Well-Founded Pessimism

I have never been more pessimistic than I am now about the future of the United States. Not even in the aftermath of 9/11, when the enemy was without and could be defeated, with persistence and resolve.

Patrick Buchanan observes that

Americans are already seceding from one another—ethnically, culturally, politically. Middle-class folks flee high-tax California, as Third World immigrants, legal and illegal, pour in to partake of the cornucopia of social welfare benefits the Golden Land dispenses.

High-tax states like New York now send tens of thousands of pension checks to Empire State retirees in tax-free Florida. Communities of seniors are rising that look like replicas of the suburbs of the 1950s. People gravitate toward their own kind. Call it divorce, American-style.

What author William Bishop called “The Big Sort”—the sorting out of people by political beliefs—proceeds. Eighteen states have gone Democratic in six straight presidential elections. A similar number have gone Republican.

“Can we all just get along?” asked Rodney King during the Los Angeles riot of 1992. Well, if we can’t, we can at least dwell apart.

After all, it’s a big country.

Buchanan has it right — until he counsels voluntary segregation as an antidote to statism. Liberty lovers cannot escape the dictatorial grip of the central government simply by living in a Red locale in a Red State. Big Brother is everywhere: carting off chunks of our income; dictating the manufacture of products that we use; dictating the wages and benefits that must be paid to the employees of companies that we patronize; driving up the cost of the health care that we need while driving providers and insurers out of the market for health care; subsidizing the follies of State and local governments through grants of “federal” (taxpayer) money; setting standards for education at local public schools; undermining the quality of the products and services we buy, locally and on the web, by dictating the racial and gender composition of workforces; driving the economy into stagnation (if not outright decline) through profligate spending on “entitlements”; and on an on.

The country is not big enough — not by a long shot — for voluntary segregation to work. Something has to give, and give soon, or those of us who prefer liberty to slavery will never escape the serfdom into which our “leaders” are marching us. What has to give, of course, is our attachment to the union that was preserved by the force of arms in 1865. As long as we cling to that union we remain subject to its now-irreversible statist commitments. At best, the election of conservative presidents and legislators will slow our descent into total statism, but it will not halt that descent.

Finally (for now), I am rightly pessimistic about the willingness of the left to allow a return to the true federalism that was supposed to have been ensured by the Constitution. The left’s mantra is control, control, control — and it will not relinquish its control of the machinery of government. The left’s idea of liberty is the “liberty” to follow its dictates. I will continue to point out the follies and fallacies of leftist policies, but I will not waste my time by dissecting the left’s specious arguments for its policies. Enough!

More to come.