Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 526, July 5, 2009

"There are aliens among us."

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Divided America
by A.X. Perez

Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

Everyone keeps talking about a second civil war starting in the United States when states seceded over differing interpretation of what freedom means, what the relation between individual and government should be.

In my opinion what is more likely to happen is that government officials engaging in petty abuses of power and shakedowns provoke armed resistance with greater frequency and at greater severity. In some area the police and state militias support the people, in others they support the abusers of government power. Frequently they split and the country goes into civil disorder. In some places things are held together, in others order is restored at varying paces, with varying degrees of civil liberty. Areas of stability coalesce, often disagreeing with each other on issues such as religious freedom, freedom of speech, the right to keep and bear arms, the rights of the accused. Territories that cannot restore civil authority are absorbed by more powerful and stable neighbors. Sometimes the neighbors are asked to do the absorbing, sometimes they act without invitation with varying degrees of moral validity.

Eventually the US coalesces into three or four (maybe five) mini nations. Theoretically they are committed to reunifying the nation into one, and appear to maintain reasonably cordial relations. In practice they are divided over civil liberties, the amount of power to entrust the government with, what to do about the old national debt, what to do about the different new regional debts, welfare, and whether rodents in polyester leisure suits are in fact cute (with apologies to our esteemed publisher). Each mini nation is powerful enough to stand of the others singly or in combination. This is especially true of those that most strongly support the right of private individuals to bear military class arms. Several nations and coalitions discover that the Disunited States can put their differences aside long enough to fend off foreign invasion.

As a generation or two pass all the mini-nations coalesce into one, except for Texas and the territories it controls. Whether it is the nasty backbiting style of Texas politics or its weird mixture of Bible authoritarianism and "hell they ain't bothering us so why bother them" libertarianism, the rest of the US refuse to re-admit Texas.

I'd rather see this used as the basis of SF novels and short stories than a prediction of America's fate.


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