The Great Breakup (I Hope)

In the wake of the most fraudulent election in America’s history, the result of which will be further diminution of America’s liberty and prosperity, the country’s deep and seemingly unbridgeable divisions have become accentuated.

Victor Davis Hanson captures some of the divisions in a dissection of the rural-urban dichotomy:

Ideological differences are now being recalibrated as rural-urban on issues from guns and abortion to taxes and foreign policy. Red/conservative is often synonymous with small-town and rural. Blue/progressive is equivalent to urban/suburban….

The cities since antiquity been considered cosmopolitan and progressive; the countryside, traditional and conservative. In the positive appraisal, Western literature always thematically emphasized the sophistication and energy of cities, balanced by the purity and autonomy of the country….

That fact of the rural/urban dichotomy is underappreciated, but it remains at the heart of the Constitution — to the continuing chagrin of our globalist coastal elite who wish to wipe it out. The Electoral College and the quite antithetical makeup of the Senate and the House keep a Montana, Utah, or Wyoming from being politically neutered by California and New York. The idea, deemed outrageously “unfair” by academics and the media, is that a Wyoming rancher might have as much of a say in the direction of the country as thousands of more redundant city dwellers. Yet the classical idea of federal republicanism was to save democracy by not allowing 51 percent (of an increasingly urban population) to create laws on any given day at any given hour….

So much of the absurdity of the modern world relates to a culture entirely divorced from the commonsense audits of 2,500 years of rural pragmatism. Antifa is the ultimate expression of tens of thousands of urban youth, many deeply in college debt, many with degrees but little learning — and oblivious of how they are completely dependent on what they despise, from the police to those who truck in their food and take out their waste, to those who make and sell them their riot appurtenances and communications gadgetry.

… The current fear is not just that America is becoming an urbanized and suburbanized nation — in the manner that many of the Founders feared would make our nation a European replicant. Rather, what is strange is that so many who are not rural are becoming fearful of their cannibalistic own, and what they have in store for the suburbs and cities — and thus are becoming desperate either to graft the values of the countryside onto the urban sprawl or leave the latter altogether.

Unless the courts — and the Supreme Court in particular — are roused in time to salvage the election and declare Trump the winner, along with at least one GOP senatorial candidate who was robbed, Trump’s large and vocal base will not go quietly into the night. That is because the base is united not so much by its allegiance to Trump, but by a sense that it is the remnant of what was once a great nation. (I will nevertheless refer to this mass of Americans as “Trump’s base”, for the sake of convenience.)

Trump’s base, in addition to being rural is also (but not exclusively) working class, white, religious, and anti-cosmopolitan. There are many members of Trump’s base, including this writer, who do not conform wholly to that profile. But my working-class, religious upbringing is deeply ingrained in me, as it must be in many others who don’t conform to the stereotype of a Trump supporter.

I am also a person with the credentials and tastes of a cosmopolitan who is deeply anti-cosmopolitan. My anti-cosmopolitanism derives from long, direct exposure to the smug, over-educated elites who who deign to rule the unwashed by edict, censorship, and ostracism. Those members of the base who lack direct exposure to such elites are nevertheless aware of the elites’ superiority complex and dictatorial bent.

Trump’s base is weary of being told what to think, what not to say, what to do, how to do it, and for whom to do it by cosmopolitan (i.e., anti-American) elites and their surrogates. The elites and their surrogates populate and dominate government and corporate bureaucracies, academia, the “news” and “entertainment” media,, Big Tech, and (most insidiously) public “education”.

The sense of entitlement that propels the elites and their surrogates carries over into the impunity with which their protegees have been allowed to loot, riot, and attack Trump supporters (physically and verbally).

This sense of entitlement carries over into electoral fraud, which has long known to be an almost-exclusive practice of Democrats. (“We are supposed to win, so win we shall, by any means.”) Having been unprepared in 2016, because Hillary was a “sure thing”, the masters of electoral fraud took no chances in 2020, with the result that the election was stolen from Trump, blatantly and massively.

But our masters are confident in their success. Their media mouthpieces keep saying that there is no evidence of fraud when there is plenty of evidence (e.g., this). It’s just that the evidence may not result in reversal of the election. And so the fraud will go down the memory hole.

Trump’s base will seethe, grow more bitter, and abandon the electoral field in droves — allowing the elites to tighten further their grip on the legal, economic, and information levers of the nation. This will be done directly through the central government, through the control of information by the media and Big Tech, and by granting amnesty to of tens of millions of prospective new (and mostly Democrat) voters.

There will be much hollow talk about unity. But unity, to the left, means submission. And Trump’s base knows it.

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.


