In polling conducted by Bright Line Watch and YouGov last month, Americans across the country were asked the following survey question: “Would you support or oppose [your state] seceding from the United States to join a new union with [list of states in new union]?” Based upon respondents’ answers to this poll, somewhere between 32% and 44% of each geographic region’s population support secession in the United States.
Article by J.B. Shurk from NOQ Report.
In the South, 66% of Republicans and 50% of non-affiliated independents believe their region should break away from the federal government. Similarly, 47% of Democrats in the Pacific region and 39% of Democrats in the Northeast support seceding from the Union. Bright Line Watch attempts to frame these results with a warning: “[W]e caution that this survey item reflects initial reactions by respondents about an issue that they are very unlikely to have considered carefully.” The Western Journal, which reported on the “staggering” numbers, suggests that, had the question of secession been put more bluntly — such as, “Do you want a Civil War?” — the “numbers would surely have been much lower.”
What if both Bright Line Watch and The Western Journal are being too optimistic? Is it not entirely possible that in one of the most divisive eras in U.S. history, Americans have actually “considered carefully” the issue of secession? Is it not also possible, given the daily bloodlust encouraged by blue-check authoritarians on Twitter against their political enemies, that the idea of violent war might sound even more appealing to some than an uneventful and peaceful parting of the ways among the states? What if Joe Biden’s threat to use nuclear weapons and F-15s against American citizens to prevent pushback against the federal government only convinces more Americans that dissolution of the Union is not only inevitable but also necessary to save lives?
If Americans could be guaranteed a peaceful breakup, would those in favor of secession skyrocket past 90%, or have the bitter divisions separating Americans become so cancerous that the prospects for political amputation and bloodshed aren’t even blips on their radar anymore? Whether Americans are salivating for Civil War or are willing to prevent one by preemptively separating into smaller political units, the growing national mood toward secession shouldn’t be discounted.
We’ve been here before. Two hundred and fifty years ago, neither King George III nor the British Parliament anticipated that American colonists would engage in Civil War against their “Mother Country.” In 1763, colonial militia and British regulars were still jointly engaged in combat against the French on the American frontier at the tail end of the Seven Years’ War. By 1775, they would be fighting each other at the Battles of Lexington and Concord and then Bunker Hill. What happened during those consequential twelve years that changed the course of history? Probably the most succinct answer is this: ordinary Americans began seeing the Crown’s power over their lives as morally illegitimate.
The colonies had enjoyed a high degree of self-governance and autonomy since their inception, but the British Parliament determined that it was high time for the colonies to pay their “fair share” for maintaining the British Empire. Instead of finding the end of the French and Indian War a financial boon, Americans found themselves on the receiving end of the Sugar Act in ’64, the Stamp Act of ’65, and the Townsend Acts of ’67, all of which insinuated the Crown into the normal course of colonial trade with unexpected tax demands and odious regulations.
When the British moved troops from Halifax to Boston in 1768 to assert control over “noisy patriots” in Massachusetts — an action that contemporary historian Mercy Otis Warren deemed would be “mark[ed] with infamy” nearly two centuries before FDR lifted her phrase — more and more Americans began to resent British authority. Being taxed without proper representation in Parliament was bad enough, but enduring egregious violations of the Standing Army Act while British troops intimidated colonists through outright occupation caused many Americans to question the very foundations of the Crown’s jurisdiction over them. The heavy-handedness of the British in response to colonial resistance led directly to the Boston Massacre in 1770.
After Parliament passed another tax in the form of the Tea Act in ’73 and the Sons of Liberty held a little Tea Party in its honor, Parliament threw down the gauntlet with the Intolerable Acts in ’74 — coercive laws that were meant primarily to punish Massachusetts for its rebelliousness but ended up galvanizing all thirteen colonies against a common tormentor. A “shot heard round the world” a short time later, and the world order changed forever.
Now look at the last twenty years in the United States through a similar lens. After a surprise attack by Islamic terrorists at the beginning of the millennium, Americans of all stripes united to fight a common foe. National debt used to finance the effort spiraled out of control, and in order to maintain the government’s unsustainable budgets, the Federal Reserve began indirectly taxing poor and middle class Americans by engaging in the unprecedented use of quantitative easing to print dollars on demand.
Over time, the war against Islamic terrorism mutated into a war on generic “terrorism” which morphed into an asinine war on “extremism” abroad before inexplicably becoming a war on “extremism” here at home. At the same time, the very tools created by Congress and President Bush to fight enemies abroad — the Patriot Act, Homeland Security, FISA Court surveillance — became tools used to spy on and target American citizens at home. When Obama and the Democrats used the 2008 financial crisis to shove Obamacare down Americans’ throats against their will, Americans revolted by voting the bums out in 2010.
When that didn’t work, they sent a complete outsider to the White House to take on the federal government’s entrenched corruption in 2016. Again, the permanent government in D.C. undermined the peoples’ vote first by engaging in a fraudulent disinformation campaign to frame the sitting president as a Russian agent and then engaging in a fraudulent election in 2020 by unconstitutionally injecting unverified mail-in ballots into the vote in violation of state law. Finally, when Americans held another Tea Party to protest for “free and fair” representation, the federal government threw down the gauntlet by arresting and intimidating “noisy patriots” en masse.
Two hundred and fifty years ago, when the British Parliament lost legitimacy, Thomas Paine provided the framework for a new American legitimacy based on Natural Law, individual liberty, and the consent of those governed. The Declaration of Independence and a new nation emerged from that framework. One wonders whether history will repeat yet again.
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