The on-line journal Good Magazine has a very well-done article on the growing secessionist movement in the US:
“In an October, 2006, poll broadcast on CNN, 71 percent of Americans agree that “our system of government is broken and cannot be fixed.” A Daily Kos poll in April, 2007, asked, “Should states be allowed to secede from the union peaceably?” Sixty-nine percent of respondents answered in the affirmative. All in all, this was, in the words of the chief impresario of the Chattanooga convention, an impish 70-year-old author and activist named Kirkpatrick Sale, “extremely fertile ground into which secessionists can plant their seeds.”
“Of all the western democracies, the United States stands near dead last in voter turnout, last in health care, last in education, highest in homicide rates, mortality, STDs among juveniles, youth pregnancy, abortion, and divorceâ€”a society which, in keeping with its degenerate morals, wreaks one-quarter of the environmental damage on the planet every day.”
“Vermont, you see, is already a separate country. It is the most radical state in the Union in terms of the number and kind of town meetingsâ€”direct democracy in action. Its constitution of 1777 made it the first state to outlaw slavery, it was the first to mandate universal suffrage for all men, and is currently one of only two states that allow incarcerated felons to vote. It has no death penalty and virtually no gun-control laws, yet remains one of the least violent jurisdictions in America. It has no big cities, no big businesses, no military bases, no strategic resources, few military contractors. All three members of its Congressional delegation voted against the Iraq War resolution. It is rural and wild, with the highest percentage of unpaved roads in the nation. And those billboards? It was the first state to ban them along its roads. With its strict environmental-impact laws, Vermont fended off the predations of Wal-Mart superstores longer than any other state, and Montpelier today remains the only state capital in America without a McDonald’s restaurant.”
“It was the stratagems of George Kennan, who died in 2005, that ultimately defeated the Soviet Union. Naylor sees this as historical irony, and he takes pleasure in drawing a dark comparison between the Soviet Union and the United States: There is the same far-flung geography. The same corporate socialism that defies free markets. The same spread of influence worldwide through violence, murder, and pillage. The same stunted public discourse. The same electoral sclerosis in the legislature (Congress is almost as stable in membership as the Politburo). “No one in the Soviet Union in 1960 or 1970 or even 1980 found it imaginable that someday it would collapse,” says Naylor. So, too, he says, is our certainty today in the stability of the United States of America.”
These issues were raised in the Comments section:
“Secession is alluring, but I tremble to think of the massive upheavals it might also produce as factions seize power and threats, real or perceived, are leveled at other groups. How do we navigate ourselves into a more hopeful place without the looming danger of massive violence visited back upon us in as recompense for our own hubris and lust? “
The US empire is going to fall one way or the other. It can either be dissolved relatively peacefully in the way the secessionists envision or it can be bloody. Obviously, the former is preferable to the latter. The best way to avoid a future scenario in North America that resembles post-Communist Yugoslavia is to develop a mutually agreed upon plan for dissolving the empire into autonomous units for incompatible groups following the demise of the present imperial system.
“There are many factors that may lead us to conclude that small is better. However, there is a big downside to secession. I’m the senior editor for a group of alternative papers (Atlanta, Chicago, DC, Tampa, Charlotte, Sarasota), and I’ve written a lot on extremist groups — from Christian Reconstruction to white nationalist outfits such as the League of the South. The League puts on a moderate spin when it is utilizing the credibility Naylor and Sale bring. However, the group is intrinsically white nationalist, as a review of the statements and papers of its leaders will confirm.”
This issue is getting a little tiresome. Aside from the fact that all of the major southern secessionist groups deny that they are in favor of restoring Jim Crow, the South now has a huge black population and many southern cities, particularly the larger ones, have black dominated governments. Blacks are influential in public life in the South. There’s no going back to the “old order”. Even most overtly white nationalist groupings reject such an idea. As for Christian fundamentalists, the Left’s favorite scapegoat group, many of them are actually moving leftward in their cultural and theological outlook. Further, many of them wish to be free of the rule of liberal-secular elites who ridicule their beliefs. Yes, some Christian conservatives may wish to outlaw abortion, reinstate sodomy laws, censor pornography, enforce blue laws, etc. but how are they any different from left-liberals who support bans on private firearms, censoring politically incorrect speech, smoking bans, intrusions into private homes by social service agents, instrusive legislation rooted in environmental fanaticism, bans on gambling and prostitution, etc.? Indeed, it is rather apalling to see politically correct types perpetually whining about racism and homophobia, whether real or imaginary, among dissident groups while giving mainstream liberal Democrats who have been instrumental in bringing into being and perpetually expanding the War on Drugs a free pass. The drug war and the accompanying police state and prison industry that have grown out of it are far more menacing to black Americans and marginal populations than anything associated with the League of the South or religious believers who disapprove of homosexuality for theological reasons. It’s time for liberals to get a life when it comes to these questions.
However, there is the issue of regionalist movements that may contain culturally incompatible elements within their own ranks. I would agree, for instance, that in the event of a southern secession, the liberal-cosmopolitan metro areas and those regions with majority black, Hispanic, Cuban or American Indian populations may need autonomy of their own from the wider “red zones” of the rural and small town South. Likewise, there may be similar conflicts between religious conservatives and other groups like gays and lesbians. For instance, the Christian Exodus Project wishes for South Carolina to become an independent Christian state. Yet sympathy for secession has also been expressed by gay South Carolinians:
So why not still more separatism? Why not the creation of independent gay city-states with gay marriage, etc. along with independent Christian communities with school prayer and a ban on abortion or pornography? Surely, this is preferable to an infinite Cultural Cold War that leaves everyone dissatisfied, or perhaps still further degeneration into violent conflict and bloodshed?
Stop the Hate–Smash the State–Unity in Diversity! Separatists Unite!