A House Divided–Better?

We all know that the US has become more polarized politically and culturally for decades.  That gulf between the right and the left has only widened and become more ossified in recent years.  Regardless of the outcome of this year’s election that yawning chasm will continue to exist and likely grow in years to come for a variety of reasons.  We could write literally volumes about why that divide is there; the cause and effect of it; the merits and demerits of both sides of the argument but all those really don’t matter in the end.  The Bible taught us that a house divided can not stand and there is surely profound truth in that but does that mean that two new entities cannot emerge from the one and still thrive for generations.

World history is replete with instances where nations or empires have been bifurcated and the separate entities continued to thrive for long periods of time.   Toward the end of it time in the Sun the Roman Empire was effectively divided into two portions and each continued to have various degrees of success for centuries.  Yes, the western empire suffered more and had a more checkered success than the Byzantine Empire its decline took generations to reach its denouement.  Those savages who conquered Rome also absorbed Roman customs and cultural to a great extent and those the essence was still there.   We can fast forward in time and see similar occurrences unfolding.

Many on the Left look to Europe as their model for a society that is heavily socialized and where the Government dominates all industry and enterprise.  They like the idea of the Government controlling anywhere from 40% of GDP to over 50%.  Modern Germany would be closer to the 40 and Greece today would be over the 50% level.  The Left also loves the politically correct approach to every aspect of life and industry and government.   That is fine is that is their preference but should that preference for a socialized economy and liberal life style dominate those in society who don’t see matters the same way.   Modern Europe is not as monolithic and devoted to the European Union concept as most of the headlines would indicate.
You have to be a real news hound to be aware of some of the rumblings afoot in Europe today.  Most of the articles regarding these actions are buried on the back pages if they are reported at all.  Let’s look around the modern map of Europe and see if there is any modern inclination to divide the house.   Hey, we can start with the former Yugoslavia.   Can you even name more than two of the new countries that have mushroomed in the last generation from the collapse of that nation?   Those different areas had quite unique and distinct views of life, economics, religion and the role of government.  They couldn’t and ultimately didn’t get along.  Thus today we have Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and in  Kosovo to name the ones you may recall.  Also today even though it is not discussed in our news sources we can see other areas where splits are being openly discussed and advocated.  How about Scotland?  It has been part of the United Kingdom for centuries and now we see that the Scots are pushing for complete independence.   The Scots and the English and Welsh are pretty darn close culturally and in terms of their views on the economy and government’s role and yet the differences are strong enough to be leading to the vote in 2014 for separation.   Move over to the Continent and we see that Catalonia in Spain is having open conversations about a separation from Madrid.  How dramatic and profound a split it might be is not known now but the fact is that the discussion is under way.  Spain could face and division down the road.  If you follow the news carefully you might have seen the reports that some have called on Madrid to even send more troops to Barcelona.  Move a bit farther east and we come to Italy.  Another nation facing economic crisis and that has had stirrings for some time now about the divide between North and South.  The former prime minister Berlusconi had his power base with the Northern League.  That political group has a very strong contingent that believes southern Italy should be cut loose because it drags down the whole nation and takes more from government than it contributes.   Move north a few hundred miles and we get to Belgium.   Yes, that small nation squeezed between France and Germany.   It has had for centuries a divide between the French-speaking areas and those in the Germanic speaking regions.  Everyone has assumed that it all has and would work out and both areas would love one another in the politically correct era.  The headquarters for both NATO and the European Union and its parliament are in Brussels.  Yet, within the last month the Flemish party advocating separation into its own nation as gained substantially in the recent elections.  They want to go their own way.   Only time will tell how things evolve in the various countries and regions but division of those countries down the road is certainly not out of the question.

If Europe is the preferred model for the Left does that preference include the notion of dividing culturally diverse regions into more homogeneous areas?  Ultimately that is what is behind every one of those movements.  Those people want to be with and associate with those they identify as being socially and culturally akin.  They don’t want as much diversity as comes with the larger entity.   Are they any lessons for the US in this analysis  and what might they be?   Would your life, your happiness factor be diminished if the US were divided into separate nations?  We will examine this question in more detail over the coming months.  Ponder on it in the meantime.  After all, change is the constant in life and societies.

“Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish?  Nothing else.”  Epictetus, Roman stoic philosopher.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Filed under Culture, Economics, Foreign Affairs, government, history, Politics

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