National divorce objections

Markowitz offers some common objections to national divorce, but I think misses the real argument for it. This isn’t simply about two groups with diverging political preferences deciding they’d be happier apart. Independence would be a survival tactic for many Americans.

Our country’s most powerful institutions—concentrated in blue states but exerting power throughout the country—are using their power aggressively to impose a cultural revolution and destroy the American way of life.

The left uses federal power, especially agency and judicial, to suppress state efforts to push back. They use federal policy to reshape life in red states (Biden’s OSHA policy, mileage tax, etc.). And they use it to cement changes initiated by private actors such as HR depts.

Thus, splitting off could offer some chance of meaningful resistance. States could free themselves of these federal policies, protect their borders, forcefully reshape internal institutions pushing leftism, and resist the influence of outside orgs that project this ideology.

It’s true that many Republicans would remain in blue states. Cultural revolution might accelerate in these places (as we already see in deep-blue cities). But a separation could at least create an escape haven as blue states grow increasingly hostile and/or dysfunctional.

Obviously, many questions remain. It’s not clear such a split could be executed peacefully (though it may be the best chance at peace). But we must confront the reality that drives many to consider the prospect.

A better option could be sufficient state autonomy to allow red states to protect themselves from these forces without fully splitting. Currently the left seems intent on blocking this—on imposing their agenda throughout the country, rather than simply in their strongholds.

But strong pushback might change this. The prep that could make this credible—continued population sort, new tech/commercial/cultural institutions, political orgs suited to the times, stronger state-and-local political focus, etc.—would also be needed for a national split.

Likewise, the steps that force the feds (and private actors) to allow red states greater autonomy—defiance of overreaching judicial orders, state regulation of Big Tech and CRT, state immigration enforcement—would also be key actions of an independent red America.

Thus, however likely an actual national split, it’s helpful to proceed aware that this is a potential path, and one we must prepare for. Further, our willingness to take aggressive action now may restore the state autonomy that lets us avoid a far more costly split.

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Ditcher, Quick and Hyde… lol!

I find it interesting that the author say that a national divorce is not possible because the population distribution by ideology does not match population distribution by geography as much as the author would like, while ignoring that by staying together as a country the situation is just worse. You are trying to hold together a much more ideologically polarized population by staying together. An NY conservative and NY liberal can co-exist much better than an NY liberal and a TX conservative.

All this ignoring that people can (and already are) voluntarily moving and balkanizing.

But in a sense I agree with the author- it wont be a national divorce (going from one to two units) but more of a breakup (going from one to many) that would happen.

This is a very interesting topic, but I must admit I don’t really understand the “divorce” metaphor. Sure, the country is alarmingly polarized… to the point where it’s not just a question of comfort but indeed survival, at least for conservatives. It does look a bit like an abusive relationship, I’ll grant that… but are there really only two parties here? What was the marriage? Who are the kids? Who’s the judge?

It seems like we’re talking about a pretty wide range of scenarios here, ranging from increased pushback against federal government encroachment into state and local authority (a long term trend now, with varying levels of conservative resistance the whole time)… all the way to secession and civil war. It would be helpful to be a little more precise, if we’re proposing solutions.

A few thoughts:

  1. There is definitely some demographic shift taking place already. I don’t have data handy, but I’m pretty sure we’re seeing
    • Flight of those with the means and ability (i.e. white-collar “knowledge workers”) from large (generally blue) cities to “zoom towns”. This telecommuting trend started in the 90s but really got a major boost from the Covid lockdowns. Real estate bubbles add to the pressure, especially for young families.
    • Political refugees fleeing the worst blue states for states with less repressive governments. Again, Covid policies seems like the biggest immediate cause at present: especially lockdowns, mask mandates, and now even more with the vax mandates. Lots of other bad trends in big blue cities too, but these touch nearly everyone.
  2. On the other hand, there has been a long-term trend toward urbanization, driven first by the consolidation of agriculture and then by the loss of manufacturing jobs under the globalization regime. These economic trends have technological and political causes. International tariffs and trade are a federal thing; it’s hard to do much about that at a state level without completely reworking the inter-state commerce arrangement.
  3. The political breakup of the US would have massive global repercussions, even if it could happen without violent conflict. I would not look forward to living in some fragment of a balkanized former superpower… sounds like Europe at best, ex-USSR more likely. I bet the CCP would be thrilled to see that happen!
  4. The country is already majority red. It’s “only” gerrymandering, poor organization on the right, endemic corruption in government (on both sides of the hall, if we’re being fair), a crumbling and desperate propaganda media apparatus, and outright election fraud that keeps the federal situation as bad as it is. So maybe we should try to fix that stuff first?
  5. The really bad news: as @NateFischer points out, the totalitarian left is engaged in cultural revolution. They’ve been at this for a long time already, and they understand the stakes. They will never be satisfied with any form of “live and let live”, except perhaps as a temporary stratagem. To retreat from contested turf is to admit defeat. Who’s going to enforce the national restraining order?
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I think you’re right with these concerns, and I’m not sure divorce is the best analogy even if there is some sort of breakup. In practice, we’re almost certainly much better off if we can force a degree of federalism without full breakup—which requires red states gain the power (and the will) to do so. However, as you note, trade/immigration are still federal issues, and central to our challenges today, so either we’ll have to see broader agreement on these (not impossible I think, even if for differing reasons) or some modification of current limits of state authority.

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@MaxO 's apt #5 is why most of the current discourse on national divorce feels so superficial and unproductive. The epistemic divide is real (one geographical nation, entirely different factual approaches and semantics), and the Left believes it has the right to force compliance on every policy while flagrantly lying as to its rationale. @NateFischer’s emphasis on federalism makes more sense than theoretical discussions about how to break up a marbled red/blue country when most remain oblivious to the real problems.

It’s already underway, it’s just a matter of terms. Once you break free of the desire to appease the Left, you see the need for things like New Founding. DeSantis is out in front of this politically, and others are lagging behind, for understandable reasons. What is Texas’ real obligation to the union when it won’t protect the border, and when it spends recklessly on horrible ideas while Texas tries to live within its means? Why not just end the evil of abortion where you can? Stop worrying about declaring and designing divorce, and find ways to protect what matters. Alignments will develop that we can’t anticipate yet, and if these return sufficient power to those who love the country and want to live in peace, attracting a lot of liberals, then remaining united may be possible on real terms. If the totalitarian Left gains further control, just stop playing by their rules and paying for their corruption. They want to raise taxes to 90% to pay for fantasies? Fine. Texas (for example) won’t. Other states will follow.

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