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The National Divorce: A Discussion Between A Conservative, Libertarian, and Leftist

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

Editors Note: After initially agreeing to publication, the leftist writer chose to withdraw their work due to personal preference. As a result, a leftwing perspective has been removed from this publication. If you desire to be considered as a writer on behalf of the leftwing viewpoint, please contact RLM.

CONSERVATIVE:

Author Luke Edison The Unites States seems to be a land of contradiction in 2023.


We must, “Follow the science!” …unless a man feels that his bone density, chromosomes, and

genitals are irrelevant details after he boldly declares, “I am a woman!”.


Defending the rights of minorities is an absolute priority… unless those minorities are 7 month

old pre-born children.


If you don’t have a uterus, you can’t have a legitimate opinion on abortion…but we also assert

that both men and women can get pregnant.


World War Three is something we all want to avoid and we collectively worry that a leader

who is globally perceived as volatile and weak may bring us closer to a clash of nuclear

powers… until a member of the political establishment leads the charge directly towards

sparking WWIII – then it’s time for NATO to take on Russia, nukes be damned!


Indeed, the American land of contradictions seems that it can’t get past it’s very own name

without contradicting itself: the United States are not so United at all. What is the status of the

American national divorce and how should we face it? In the minds of most on the right, the

national divorce has either already happened or it is mere steps away unless we act quickly.


Like a husband and wife who have chosen to live separately and see other people but are yet to sign the papers, conservatives largely see that the right and left are no more than a decision away from making the national divorce official. Rather than, “Is this divorce going to happen?” the more logical question seems to be, “Are we going to continually allow 49% of the citizenry to perpetually suffer under the authoritarian (and un-American) rule of 51%?”.


Don’t believe me? Consider a measurable example which helps us observe just how far left and right have drifted from one another: A nationwide poll by Rasmussen and the Heartland Institute revealed that over half of democrat voters want fellow Americans to be forcefully kept inside their homes if they are unvaccinated and almost half of democrat voters support legal fines or jail time for a person who dares to publicly question the COVID-19 vaccines. Only 14% of Republican voters support the same policy proposal. In a similar split, Pew found that most Democrat voters reject sex assigned at birth and believe American society has not gone far enough in accepting the transgender movement, while the vast majority of Republicans believe the opposite. These startling splits teach two lessons:


1) The left and right do not merely disagree on tax rates – they disagree on fundamental ideals of liberty, culture, morality, and individual rights.


2) We should all understand the simple fact that the left and right envision two different versions of an ideal America.


The American left has largely become a party which is utterly opposed to the ideas of individual independence, freedom of assembly, religious freedom, and medical privacy. The American right openly desires a return to what may be called traditional American moral and legal standards by prioritizing the nuclear family, states’ rights, free speech, the right to bear arms, and religious freedom – all founding pillars of the US. Both left and right agree that America is sick, but we disagree on the treatment because we differ on what a healthy country would look like.

Let’s take a condensed journey through two highly contentious times in America’s history and

compare them to the national division of 2023 in order to contextualize and analyze our situation. A better and more realistic path forward often emerges after considering the past.


Our first case study can be found in the 1700’s, when Americans generally fell into one of three categories: Revolutionary War fence sitters (undecided or unwilling to show support for either side), patriots (openly calling for a new and independent country), or imperial loyalists (those who supported England). Though exact numbers from the Revolutionary War Era are impossible to pin down, it is generally agreed upon that approximately 20% of American colonists were imperial loyalists, another group similar in size were patriots, and the largest group was made up of fence sitters.


Today, the smallest and most quickly shrinking group is made up of fence sitters, or as we call

them, swing voters. The resulting situation sees two large and ideologically opposed sides

splitting the country with a small minority of voters either not caring, desiring unity, or being

open to ideas from both sides. This demographic difference is a noteworthy factor which sets the rift of 2023 apart from that of 1776.


What about the next and most obvious example of historical rifts – what of the American Civil

War? Surely our differences were both more unreconcilable and more widespread

demographically than they are today… right? Wrong. Contrary to what Hollywood history would have you believe, the American Civil war was not even close to a 50/50 split of north vs south. In fact, less than 29% of the American population lived in the south when the Civil War began in 1861. Of that approximate 29%, many did not side with the south and only about 33% owned slaves. While we must again work with rough estimates, the Civil War had a demographic breakdown much closer to an 80/20 split between the north and south respectively – and here, again, we see that the sheer numbers who were ideologically opposed pale in comparison to the national divide of 2023.

