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« Cloud Computing | Main | Quote for the Day »

September 05, 2008

Un-PC Reading 3: Secession

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Tyler Cowen raises a charged topic: secession. Commenters pitch in zestily.

No idea why, but I've been thinking about secession myself recently. For no particular reason -- election season, maybe? -- I've found myself wondering, If the U.S. should break up, would I grieve? If Vermont, say, were to secede, would it bug me? Would I object? I don't think I would. And I say this as someone who's very fond of the U.S.

The question, of course, is: Which U.S.?

As that bard of Western NY Bill Kauffman says: "I love the old republic, and I hate the American Empire." The America of McCain and Obama can fall into a million pieces as far as I'm concerned. It's the people and communities that I care about -- and they might well do better for themselves by leaving the Empire.

Bonus points:

As far as I've been able to tell, the dean of secessionism is the Emory philosophy professor Donald Livingston, who presents history as a story of the centralizers vs. the decentralizers. If it matters: I've listened to a number of Livingston podcasts and I've read a number of his essays, and I find his accounts convincing and his arguments compelling. In any case: well worth a wrestle. Sample Livingston's podcasts here. As for essays, try here and here. A nice passage from one of them:

Talk about secession makes Americans nervous. For many it evokes images of the Civil War, and is emotionally (if not logically) tied to slavery, war, and anarchy. That the word “secession” is laden with these negative connotations should be surprising since America was born in an act of secession. The Declaration of Independence is a secession document justifying an act whereby "one people...dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another." George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson were secessionists. Americans should be the last people in the world embarrassed by the thought of secession.

Previous installments in this Un-PC Reading series are here, here, and here.

Thanks to Dave Lull for some of the above links, and to commenter Anon, who points out that a new tract by paleo-antifeminist F. Roger Devlin has been posted.

Best,

Michael

UPDATE: Dave Lull emails me a link to an LATimes piece claiming that Sarah Palin may have some sympathies with secessionism.

posted by Michael at September 5, 2008




Comments

I am astounded by the breadth of issues that interest you, Michael.

This secession business... why?

America is so astonishingly successful and rich. To me, this screams: Our forefathers were right! Success of the kind that America enjoys is its own justification. Clearly, the unity of the 50 states plays an enormous role in this success. I revere Abraham Lincoln precisely because he preserved the union. Why would you want to deconstruct the legend of the Great Emancipator? It is the right story to tell our young men. Whether or not the story is literally true is immensely irrelevant.

I know that you like to dare to think the unthinkable. Why? What use is that? It seems to appeal to you as a form of play.

I still think of myself as an Illinoisan, and I also think of myself as a Californian and a New Yorker. The colossal political and economic power of the U.S. is a wonderful thing. I am thrilled that San Francisco, Portland, New Orleans, New York City and Chicago all belong, in some small way, to me.

You seem to resent bitterly the cost of our success as a union. Here, I think that we're getting into your dislike of the cost of raising children. Just as many of my gay friends do, you seem to thoroughly resent paying for children who are not yours. And, you seem to resent paying for the price of America's success... we are the only legitimate superpower. In both instances, I think that the cost is worthwhile.

Here, we also get into those men's issues. Black men, in general, seem to be thrilled with the prospect of wielding power and authority. Liberal, educated white men seem to shrink from the responsibility of wielding power as if it were a curse.

I'd like to see white men go in the other direction... embracing fathering children, wielding power and confidently asserting our values throughout the world. Hell, I'd like to see white men return to the athletic arena with the furious, murderous desire to win that black men carry.

This issue is overwhelmingly an expression of your personality. It puzzles me. I can't relate at all. Why ponder the destruction of something so enormously successful and beneficial? Why shrug off the opportunity to rule the world? Why turn your back on children and the future?

It takes all kinds. You are clearly a very likeable man, Michael, but I can't for the life of me understand why this stuff appeals to you. The collapse of confidence, desire and ego in white men who were the sons of those World War II vets is an astonishing phenomenon. How could things fall apart so quickly?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on September 5, 2008 6:43 AM



It's taken me ages to realise that someone ought to write a book on the "American constitution" - the patchwork of law, convention, judicial and presidential putsch and whim by which you are governed. They should contrast that with the "American Constitution", the historical artefact that you are all taught to worship.

Posted by: dearieme on September 5, 2008 6:59 AM



Dearieme, we are never taught to worship the Constitution, only the First Amendment. And, "No", I am not trying to be funny.

Posted by: Usually Lurking on September 5, 2008 9:55 AM



Having grown up in the Chicago area I have always thought that Chicago should secede from the US. Chicago gets absolutely nothing out of being part of the United States. It is a city that is the same size as Paris and is within the top 10 world financial capitols but the influence it has in this country is negligible. It is the 8th or 9th US destination of foriegn tourists so it has some impact overseas but it has to live in the shadow of blowhard (no offense!) cities like Los Angeles and New York. More inportantly it loses out in federal pork to the sunbelt to the tune of every dollar leaving Chicago, in taxes etc., that goes into the federal treasury, Chicago gets about .05 cnets back. The Sunbelt, on the other hand, the figure is inverted - for every dollar $5 comes back.

Posted by: Robert on September 5, 2008 10:36 AM



As I've said on my blog, if the American empire were to break up, it would be the best thing that has happened for freedom world wide since the breakup of the soviet union.

Posted by: Lester Hunt on September 5, 2008 10:48 AM



I love the idea of the US and it's 50 states, but I also wouldn't mind one bit if my state of California broke off from the Union. Every time I do some interstate travel, I realize the rest of the country is basically foreign to me.

Posted by: JV on September 5, 2008 10:51 AM



That Vermont web page is very interesting. I recommend people take a look at it.

Posted by: Lester Hunt on September 5, 2008 10:58 AM




STOP THE PRESSES!

I submit that no discussion of the literature of secession is complete without a mention of Jane Jacobs in general, and her wonderful book, "The Question of Separatism" (1980), in particular. I finally got around to reading the book last year.

While the secession that Jacobs is focusing on is the proposed secession of Quebec from Canada, she actually discusses a whole variety of secessionist movements, some peaceful, most not. The one that she discusses in greatest detail, if I remember correctly, is the peaceful secession of Norway (?) from Sweden (?) in the early part of the 20th Century. (I don’t own a copy, but borrowed a library copy.)

Jacobs has always been interested in political / organizational theory, even in her first major book, "Death and Life of Great American Cities." And comments about secessionist movements can be found here and there throughout most of her books and interviews. One of my favorites is found in a column by libertarian-ish New York Times writer, John Tierney (another favorite of mine) about the consolidation of New York City in 1898. He speculates, and Jacobs backs him up, that Brooklyn (and New York City) would likely have been better off if Brooklyn had remained a separate city and never consolidated with New York.

