Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quote of the Time Being: Secession

Normally, when someone makes a joke about letting Texas secede from the US, I tend to make a comment along the lines of, "Okay, but give me some warning so I can move out, first." But Vicki provides a good reason to never seriously consider allowing any nutty state to secede:

When you say “let them secede” you’re also saying “let them beat gay people to death, let them imprison women for having miscarriages, let them imprison poor blacks on dubious charges and then use them as slave labor.” They’re doing too much of that already: do you really think an independent, right-wing south wouldn’t be worse? Think about that runaway gay sixteen-year-old: they might manage to hitchhike or pay for a bus ticket to someone whetter, but they’re not going to have a passport to get them to what’s left of the United States.


William said...

I have to admit, I don't usually give a lot of thought as to what would happen in the crazy South. I'm more thinking about how much better things could be in the remaining United States without them dragging us down.

But, I imagine something like this...

Scenario 1: All the crazy rhetoric becomes reality. As a result, the South collapses in a matter of months. The North re-invades, and does Reconstruction right this time.

Scenario 2: Secessionists realize their policies won't translate to reality, and moderate them accordingly. South collapses in a matter of years. Etc.

I started out to write something different for scenario 2, but I realized that I just don't see an independent South surviving for very long under any conditions.

I realize that both these scenarios involve immense suffering. But so does this one, where we are now:

Scenario 0: Crazy South remains in Union, is allowed to obstruct every constructive policy.

Bronze Dog said...

I guess I'll just have to keep trying to figure out how to get some weight behind my opinions, locally.

Funny thing I remembered of my dad trying to exert a bit of cultural force:

The wingnuttiest employee at my dad's place optimistically stepped into his office and asked if he heard about some particular person's secessionist talk. My dad ignored that excited tone and just flatly called it stupid, controlling his tone so as to make it sound like they both agreed it was self-evidently stupid.

I certainly hope that bought him a few weeks without unwanted political commentary.

Dunc said...

Well, as an outsider to the whole thing, I can't help but suspect that a lot of the vitriol that gets heaped on the South is basically scapegoating. It's not like there's ever been a major shortage of idiocy north of the Mason-Dixie line, is it? Especially on racism - sure, the South was segregated, but many places in the North simply got rid of their black populations altogether. Practically all of those lilly-white towns used to have black folks living there, in the years immediately after the Civil War - where did they all go, and do we really believe they all went entirely voluntarily?

Blaming someone else for all your ills means never having to engage in the difficult and uncomfortable process of self-examination.

I look forward to vilification as a clueless Brit. ;)

"I guess I'll just have to keep trying to figure out how to get some weight behind my opinions, locally."

Well, you know what they say - history is shaped by those who show up for the committee meetings.

Bronze Dog said...

From anecdotal experience (taken with a grain of salt), I do tend to hear more theocratic idiocy from the South ending up on national news, though that might be biased or otherwise confabulated by being in the Texas, one of the statistically worst places in the US.

I'll make a note to spew righteous venom the next time I hear about a Northern Yankee endorse the sorts of barbarism I usually associate with the redneck right wing theocrat South.

Aquaria said...

Blaming someone else for all your ills means never having to engage in the difficult and uncomfortable process of self-examination.

I look forward to vilification as a clueless Brit. ;)

Yeah, you are really clueless.

The South traditionally leads in all bad things, like illiteracy, number of people who don't graduate from high school, teacher pay, amount spent per student for education, teen pregnancy, prisoner abuse, racism, discrimination, domestic violence, divorce and so on.

The South also tends to have the most people screaming about government programs for the poor--while sucking up more off the federal teat than they give back to the rest of the nation. They have the fewest people who have medical care, who get it when they need it and who waste services like emergency care because they let things drag on so long, untreated. They have exceedingly high rates of obesity, heart disease, smoking and alcoholism.

They are the poorest states, and the states with the highest income inequality, gaps between rich and poor, and the worst and most penurious social "programs."

America would score much higher on numerous wellness and other assorted civilization factors without them.