The extreme disagreements in 2023 seem to be trending towards being more widespread than the ideological differences which lead to the conflicts of the 1700s and 1800s both in terms of sheer numbers and citizens measured as a percentage of the population. Finally, we must consider one other elements which makes our modern national division unique and highly volatile: what is at stake.

The prize we are politically fighting over in 2023 is drastically different and more dangerous

than it was in the Revolutionary War or the Civil War. The Revolutionary War saw a split

population fighting to attempt the start of a new regional experiment which was inconsequential militarily and economically. The Civil War was an internal clash in an isolated country of moderate relevance to the global power structure. The extreme ideological clashes of 2023 see a zero-sum game being played for the greatest and most powerful nation the world has ever seen and as a result our next steps as a population must be taken with a somber realization of the weight our decisions will carry.

We are at the point in our history where, for massive segments of our population, “The United

States of America” no longer describes a constitutionally limited democratic republic of states

which enshrines ideals like free speech, religious freedom, gun ownership, and national

sovereignty. One side wants to actively pursue to more perfectly live-out our original mission

statement while the other side is spearheaded by leaders like Barack Obama, openly seeking to, “fundamentally transform the United States”.

We are teetering on the edge of a national divorce being both justified and necessary. While there may be hope for an American return to greatness first internally and then globally,

that hope can only be found in one solution: a return to the Christian-influenced worldview that made America capable of dreaming, achieving, and surviving as a nation. The ideas of John Adams ring true as our only solution today – our constitution and our very country was designed for a religious and moral people, it will surely fail to govern any other population. Without a sincere and overwhelming return to Christian-influenced American ideals, the formerly united states will continue to slip into mediocrity and our national divorce will become permanent. With this in mind, I encourage you to ask how you can help. Can you influence your household to serve God, family, and country? Can you reject the easy wrong and embrace the difficult right? Can you move past your own vices and pursue virtue and selflessness? Only by doing so can the states stay united. The alternative is a difficult and necessary national divorce.

Luke Edison (@RealLukeEdison) is a Christian, conservative, veteran, activist, writer, speaker, and radio host. His academic training is in national security, communications, applied science, and political science.



LIBERTARIAN:

Author Benjamin Williams In November 2016, a group called Yes California gathered at the state Capitol in Sacramento,

California. Due to the efforts of this group and their movement, the term "Calexit" started trending on social media. The group was protesting that Donald Trump had won the election, and they were advocating for California to secede from the Union to become an independent state. Within a few months, this sentiment gained popularity. A 2017 Reuters poll revealed that one- third of Californians supported independence.

In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton mentioned that the election had unveiled a country

more deeply divided than previously thought. In his inaugural speech, Donald Trump said, "I didn't come along and divide this country. This country was seriously divided before I got here." While this may be true, the division in the following years has only intensified.

In the subsequent years, there were terrifying instances of politically-motivated violence and

attempted violence. In June 2017, a gunman opened fire on a congressional baseball team. In 2020, a group of men were arrested for planning the kidnapping of the Governor of Michigan. In June of 2022, a man traveled to Justice Brett Kavanaugh's house intending to assassinate him. America is undeniably divided, and this division has led to violence.


But what is the actual solution to this problem? How can we reconcile irreconcilable beliefs?

John Quincy Adams provided a hint in his 1839 speech to the New York Historical Society: "If the day should come, when the affections of the people of these states shall be alienated from each other, when the fraternal spirit shall give way to cold indifference or collisions of interest shall fester into hatred...far better will it be for the people of the Disunited States to part in friendship from each other than to be held together by constraint.”


One possible answer is national divorce. According to a UVA poll, 52% of Trump voters and

41% of Biden voters recognize that Americans should be able to secede from the Union.

America was founded on the principle of secession. Our nation was born out of the secession

from Great Britain, why would we deny that secession is good? Would the enemies of secession today have also fought against the founding of our nation? We seceded from Britain, and years later Texas seceded from Mexico. This concept is a core part of our heritage.


Pro-secession isn’t pro-slavery


It’s not surprising that most people think about the Confederate States of America, the Civil War, and slavery when the topic of secession comes up. But many Americans do not know that secession was often presented as a path to abolition. William Lloyd Garrison, Lysander Spooner, Wendell Phillips, and James Freeman Clarke were just some of the abolitionists who advocated “disunion.” Secession was never employed as a weapon against slavery, but nullification was. Through nullification, states were able to take back control and go against federal law.