One of my other favorite Jacobs discussions regards “Balkanization,” which she argues (with far more detailed info than most) that Balkanization is actually a pretty thing and that somehow (through intellectual laziness?) it’s something that has gotten a bad name.

In sum, Jacobs has written more thoughtfully (and with lots more research) than most of the people I heard so far -- although I have yet to read many of the authors cited above (so I'll have to withhold judgment until I do).

Posted by: Benjamin Hemric on September 5, 2008 11:03 AM




Sorry about the cut and paste error in my previous post. One sentence should have read more like, “One of my other favorite Jacobs discussions regards “Balkanization,” which she argues (with far more detailed info than most) has actually been a pretty good thing and has somehow gotten (wrong intellectual filter?; intellectual laziness?) an unfair bad name.

P.S.: She has also argued against the economic "unification" of Europe, if I remember correctly, in books like "Cities and the Wealth of Nations."

Posted by: Benjamin Hemric on September 5, 2008 11:14 AM



Lordy, I agree with ST! The issue is whether white men give up and "secede" (in some sense they already have and are continuing to do so...childlessness, homosexuality, eternal adolescence...God ST is making more and more sense...what's wrong with me?) or whether they grow a set of stones (or more properly I think, a spine with which to stand up straight...any knuckledragging ghetto thug has a big set of testicular formations to swing around...it's that he's walking on all fours while doing it) and reasserting with confidence our place in a culture we've abandoned.

When alphas are dislodged, they tend not to slip into betaness, but go all the way down to the gammas and the omegas. When an alpha starts slipping, everybody else goes Nietszchean on him ("when you see something slipping, push it"). His apologies, accomodations, compromises simply fuel the rage and contempt of those who would replace him, and earn him no peace at all. No one feels sorry for the alpha who can't stand the pressure at the top. He slips up, he goes all the way down.

White men have got to realize we're not going to be making any friends by "seceding", which should in this analysis be seen as "abdicating". They'll just come after us, people. If we don't defend ourselves here and now, why would we suddenly be able to defend ourselves in some rural enclave? Won't happen.

White men are hated not because we're oppressive, but because we fail to behave with even a modicum of self-respect. Until we do, it'll go on being butt-monkey time for the Pale European Penis People. Spines aren't useful for running away. They're useful for taking a stand. Let's grow some, okay?

Posted by: PatrickH on September 5, 2008 11:18 AM



We ought to be discussing an amendment to the Constitution that spells out the procedure for parts of the country to secede peacefully, with due process. Of course there would be tremendous practical problems, but as long as there was an agreed-on set of rules, smaller "more perfect unions" — not perfect, just more perfect unions — might be formed.

What's the alternative? Since the '60s, there has been no United States that could meaningfully be called united, and no prospect for there ever to be one again. Do we have to live with an endless "culture war" that can never be "won" except by suppressing the other side (just as the liberal multi-culti establishment is trying to do)?

There seem to be only three possibilities: 1. A central government that resolves differences of worldview and values by dictating what may be expressed, in words or action; pretty much the present reality. 2. A Civil War II with real blood, no computer imaging effects. 3. The chance that two or more new nations can be formed to reflect and enfranchise different value systems.

Will the third possibility be hard to realize? Sure. Risky? Sure. Resolve all tensions? No. All those dilemmas are inherent in self-government. But several imperfect new experiments in self-government could be better than a centrally controlled state with a democratic facade that virtually no one identifies with.

Posted by: Rick Darby on September 5, 2008 12:12 PM



The thing is, if we had *true* federalism, of the kind contemplated in the Constitution, we wouldn't really need secession. The original powers of the Federal government were pretty limited. Of course, you'd still want to ban slavery and such at the state level, get rid of the great flaw of the original document.

The problem with secession is when someone gets an army, things can go all to hell. The Federal system still brings us a lot of benefits in terms of preventing civil war. Look at European history.

P.S. I also appreciate ST's comment above.

Posted by: MQ on September 5, 2008 12:53 PM



Impossibly Utopian. Show me an example of a state that broke up without disaster ensuing.

First would be economic disaster as each state had it's own trade policy & tariffs. The coastal regions are already wealthier, how much worse would it be for landlocked states if all their trade had to pass through now foreign countries? And what about air space?

Defense anyone? I suspect the response is "defense from whom?". Well nobody now, because we're so overwhelmingly strong that only nutjobs with nothing to lose will attack us. But if this country was divided who is silly enough to think it would stay that way? We have more than enough historical examples here.

How about the global depression that would follow the departure of the US Navy from the high seas? Imagine the violence while regional powers fight for control of their ocean space. They don't need it now, the US Navy takes care of it.

America guarantees the stability of the global economy, which we, all of us in the world, need for prosperity. If you want to live in a world that's getting poorer instead of richer, by all means lets break up the US.

Posted by: Todd Fletcher on September 5, 2008 2:05 PM



"Since the '60s, there has been no United States that could meaningfully be called united, and no prospect for there ever to be one again."

There's a lot of truth to this statement, and I have a feeling that we are going to be seeing an increase in the secession talk over the next few years, as both sides grow increasingly frustrated with the situation. All I can say is, be careful what you wish for - you might get it, and it's not going to be what you think it is. And as for world freedom blossoming in the absence of the "Empire" - if you can believe that, you can believe anything. But there's no need to speculate - we'll all know soon enough.

By the way, is it my imagination, or is this website getting more "paleo"?

Tschafer

Posted by: tschafer on September 5, 2008 2:18 PM



So America breaks itself into N smaller sovereign entities.

Entities that will be individually weak and eventually get gobbled up by a stronger, more ruthless, probably undemocratic power.

A not-unlikely alternative will be the turning of these mini-Americas into little Spartas, if they are serious about surviving.

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on September 5, 2008 3:29 PM



Michael:

The LA Times piece is a hatchet job by an abortion fanatic.

I live in the midst of the abortion obsessed white women. They are a grim, crazy bunch. Abortion is their religion.

Perhaps part of the explanation for the catastrophic collapse of white men can be found in this enthusiasm of white liberal women for murdering their own babies.

Why did so many white women become so fucking awful? Why did so many white men tell them that their fucking godawful desire to murder their own children was sexy and exciting?

The answer is that liberal white men jumped to the incredibly stupid conclusion that women would be more sexually available if we let them murder their babies at will.

You are an avid reader and promoter of Roissy, Michael, but you seem to have failed to see just how dramatically this system failed. Have you noticed how Roissy's blog is veering into ruthless cruelty?

Something has gone terribly wrong in the liberal white community. I'm not coming from outside. I'm part of it. The grim, bitter hatred of making babies that has taken over the liberal white community... what can I say? What kind of people detest the reproduction of their own kind?

