In Europe’s case, the motor for secession is ethnicity. In America, however, it’s a politics turned toxic. The 2012 election encouraged the idea that the U.S. is split into two camps that are politically and culturally alien and with opposing economic needs. Mitt Romney’s infamous formula of the 47% (reiterated in his equally ugly post-election remarks about “gifts”) played upon an old idea that one half of the country feeds off the taxes paid by the other half.
Secessionists are likely to be those who see themselves as disadvantaged by the redistributive federal state: as taxpayers bled dry by freeloaders, and businesspeople penalized by liberal regulation. WKRG-TV found an eccentric example of that when it interviewed the founder of the Alabama petition and discovered that he was furious at the government for shutting down his topless car wash: “He said he was arrested and charged with obscenity by city officials in 2001. ‘The government ripped my business away, and now they’re choking America to death with rules and regulations,’ he said.”
But the 2012 election introduced the idea that the welfare-recipient minority is now the majority. A common theme in conservative post-election analysis is that the Democrats now have an unbeatable coalition of ethnic minorities, single women and socially liberal youth that is turning the U.S. into a European social democracy. (Mark Steyn: “Tuesday’s results demonstrate that, as a whole, the American electorate is trending very Euro-Canadian.”) If that is the consensus among the conservative talking heads, then it’s rational for conservative grass-roots activists to conclude that the only viable future for the conservative minority is to form its own country.
It’s unclear whether Stanley agrees with the sentiment or whether he’s merely coalescing the sentiment expressed by some many of the Diapered Brigade of Keyboard Kommandoes that “We lost, so we’re taking our ball and going home.”
The notion that there are makers and takers is uniquely conservative. You don’t hear liberals talking much about overachievement, except in the concept of ubergreed, which in truth should be a Christianist position, too. After all, Jesus railed against the moneylenders and the wealthy, and didn’t spend much time talking about capital gains tax.
Indeed, I’ve argued in the past that if Jesus knew about the income tax and the power of democracy, he’d insist on a 90% tax rate with everyone getting food, clothing, and shelter for free. You know, “render unto Caesar.” Jesus lived in a time when tyranny was acceptable. His own life suggests a rebellion against that tyranny, but that tyranny was imposed by a ruling class and in particular, a single family.
It was correct to rebel against that, just as it was correct to rebel against England back in the 1700s.
Now? It’s childish. It’s something a baby does when Mommy or Daddy makes them go to bed early for misbehaving.
Stanley defends conservatives. I do not, for they have brought this upon themselves, the wrath of the American people, by finding only bad in this country while never espousing a growing together. This is traitorous, as triatorous as taking a pledge to a single man — Grover Norquist — as more important than either your oath of office or the Pledge of Allegiance. So here’s what I propose for liberals.
I’m drawing a line in the sand. I will not cross that line, but I will extend my hand and assist any conservative who will at least draw closer to the line, if not cross it and become an American again. We can talk, but only when you stop shouting.