During my lifetime there have been repeated comments on occasion about how the US was divided into two groupings based on political outlook. It always was about more than just Democrat or Republican. It broke along conservative versus liberal perspectives in the most general way. This talk was first more rampant during the ’60’s as there were those who had an international and socialist outlook on the world and US society counterbalanced by those who adhered to a much more traditional look at our nation and its position in the world. Those suggestions that we should divide the country and let the left and rights go their separate ways have been around from our very birth as a nation.
The first serious discussions of secession did not come from the South but rather from the New England states in the early 19th century. That was the time period when the English and French were both harassing our shipping and the Embargo Act was being enforced half heartedly to restrict foreign trade. Many in Massachussetts and Connecticut were very upset because their livelihood was dependent on foreign trade and they felt the US government was not doing enough to protect American shipping and they were really mad about the Embargo Act which attempted to shut down all trade with Britain and France. There were serious rumblings about secession by those states but the international situation improved and the pressure of the issue faded before the momentum built. Free trade was restored and the matter dropped. The next serious talk of secession was in the 1850’s shortly before the War. There were many scholarly works on the topic. Sound legal arguments could and were made that the individuals states were sovereign prior to the Constitution and still retained their complete sovereignty after the Constitution was adopted. Just like a country is free to leave NATO if it chooses; the argument was made that the Constituion was a freely made compact among equals and that each retained the right to withdraw. Obviously there were differences of opinon.
During the ’30’s the gap between right and left was even more intense than it is now. The worst atrocities of the Soviets and Stalin were not known or were intentionally not reported by sympathetic observers. Of course the observers of those days went there with preconceived notions about the Soviets or they would not have been allowed to go in the first place and what they observed was strictly limited to what the Soviets wanted them to see and hear. Those on the right in the ’30’s felt very much left out because they were then outnumbered in Congress and the White House. The radical labor movements were more active and vocal than they are today. Again there was discussion about whether the nation could survive as one unit because the vision of each camp was so different.
Now there has been renewed discussion over the issue of the separation of the nation into two parts. There were the recent comments of the Texas Governor about secession. I heard so many commentators saying both jokingly and seriously that the issue had been decided by the War Between the States. Legally that is not true at all. The Yankess won the war. The South surrendered. That was all that was established as a result of that war. Please look up and read some of the arguments made about secession before the war. Many Yankees were in favor of letting the South go and supported the legal and Constitutional arguments that they had a legitimate right to do so. As always the real facts are more complicated than the historic sound bites crawling across the bottom of CNN’s screen.
Now the arguments for division are resonating again. The Texas Governors has even gotten press for his off hand comments about secession. Maybe we would all be happier if we did divide the nation into two camps. Why have the turmoil and disruption of contrary and very different views of our future. Those views do not appear reconcilable at the moment. There is a sensible way to do it without the necessity of another war. California, and perhaps Oregon and Washington along with the New England states and one or two from the Midwest like Michigan would make a natural fit. They are ideologically aligned. That could be the Coastal US. The South, most of the Midwest and the West could be Continental US. We wouldn’t have to abide any longer those views each camp finds so repugnant about the other. The disagreements between these two region are profound as we all know and should be intelligent enough to recognize. I can’t fathom a state that would put Charles Schumer in the Senate and I am sure some on the Upper West Side would assess me as worse than a yokel. Each of these new nations would have ample natural resources and access to the oceans of the world. Those contentious issues would be resolved in a more sensible and less threatening way. Everyone could be happy. We wouldn’t have to constantly be blaming “them” for everything that was wrong. Each new nation would reap the rewards of its vision of the world and each would bear the consequences of bad policy.
The Coastal US could open it borders and allow illegals complete entry to their nation and grant immediate citizenship if they liked. They would be free without a filibuster to raise taxes on individuals and companies as high as they liked. They could punish the rich to their hearts content and even redistribute the wealth on any basis they thought prudent and their government could take over and run any industry for the good of the people. They could run up debts as they liked and have deficits as long as they wanted and provide free government run health care for everyone from cradle to grave. Those trouble makers with access to firearms would be a thing of the past and they could outlaw any gun ownership–only the government would be allowed to have any weapons. They could bypass the paperwork hassle of the proposed Card Check uni0n sign up system and mandate that everyone had to join a union at age 18. They could have judges on their courts who couldn’t win elections as legislators and who love re-writing the law as they believe it should be to conform to their world view and cultural instincts–activist from head to toe. Coastal could be as “progressive” as it liked without anyone trying to step on the brake. The New York Times could even be subsidized by them. Everyone could be made to drive a green car and install solar or face jail time. They could do all this because the left in Coastal would have such an overwhelming majority that there would be no opposition and they wouldn’t have to give a moment’s thought to the opinions of the yokels in the hinterland. They could terminate their war on terror for real because they would be such a feel good and groovy place that no one in the world would dislike them. They could offer a blanket apology for everything and anything to the entire world. It would be their political nirvana. If all those ideas are good ones then they would prosper and be quite happy and good riddance to those troglodytes in Continental.
The Continental US could shut down its borders, deny any benefits to illegals such as schooling and free health care and deny citizenship to illegals born here as the original 14th amendment intended. They could lower taxes on individuals and companies. They could reform health insurance by requiring a vigorous competition in a free market. The governmental powers would be restricted and required to be those essential to the public good and safety and regulators and bureaucrats would be reined. The taxes of the Continental US would be very low so as to allow the maximum amount of tax revenues to be collected at the state and local level to be used and utilized as each state and locality saw fit. Contintental could burn coal to its heart’s content and drill baby drill. Judges would be required to interpret the law and never allowed to mandate new law from the bench. Debt and deficits would be limited against projected revenues and the books of Continental would have to be kept just like the books of any public company. No “off book” accounting would be allowed. Again the majority would be large and there would not be the inconvenience of stalmating debate with the opposition.
What not let everyone have the nation and the future they wish. All things and Empires come to an end. I can’t imagine anything I have in common with Bernie Sanders or Carl Levin and I am sure they feel the same way about me. So why put up with each other? It is not written in the stars we have to co-exist in the same nation.
The ten year T-bill rate is now up to 3.35. You give some thought to why that is happening. Your analysis will not comfort you about the future of our economy.
Read more at www.olcranky.wordpress.com and the commentary on Texas secession written months ago.