I end “The Great Breakup (I Hope)” with this:
The nation is almost certainly broken, and broken irrevocably. That leaves the question of what is to be done about it. I have offered options in the past. The only one that can deliver (a lot of us) from the evil that bears down is a concerted secession effort by many States, perhaps leading to a negotiated partition of the country. The choice is stark: either a breakup or a complete takeover by America’s domestic enemies.
(Do read the whole thing. It is replete with keen observations and bons mots.)
Victor Davis Hanson rehearses the many reasons for a breakup in “How Much Ruin Do We Have Left?” (American Greatness, April 21, 2021); for example:
The military—after costly strategic stagnation in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya—is now turning on its own. Some of the politicized top brass seem more worried about the politics of their own soldiers than the dangers of foreign militaries.
Our public schools and colleges are systematically downplaying meritocratic curricula and substituting in their places ideological, racial, and cultural litmus tests. Admissions now often hinge as much on race, gender, and ethnicity than quantifiable achievement. The First and Fifth Amendments—free speech and due process—have vanished from most college campuses.
2020 saw the most destructive riots in American history. Yet very few of the looters, arsonists, and rioters were ever indicted. Most were never arrested….
Private monopolies that control most written communications of Americans censor expression entirely on the basis of politics….
Our officials at the Justice Department and the United Nations either will not or cannot defend the history and reputation of their own homeland.
Record natural gas and oil production had formerly given the public affordable heating, cooling, and transportation. Self-sufficiency in energy made the United States exempt from worries over Mideast wars or foreign oil embargoes. The more we produced our own natural gas, the cleaner became our air and the smaller our collective carbon footprint.
Yet in just 100 days, energy prices have soared. The Left has canceled pipelines and limited energy leasing on federal lands—with promises to all but end our own gas and oil independence in just a few years.
In the drought-stricken West, key irrigation water is still being diverted from farms to the ocean. Billions of dollars in farm aid are doled out on the basis of race. And promised new regulations and estate taxes may well kill off what’s left of family farms.
Not to mention higher taxes and more regulations, which penalize success and deter business formation and expansion. Not to mention the murderous anti-life stance of “devout Catholic” Biden and his henchpersons. And on and on it goes.
All of which leads Oliver Wiseman (“Disunited States“, The Critic, May 2021) to recall that more than 180 years ago
John Quincy Adams gave a speech to mark 50 years since the presidential inauguration of George Washington. “If the day should ever come, (may Heaven avert it) when the affections of the people of these states shall be alienated from each other; when the fraternal spirit shall give away to cold indifference, or collisions of interest shall fester into hatred,” he told a New York audience, “far better will it be for the people of the disunited states, to part in friendship from each other, than to be held together by constraint.” Collisions of interest festering into hatred? That sounds familiar. The Trump years were famously light on fraternal spirit and, as the divisions deepened, “parting in friendship” started to look awfully attractive to a growing number of Americans.
After reciting many reasons for a breakup, and offering some reasons why it may not come to pass, Wiseman ends with this:
For now, secession threats are still mostly part of a bigger fight for the future of the country as a whole: a nuclear option in a cold civil war. America may lurch forwards having loud arguments that belie an underlying stability. But if divides grow wider and differences on fundamental constitutional questions start to look irreconcilable, more and more Americans might agree with John Quincy Adams: better to part in friendship rather than being held together in constraint.
It can’t happen soon enough for me, even though I may end up on the wrong side of the divide because of my impending move from Texas to Virginia.
Related page: Constitution: Myths and Realities, Part VI