Related reading:

Theodore Dalrymple, “The Age of Cant“, City Journal, Autumn 2020

Theodore Dalrymple, “The Decline of Cultural Understanding“, Taki’s Magazine, November 27, 2020

“Tyler Durden”, “The Great Relocation: Americans Are Relocating By The Millions Because They Can Feel What Is Coming“, ZeroHedge, November 23, 2020

Mike LaChance, “After Four Years of Democrat Attack on Trump Supporters, Biden Can’t ‘Unify’ the Nation“, Legal Insurrection, November 25, 2020

Francis Menton, “Will Biden Denounce Efforts to Silence Dissent?” [No!], Manhattan Contrarian, November 23, 2020

J. Robert Smith, “This Is War“, American Thinker, November 24, 2020

A virtual symposium at The American Mind, November 30, 2020:

Matthew J. Peterson, “A House Dividing?

Gregory M. Vaughan, “Madison Wins, Factions Lose

Rebecca, “The Separation

Tom Trenchard, “2020: A Retrospective from 2025

Is Trump Taking My Advice?

I made a case, here and here, for preemptive action against Big Tech’s censorship of conservative viewpoints. There has been some movement along anti-trust lines, but Trump’s executive order on social media is a big step in the right direction. Stewart Baker (The Volokh Conspiracy) explains:

The order really only has two and a half substantive provisions, and they’re all designed to increase the transparency of takedown decisions.

The first provision tells NTIA (the executive branch’s liaison to the FCC) to suggest a rulemaking to the FCC. The purpose of the rule is to spell out what it means for the tech giants to carry out their takedown policies “in good faith.” The order makes clear the President’s view that takedowns are not “taken in good faith if they are “deceptive, pretextual, or inconsistent with a provider’s terms of service” or if they are “the result of inadequate notice, the product of unreasoned explanation, or [undertaken] without a meaningful opportunity to be heard.” This is not a Fairness Doctrine for the internet; it doesn’t mandate that social media show balance in their moderation policies. It is closer to a Due Process Clause for the platforms.  They may not announce a neutral rule and then apply it pretextually. And the platforms can’t ignore the speech interests of their users by refusing to give users even notice and an opportunity to be heard when their speech is suppressed.

The second substantive provision is similar. It asks the FTC, which has a century of practice disciplining the deceptive and unfair practices of private companies, to examine social media takedown decisions through that lens.  The FTC is encouraged (as an independent agency it can’t be told) to determine whether entities relying on section 230 “restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities’ public representations about those practices.”

(The remaining provision is an exercise of the President’s sweeping power to impose conditions on federal contracting. It tells federal agencies to take into account the “viewpoint-based speech restrictions imposed by each online platform” in deciding whether the platform is an “appropriate” place for the government to post its own speech. It’s hard to argue with that provision in the abstract. Federal agencies have no business advertising on, say, Pornhub. In application, of course, there are plenty of improper or unconstitutional ways the policy could play out. But as a vehicle for government censorship it lacks teeth; one doubts that the business side of these companies cares how many federal agencies maintain their own Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. And in any event, we’ll have time to evaluate this sidecar provision when it is actually applied.)

That’s it.  The order calls on social media platforms to explain their speech suppression policies and then to apply them honestly. It asks them to provide notice, a fair hearing, and an explanation to users who think they’ve been treated unfairly or worse by particular moderators.

I would take a much harder line (follow the links in the first sentence of this post). But something is better than nothing. It’s a shot across the bow of Big Tech, though I would prefer a nuclear-tipped torpedo below the water line.

An Aside about the Cold Civil War

Imprimis has published a lecture by Charles R. Kesler, editor of Clarement Review of Books, about “America’s Cold Civil War“. It’s worth a read, but Kesler’s rendering of the subversion of the Constitution is on the skimpy side, as is his analysis of options for a resolution of the cold civil war. For a more complete treatment of those and related matters, see my page, “Constitution: Myths and Realities“, and the many posts listed at the bottom of the page.

One passage in Kesler’s lecture caught my attention:

Since 1968, the norm in America has been divided government: the people have more often preferred to split control of the national government between the Democrats and the Republicans rather than entrust it to one party. This had not previously been the pattern in American politics. Prior to 1968, Americans would almost always (the exceptions proved the rule) entrust the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Presidency to the same party in each election. They would occasionally change the party, but still they would vote for a party to run the government. Not so for the last 50 years.

I decided to look at the numbers to see if Kesler has it right. In fact, the “norm” of divided government began in Eisenhower’s presidency. The GOP eked out a narrow hold on both houses of Congress in 1952, when Ike won his first term.. But the GOP relinquished that hold in 1954, and didn’t regain until 1994, during Clinton’s presidency. Since 1952 only JFK, LBJ, and Carter — Democrats all — enjoyed same-party control of Congress throughout their presidencies.

The real story, as I see it, is the unusual era from 1952 through 1988, when Republican presidential candidates outpolled their congressional counterparts. Here, for your entertainment (if not edification), is a graphical version of the story (right-click to open a larger image in a new tab):