It’s About the Power, Stupid

After years of Rush Limbaugh and his media offspring deriding their opponents as whiners, sore losers and grievance-mongers, could proponents of secession—Limbaugh, paragon of courage, is only predicting it, not advocating it—do the rest of us the courtesy of at least stating their grievance and explaining its magnitude? Secession is largely a sideshow, or was, until the state chair of a major political party—Allen West, who heads the Republican Party in Texas—was for it before he was against it. The proximate cause of West’s suggestion that “law-abiding states” should consider “form[ing] a Union of states that will abide by the … Continue reading It’s About the Power, Stupid

Secessionist Chic

Intellectuals on the right have primed conservatives for secessionist thinking with their attacks on democratic processes, their attacks on liberals, and numerous ideas about the need for separate conservative communities and spaces. After four years of Trump, I find many things about the American political landscape disorienting, and this includes recent gestures towards secession on the right. When Rush Limbaugh suggests that he believes that “there can’t be peaceful coexistence between conservatives and liberals” and that “the US is trending towards secession,” is it something to take seriously?   On the one hand, the answer seems clear: no, not really. Limbaugh … Continue reading Secessionist Chic

Secessionism is Baked Into the American System

There has never been a moment in American history without its secessionists. That makes sense. We have always valorized popular sovereignty in the United States, but we’ve never lived under conditions conducive to it. Specifically, this country has always been so big and so diverse that meaningful popular sovereignty is not possible on a national level. I love what Nathaniel Hawthorne once said: this country is “too vast by far to be taken into one small human heart.” Americans believe that “we the people” deserve to govern, but in practice it is hard for any individual person – or group … Continue reading Secessionism is Baked Into the American System