“Whatever faith I might have in the perfectibility of man, until human nature is altered, and men wholly transformed,” Which of course would take Christian faith, “I shall refuse to believe in the duration of a government which is called upon to hold together 40 different peoples, disseminated over a territory equal to one half of Europe in extent. To avoid all rivalry, ambition, and struggles between them, and to direct their independence according to the accomplishment of the same design. But the greatest peril to which the Union is exposed by its increase arises from the continual changes which take place in the position of his internal strength.”Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de TocquevilleWe are facing a choice here in the good old USof A., and not just the clown show masquerading as a presidential election.
Look, our period where you could posit an idea of "American Exceptionalism", without being laughed at, has gone past its pull date. We had a good run as a constitutional republic, won a couple of good sized wars, and then proceeded to make hay with our industrial and resource bases intact and selling everything hand over fist. We here have had a good run during my lifetime.
But things are in the process of changing. I am hoping for, and tend to guess that, We are looking long slow decline ahead. Unfortunately however, the possibility of a rabid fall is significant enough to pay attention, and the chance of defying entropy and continuing an upward climb is slim indeed.
It is the same choice that the rest of the world faces. We can try for the perfectibility of the entire world, where all are brought to a common level and human needs are taken care of and people everywhere are ruled by a rational philosopher king. Plato had a great idea 2,400 years ago, but the truth appears to be that it it is a great idea that just didn't pan out.
I genuinely think and feel that the United States will have to change radically. I think that the easiest way to come to grips with the change will be a dissolution of the Union. The Union itself has become burdened by its own weight and the additional weight of its perceived goals.
But what is scaring me the most is how people will handle the process. Because the process will insist upon the purging of some of our most cherished dreams and even more importantly, or self delusions.
I think that hardest one to purge will be the "We are the greatest". I have never seen the attraction of this. When a person does it, he is an ass. Trash-talk has become ingrained in our culture. But truth is, whether or not we are the greatest is now subject to grave doubt.
The next hardest part will be the fragmentation of the mass market and the commensurate damage to the grossly swollen corporations that now sit astride the economics of the country and the world. These entities are very powerful at the current moment, and I don't see them responding to the diminution of their power with any significant grace.
Finally, there will be loss of the manufactured dreams of comfort offered by overweening set of ideals and beliefs that motivate the actions of Americans in this peculiar period in time. Being taken down a notch or two is never pretty, and the usual response is rage and a counterattack. Mature self-reflection is not one of mankind's strong suits.
I don't really like the choices arrayed in front of me. I really don't see this coming off well. I think that there a 50:50 chance that I will pass before we as a country will have to take one of the crappy choices on offer. But I can't really see what impact that I might have on the outcome. My views are too unpleasant and the vision that I see for the future too far away from the desires of the “common clay”.
So, the best vision that I can offer is that of smaller political entities.
- The Dixie South,
- The Atlantic North,
- the Midwest encompassing the Mississippi drainage above Louisiana,
- Texas by its lonesome,
- California and the Colorado drainage, and
- the Columbia River drainage
I am not saying that this will be good. There is going to be a lot of pain pissed down. But these are manageable entities. They all have solid internal lines of communication, they all have a somewhat cohesive cultural structure, they all have adequate agriculture. The populations sizes and densities vary sufficiently to allow differing experiments to be allowed on how to deal with the world facing us.
A lot of these experiments will fail, but that needs to be known as well. Right now we are forcing untested single systems onto too big a body-politic. I ask you to consider this question:
How would an educated person in 450 AD in what was remaining of the Roman Empire know that a Dark Age was coming?