In many ways, the United States has always been just one domestic political spat away from disunion. This has been true since the halcyon days of the American Revolution. Yet even through threats of secession and a bloody Civil War, Americans have somehow managed to keep the continental superstate together.
Great writers, such as Angelo Codevilla have lamented the dawning of a “cold civil war” in today’s America between radical Marxists on the Left and nationalists on the Right. He is correct in this description. But rather than give into our darker impulses, this moment in history calls for state-building on an epic scale. Instead of acceding to disunion, American patriots everywhere should demand that their government not only protect the rights of all Americans but also enhance the union of all 50 states.
Construction rather than destruction must be our battle cry.
Talk from either the Right or Left about disunion is an unholy surrender of our sacred duty as Americans to keep the great democratic experiment going on for the next generation. In his 2018 book, The Republican Workers’ Party, F.H. Buckley wrote that modern presidential candidates win their races by appealing to left-wing economics and right-wing social values. The idea that the country should separate, when most voters agree on the major issues, is absurd.
What’s more, for 50 years, conservatives have been social distancing themselves from the major institutions of our society, thinking that in so doing they could provide an alternative voice to the dominant culture of the Left. All that did was to create greater animosity without providing much resolution.
How many of these well-paid think-tank analysts would have been far better deployed in educating the nation’s youth at our major universities for the last couple of generations? Why is it so easy for NBC to not bother having real conservatives on their shows?
Whenever pushback was needed in our institutions, conservatives ran to the security of their own fiefdoms. But that only encouraged the most radical elements of the Left to march toward the center and gain the high ground of public opinion. It’s time for those of us on the Right to fight to shape the shared space that is the United States rather than retreat from it.
Disunion Would Be Disastrous
1787 marked an important milestone for our great country: it was the year our Constitution was written. The question of whether to maintain the disastrous government of the Articles of Confederation or to fundamentally transform that system, born hastily in the fire of revolution against Britain’s monarchical power, was an animating one for the Founding generation.
James Madison, often called the father of the Constitution, argued in Federalist 41, that stronger European powers would enjoy pitting various disunited American factions against one another in order to keep American greatness down. “America united,” Madison concluded, “with its handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.”
Today, there is no surer path to creating a Chinese century than continuing on this disastrous course of domestic political disunion. Beijing and Moscow both would relish the opportunity to keep Americans at each other’s throats.
Madison and the Federalists were correct about the need for a more powerful and uniting federal government like the one we enshrined in our Constitution. Seven decades later, Abraham Lincoln was faced with the prospect of disunion. We know how far he went to ensure that we remained united.
A succession of modern presidents also faced disunion, often from Communist plots. There were the infamous Palmer Raids during the Woodrow Wilson Administration and the “Red Scare” during the McCarthy years. In the 1960s and ’70s, a range of presidents (Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson as well as Republicans Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford) did whatever it took to keep the country united even as radical Marxists tried to tear us apart.
In all of these instances, overriding state power was used to push back the would-be insurrectionists. But measures to keep America united weren’t all punitive. Great public works projects and the space program, for example, kept us together. So did the expansion of civil rights.
The radicals burning the cities down today want nothing more than for those of us on the Right to finally throw in the towel and secede from the union—because it would leave them the opportunity finally to define us as being “outside the norm” and inevitably use force against us to bring us to heel forever.
The union has been weakened over the last several decades;Now is the time to strengthen it, not to abandon it.
President Trump has an opportunity to end the disorder in our streets while reuniting our people through a nationwide federal infrastructure program. Trump promised to “make America great again,” so let’s start doing it.
He’s already offered a glimmer of hope to people with the reinvigoration of our national space program. Let’s go beyond that now. Infrastructure is something that all Americans need and want—and it is something that we can start fixing now. Beyond that, the president should start talking about the actual inequality that exists today and offer real solutions to repair the damage (not appeals to the rhetoric of spite and envy that former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democrats insist on using).
The way to combat an insurgency is to entice more people to your side. Yes, force may be necessary at times (namely to stop the rioters and looters burning the cities down). But there is so much more Trump can offer Americans.
The reason the radical Left has had such an easy time provoking Americans to hate each other is that the center has been collapsing for years. Just like the weak regime of the Articles of Confederation, the current regime needs a new bargain; a “Real Deal” for the 21st century, not the raw deal the Democrats are offering.