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16 August 2004

Breaking up the empire

God's ex-Boyfriend's post, Abe Lincoln Was Wrong, is very interesting in its proposition - that it was not a good thing that the outcome of the American Civil War was an enduring union. He has a very thorough demonstration of why bigger is not better when it comes to democracy, and that all the regional tensions that were there in the Civil War are still with us and more, and also that slavery would probably have been abolished even if the South "won", and without the vicious backlash that Reconstruction brought. All of which I agree with. But then he proposes fixing it, by a utopian scheme of voluntary break-up of the US into five nation-states.
This is my response to the idea, as I posted in a comment:

Interesting idea - I have two quibbles, one small and one big. The small one is I think Maryland should be in the South (read Countee Cullen's poem "Baltimore") The big one is that this isn't going to happen - because it would a) increase democracy (which the powerful don't want) and b) destroy a currently ruling empire. I don't think you can gloss over such a major fact of our present geopolitical situation by talking of "realignments". Just like Rome before it, the US started out as provincial republic and as it grew in power and wealth, it shrank in personal freedoms and personal integrity for its citizens. There is some inexorable force of history at work here, and I expect the demise of the American empire will follow a similar path to that of the Roman: barbarians at the gates, scary cults, the triumph of anarchy, and a slowly encroaching cultural dark age.
That's if the environmental apocalypse doesn't make the whole question moot.

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