Two State Solution?

Since 2008, we’ve seen Congress and pretty much everyone else fail at fixing the economy.  Much of this is directly due to gridlock in Congress and a president who is either unable or unwilling to direct anything.

Are we approaching the time when we need a two state solution?  Do we willingly divide the nation into two chunks, one liberal and the other conservative, allow people to move to which ever side they want to live in, divide the deficit in half, and then gradually over a few years make the physical separation?

Then, over a period of several years, we could see which side manages better. Would a European-like socialism be able to pay off its deficit and provide a decent lifestyle over a small government program that encourages more economic freedom?

I ask this due to historical precedent. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, we saw the once great empire break up into many little pieces. Some have excelled economically, while others still barely limp along.  It was the solution for the economic and moral collapse of the USSR’s empire.  Do we plan a division, or risk having it happen precipitously on its own, here in the United States.  And yes, we are an Empire, we are economically slowly collapsing, and we have divisions that do not seem surmountable.

Your thoughts on a planned division?  Your thoughts on whether can we remain one nation with the radical divisions we now have?

14 thoughts on “Two State Solution?

  1. We asked this question already with a bloody Civil War. The Federal Powers won the war against Two State supporters. I’m afraid we are left with the collapse as an inevitability. When that finally happens the United States might turn into a violent morass of city-States.

  2. Well, I hope it doesn’t come to that. I would say that we have been more divided at other times in history — look at the late 1960s and early 1970s for examples. Violent protests took place all the time. We had the death of MLK and RFK in 1968, and the election of Nixon (yuck!). We got through it.

    I prefer to think that most people will begin to see that the high-tax, public union model does not work. We are already seeing that a bit in NY, CA and IL, where small steps are being taken to decrease the power of public employee unions to handle the deficits. I think we will see a lot more of that in the years ahead.

    Living in Colorado, I can tell you we are an extremely divided state. The rural areas are conservative, the cities are liberal. But people learn to get along.

  3. Your Colorado example is exactly why I think its possible (not inevitable) that the violent city-State is going to be the outcome of U.S. collapse. Also, I believe we survived the social unrest of earlier times precisely because of a strong Federal presence. Take the threat of police and military action away and I believe a war between conservatives and liberal factions (not all at once) will happen. How far would it go? We aren’t there yet enough to even guess.

  4. I think the people that say a violent split is inevitable are probably hoping in the back of their minds, in some small way, that it happens. They think there is something romantic about the bloodshed of the Revolutionary and Civil wars and the outcome of one or the other. I don’t see it coming to that.

    Since 2008, we’ve seen Congress and pretty much everyone else fail at fixing the economy.

    Congress failing to fix it started long before then. And it has as much to do with a Party that refuses to do anything that doesn’t oppose the President as it does with a President that is unable or unwilling to do anything.

    If you had a division I think some conservative states would quickly realize the only reason they are staying afloat is because some liberal states are funding pretty much everything they do.

  5. Geoff notes that there have been many times in US history when we have been divided, probably much more severely than we are now. Why are we being so pessimistic now, when we have triumphed every time in the past?

    There are solutions to all these problems. One solution is to have a war and destroy your opponent, who represent the voices of half the American people. The other solution is to compromise, to accept a mixed economy of socialism and capitalism, higher taxes, lower spending, and slow growth. Options which find themselves at the far ends of the political spectrum can only be implemented if you have a military to back you up. They don’t work in a democracy.

    Ideological differences are not fixed identities either. Mormons were mostly Democrats before they all moved to the right in the 60s. Look at the careers of many politicians and you see lots of maneuvering. Oklahoma was the only state in the union that didn’t move to the left during the Obama election. We are constantly being blown about by every wind of doctrine, by whatever political fad or prevailing taste or fear happens to be. We are straining a bit now, but things will relax a bit in a few years before they start the process all over again. It’s always been this way. There have always been doomsayers. There have always been optimists.

    But somehow, looking at politics on the long-term view over centuries, things have improved since the days we settled political differences with duals and bombs. I believe they will continue to improve.

  6. I don’t see anything inherently desirable about the “union.” So I don’t see how preserving the union in the face of dissent is necessarily a “triumph.” Life, for all we know, could be better for everyone if we were two countries instead of one. Why is it inherently better to be one country instead of two? If that’s the case, is it inherently better that Canada and the US become one instead of remaining two?