This isn't the advent of a sexual Utopia. It's an expression of extreme self-loathing.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on September 5, 2008 3:36 PM



Besides, America's "Empire" doesn't really cost it much. Oh sure, the defense establishment is enormous, but most of that is in response to domestic considerations. America has a tiny-ish military in terms of its impact on society, its wars overseas aren't costly in terms of life (not anymore, and never really that much, at least compared to the Civil War), a fair amount of money is spent / squandered, but even that seems manageable. Nor are there any particular crises facing America because of its "Empire": the jihadist threat is laughably overblown, China is not a rival in any warmongering sense, the various crises involving Israel have very little to do with America's real interests overseas (more domestic politics). America has a sham "Empire", its wars are pissant, serious military threats almost zero, its foreign policy has only one really serious challenge in the resolution of trade and currency conflicts. Its crises are ginned up "special reports" cranked out by a bunch of newscasts that have to sell advertising space by scaring their viewers into thinking there's this "world in crisis", and who do this hocus-pocus put-up job by using fast-cut camerawork, split screens, a lot of rough-and-tumble drumroll music and stentorian voiceovers--the Situation Room, anyone?--to hide the fact that there really is no there, there.

America doesn't have an empire, it has sort of like the appearance of a kind of one in a way if you know what I mean huh. As for secessions...if there are going to be any, they'll be at the local level, with white/Asian communities seceding from necrotic black and Hispanic dominated local polities. Since neither the black nor Hispanic community would stand a chance in any serious physical altercation with white America, any secessions at that level will proceed without the need to do any 19th century-style map recolouring--that's symbolism that's more trouble than it's worth. Secession will happen where it really matters: at the level of tax collection and disbursement.

It's already happening.

Secession? Pah! Empire? Humbug! Much ado about f*ck all. Follow the money, turn off your effin' TV (turn it off! turn it all off!) and look outside. Things are as pretty in the US of A as they've ever been. How do I know? Because you're so bored, you're going on about fairy tales like secession. That's how I know.

Posted by: PatrickH on September 5, 2008 3:59 PM



The commenters above who are dubious about secession make some reasonable points. But we don't have to assume that the U.S. would break into tiny fragments, as though each state would become a separate country. And I'm not proposing that secession be made easy to do, so that it could be accomplished frivolously or in a passing bad mood.

But there should be a legal mechanism for it to be undertaken if a lot of people really, really want it to happen. Should that be the case — and I really don't think it's totally improbable within the next 50 years — there should be a set of previously enacted rules for the process, so it doesn't have to succeed (or be crushed) in a violent revolutionary movement.

What if there were two, or three, or four countries occupying what is now the United States? Who says they couldn't have trade agreements? Mutual defense treaties? We don't currently live in universal anarchy just because there are different countries. The point of secession is that people would be able to live in political entities that better exemplified their own values.

To repeat what I wrote earlier: if you have population segments that are deeply and lastingly at odds with one another, the only way to make them "united" is to have an authoritarian central government controlled by one faction that imposes its values on the other faction or factions. I doubt that many people who comment at this site would want to make divorce illegal for individuals. Why should groups of people who are incompatible be forced to stay "married" in the same country?

Of course there are serious practical problems with secession, but that doesn't mean it's wrong in principle. And if we allow ourselves to accept it in principle, we can start developing a reasonable methodology to keep in reserve for a time, should it arrive, when it becomes the strong wish of a significant portion of the citizenry.

Posted by: Rick Darby on September 5, 2008 4:18 PM



Michael B: I'm sorry, but, that's just blog-post spouting off. So, the American Empire is the equivalent of the Soviet Union? Laughable. Seriously. It's not such a bad place and you all know it underneath the blather.

Posted by: MD on September 5, 2008 4:32 PM



Todd wrote:

Impossibly Utopian. Show me an example of a state that broke up without disaster ensuing.

Benjamin writes:

See Jane Jacobs' "The Question of Separatism" (1980) mentioned above, for actually a fair number of examples of successful breakups in modern history.

- - - - -

Todd wrote:

First would be economic disaster as each state had it's own trade policy & tariffs.

Benjamin writes:

You are probably talking here mostly about the U.S. (admittedly, the main topic of this thread), and Jacobs (if I remember correctly) was writing mostly with other parts of the world in mind. But her argument, which in my opinion she makes rather well, is that artificially combined trade policies and tariffs, etc. actually impede economic development rather than promote it. (Actually, the economic rationale seems to comprise a large part of her interest in break-ups in the first place -- an outgrowth of her writings in "The Economy of Cities.")

- - - - - -

Todd wrote:

The coastal regions are already wealthier, how much worse would it be for landlocked states if all their trade had to pass through now foreign countries? And what about air space?

Benjamin writes:

In the Jacobs argument, "transactions of decline" (of which she gives examples) between wealthier and poorer areas impede the economic development of both.

- - - - - -

Todd wrote:

Defense anyone? I suspect the response is "defense from whom?". Well nobody now, because we're so overwhelmingly strong that only nutjobs with nothing to lose will attack us. But if this country was divided who is silly enough to think it would stay that way? We have more than enough historical examples here.

Benjamin writes:

Again I assume you are speaking about the U.S. vs. the other super powers -- which I suspect even Jacobs would concede is indeed a special case. But in regard to a number of other countries, she points out that this hasn't necessarily been a problem.

Also, if I remember correctly, there is the argument that military federations, like NATO, are also a way for independent countries to band together for security.

- - - - -

All-in-all, I think Jacobs anticipates many of your objections. Whether she actually answers them satisfactorily or not, of course, is up to the individual reader to decide. Too bad the book is out-of-print, though, because she does, in my opinion, make some pretty strong arguments (and a number of fascinating and very entertaining one at that) for the practicality of secession in certain instances.

In another book, "Systems of Survival" (which I was re-reading the other night), she also makes occasional referencs to secession and, by the way, happens to mention two interesting facts:

1) It wasn't until sometime in the 18th Century (I forget the exact date, it might have been something like 1721) that European countries really started having something like fixed boundaries as a regular set-up.

2) At the beginning of the 20th century the world had only 50 sovereignties, but when Jacobs wrote "Systems" (in 1990?), there were something like 300 (if I remember correctly). Jacobs concedes that a significant portion of the new sovereignties involved just the break-up of colonial empires, but points out that there are also a surprising number of successful post-colonial break-ups too. (And gives examples and histories, etc.)

Posted by: Benjamin Hemric on September 5, 2008 5:25 PM



Fun discussion. A few quick points and I'll get out of the way.

* I don't know where anyone would get the impression that I'm anti-child or anti-reproduction. Saying "it ain't for me" isn't the same thing as saying "It's bad" or "No one should do it."

* White men, particularly of the prestige-college-educated, coastal variety, *definitely* oughta grow a pair.

* Jane Jacobs rawks.

* No one's comparing the U.S. to the Soviet Union.

* The Iraq War is likely to cost at least a couple of trillion dollars, many thousands of lives, and a lot of international credibility. If you can sneeze at that cost, you're a far bigger person than I am.

