on the state level. We only get to elect one president. But on a state-by-state basis, it's clear that the American people have two very different ideas of which way they want this country to head.
If the blue states hold true to form and the red states continue to grow, it will not be long before the red states are largely subsidizing the blue states. And when that happens, look for the bond that holds the states together to fray. If California is America's Greece, Texas will be America's Germany. And if the European Union cannot hold, don't be surprised to see internal pressures in the United States, too, as more and more Americans become frustrated by a distant yet intrusive federal government they feel they cannot control.
Many believe that time is now, but are terrified to speak openly of secession because of the legacy left by Abraham Lincoln. But what if we weren't talking about a confederacy of states attempting to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with the Union. What if instead we speak of abolition of the Federal government all together. An amicable divorce between states with irreconcilable differences. Perhaps a long and difficult legal battle over custody and assets, but no bloodshed, no civil war. What if there was no Union to fight?
Barker's observations will sound seductive to a variety of political groups across the political spectrum:
So, If the results of the laboratory experiment aren't painfully obvious, let's shake the beakers. Face it, the ideological differences between liberals and conservatives are irreconcilable, and it's unconscionable to subject one to the bad ideas of the other against their will. Public debate is getting us nowhere because both sides are buried in their own propaganda. We need to actually see the tangible results of unfettered liberalism and unfettered conservatism. So, next presidential election, let both candidates win. Let (Mitt) Romney run the red states and (Barack) Obama run the blue states. Split the congress. And if Ron Paul wins any states, let him run them too. There's more than enough "representatives" to go around. Let the liberals try to create their socialist welfare utopia without the republican dime and see what happens. Let the republicans build their corporatist warfare empire without the democrat dime and see where it gets them.
Oh, but I think we can do better. Let's let all the secessionists have their states too. Let the Libertarians run an Independent Alaska. Let the Green Party run the Vermont Republic. The Lone Star State never really wanted to be part of the Union anyway. But let's get really crazy. Give Hawaii their Kingdom back. Let the Lokota Nation have their independence. Let the Black Panthers have a piece of Louisiana for their Republic of New Afrika. Don't forget the Conch Republic in Key West. And while we're at it, let's let the Voluntaryists have New Hampshire. After all, what's an experiment without a control group?
What's the worst that could happen? After four years, we'll take score. See how everyone did. Then we'll know. We can finally stop arguing hypotheticals and theory and start working with some real observable consequences.
Most of the red states - now the hypothetical "New Confederacy" - had heretofore taken more federal aid than they paid back in federal taxes. South Carolina, for example, takes $1.35 in federal money for every dollar it pays in federal taxes. Louisiana takes $1.78 for every dollar it pays into the system. Talk about moochers and freeloaders. By the way, this money is redistributed from other states, including the blue states with their abortion-on-demand and evil healthcare mandate. After secession, that gravy train would cease to exist. Farmers, corporations, small businesses, universities and law enforcement would crumble without federal aid - grants, contracts, matching funds, tax breaks, etc.
If the reality of losing federal money wasn't enough to convince the New Confederacy to stop behaving like petulant, tantrum-throwing children, then an array of more hard-core sanctions would begin. It's likely the power grid, pipelines, shipping lanes and, yes, satellite and internet communications would be summarily blocked by the U.S. government. The confederacy would be totally cut off from the rest of the world. Meanwhile, without federal regulations on food safety, clean water, clean air, and without the CDC, rampant disease would spread across the confederacy. How would northern medical equipment and pharmaceuticals reach the seceded states? Inflation, especially on medicine, would skyrocket as demand for dwindling supplies increased. Black-marketeers would spring up in every town.
The solidly blue areas inside the seceded states - Austin, for instance - would be the Texas equivalent to West Berlin in the heart of East Germany. We'd have to airlift supplies to those areas and hope that hoards of desperate and well-armed suburban and rural warlords didn't swoop in try to swipe the supplies. Needless to say, there would be a large scale humanitarian crisis.
At the governmental level of the New Confederacy, presuming there's something holding all the states together, leaders would quickly learn the hard lessons of both the Articles of Confederation and the CSA: it's nearly impossible to govern and do business as a confederacy, especially in a 2012 world. There wouldn't be a standard national currency. There wouldn't be national trade agreements even though, on the bright side, nations like China, which has been known to do business with rogue nations like Iran, might continue to ship cheap crap to Walmart and other stores inside this loose conglomeration of nations.
Instead of one large national economy, there would be individual state-level economies - each of them too weak to compete in the global marketplace. How would the New Confederacy generate revenue without a central system of taxation? If it came down to a fighting war against the U.S., how would the central government raise and finance a military?
Welcome, New Confederacy, to third world status!
But it gets worse. The impossible reality of a successful confederacy would be further exacerbated by the secession precedent. States would end up splitting into smaller and smaller pieces with parts of states seceded from other parts - subdividing and subdividing until the confederacy vaporized or was reunified into a more traditional federalist system.
Again, this isn't speculative. This is tested reality. The Confederate States of America ended up with a strong central government because it quickly learned that it couldn't fight a war and manage its economy without one. Years earlier, the disastrous Articles of Confederation were dismantled and replaced with the U.S. Constitution with a strong central government and a powerful chief executive as its centerpiece.
Amen, Brother Cesca. I'm not sure how today's secessionist movement will play itself out but ultimately I hope it fizzles & fails. I oppose it for the simple fact that if successful it will end America as we know it - as a global power, as a federalist system, & as a living embodiment that people can indeed govern themselves. It's the kind of wet dream nurtured by our nation's enemies; it shouldn't merit a thought from ANY patriotic American who loves his/her country.