You hear people talk about seceding from the Union occasionally, let’s explore that just for fun.
I’m not specifically for or against any state seceding from the US, I just think it would be an interesting mental exercise to ask ourselves, what if?
What if one state, or several states, decided to be their own country? Sure, we had the Civil War when it happened before, but that doesn’t mean that’s how it would play out again. Slavery’s no longer an issue but there’s plenty of other things that could divide us–abortion, gun rights, health care, the separation of church and state, etc.
When the South seceded from the Union in the 1800’s, they formed one whole other country, the Confederacy. There’s no guarantee that any group of seceded states now would all get together and form one other country–they might decide to go their separate ways.
Texas is big enough and Texans are arrogant enough to want to be their own country. Alaska is also pretty durn big, and geographically isolated from the rest, and they might also choose to go their own way. In the old South, the states that seceded were all next to each other and so forming the same country wasn’t as problematic as putting Texas and Alaska in the same nation.
Maybe the other Southern states would stick together as before. Or maybe they’d splinter over regional and political differences.
So. Let’s assume we’ve got more than one country going, the United States of America, and one or more spin-off countries. Now what?
Whoever secedes is going to have to do the hard work of building the bureaucratic infrastructure for a whole new country. I imagine that a place like the Republic of Texas would just use the state capitol of Austin for its capitol, and other states would use their own existing capitols.
If a state or states secedes and doesn’t make any attempt to replace the work of the federal government, would those places still be safe? Would there still be enough cops to go around, or enough money to fix the roads? Would the schools still be funded? What about all the people on Social Security and Medicare in the seceded states–would they still get that, or would they have to live on whatever their neighbors felt like helping them out with?
I could see some places becoming pretty lawless and dangerous. You can’t just assume that if South Carolina declares itself a “Christian nation”, that all its citizens are good Christians who wouldn’t ever commit a crime.
I suspect that whichever nation has the best educated populace will do better. I say this with absolutely no clue as to which nation that would be. Sure, the Blue Staters like to think they’re smarter, being less attached to believing in a fake guy named “God”, and it’s easy to laugh at a few pictures of misspelled protest signs by Southerners, but that doesn’t mean that Blue State people are all that intelligent. There’s plenty of dumbass to go around up North, you know there is.
I just cringe whenever I see someone in a comment page on the Internet somewhere saying “Sarah Palin is a stupid bitch” or some other such childish statement; to me, it says, “I’m too dumb to talk about real issues, I’d rather just call people names.” If this is a sample of how intelligent the Blue Staters are, we have a problem.
The South (or whoever), on the other hand, might just feel a tiny bit inferior and decide to fund their schools really well, and while the Northerners are patting themselves on the back about their supposed superiority, they might forget to actually do the hard work of educating people.
I’m not sure who would win the “brain battle” on that one, but if I was governing a state that was thinking of seceding, I’d start promoting education. Even if you didn’t believe in the school “system” and would rather have everyone homeschool their kids (and not everyone wants to do that), you’d be better off giving the homeschooler families some money to help them buy books, as well as to help them survive so their parents have some time to educate them instead of just working all the time.
If you’d prefer to go with the traditional school system, you’d still do well to kick some money to the families, so your students have warm clothes and good food to eat, making it more likely that they would learn their lessons well and grow up smart.
‘Course, that sounds a lot like welfare and so maybe nothing like that would pass…but if they called it “investing in our future” or “investing in our new nation” it might have a chance. It seems obvious to me that if you want a really top notch nation, you’re going to have to invest in your children.
(So, when we “reformed” welfare till it was almost abolished, what does that say about the future of the United States? Are we a stronger country now for having taken support away from our kids?)
Now, like I said, I’m in Hawaii, and it’s nice, but I don’t plan on living here forever. But I don’t know for sure where I’d move to when I do go, so I’m really up in the air about whether it would be better to move to Texas, or Oregon, or wherever. I’m kinda thinking out loud here.
Blue States have medical marijuana, and not so much crushing emphasis on religion, and better weather, so I lean towards those…but…if this health care reform bill goes through, mandating everyone to buy health insurance with no public option, then Texas starts looking really good.
I mean, if we’re going to have a nation where the government forces you to buy something, anything, from a certain industry, then where will it stop? Will you be required to buy a car (and insurance) as part of a “transportation reform” package? (“Public transportion is socialist! Let’s have an individual mandate instead!”) Will you be required to buy the services of a security guard rental company instead of relying on the state to provide police? What’s going to happen to the people who can’t afford to buy all that mandated stuff?
I think they’d end up in the South, where (I’m assuming) there wouldn’t be any such requirement. Sure, you might still die with no health care, but you wouldn’t have the government waiting to seize all your money for refusing to buy insurance.
I picture all the poor people moving to the South and the richer people staying up North, and the Southerners having to cross the border to look for work. The Northerners will hire the cheap Southern labor, treat them like second class citizens, and deport them back home when they’re no longer useful. Sound familiar?
I’m not sure any one state has the balls or the energy to really secede. It’d be a lot of damn work. You’d have to be really motivated. You don’t build a new nation by calling the other one names. You have to protect your people, and educate your kids, and take care of the dependent, and all those boring details.
Ya know, if we were really motivated to build up a nation, we could just try to build up the one we’ve got. Just saying.
Footnote about the situation in Hawaii: Now, I’m in Hawaii, and I’ve heard there’s a “secession” movement here, but in reality, Hawaii has a “sovereignty” movement, a totally different kettle of fish. Hawaii was a monarchy before it was a territory, and then a state; the territory was forcibly seized by a committee of white guys (who weren’t even military at all) who commanded the Marines to depose Queen Lili’uokalani.
The Queen kept her cool and hoped to reason with the President of the US, since the takeover was so blatantly illegal, but no help came from Washington for the Hawaiians. I’d tell you more but I don’t want to bog down this blog entry in details. Go read her wikipedia entry and/or “Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen” and you’ll see what happened. Makes you embarrassed to be white. Like we need more of those stories.
The problem that Hawaii would face if it split off from the Union would be that some other bigger country would want to come in and take it over, in order to have the base in the Pacific. The Japanese have already expressed an interest, way back in ’41…who else might decide to take it by force? That’s why I suspect Hawaii would be better off remaining part of the United States at this point in history.