* It isn't weird that secession as a topic should come up. What's weird, in a historical sense, is that it *doesn't* come up more than it does. For much of the country's history it was a major topic, a least according to Donald Livingston. (As, I'd add, immigration policy was once an openly-discussed, openly-acknowledged-as-important topic.) How can a country that was born by seceding from a mother country justify not letting regions within itself secede? Much debated.

* Incidentally, I don't know the answer to this, I'm just pointing out that the question was much on the minds of Americans at least through the Civil War. Give some of Livingston's essays a read, they're really interesting.

* As for the "cost" of letting the nation break apart ... Er, you have noticed the cost of keeping it together, right? The Civil War? Almost 700,000 dead? One source: "these casualties exceed the nation's loss in all its other wars, from the Revolution through Vietnam." That's what it cost to keep the country together. Might well have been less costly to let it fall apart.

* Those of you who seem convinced that the U.S. is somehow an ensurer of worldwide peace and prosperity ... Well, I really don't know what to say to that.

Anyway, fun to read all of you and your responses.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 5, 2008 6:06 PM



Oh, three final points ...

* These Un-PC Reading postings are intended as provocations, folks. Take 'em as such, please. They're either fun and rewarding to expose yourself to and think about or they aren't. It's not as though secession is a pressing topic in any immediate sense ...

* I'm an OK writer-writer and all, but the real real reason you may want to bother checking out an occasional MBlowhard posting is that I'm a good radar screen. What interests me often turns out to be stuff that emerges more visibly or in more mainstream venues 2-5 years later. I'm anything but infallible, of course, but my batting average in this sense is pretty good. So, if I were a betting man, I'd wager that you'll be seeing more and not fewer discussions of secession coming along.

* Recognizing that a topic or issue is out there isn't the same thing as advocating it. This sequence of observations and reactions -- "Hey, some bright people are discussing secession. It's got me wondering about it. Here's what I think I think about it. What do you think about it?" -- isn't the same thing as arguing that secession is good or bad or desirable or disastrous. It's just noticing that secession may be becoming an issue to be thought about. So why not have the fun of getting there in an intellectual sense before all your friends do?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 5, 2008 7:45 PM



Dude, you are clearly smart and your un-PC posts are really interesting. Most of us understand that you don't necessarily agree with everything that you link to. But this crap about being a good radar screen for what's going to be discussed in 2-5 years is ridiculous. I'm just going to assume you're hitting the wine tonight.

Posted by: PopeonDope on September 5, 2008 10:04 PM



Some fun paragraphs from Donald Livingston:

The idea of a modern unitary state goes back to the philosophers of the seventeenth century, but its first appearance in the world was the work of the French Revolution. The unitary French republic has since been the model for would-be modern states throughout the world, including the United States after 1865. The modern state was said to be one and indivisible, and so was conceived from the start as a state from which secession was impossible. From 1790 until 1990 there were only a few cases of successful peaceful secession. Belgium seceded from the Netherlands in 1830; Norway from Sweden in 1905; and Singapore from the Malaysian Federation in 1965. All were negotiated peacefully. But suddenly after 1990, the number of successful peaceful secessions surged. Fifteen republics seceded from the Soviet Union. A Czech and a Slovak republic were created out of Czechoslovakia through secession. With the exception of the secession of Eritrea from Ethiopia, all the successful secessions since 1990 occurred without violent resistance from the respective central governments. This was true even of Yugoslavia. There was only half-hearted resistance to the secession of Slovenia and Croatia from the central government, then dominated by Serbia. The present conflict is over the Serbian enclaves in Bosnia and Croatia who are not allowed to secede and join Serbia.

It is paradoxical and demands explanation why peaceful secession by referendum should have occurred in so-called totalitarian communist states whereas in western liberal states, during a period of two hundred years (1790-1990), there have been only two cases of peaceful secession, but a great number of cases in which secession attempts were brutally defeated by the central government. Unhappily the Confederacy did not have the Communist Party under Gorbachev to negotiate with; and mercifully the Soviet Republics did not have to negotiate with the Republican Party under Lincoln. As far as I can determine, the United States since 1865 has initially resisted or failed to support every secession attempt in the world except the secession of Panama from Columbia which it engineered as a means of constructing the Panama Canal. The United States was among the last to recognize the seceding states of the Soviet Union. It did not recognize the secession of Slovenia and Croatia (as had a number of European states), and it persisted, long after it was unreasonable, to think of Yugoslavia as a unitary state. A top Croatian leader, responding to Secretary of State James Baker's arrogant and dark warning against secession, observed that Baker could not free himself from the "American tradition of demonizing the phenomenon of secession. He didn't have an ear for our proposal to establish a union of sovereign states."1 This should not be surprising from a regime whose founding father is not the secessionist George Washington or Thomas Jefferson but the violent suppressor of secession Abraham Lincoln.

Today there are secession and devolution movements of all kinds occurring throughout the world. Indeed, political economists estimate that no more than twenty-five states in the United Nations are free of secessionist or territorial disputes. And there are also many secession movements that stop short of claiming national sovereignty. The Eskimos and Cree Indians of Northern Quebec have gained new rights and territory. In January of 1992, twenty-seven northern counties of California introduced into the State legislature a plan to secede from California and form the fifty-first state. Staten Island recently voted to secede from New York, and Coconut Grove voted to secede from Miami.

More here.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 5, 2008 10:14 PM



I have to agree, Michael, that your ability to perceive what interests and excites people is amazing. No argument there.

The extreme left on the U.S. coasts has been effectively arguing for two decades that they can't bear to associate with the yahoos.

So, you may be right. This argument may ratchet up. The controversy over Gov. Palin certainly seems to suggest that the alienation between the Stuff White People Like crowd and the rest of us will become angrier and more confrontational.

I think that the extreme left is likely to continue to lose, and to become angrier. We'll see where that leads.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on September 6, 2008 12:06 AM



Shouting Thomas-

And, you seem to resent paying for the price of America's success... we are the only legitimate superpower. In both instances, I think that the cost is worthwhile.

The trouble with the American empire is that we suck at running an empire and it's no longer fun for Americans. Take Africa, in which a half-century of State Department hegemony has completely ruined. Life expectancy is plummeting, wars are everywhere, and an out of control population crowds into growing slums. Or look at the fact that the only countries that have developed in the last half-century ignored our economic and political advice ( the one party, mercantilist states of China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan).

Running the empire no longer means a cushy foreign service job where you can build railroads for the natives. It means awful NGO bureaucracies or paper pushing in DC. Worse is the military, where you can look forward to aimlessly driving aimlessly around the dessert waiting to get blown up, while rules of engagement prevent you from firing back. See this documentary to see what I mean. Didn't anyone tell the pentagon that you're supposed to train the natives to do all the grunt work? Didn't anyone take imperialism 101?

