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‘National Divorce’ Is a Distraction

We must give Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene credit for starting a necessary conversation:

There are many reasons this will not work. The main one is that it relies on a contradiction. If national divorce is necessary because progressives will not respect limited government, they will also not respect secession. Moreover, “limited government” is a means, not an end.

I nevertheless appreciate Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s tweet. It was necessary to expose “conservative critics” who seem more opposed to their own voters than their supposed political opponents. Consider these overwrought reactions to her tweet:

Utah Governor Spencer Cox:

It is hard to imagine Governor Cox calling progressives “evil” for advocating a left-wing position. What, exactly, is “evil” about separation?

Republican voters have already defeated former Rep. Cheney. Still, is secession “unconstitutional?” Nikki Haley did not think so when she was first running for governor of South Carolina.

Naturally, among the tone-policing critics, there is David French:

This, of course, is precisely what Rep. Taylor Greene did: speak for a part of the Right that usually goes unheard. Support for secession in general is not a fringe idea. A 2021 poll found that 37 percent of Americans favored separating from the United States to join regional unions.

This included most Southern Republicans and half of Southern independents. Most Southern Democrats — which today means blacks — did not support separation. This is not surprising, since social-welfare dependents appreciate the central government — which may be a reason our rulers want more of them.

Some critics point to the legacy of the Civil War as proof that secession has already been proven wrong. According to current historical orthodoxy, however, that war was about slavery, not secession — and therefore has nothing to do with whether secession is right or wrong. Moreover, if it is sedition to rebel against constituted authority for any reason, it means that this country was founded on sedition.

This brings us back to what Rep. Taylor Greene said — and there are plenty of tweets calling her a “traitor”:

Traitor to what? America’s founders were white nationalists. Even many on the Left agree; the whole point of Critical Race Theory is to show that American’s fundamental institutions are designed to propagate white supremacy and racism. Even Abraham Lincoln was a white nationalist by today’s standards. Those who hate Independence Day, the national anthem, and our national monuments are in no position to lecture others about “treason.”

Those who currently run the country are progressives, however, and they have no reason to let white conservatives leave the Union. But it may never get to that point, since many white conservatives — or at least their leaders — are afraid to take their own side. This is why we have anti-white policies, mass non-white immigration, and the “woke” policies Rep. Taylor Greene talks about in the first place.

Like “limited government,” secession is a means, not an end. One secedes because there is a nation or people one wants to safeguard. “Red states” do not host a racially or culturally united people. The “red state” of Georgia, for example, has two Democrat senators, including the anti-white crank Raphael Warnock. And not long ago, Jackson, Mississippi, elected an openly black nationalist mayor. His socialist son currently rules a city suffering from rampant crime and that can barely provide running water. Texas — traditionally one of the reddest states of all — will be majority Hispanic within a few years. It may secede, but perhaps to rejoin Mexico.

Talk of “national divorce” muddles reality. It is also an implicit admission that the reason we are in this mess is because whites will not recognize themselves as a people. The Confederacy was a nation because its regional elites had a strong sense of Southern interests and identity. Its people were racially, linguistically, and culturally united. Imaginary regional confederations lack this unity.

No modern Southern nation could tolerate the existence of Jackson or Atlanta, at least not with the current populations. More accurately, Jackson or Atlanta would not tolerate the hinterland. In an atmosphere of political chaos, blue cities would treat the countryside the way Paris treated the Vendée during the French Revolution.

Red states do not constitute a self-conscious, independent political or racial community. What is needed is internal nation-building. The truth is that white conservatives do not know what they are conserving, particularly their race. Without the federal government and its civil rights bureaucracy, whites could take their own side — but our entire system is built on making sure this never happens. This is also why progressives would probably use violence to keep conservative whites within the Union. If they will not even allow free speech for those they regard as “Nazis,” they will certainly not let them have a state.

Polls may show a lot of support for it, but secession, whether it is framed as building a new nation or reclaiming an old one, is a radical step.

Leftists are sometimes closer than conservatives to the truth. They sense that our national debate is about race; conservatives pretend it isn’t. Evidence suggests that race is driving partisan divisions; it’s just not happening in a straightforward way.

Progressive whites do not see themselves as being part of the same people as conservative whites, because they are biased against their own race. White conservatives react against this, and partisan identities are increasingly built on “racial and partisan schemas.”