    Having many different kinds of government, closer to the people, in a heterogenous multi-state system is far better than one supervising supreme government. So again, I ask, why is it necessary a “triumph” that we stick together as one country, instead of dividing into two (if our needs call for it)?

  7. I’m all for a political divide, but I think a divide between conservatives and liberals wouldn’t work. Political fanatics would not be happy without opponents, and new liberal and conservative parties would form within each state. There is no such thing as liberal or conservative in the absence of comparison.

    I think a better divide would be between those who subscribe to any of the political creeds and those who form opinions and make political decisions without relying on a particular political party. That way those who like to wear a political shirt and believe that they have all the right answers can fight it out happily amongst themselves, and the rest of us can try to actually solve problems without as much prancing, pride, and posturing. 😛

  8. If the high tax, public union model doesn’t work, how do you explain Germany? It has high taxes, strong unions, universal healthcare — in short, all the things US conservatives say don’t work. Other things are at work here and cannot be explained by such simplistic ideas.

  9. Don, that program does work – for Germany. But they have a different culture that is very different than ours. They are more homogeneous than us, not as diverse. They have fewer cultures to deal with. They are known for hard work and being frugal.

    We also were like this once. Even in adopting immigrants, we use to teach them how to be and think American. The Constitution was important for all. Small government was generally important for all. Even in the days of FDR or Eisenhower, the choices made to expand the federal government’s role was careful and selective. People worked hard, and were frugal with their money.

    Today, we’ve changed into a nation of many cultures, but few who really understand what it means to be American. For them, we are just a wealthy nation among nations. National politicians of both main parties have pushed not just one or two projects, but hundreds. Even the military has become a cash cow for politicians. Meanwhile, when 9/11 happened, the president told us to go shopping rather than share the pain (as FDR encouraged). People and government stopped being frugal and wise in the things they do. The culture changed drastically over just a few decades into something it never was before.

    Yes, we have had huge divisions in the past. But those often ended in conflict of one type or another. John Adams was tricked by Hamilton to approve the Sedition and Alien Acts, which almost ended the nation’s liberties. Only a major vote to kick out the federalists (a party that no longer exists) and put in place Jeffersonian Democrats (a party that no longer exists, except in name only)saved the nation.

    The Civil War saved the nation, but it cost over 1 million lives to do so. Do we really want such a high cost to save a nation? I hope not.

    I see both Republicans and Democrats ignoring the Constitution and the will of the people. They are not fixing anything, but just aligning themselves for an upcoming major conflict. Hopefully that conflict will be without violent conflict. Yet, as a historian, I note that history repeats itself frequently. Different players, same garbage.

  10. Yeah, those who feel “aloof” from the conversation because they deliberately refuse to study it out and take a stand against coercion and evil can go to a country of their own? I’d be ok with that.

  11. Jefferson’s party was called the “Republican party”. The idea that the party of Jefferson and Madison has a closer relationship to the contemporary Democratic party than to the contemporary Republican party is an idle fiction.

    The “Democratic Party” was a name eventually adopted by a spin off of the original Republican party around the 1830s or so. The Whigs were the other spin off, who themselves were supplanted by the second Republican party just prior to the Civil War.

  12. Jefferson’s party was the Democratic-Republican party. There was no Republican party until Lincoln’s time, and it was more federalist than it was Republican. Yes, Jefferson’s party took a huge change under Van Buren and Jackson.

    Here is an excellent discussion on the “super” committee’s failure and division on this issue on Morning Joe this morning with Mika Brzezinski, Andrea Mitchell and former US Comptroller David Walker. Many of his suggestions for change in Congress are what I’ve suggested. Also they lay a lot of blame on Pres Obama, for walking away from Simpson-Bowles.

    Morning Joe

  13. The Germans have an entire population of African, Islamic, and other refugees who live in abject poverty and are not allowed to work, too.

    And there are a lot of people who live on welfare for ridiculous reasons, just like we have. When I lived there, they were raising taxes again, which was causing some hardworking people to lose their jobs and their homes.

    So it’s not all sunshine and roses there, either.

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