But the real issue, Shouting Thomas, is that you need to drop the royal "we". You do not run the American empire. You are a subject of the empire. You have absolutely zero power over its actions. The empire is mainly run by the Civil Service, the Ivy League Colleges, and the NY Times. I'm guessing, that these are all institutions you despise. ( The other major players are the thousands of organized factions, from the AARP and NOW to AIPAC and Haliburton). Power only works through institutions and organizations, not through unaffiliated individuals like yourself.

The collapse of confidence, desire and ego in white men who were the sons of those World War II vets is an astonishing phenomenon. How could things fall apart so quickly?

Simple: everyone started going to college. Colleges are notoriously, left-wing, anti-white-male. Thanks to the civil service/regulatory state, jobs like bureaucrat, teacher, accountant, etc. became better paying than productive jobs like machinist or brick layer. The Griggs decision plus legal credentialing laws made college degrees mandatory for most high paid professions. The military also started requiring that all officers get four-year degrees. The net of this is that every single person in America with an IQ over 90 must endure four years of leftist cant to pursue their chosen career. Many try and ignore the ramblings of their liberal professors, but it inevitably rubs off.

If you want to restore a conservative America, there are only two options:

1) Seize control of the empire from Harvard and the Civil Service and put it in the hands of some conservative force. But whom? And how? And how would the government be organized to prevent future leftist takeovers?

2) Secede from the empire, and try to establish conservatism in one country. What ultimately reformed the Soviet Union was that they had to live in a world where it was clear that another system was doing so much better. An independent break away state could set an example of how the world should be, that others may decided to follow.

Posted by: Devin Finbarr on September 6, 2008 12:51 AM



Amazing the way Harvard, the Civil Service and the NYT are being referenced as the drivers of American Empire while only Haliburton among the global capital crowd gets any mention at all. Where do Rove's K Street project, big agribusiness, PhRMA, Boeing, United Technologies, etc.fit in the control of American Empire?

The elite benefit from the current system at the expense of 90+% of the rest of us. The problem isn't leftist college professors, it is the de facto hard right of Wall Street and K Street that benefit from and pull the strings for the American version of Empire and they LOVE the way the average man in the street blames teachers, feminists and immigrants for all their troubles.

While skeptical about an completely sovereign Vermont or Ohio, I have thought for many years that 8 - 12 bioregional units each handling most of the issues we term "domestic" while acting together in limited ways, primarily for defense. Might be preferable to our current, increasingly centralized, system.

Posted by: Chris White on September 6, 2008 8:41 AM



Who gets the military after the US splits up? Because that's the one that will be the boss. The other ones will be like Belgium or Switzerland, observers waiting to see what someone else will do.

Posted by: John Emerson on September 6, 2008 8:46 AM



Devin, there's some truth in what you say.

From the moment I arrived on campus at the University of Illinois, liberal arts professors seemed to think that it was their job to ridicule me for growing up white in a small town in the middle of the cornfields. This was in 1966, so that aspect of the program has been in place for a lot longer than people think.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on September 6, 2008 9:08 AM



The Iraq War is likely to cost at least a couple of trillion dollars, many thousands of lives, and a lot of international credibility. If you can sneeze at that cost, you're a far bigger person than I am.

As for whether the war has helped or harmed US credibility (it has destroyed the Dems cred, but as for US cred...at least an open question), it hasn't cost many American lives, and the trillions spent will be absorbed. The point I was making about US empire was that it has no fundamental effect on Americans as a whole. The Iraq war is not going to affect the US fundamentally no matter how it works out.

So...achoo!

As for the post being intended as a "provocation", well, colour me provoked! My bluster (and I think most others') was offered in that spirit too (my invocation of Howard Beale should have been a giveaway). Do please keep doing the postings, precisely because they are so provocative.

And besides, what if you do believe them? That is still so cool! Pace you, you are a wonderful writer, you get people talking, and that's why I love coming here. This blog is showing "paleo" signs, and yet is still wild and wooly and boho and downtown (just ask ST!)...and that is so effin' cool too. Where else can I get boho decadence and paleo culture crit in the same paragraph?

So, do keep provoking, please. I love you Michael, and I love this blog. Keep pushing my buttons! After all, I'm kinky that way...my buttons are also my erogenous zones.

I guess what I'm saying is, you Blowhards turn me on. Keep it comin' big boys! I'm not running.

Fetchingly (I hope),
Patrick

Posted by: PatrickH on September 6, 2008 9:32 AM



Chris,

I suffered through my indoctrination in college just the way you did. When are you going to let it go? Jesus, they really pounded that self-hatred into you.

They taught you that "enlightenment" is to always fight against the interests of your own tribe, white hetero men.

Just once, just once, Chris, I'd like to hear you say that you support your own kind just because... they are your own kind. Oddly, your "enlightenment" requires that you obediently defer to every other group that prosecutes its self-interest with a vengeance.

You are the problem that white men suffer, Chris, to an exaggerated extent that is almost impossible to believe. What a job they did on you!

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on September 6, 2008 10:37 AM



Amazing the way Harvard, the Civil Service and the NYT are being referenced as the drivers of American Empire while only Haliburton among the global capital crowd gets any mention at all. Where do Rove's K Street project, big agribusiness, PhRMA, Boeing, United Technologies, etc.fit in the control of American Empire?

You have to keep things in historical perspective. Sure, corporations make a lot of money off of the American empire. But it's not nearly as much as they could make if they were fully in control, or even had majority control. Compare Halliburton to the British East India company. Now that's real corporate control. If Halliburton and Blackwater had kind of control, they would own every single Middle East country and take 100% of the oil profits. They wouldn't put up with any silly "rules of engagement". Nor would they shy away from collective relocations and other proven tactics of counter insurgency. If Halliburton and Black Water are really the ones in charge, why aren't they doing all of this?


Posted by: Devin Finbarr on September 6, 2008 12:48 PM



Any chance that Harvard and Halliburton are both worthy of our wariness?

Hey, semi a propos, maybe: An investment banker I know told me (early on in election season) that even if Hillary was elected there was no chance of significant banking reform. Why not? Because Hillary was 'way too dependent on Wall Street money.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 6, 2008 12:57 PM



I think people supporting the "fox point of view" should secede from the US. the nation can then actually declare war and settle the matter instead of letting them fifth column the country with a mis of pop racism and populist naziism.

Posted by: Ramesh on September 7, 2008 1:06 AM



Patrick H: As for whether the war has helped or harmed US credibility (it has destroyed the Dems cred, but as for US cred...at least an open question), it hasn't cost many American lives, and the trillions spent will be absorbed. The point I was making about US empire was that it has no fundamental effect on Americans as a whole. The Iraq war is not going to affect the US fundamentally no matter how it works out.