Now sit down and shut up until you learn not to open your mouth when you know fuck-all about a subject or issue.


Ryan W. said...

^Someone's doing their impersonation of me from six years ago. Adorable.

Dunc said...

OK, since I'm so clueless, you'd better remind me - where do Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin come from? Where did they get elected to public office?

I'm not saying the South doesn't have major problems, I'm just saying those problems aren't entirely limited to the South. From the perspective of Europe, you're all fucking ignorant savages, so hair-splitting about which subset is precisely the worst is kinda missing the point.

Aquaria said...
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Aquaria said...
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Aquaria said...

OK, since I'm so clueless, you'd better remind me - where do Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin come from? Where did they get elected to public office?

What a braindead attempt at a gotcha question.

In the case of Bachmann, she's the result of an incompetent media looking for sensation rather than, you know, facts or reality. She's gotten attention far beyond what she deserves, because she's willing to drool crazy, inflammatory bullshit on TV.

She's in office because her district is chock full of drooling morons even dumber than she, thanks to gerrymandering apparently gone berserk.

In most states, the legislatures will draw the Congressional district lines to favor particular political parties. I can't speak for Minnesota, since I don't live there, but, in Texas, districts are drawn in such a way as to maximize the number of Republicans elected and reduce the number of Democrats. The city of Austin, with about 800,000 people, has their congressional representation drawn into four zones and then extending from there into drooling moron land. It's done this way to maximize Republican reps in Washington. Look up Tom Delay and redistricting, if you want to know just how sleazy gerrymandering can be.

As for Sarah Palin--egads... Becoming governor of Alaska is about like running for mayor in Austin. In fact, they're about the same size. Alaska just has less business and ethnic diversity, and fewer education opportunities. The biggest thing the governor does is sign the bill that sends oil rebate checks to Alaskans. Sarah Palin didn't dare call that a socialist government handout--even though it is.

Anyway, being governor of Alaska doesn't have the prestige, or the necessity of, you know, knowing what the fuck you're doing when you get in office that the mayor's office in Austin does.

Most importantly, Sarah Palin would still be "WTF? Alaska has a governor?" if it weren't for John Braindead McCain elevating her to the national stage.

Rhoadan said...

Dunc's not completely clueless here. Look up "Sundown Towns."

Dunc said...

Thank you, Rhoadan. I seem to recall reading (from Dave Neiwert, who's pretty good on this stuff) that there were actually significantly more Sundown Towns in the North than the South. See this, for example...

It's also worth considering that there are a number of other demographic axes which are more strongly predictive of social attitudes than the North / South axis (e.g. rich / poor, urban / rural, coastal / continental), and that once you control for them, the apparent North / South divide becomes even less pronounced. If you look at a county-by-county electoral map of the US, you can't really see a North / South divide to anything like the extent that you can when looking at, say, electoral maps of the UK. (The NYT has quite a cool tool to look at how various factors correlated with voting in the last Presidential election here. I accept that voting in the Presidential election is a very crude proxy for social attitudes, but it illustrates the point. Maps for the last UK general election can be found here.)

As for damning the South for being poor and backward... Wasn't there someone on this blog with a speciality of making exactly similar arguments, only aimed at a different minority? How well did that go down again?

I hate to trouble anyone's easy prejudices with inconvenient facts and data, especially on a skeptical blog... ;)

Stabby the Misanthrope said...

Well, poop. There goes my "Anything that lowers the number of fire ants in the U.S. is fine with me" joke.

Brian M said...

Indiana was actually controlled by the KKK for a good decade. What about Kansas? Or Cincinatti, Ohio? Or Wyoming? Where do you draw the line in defining the boundaries of "Jesusland" versus "the civilized" America?

Dunc: Before you get too smug, keep in mind 25% of the American electorate has never voted for anyone quite as bad as a Le Pen. Or the Austrian guy. Or, for that matter, Berlusconi. European superiority complexes are...amusing...given your history. For every Bagram, there are elements of the French secret service providing advice on the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide.

Just saying, man.