Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, The Other McCain, Bacon Time and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links! If I’ve missed any other weekly linkbacks, please let me know in the comments and I’ll start adding you to our Monday acknowledgements.
I found this late last week and thought it was worth a bit of discussion. Excerpt:
2020 marked an epoch in American history, standing alongside 1865, 1787, and 1776. First there was the COVID-19 pandemic, then there were the racial protests and riots throughout the summer, and then there was the disputed presidential election. Finally and most cataclysmically, though, 2020 witnessed the initial formation of the United American Counties (UACo) within the former United States of America. Five years later, it is only now becoming possible to assess the most important causes and consequences of this momentous development for American political society.
As with most politically revolutionary events, the Declaration of UACo Independence was almost entirely unforeseen before it occurred, but almost inevitable in hindsight. By the early 2010s two things were clear: (1) Americans had become increasingly polarized in their worldviews and political beliefs; and (2) These polarized halves of the U.S. were increasingly sorting themselves into either urban or suburban/rural areas. Trump’s election in 2016 put a spotlight on these political realities; as Trump frequently boasted, the 2016 electoral map looked like a sea of red surrounding islands of blue. In 2020, that situation was essentially unchanged.
97% of land area in the U.S. constituted rural counties. Trump’s support within these counties was high and enthusiastic both in 2016 and 2020. Within the remaining 3% of the geographical U.S.—the big cities—anti-Trump sentiment was equally high and enthusiastic.
The 2020 election was the perfect storm for a confrontation between these two factions. It looked like Trump was winning on election day, and then the mail-in ballots handed an apparent victory to Biden. Although widespread electoral fraud wasn’t uncovered by the protracted legal investigation that followed, the die had been cast. Trump and his supporters thought the election had been stolen, and that Trump was the legitimate president of the U.S.
I’m not convinced such a sorting would work. There are too many people in both regions that think they have some authority to tell other folks what to think and how to act. But more than that, a nation, to be a nation, has to have some common fundamental principles; this scenario seems to sidestep that, assuming that we can still have open trade and mutual support in a wildly fragmented area with a stark rural/urban divide not only in culture but also in government.
Here’s the conclusion:
In 2025, just five short years after the tumultuous period of 2020-21, we seem to have entered a new era of American peace and prosperity. Relieved from the incessant tension of trying to reconcile fundamentally irreconcilable worldviews under a common government, polarized American society has achieved a kind of equilibrium. Common moral and political principles are once again able to provide the foundation for productive debate and coherent public policy within both the UACo and the UACi. The freedom of economic exchange and personal movement between the two has facilitated the growth of new ties of continental friendship where before there was polarization and enmity.
It may still be too early to pronounce judgment on the new political situation in the former U.S. But so far, looking back on 2020 seems to confirm the old proverb: It’s always darkest just before the dawn.
How long would “freedom of economic exchange and personal movement” last when one of the two divisions descends into open socialism? Can anyone doubt that many of our major cities, with no moderating influence from sharing statehood with the outlying, more conservative areas, would quickly descend into just this?
I think this scenario is untenable. If there is going to be a separation, it’s going to have to be final, and along some defined geographic lines. Otherwise we’ll have one of two outcomes: Open civil war and the end of the United States at a stroke, or a sputtering low-level conflict, resulting in the end of the United States in a slow, lingering death.