Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hey hey, ho ho, we might just have to get up and go

In the last chapter of an obviously dense but well-written book audaciously entitled A Short History of the World, author Alex Woolf, holding his lituus, notes that "the concept of the nation-state is itself under threat from the ever-growing forces of globalization". I suspect that statement would've met with a lot more credulity in 1994 than it does today. In his defense, the book was published in 2008. Just the intervening six years have been full of evidence enough to give pause to anyone confidently asserting as much.

Using Ipsos-Reuters' interactive public polling site that allows users to create their own cross-tabs shows that, in 2014, the percentages of respondents who either "tend to support" or "strongly support" the idea of their "state peacefully withdrawing from the USA and the federal government" by age range is as follows:

Age%Secede
18-2938.8
30-3928.0
40-4924.0
50-5921.4
60+15.3

The trend is clear. Younger Americans are less attached to the idea of the United States as a unified political body. Their parents and grandparents were part of something on the rise, something that could boast of heroic achievements like winning world wars and putting men on the moon. Now they see a country where the greatest rewards are given to those who create ever-more engrossing ways to impotently navel-gaze and the importance of achievement is of a distant secondary importance to the identity of the person or group doing the putative achieving.

Keep in mind that this survey data is from 2014, not a year like 2004 when a Republican was in the White House. Indeed, Republicans are more inclined towards secession than Democrats (30.0% and 16.8%, respectively) are, yet the correlation between entertaining ideas of secession and a person's age run in the opposite direction of the correlation between a person's age and his political orientation.

Put in another way, 46.0% of Republicans aged 18-29--almost half of the cohort--support the idea of secession. Secession is more of a generational issue than a partisan one. While only 23.9% of Republicans aged 60 and older like the thought of the country breaking up, 34.0% of Democrats aged 18-29 do.

As the country becomes increasingly economically, linguistically, socially, and culturally diverse, there is less and less to hold the people inside this geographically-defined entity together. Approval ratings for virtually all federal agencies and organizations save for the military are perpetually in the toilet irrespective of which party controls the legislative or executive branches of government. The US is way too big and too disparate to make much sense as anything other than a conveniently large free trade zone today, anyway.

I find this quite encouraging. Salt-of-the-earth Americans need to defend themselves against the actions of wealthy elites who intentionally create incentives and disincentives to push undesirables out of their artificially expensive and restrictive residences and into middle-American suburbs while simultaneously browbeating those same middle-America denizens for not grabbing their ankles like good bitches and ushering in the ruin of their communities and resisting being forced to decide whether to let their kids share classrooms with budding thugs aspiring for criminality or take out a second mortgage to send their children to private schools when a decade prior their public schools were something the community could be and was proud of.

Fuck California, fuck Illinois, and most especially, fuck Washington DC. They're dead broke. They've made tons of promises they can't keep. They made their beds, now let them lie in those beds. Become a new barbarian, because the state doesn't represent you or your interests.

5 comments:

Jokah Macpherson said...

Nobody's seceding from the United States in the foreseeable future. Even Scotland, a nation dating back centuries, decided the UK wasn't so bad. The only states in the US that approach mono-ethnicity are populated by either Congregationalist or Protestant German descendants that are pretty good at getting along with others.

Interesting question, though: if someone did somehow decide to secede, is there a war or do they get to vote like Scotland?

Audacious Epigone said...

No, but the seed has been planted in viable soil, and the growing conditions are going to become more and more conducive to it sprouting in the future. To mix metaphors, that's the direction the wind is blowing, and it's a(n anti-) global wind at that.

As for blocking secession with force, it'd be a PR disaster. I suspect there'd be a lot of soldier/police defections a la the French revolution.

BehindTheLines said...

Wow! I had no ides this trendline existed. The breakup of the United States would be a truly sad event, but I would rather see the healthy pieces break off than for the whole country to go into the toilet.

Most people in the military are red-staters, so that makes it less likely that you could forcibly keep states in the Union against their will.

We are a long way yet from secession, but at one point Scotland was a long way from secession. Now. it's a short way.

Patrick Henry said...

I wonder if young people in general are more adventurous. And the older you get, the more established you are and the more you have to lose.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, older people have a lot invested: a home tying them down, a job they may not like but aren't comfortable leaving, the promise of an underfunded Ponzi scheme they paid into their whole lives that can only be kept afloat by inflation and the influx of new immigrants. The idea of America as a nation is paid lip service to, but we're far from a nation because the founding culture's influence has waned to the point where schools and streets are being renamed in the name of "cultural sensitivity", and people are even floating the idea of changing the names of any city (including Washington,DC) named after a slave-owning founder. Older Americans are holding onto, and dreaming of restoring, an America that no longer exists. Younger Americans don't have the same sentimental attachment, for the most part.