Professors Nicholas Valentino and Kirill Zhirkov found that changing racial demographics are leading to a “racialized image” of both parties:

Using the group-schematic model of political cognition, we have argued that the growing racial gap between the Democratic and Republican support bases leads to formation of racialized stereotypes about the two parties. Specifically, a non-trivial share of the American electorate currently views the Democratic Party as nonwhite and the Republican Party as white, though in reality whites continue to be a majority of both parties. We label these images race–party schemas and hypothesize that variation in the racialized images of the two major parties contributes to the general racialization of issues and partisan attitudes in contemporary U.S. politics.

They conclude that the “racialization of American parties is likely to continue, and the intensity of political conflict in the United States is likely to grow.” It is therefore not surprising that we see calls for secession. However, because this “racialization” is merely implicit, Rep. Taylor Greene’s rallying cry is misdirected, calling for red-state separation rather than freedom for whites.

The reason is “white identity” for conservative whites is still only implicit. White conservatives are not self-hating, but they don’t see themselves as a separate people. “Whites exist objectively, but not subjectively,” said Sam Francis. Today, we might say that whites do exist subjectively — but only to progressives, and in a negative sense. Conservatives refuse to think in terms of race. American whites are therefore dividing into two peoples.

Who is “we” in the following tweet?

If the answer is conservatives, it is a self-defeating stance because progressives don’t shy from viewing the world in racial terms. Some have argued that anti-white hatred is intensifying because the Democrats’ “Coalition of the Fringes” has nothing to unite it besides a shared disdain for white men. Without white conservatives to blame, what would unite progressives?

While white conservatives are slowly awakening to racial issues, they are still not acting on them. We still get annual tributes to Martin Luther King, Jr. from them. Tim Scott and Nikki Haley will be strong candidates for the GOP presidential nomination because many white conservatives crave validation from non-whites. Even President Donald Trump did nothing specifically for white people, but offered a new social welfare program to blacks.

Another question is what end secession would accomplish. Secession merely to have one-party rule by Republicans in some states is pointless. The GOP bears much blame for our situation. One-party Republican rule would not end policies such as mass immigration. If some states were to declare independence, it needs to be in the name of something higher so that we don’t end up where we are now.

This is not to criticize Marjorie Taylor Greene and others who call for independence. Yet, the idea of an independent red-sate America is worse than utopian; it is counterproductive, since it cedes territory that could still be reclaimed. If there were sufficient political will among conservatives for secession to be a realistic goal, we wouldn’t have the problems that led to it in the first place.

What’s most frustrating is that there are already movements for secession within the Union. Whatever one may think of such proposals, no one can call them treasonous. There are efforts to secede within states or counties in Idaho, northern California (“the State of Jefferson”), southern Oregon, and — at least until Governor Glenn Youngkin took office — in southern and western Virginia. The idea isn’t original.

Perhaps even more important are those movements that call for surrounding areas to secede from America’s rotting urban centers. This doesn’t even require redrawing state lines. The most important is the movement for Buckhead to secede from Atlanta. It has strong support, but Atlanta politicians and their media allies say it’s motivatedbyracism. While there’s nothing explicitly racist in the idea, it would give majority-white Buckhead freedom from having to help prop up a failing majority-black city.

Rep. Taylor Greene is from the Atlanta suburbs, and to her credit, she support’s Buckhead’s secession:

A politically divided Georgia is not ready for independence. Idaho, some of the Appalachian states, and other areas may be more promising, but there must be a political vanguard saying why such a movement is necessary and what people are being held down by the current system. If that is too radical, there are already solutions within the existing system — solutions that are not explicitly racial and that leaders can champion. What is needed is internal nation-building before any declaration of independence.

Relatively mainstream authors including Kurt Schlicter and Blaine Pardoe have written books about breaking up America on “Red State/Blue State” lines. Unlike White Identity, you can easily buy such books on Amazon. They are strange combinations of apocalyptic rhetoric and ideological cowardice, presupposing political will that does not exist. It doesn’t exist because conservatives will not speak in defense of white interests. Though this may be changing, most will not even speak out against anti-white policies, instead retreating to colorblind rhetoric about Martin Luther King Jr. that is as fanciful as a second confederacy.

White Americans who are proud of their race could become a people, although we shouldn’t be blind to the difficulty in achieving this. But the question of white identity is being forced on our people whether they want it or not. Racial grievances drive American politics and increasingly determine partisan identities in an age of political polarization.

I have no illusion that Marjorie Taylor Greene is a white advocate, even implicitly. Still, it’s good that she’s supporting a project in her own state that would primarily help white voters and perhaps build political institutions that could lead to greater things. Our problems won’t be solved, however, until white conservatives realize that their irreconcilable differences aren’t along political lines but racial ones.