Before “states’ rights” were used to defend slavery, they were used to fight against it. Personal Liberty laws were passed in several northern states, and these were used to effectively nullify the Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850. Furthermore, nullification was employed to uphold free speech and free trade, challenge unconstitutional searches and seizures, and the prospect of military conscription. By invoking nullification, states were able to stand up against the federal government and protect their citizens' rights and liberties.


Bigger is not better

The United States was not established as the massive landmass it is today; rather, it was much

smaller at its conception. Presently, people on the Pacific Coast are governed by individuals

thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C. A significant portion of the world does not

experience this level of distance in governance, and for those who do, it usually results in

unfavorable outcomes. There are over a dozen countries with more than 100 million citizens;

however, only two of these large countries are considered wealthy, with one being Japan – a

country much smaller in both landmass and population than the United States. Professor F.H.

Buckley observes in his book “American Secession” that smaller countries tend to be more

economically successful, engage in fewer wars, and exhibit overall less imperialism and

interventionism.


One of the reasons smaller countries are so successful is that they have to be. A country like

Liechtenstein, with a population under 40,000, can’t go around picking fights and imposing strict trade regulations. If they did these things they simply wouldn’t survive. Instead, they establish peaceful and mutually beneficial diplomatic and economic relations with other countries and provide their citizens with high amounts of economic freedom and success.


If the US were separated into two or more countries, then the economic dependence they have on each other would still exist. This would provide an incentive to maintain peaceful trade and migration while giving the new nations room to experiment with their economic policies. Nations are competing for business, trade, immigration, and limiting emigration, which pushes them to keep lowering taxes and having friendlier business regulations. These new nations would be able to decide whether or not they want to abide by anti-competitive policies like Trump’s trade war with China and Biden’s proposed 28% corporate tax. Citizens could have the freedom to migrate to these other nations just as they migrate to other states today. And likely, just like today, they will flock to areas with low taxes and high levels of political and economic freedom.


What about nukes and the military?


No one argues that national divorce would be simple. Many difficult questions would need to be answered. Admittedly, I cannot answer them all myself. But it is worth reminding people that secession is not completely unprecedented. Iceland seceded from Denmark, Singapore from Malaysia, Norway from Sweden, and the Baltic states from the USSR. The latter example

especially gives us demonstrations of how tough issues like nukes can be handled.


In the early 1990s, Ukraine seceded from the Soviet Union and inherited a significant nuclear

arsenal, which led to a peaceful negotiation process to handle the decentralized nuclear weapons among Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. While there are differences between the Ukrainian situation and the American secessionist movements, the example of Ukraine shows that nuclear weapons can pass into the control of a seceding state without conflict. In the event of a secessionist movement in the US, negotiations would be struck up with whoever has control over the nuclear weapons to bring about a peaceful resolution. Something like that, while submarines and bombers could be easier for a seceding region to control in the short term.


But if America broke up, wouldn’t larger hostile nations invade and beat a weakened America? Historical examples such as Britain's victories in the Opium Wars, Japan's repeated success against China, Germany's triumph on the eastern front during WWI, and the US ultimately prevailing in the Cold War, despite seemingly unfavorable metrics, reveal that more productive, well-organized, and wealthier nations often hold the advantage in international conflicts. Thus, the ability to defend oneself is not solely dependent on size or resources, but also on organization, strategy, and efficiency.


The ultimate case for secession


The case for national divorce in the US is rooted in self-determination, decentralization, and

individual liberty. The nation is currently more divided than ever, with deep ideological chasms causing irreparable rifts among the citizenry. The federal government's one-size-fits-all approach exacerbates these divisions, imposing policies that cannot accommodate diverse populations, cultures, and values.


National divorce would allow for the creation of smaller, more cohesive political units that are

better tailored to address local issues and reflect the preferences of their inhabitants. This

decentralization would enable communities to pursue their values, without coercion from those who live thousands of miles away. Individuals would be free to vote with their feet, gravitating towards communities that align with their beliefs. This competition among states would encourage policy innovation and experimentation, ultimately benefiting all citizens.

Embracing national divorce is a bold step towards a more voluntary, consent-based society. As communities and states embrace their values and priorities without coercion, animosity

dissipates, and mutual respect takes place. By dissolving the centralized behemoth that is the US federal government, we can empower individuals to pursue their values and in doing so, pave the way for genuine liberty and individual sovereignty. Benjamin Williams, aka PraxBen, is a Henry Hazlitt fellow for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is a Rothbardian libertarian and a proud Tennessee resident.

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