No big deal? Just absorb a trillion dollars? Trillions of dollars in an already heavily indebted nation? Are you daft, man? Debt is slavery! Good grief, sir, that was the stupidest comment on this entire thread! In fact, I left off bloviating at Chris White about how stupid his comment was to tell you how stupid yours was! What have you got to say for yourself now, young man?

Mmmm, secession. I have had my maps before me these last couple of years, plotting with my western Canadian allies how we're going to carve up the mess. Haven't quite ironed out how to get control of the military yet - minor detail. And nukes. Need nukes. (Not because we want to vitrify anybody, mind you. Just so's people know to leave us the hell alone.)

On a serious note, I wouldn't predict that a nation would fracture along "red/blue" sorts of cultural divides. (Other types of cultural divides, yes.) Most of us are purple, anyway. Balkanization would proceed along ethnic lines, per the usual scenario.

Posted by: Moira Breen on September 7, 2008 1:54 PM



Federation is the Ferrari of political systems: nothing goes better, nothing requires more tinkering and maintenance to make it go at all.

Posted by: Robert Townshend on September 7, 2008 6:18 PM



Moira, you wound me! I am not daft. Nor was my comment stupid.

America's fate will not be affected by the outcome of the Iraq war. America has absorbed trillions of dollars of misspent money before, and it can do so again. Note that I stated that the real problem in US foreign policy is the management of trade and currency issues...failure to manage these issues could lead to economic downturn that would make the Iraq war's costs unabsorbable. The Iraq war in itself is and remains peripheral to American success or failure. America's economic stability and prosperity is the key element in America's fundamental state of being, and Iraq is not central to that.

Importance of Iraq to US future: minimal.
Importance of Israel to US future: minimal.
Importance of economic stability to US future: critical.

Please go back to beating up Chris. He needs sense knocked into him far more than do I.

I remain daft about you, though, Moira. See worshipful comment above re: sex.

Yours wound-lickingly with big sad puppy dog eyes in the perhaps misguided hope that you will feel really really guilty and say nice nice things about me,
Patrick

Posted by: PatrickH on September 7, 2008 6:36 PM



ST - My tribe, my own kind, is not defined by "white hetero men." That is not to say there are not white hetero men in my tribe, but rather that I don't see color and gender as critical identifiers. I'm an American, a New Englander, a Boomer, arguably a hippie, an aesthetically minded independent ... there are a number of tribes I might claim as mine, but "white hetero man" is far too amorphous and broad for me to embrace as My Tribe. And for the record, I love myself; I celebrate my color and sexual orientation without needing to put down others who don't share the same characteristics or applaud those who do.

But what I'm really confused about is why my supposed self hatred and lack of support for white hetero men is given as a response to my suggestion that the elite who are benefiting from the version of empire we're subjects in are to be found on Wall Street and K Street more so than Harvard. I'll take Michael's point that it is possible to criticize both Harvard AND Halliburton, but all in all, as has been expressed many times in many ways by many others, if you want to know who is calling the shots and reaping the rewards, just follow the money. I don't see college professors with private jets and vacation homes on the coast of Greece ... and in Aspen ... and a little flat in London ... and in the Cayman Islands close to the bank.

As for the notion that my suggestion we look to global capitalists as the prime beneficiaries and de facto ruling class in our variation of empire is disproved because Halliburton hasn't used Blackwater's mercenaries to fully conquer the Middle East ... can I have some of whatever you're smoking?

And Moira, why should Patrick have all your attention? Beat me, whip me, make me write bad checks. I can take it.

Posted by: Chris White on September 7, 2008 7:32 PM



Harvard does have that endowment, Chris.

And now that you're angling for Moira to pay attention to you, I'm not sharing! Hands off, decadent hippie scum! I'm the only straight white man she's going to be beating around this place!

P.S. I am becoming more sympathetic by the day to your point about focusing on global capitalists. I just think a lot of them work for NGOs, governments, think tanks and universities. Fund maximizing, tax maximizing, profit maximizing. It's all money isn't it? And you said follow it, right?

Okay. So follow it, and follow your own logic. Leads to some interesting places, no?

Posted by: PatrickH on September 7, 2008 10:06 PM



Two words for you, Chris: Averell Harriman.

You'd think that, as such a faithful devotee of the '60s, the word "Establishment" might mean something to you. Or try these two links: A, B. In the America you live in today, which of A or B is more socially prestigious? And which do you think is more politically influential? Why on earth would you expect these questions to have different answers?

As for the "American Empire," here is a typical blueprint, from 1942. Note the odd phrase "super-protestant." To whom do you think it refers? A, or B? Averell Harriman, or Billy Sunday?

I'm afraid the problem may be in your methodology. Most men desire money, but they desire power, also. Both would be wonderful, but most have to choose. Many choose the latter.

What is power? Influence over policy. And while Owen Lattimore never had a villa in Italy so far as I know, his policies wound up devastating half a continent. "That sounds to me like democracy."

Posted by: Mencius on September 8, 2008 1:53 AM



Sorry, broken link - B was this.

Posted by: Mencius on September 8, 2008 3:46 AM



Chris: And Moira, why should Patrick have all your attention? Beat me, whip me, make me write bad checks. I can take it.

I'm sorry if my passing you by to smack Patrick could be misconstrued as impugning your fortitude. It's just that daft defense of heedless spending is even more likely to give me the vapors than daft defense of open borders. (I'm part Scottish, you see.) I suppose there was something I wanted to dispute with you yesterday, but it is our wont at the Casa to "do 'pagne" (well, technically, any sort of bubbly stuff) on Sunday afternoon, and...well, my having got a snootful of an excellent (and wonderfully inexpensive) cava, the inspiration passed - on to other things. I will make it up to you in future, honor bright.

Patrick: Please go back to beating up Chris. He needs sense knocked into him far more than do I.

Not today, he doesn't.

America's fate will not be affected by the outcome of the Iraq war. America has absorbed trillions of dollars of misspent money before, and it can do so again. Note that I stated that the real problem in US foreign policy is the management of trade and currency issues...failure to manage these issues could lead to economic downturn that would make the Iraq war's costs unabsorbable.

Patrick, you daft twit, you have just presented an "if my grandmother had balls she'd be my grandfather" argument. On the order of the glibertarian "open borders are cool as long as we don't have a welfare state." Oh, we do have a welfare state? Oh, we do have incompetent management of trade and currency issues?

In the best of times trillions of dollars could not be "absorbed" without negative (if bearable) effects. Under the present Ponzi scheme we're running as an economy, it's a fat bale of straw, being tossed along with the other fat little bundles (like Fannie and Freddie this weekend) onto our honkin' big but osteoporotic camel.

