Political secession looms on the American horizon.
The political phenomenon of secession is similar to an evolutionary phenomenon in biology. Throughout history, radical changes in the Earth’s geology have separated species apart to the point where new species emerged. For example, when the Pangaea supercontinent broke apart long ago, new oceans formed that separated fractured continents and species from each other.
Over time, each of the separated species evolved in different directions. Often, after millions of years of evolution, what used to be one species became two species in their separated habitats. At that point, they could no longer interbreed even if there was an opportunity to.
The same phenomenon happened if an island split off from a continent, or if tectonic plate movements pushed up a mountain range to divide a continent. Species were halved by these geologic changes, and then each of the halved species evolved into two different species. The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins called this process the “Long Goodbye”.
A political “Long Goodbye” is underway in America. It wasn’t triggered by a geologic cleavage, but rather by a philosophic upheaval. Americans now have two very distinct philosophies about the nature and role of government. The divide between the two perspectives has become unbridgeable.
In other words, we have become two separate political species, and we will never be able to become one again. Our philosophical differences are so stark that they can’t be reconciled. Here are some examples:
One side sees freedom as protection from aggression and coercion by other people, even if it means greater individual risk. The other side sees freedom as an escape from self-responsibility and risk, even it means aggressing against other people to gain protection and sustenance.
One side sees the role of government as a protector of life, liberty, and property. The other side sees government as a tool for imposing on the lives, liberty, and property of others.
One side believes that each person owns their self and what they produce. The other side believes that the collective owns each person and what they produce.
One side believes that you are responsible for yourself and not for everybody else. The other side believes that you are responsible for everyone else but not for yourself.
One side believes that moral virtue is necessary in order to make the right decisions in life, because you are responsible for the messes you create. The other side believes that moral virtue is unnecessary because the state will make your decisions and clean up your messes after you.
One side believes that our political structure should be a limited Constitutional Republic comprised of sovereign individuals. The other side believes that our political structure should be a centralized nanny state with unlimited and ever-expanding powers.
One side believes that wealth is created through individual initiative, risk-taking, and capital accumulation. The other side believes that wealth magically comes into existence and the only challenge is how to divide it up.
One side believes that justice is getting for your own actions what you deserve from your loved ones, your peers, and the world at large. The other side believes that justice is taking whatever you want because of class envy or some presumed grievances of the past.
One side believes in pursuing truth through honest inquiry, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought. The other side believes in imposing dogma through censorship, indoctrination, and a “cancel” culture.
One side believes that national borders exist to rationally assimilate legal immigrants into a society of laws. The other side believes that there should be a borderless one-world government so that there is no other rational society to flee to if the government becomes oppressive.
One side believes that each person is responsible for themselves and is entitled only to freedom of action. The other side believes that each person is responsible for nothing and is entitled to everything.
Take a moment to ponder the implications of the differences described above. In each difference, there is little possibility of reconciliation, even though we often express political urges to “unite”, “compromise”, and “work together”. When all of the above differences are considered together in the cold light of reason, the verdict is startlingly obvious – America is home to two separate political species. Neither side would freely choose to live under the philosophical premises of the other. Both sides are embroiled in bitter acrimony. Violence is already starting to erupt.
Our philosophies are diametrically opposed. There is no moderate position or middle ground to take between them, despite our good-willed attempts to imagine that there is. We call ourselves Americans, but that common descriptor lost its meaning at the same pace as the Constitution lost its sacredness. America’s demise can be mourned but it can’t be undone. Every attempt to merge the two philosophic camps into one only leads to more conflict, chaos, and violence. It’s like trying to blend oil and water – the two compounds will always separate from each other.
The Long Goodbye has already started in America, so there is no going back. Evolution only works in one direction. The best that we can do now is to amicably go our separate ways by turning the philosophic separation into a geographic one. Let the Great Sorting Process begin as people and families migrate to like-minded regions of the country. And then split the self-sorted nation in two as each half simultaneously secedes from the diseased central government. Each half can then adopt a form of government that is consistent with its philosophical and cultural underpinnings. That was in essence the great message of our Declaration of Independence. It is as relevant today as it was in 1776.
If we don’t find a way to do this peacefully, it will happen violently in the form of another civil war. We are now two different species that cannot coexist amicably in the same environment. The safest and best thing each side can do right now is to simply say “Farewell” to the other side.
It will be a sorrowful goodbye. All permanent ones are.