How the Next Civil War Begins

When will the next American civil war begin?

This has become a popular question over the last decade as people on both the left and the right calculate the value of Union.

It’s also a poor question because it relies on the incorrect assumption that secession must bring war.

We have no one but Lincoln–and the Righteous Cause Lincolnian Myth–to blame for that.

Regardless, the mere fact that people on both sides of the political spectrum have started openly talking about secession is an interesting development.

For years the proposition had been dead and buried.

But something interesting starting happening with the fall of the Soviet Union. People around the world starting realizing the secession may not always be a “bad” thing, and it can be done peacefully.

It has never been a bad thing. Only our collective historical ignorance makes it so.

Several listeners sent me a recent piece at the website Tablet explaining “How the Next Civil War Begins.”

This is fascinating. Tablet is a standard establishment conservative website, and they were willing to publish this piece.

I tend to agree with the author on several points, notably secession can only happen if a left wing State wanted out.

Conservatives would generally wish them well, though I believe that even a Republican president would attempt to force them to stay in the Union.

I don’t think any “red” State has a shot. The immediate cry would be “Racism!” and the general government would send in the tanks.

Thomas Naylor and the Second Vermont Republic had a far better shot at independence than Texas.

I think that the only real possibility for secession would be for conservatives in Congress to vote out one or more States. But the issues surrounding this move would make it nearly impossible. The most important issue would be money, and not just tax revenue.

Big money would not want to lose their home field advantage.

That could be worked out, of course, even as two separate countries, but the immediate pain would be problematic.

So, while I agree that secession, even unilateral secession through popular conventions, is not only possible but legal, I also think that the best solution would be real federalism and nullification.

The Union has its benefits if the general government stays in its lane, and the States have the power to make that happen.

I find the multiple discussions on secession and decentralization to be interesting and fruitful, but I also don’t think most Americans are ready for such a move.

Time will tell.

The Tablet piece made great Podcast fodder, so I discuss it on Episode 747 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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