Yours wound-lickingly with big sad puppy dog eyes in the perhaps misguided hope that you will feel really really guilty and say nice nice things about me

What do you think I am, some amiable lady like Clio or Sister? My heart is stone against the puppy-dog eyes (unless wielded by actual canids). In fact, I detest "boyish charm" in a grown man, of which puppy-dog eyes are a feature. However, a steady, ice-blue gaze, carrying the subtle suggestion of a reserved yet quidditi-tious mirthfulness, has been known to reduce me to rubble. If your eyes are the wrong color, or this alchemy of gravity and levity eludes you, I'm afraid your attempts at ocular suasion are doomed to failure.

I'm the only straight white man she's going to be beating around this place!

You're straight?

Posted by: Moira Breen on September 8, 2008 11:09 AM



Chris White,

If you don't see race or sex as identifiers, then why are you pro-affirmative action, and support racism ans sexism against white men, both in the media and as government and corporate policy?

See, Shouting Thomas is right. You are a racist, but a cowardly one, where you are racist against your own group. You can luxuriate in this since your racist policies never come back to bite you--they are just directed against other people you don't like, namely the young white men you see all around you that you have repeatedly dumped on in other posts here.

You learned this extraordinarily odd form of racism at college and never reliquished it, because you generally don't like other white men, and the more comfortable and masculine they are, the less you like them. If they are uncomfortable with themselves and unmasculine, you probably like them just fine, and go nuts when they share your odd form of racism.

You are an anti-white racist because its your way of competing with other white men. And giving things away is your form of superority over colored men. Nice.

At least that's my theory.

Posted by: BIOH on September 8, 2008 12:53 PM



BIOH – Apparently you, like many others it seems, "don't do nuance." Everything must be simple and dichotomous. I did not say race and gender were not identifiers but rather that as identifiers they are insufficiently specific for me to think of all white hetero men as "my tribe."

While hesitant to go too far down a tangential path in a thread about secession, I'll repeat my basic position on affirmative action. If a group has been systematically discriminated against and disadvantaged for generations I can accept the logic behind putting a thumb on the scales to benefit them for a generation or so, in part as reparation and in part to allow the group to more quickly attain their correct place in the scheme of things.

Since, for example, studies show there is still rampant bias against African Americans in hiring practices across a broad swath of the private sector and women in government still seem to be a novelty in the U.S. rather than a norm, it would appear this corrective measure still has some validity. Does this mean individual white men have suffered in specific instances? Yes. Are young white men slightly more likely to encounter occasions where their race and gender work against them rather than in their favor? Probably. Are these negatives sufficient justification for being against affirmative action? I think no, but can understand why those who have personally suffered would disagree. While I have lost positions I've applied for to women I consider less qualified than myself, I do not think it was as a result of reverse discrimination, just the vagaries of the interview committee process. Should I whine and blame the corrosive effects of feminism or move on? I moved on. [As an aside let me say I think the most needed and rarely seen form of affirmative action should be based on economic class.]

I will continue to disagree with those who think they deserve to be esteemed above others due to their white hetero manhood rather than any individual effort or achievement on their part. If you can offer any facts or statistics showing that white hetero men are disappearing from the media, government or the corporate world ... heck, no longer represented well beyond that of their statistical proportions overall ... washed away in a tide of women, gays and people of color, I'm willing to change my position. As long as it remains a case of dueling anecdotes I'll remain unconvinced white hetero men (which I most assuredly am) are suffering unduly.

You claim I do not like other white men and prefer the company of men uncomfortable with their masculinity. Since you have only my comments here on 2Blowhards to go on, I presume this odd bit of complete nonsense is based on thread volleys with the likes of ST. It has no basis in reality. Unless, that is, you define "masculinity" in terms of viewing women only as aliens useful for little more than as receptacles for erections and household chores.

In short, your theory is complete and utter nonsense based on skewed projections and the same sort of identity/victim nonsense that elicits such venomous derision around here when the identifying characteristics are other than "white male hetero."

In what may be a vain effort to return this thread to its original topic, I'd love to see the results of the secession of aggressive white hetero men into their own separate sovereign nation. Of course, without women whiling to accept second-class citizenship, they'd need constant immigration to survive. And it would leave more women for the likes of me, wouldn't it?

Posted by: Chris White on September 8, 2008 4:46 PM



Yes, I am straight. How I could be infatuated with you otherwise, Moira? I have indeed experienced the love that dare not speak its name, but that was then, I was young...and besides, the girl is dead.

My eyes are hazel not ice-blue. My gaze is steady, but rather soft. My eyes do not carry any suggestion, subtle or otherwise, of quiddititious mirthfulness, reserved or not. My brain does not know what "quiddititious" even means, but I know it when I don't see it. And I don't see it at all when I look in the mirror.

I am indeed possessed of charm of a distinctly Irish sort, of precisely the boyish type that you, clearly a Scotch Presbyterian in soul, would most definitely claim to detest. Claim, note. Claim.

I am indeed daft--I'm Irish remember, a drunk, a fool, violent, impulsive, immature, superstitious, and entirely incapable of grasping what numbers and money even mean. I am not, however, a twit. Chris White is a twit. I am merely daft. And a fool. But not a twit. That is just a low blow. Shame on you.

My daftness would explain my Oirish dismissal of the difficulty of absorbing the "trulliuns 'n' trulliuns uh doll'rs" that have so exercised your, ah, factor-ish Scots soul. Your name misled me as to which branch of the Gaels has issued you forth.

You come from the ones who think but do not feel. I come from the ones who feel but cannot think.

Which means, of course, that I win!

Because...dear Moira...America's fate is not going to be affected by the Iraq War. A sideshow to the main event of a world becoming wealthier, Asia in point of fact.

No matter how exercised my dear factor gets over "trulliuns 'n' trulliuns" lost in Iraq, success or failure for the US is more dependent on the management of relations with China, India and East Asia than anything that happens in the bunghole that is the Middle East.

With continuing puppy love,
Patrick

P.S. Wouldn't a mix of gravity and levity leave your icy-blue-eyed Moira-rubble-maker in exactly the same place he started?

Posted by: PatrickH on September 8, 2008 6:25 PM



Chris,

Beneath the bland, sanctimonious rhetoric of tolerance, you are just utterly, horrifyingly vicious.

I hope that that diversity truck runs over you. You've got it coming.

What a feral backstabber you are!

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on September 8, 2008 6:35 PM



"In short, your theory is complete and utter nonsense based on skewed projections and the same sort of identity/victim nonsense that elicits such venomous derision around here when the identifying characteristics are other than "white male hetero."

Yep. I've noticed more and more that comments around these parts are chock-full of a sense of victimization. Coming from those who belong to the majority, both in pure numbers and in power, it's kind of pathetic. I don't like to hear it from women or blacks, but I REALLY don't like to hear it from white men, a group of which I'm a proud member.

I also object to the narrow definition of masculinity offered up by a lot of the commenters. Interest in anything other than that which is essential to survival is thought of as feminine, which is totally ridiculous.

