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Desiring Devolution
The UK Survived, but Will the US?

Here’s some striking numbers about American political preferences: A new Reuters poll finds that one-fourth of respondents support “the idea of your state peacefully withdrawing from the United States of America and the federal government.” More

Secession got more support from Republicans than Democrats, more from right- than left-leaning independents, more from younger than older people, more from lower- than higher-income brackets, more from high school than college grads. But there was a surprising amount of support in every group and region, especially the Rocky Mountain states, the Southwest and the old Confederacy, but also in places like Illinois and Kansas. And of the people who said they identified with the Tea Party, supporters of secession were actually in the majority, with 53 percent. […]

By the evidence of the poll data as well as these anecdotal conversations, the sense of aggrievement is comprehensive, bipartisan, somewhat incoherent, but deeply felt.

The story suggests that frustration with the centralized, Fordist system run from D.C. is behind these numbers. Indeed, that frustration bears some similarity to the dissatisfaction driving the campaign for Scottish independence. As Walter Russell Mead pointed out in his recent essay on the aftermath of the Scottish independence vote, even though the U.K. survived, the vote is a warning sign for European governments that new economic, cultural, and political pressures will create a demand for greater devolution in the years to come. Even though American secessionist movements are hardly likely to get off the ground, the centralized blue model is collapsing here, too—and people want something more nimble and more local to replace it.

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  • Anthony

    Is frustration really correlative to denoted Fordist centralized system or…?

    “We live in the shadow of secular stagnation, to use a phase now fashionable among economists…. The underlying issues are political. Since World War II, advance democracies – Japan, Western Europe, the U.S. – have depended on strong economic growth. It was a political narcotic: wages and living standards rose, generating taxes to pay for generous safety nets and welfare benefits. The financial crisis shattered the complacency, and the prospect is for years of modest or, in Europe, possibly non existent growth. How will the political systems cope? Will class warfare intensify as groups battle harder for bigger shares of a stagnant pie? Will racial, ethnic, religious, generational and ideological conflicts worsen?”

    Feed’s theme appears to be begging an answer for “social peace” while inferring blue model current causation for dissatisfaction.

    • Anthony

      Where is that quote from?

      • Anthony

        Hello Anthony. Robert Samuelson (Investor Business Daily: “The Next (Nasty) Economic Surprise).

  • GodisanAmerican

    Please God show that you exist by letting these red-state secession succeed. But they won’t because they are busy hustling yankee dollar. Except for TX and FL, the rest of the red states are pretty much moocher states. Not only they mooch but they also keep the country backward. Let them form Confederate State of America or Jesusstan and teach creationism and pray 24 hours for all we care.

    • Tom

      Have fun when most of your military leaves and your food and fuel prices go up.

      • GodisanAmerican

        Pure myths. Check out California produces 90% tomatoes, almost 100% all almonds, avocados, pecans, peaches, nectarines,…
        In fact, California has class A soil produces most diverse food items in the world. Midwest produces plenty of grains.

        If Alabama, Miss, Oklahoma, TN, AR, …by themselves would be no better than a third world country. (TX can stay with North+West+midwest or return it back to Mexico as a good will gesture or just settle enough mexicans there and that will be enough.)
        That south provides more military is also a pure myth. How good independent CSA’s military would be? Well we have seen that movie before. Haven’t we?

    • seattleoutcast

      What a woefully ignorant statement. One doesn’t even know where to begin. Perhaps we can start by noting that the user name, “GodisanAmerican” is an intentionally inflammatory name and thus sophomoric.

      The rest, well, just google them and you’ll find the true statistics.

      Such a shame to live your life by spouting silly statements.

  • Bruce

    The secession movement makes sense. Our divides are so severe that there is no room for compromise. I would not consider voting for politicians that want to compromise with liberals. Liberalism is too destructive. There is nothing to compromise with other than total destruction of capitalism and these people never give up. They are trying to change Texas from red to blue via illegal immigration. They never give up. They should have their own utopia and we’ll have ours, although we are smart enough to realize it won’t be utopian. It will just be better.

    • Andrew Allison

      Bruce, “I would not consider voting for politicians that want to compromise . . .” suggests that you are part of the problem. Compromise is the only way that the divides can be closed, and secession would widen the divisions. A better solution would to kill the Gerrymander by minimizing district boundary length, thereby requiring making members of congress to represent the interest of politically diverse districts.

    • Corlyss

      In this age when history has been reduced to PC blather people forget that we been here twice before. What we have now resembles the run up to the civil war. We got a loooooooog way to go before it gets really bad.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Polls are really marvelous for eliciting “somewhat incoherent” (4th paragraph above) responses. If you asked the same secessionists whether they want their state’s pro and college sports teams to secede from the leagues in the (remaining) United States, half of them would say “of course not—-are you nuts?” Poll questions are nearly always SOOOOO simplistic that they gather simplistic answers.

    No one alive really knows what is meant by millions of people who answer the famous annual question that America is on the “wrong track” rather than the “right track”.
    Too liberal, too conservative, too corporate-controlled, too white, too black/brown, too permissive, too hawkish, too dovish, too selfish, too generous abroad????
    Nobody knows, and the pollsters like it that way. Otherwise, they would ask “why” questions to make people think AND only take responses from those bothering to offer an original thought (instead of the poll-prompted thought).

  • Corlyss

    I want to get rid on California. Where does one go to vote for that?

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