Don Devine on the secession trend:
American hegemony properly controlled thus assists world peace, and secession could threaten international and domestic liberty. Still, secession in its tamed form of federalism and decentralization presents the secret to domestic liberty, especially in larger states. The ability to devolve power to the lowest levels possible—first to the individual, then to the family, to free associations and businesses, to the community, to local and regional government, and only to the national state when no other institution can perform the function—allows freedom to adjust to community differences and make individuals more satisfied with their national state.
Clark Bianco on the persistence of the English Civil War in our red state-blue state divide:
If you visit a red state you will notice higher than average levels of tobacco use, Evangelical Christianity, Ford F-150s, and so on.
If you visit a blue state you will notice higher than average levels of organic foods,evangelical Brightism, Priuses, and so forth.
To a first approximation, these two bags of cultural signifiers have absolutely nothing to do with King Charles I and Oliver Cromwell and the cultures around them.
In fact, though, if you dig a bit deeper you’ll see that there are very solid strands connecting them. The Parliamentarian Roundheads were made up of Diggers (agrarian socialists – who’d think that farmers would be socially liberal?),Levellers (who were into “popular sovereignty”, which is a fancy political science term for a drum circle, I think) and a bunch of near heretics who’s spiritual descendants believe in Crystal Power and Chakras (or perhaps having their female priests and rabbis perform gay marriages in an inclusive church), and always voting Democrat. In short, you’ve got a pretty similar culture alliance in 1614 as you do in 2014.
WRM on a world in flames:
Obama, Merkel, Cameron and Hollande have made plenty of mistakes on their own; words like “Libya” and “Syria” come to mind. But the rip currents through which they must swim are not entirely of their making. They, and we, are reaping the consequences of bad decisions taken two decades ago, when the skies were still bright and the world was full of hope. For a quarter century now, Western policymakers have assumed that history held no more great challenges on the scale of the colossal crises of the 20th century. They have acted as if we had reached some kind of post-historical utopia, and as if our security and prosperity had become so absolute and so embedded that we no longer needed to concern ourselves with the foundations of the world order.
This was foolishly and tragically wrong. We are not yet back in the worst of the bad old days. We have passed from the late 1920s to the early 1930s. A shadow is stirring in Mirkwood, the orcs are roaming the forests, but the Dark Lord hasn’t returned to his Tower. The historical clock that seemed to slow in the 1990s is ticking faster now. We can no longer afford to live carelessly and large. The days are getting darker, and if we are to avoid a repeat of the horrors of the last century, there is no time to waste and little to spare.
The revolution is not forthcoming:
The argument I am making here is critical to all of Marxist politics, because the assumption that working class has no interest to assert against the ruling class is the very condition Marx and Engels call on to explain why the proletarians bring the era of classes to an end. Classes, they argue, cannot disappear until a class emerges that has no class interest to assert.
This is not a little problem for people who think deteriorating conditions of class under capitalism will lead to proletarian political revolution; it is a fucking HUGE problem. Because if Marx and Engels were right, there is no way any decline in their material conditions will trigger the proletariat to take power.
In their argument, Marx and Engels state there is only one mechanism for this sort of alteration of society: the conscious voluntary association of the proletariat. No other mechanism exists or can exist. And this might explain why at the moment when, in Noys words, society had to choose between “‘the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large’ and ‘the common ruin of contending classes’”, society opted for fascism. Its other choice, Socialism, required a level of political consciousness that the proletariat was unable to muster.
Hernando de Soto with some lessons from Peru for beating the Islamic state:
Peru’s army knew that the farmers could help them to identify and defeat the enemy. But the government resisted making an alliance with the informal defense organizations that the farmers set up to fight back. We got a lucky break in 1991 when then-U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle, who had been following our efforts, arranged a meeting with President George H.W. Bush at the White House. “What you’re telling me,” the president said, “is that these little guys are really on our side.” He got it.
This led to a treaty with the U.S. that encouraged Peru to mount a popular armed defense against Shining Path while also committing the U.S. to support economic reform as an alternative to the terrorist group’s agenda. Peru rapidly fielded a much larger, mixed-class volunteer army—four times the army’s previous size—and won the war in short order. As Mr. Guzmán wrote at the time in a document published by Peru’s Communist Party, “We have been displaced by a plan designed and implemented by de Soto and Yankee imperialism.”
Looking back, what was crucial to this effort was our success in persuading U.S. leaders and policy makers, as well as key figures at the United Nations, to see Peru’s countryside differently: as a breeding ground not for Marxist revolution but for a new, modern capitalist economy. These new habits of mind helped us to beat back terror in Peru and can do the same, I believe, in the Middle East and North Africa. The stakes couldn’t be higher. The Arab world’s informal economy includes vast numbers of potential Islamic State recruits—and where they go, so goes the region.
Yankees gonna yankee
Emory University acquires Flannery O’Connor’s papers
Harpending and Weight’s new draft paper on the Amish getting more Amish
Doug MacKinnon interviewed by Dennis Miller on his new book on secession
Union Leader says the Free State Project is still going strong
Hawaiian Kingdom decrees provisional laws
Woodrow Wilson’s Dixie White House
NPR on the Civil War in film
Greg Abbott backs the Supreme Court hearing SCV’s case for Confederate license plates
Rare photo found of one of Robert E. Lee’s slaves
Fred Ellison, a House candidate from Missouri, once shared a state secession petition
Secession and regional net taxpayers
Danville saga continues, stupidly
Bobby Scott’s district is unconstitutional
Weird, wonderful Liechtenstein
Ireland’s revolutionary generation
Cochran on the efficacy of travel bans
Belgian coalition government formed Wednesday includes the Flemish nationalist party
Unofficial Friulian independence referendum being prepared
Things are heating up in Catalonia
A strong majority in Catalonia supports the referendum
Nick Clegg is worried about “tribal nationalism”
Jamie Maxwell on the class politics behind Scottish secession
China builds police station to keep tabs on Tibetan monks
Anti-secession forces in Malaysia invoke anti-communist struggles
Anguilla doesn’t regret its decision to secede