Posted by: JV on September 8, 2008 7:48 PM



Being assertively "alpha" and viciously putting down "betas" and the "pussified" is applauded by a contingent around here as the proper role of men, especially white hetero men. But Lord help the uppity "beta" who says this whole "I'm the MAN, f*#k you. Give me the biggest hunk of that deer you bagged and, while we're at it I'll take your woman ... if she's hot enough." is a load of horse manure and maybe it's time that it stopped. Having been in a bit of a mood over a host of personal issues, as well as some local news items, along with the politics as usual led me to take the bait from BIOH. And maybe I didn't make the proper throat baring signs of being beneath alpha status when I made my response. Does that make me a twit or a backstabbing, self-hating racist? I'll leave that for others to determine.

ST was given a buyout package based, he intimates, on his having a valid claim against his employer for reverse discrimination. I have no reason to doubt that this is true. It is a powerful anecdote that speaks to what underlies his views on the topic. He further claims it worked out very well for him professionally and financially, so I see little need for offering sympathy.

For every straight white man's anecdote about losing a job or promotion or college acceptance due to an actual affirmative action quota how many anecdotes are there of women and minorities passed over for promotion or rejected based on considerations of race and gender rather than merit? I've heard plenty of anecdotes that show race or gender bias against those not fortunate enough to be white hetero men. Shall we have a Google duel for contradicting studies, polls and statistics? I'm still willing to bet that white hetero men come out as disproportionately well represented in the upper ranks of media, government and corporations.

The more Michael presents his "Un-PC" series, the more I realize that around here it would be better referred to as Neo-PC, because the level of intolerance for deviation from the accepted group POV is about the same as it would be for the guy bringing the Philly Cheese steak sandwiches to the vegan potluck.

Posted by: Chris White on September 8, 2008 9:08 PM



And wasn't this thread about secession? You know, defining whether we want to be considered Americans or New Englanders or Texans; arguing about federalism, states' rights, bio-regionalism, Balkanization, stuff like that. Isn't there another thread going about guys and dudes and players and all that tedious nonsense?

Posted by: Chris White on September 8, 2008 9:33 PM



Patrick:

I see I misled a bit - I'm only a wee bit Scots. All Irish on the paternal side - I'm told I qualify for an Irish passport through him. (If true, good to keep in mind if I ever need to hot-foot it out of North America.) He was an Irishman who could count, though. Predominantly Irish on mom's side, too. (Miss Moriarty, who was.) She was also fiscally responsible. Sniffed out the S&L debacle, she did, before anyway else even noticed that something fishy was going on. We all brushed off her warnings as old lady Depression-era paranoia, but Mom was right! Just as I am right, and you are wrong, about the extent of the financial harm of the war.

She did have the German and the Scots bit on her side, and admittedly those strains do seem to concentrate in me, what with the sober not to say dour affect and the tight-ass rage for order, in marked contrast to the exuberantly Irish temperament of the rest of my (very numerous) gang of relatives. (A contrast noted early on, as the kid brother dubbed me "Miss Spock" from an early age, and my own mother told me I was "a strange child".) Still, there's very little evidence of fecklessness or poetaster-osity in the lot (and just one definite sociopath). Mostly just a bunch of very Irish yet perfectly respectable engineers, businessmen, nurses, doctors, programming geeks...and the full-blown Scrooge McDuckishness, while not exactly common, is sprinkled evenly around the genealogical table.

Btw, I just made up "quiddititious", but it makes perfect sense. Quiddity + tious. Didn't you claim to have been educated by Jesuits? You should know from quiddity.

But you are correct, you are not a twit. That was inapt, thus completely uncalled for. I retract the "twit". And in penance refrain from any phonological play with the vowel that could possibly improve the accuracy.

...of precisely the boyish type that you, clearly a Scotch Presbyterian in soul, would most definitely claim to detest. Claim, note. Claim.

Well, you know how we women are. Say one thing and do another. Unlike men, of course, who invariably exhibit a noble honesty in all their dealings with women.

Wouldn't a mix of gravity and levity leave your icy-blue-eyed Moira-rubble-maker in exactly the same place he started?

No, he can still displace himself perfectly well in two dimensions.

(Hey, it just struck me that ST is kinda starting to sound like he's channeling Tatyana. Wouldn't it be wild if they turned out to be the same person? Because on the internet, ya know, you can be seen together with yourself on the same page. Or they had a sort of Norman Bates thing going on, except Tat wasn't a stiff? Whaddaya think?)

Posted by: Moira Breen on September 8, 2008 10:37 PM



I am still attempting to digest "quiddititious". As for tw*t being a better description of me, well...you should have thought of that the first time! I'm still smarting too much over "twit" to thank you for your correction.

[Gesturing subtly:]
Pssst. Don't you just love Chris White's frustration that no one will stay on topic on this thread? I suggest that you and I might want to keep the hijack on course for Cuba by trying to determine what "quiddititious" means, and if it could ever apply to Chris or to Shouting Thomas. I don't think it would, but maybe something with "quod" or "quid" or maybe "homo" might work. Especially for Thomas!

Yours, still with puppy dog eyes of non-icy not-blueness but with the light of SATAN HIMSELF beginning to gleam in their boggy Irish depths at the thought of how ST could be called a "homo" and couldn't do a thing about it,
Patrick

Posted by: PatrickH on September 8, 2008 11:42 PM



UPDATE: Dave Lull emails me a link to an LATimes piece claiming that Sarah Palin may have some sympathies with secessionism.

If only. Then she couldn't be on the McCain Palin ticket.

Posted by: john on September 14, 2008 6:36 PM



Shouting Thomas says in reference to Lincoln and the preservation of the union, "Whether or not the story is literally true is immensely irrelevant."

It matters a whole heck of a lot to me when I find out that the story I was told in school was a lie. Fiction is good, but fiction presented as non-fiction is evil.

Still, I agree with Shouting Thomas's instinct to defend his country. I hate hearing people who bash the US for all the wrong reasons. It has become the fashionable thing to do in some circles. I especially get tired of hearing people talk about how much better Canada is than the United States. It's like talking about how much better some one else's mother is. Every country has its faults. The US does, so does Canada. I'm sure Canada is superior to the US in certain ways. But Canada is not my country. I don't love Canada the way I do my own country. Canada didn't give birth to me. And yes, I think it is good to have some elemental loyalty to the place we were born. We love our parents not primarily for their good qualities and merits. We love them because they are our parents.

But trying to make our parents look good by telling stories that aren't true is a bad thing to do. If a past president was a crook, it doesn't do our country any good to lie about it.

If a current war is unjust, the patriotic thing to do is get out of it. And when a state wants to secede, it may actually be out of patriotism, a more fierce and local patriotism. If Vermont, for instance, wanted to secede, it would be for love of Vermont - a very loyal and even manly thing. If I voted for secession in my state it would not be because I don't love the US. It would be because I love Washington more.

Posted by: Franco Bertucci on September 23, 2008 4:02 PM






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