It seems that the more popular a topic is among one’s audience, the harder it is to express one’s views on it without being misunderstood. For example, I have written on my blog before that I expect the United States to begin a slow and (at first) informal breakup around mid-century when, due to a wide range of factors, the resources to maintain law and order over such a large territory are no longer available.
Inevitably, this is misunderstood as a prediction that sometime in the near future the United States will undergo an organized revolution like what we had in 1776 and split into conservative and liberal halves.
Hence the need for me to write about why the second scenario is extremely unlikely.
This is going to be an eclectic post. My topics will include a bizarre child custody case in Texas, the shallowness of the red-state/blue-state divide, the geography of the Bering Sea, and a comparison between the plots of Star Wars and Braveheart.
First, the bizarre child custody case. For at least the last two years, a divorced couple in Texas have been suing each other over whether their son, James Younger, should be raised as a boy or a girl (the name the mother uses is “Luna”). The child himself identifies as a boy when he’s with his father, and a girl when he’s with his mother (this should surprise nobody; children in split families like that learn pretty quickly how to display different personalities depending on who they’re with).
Last October, the father thought he had won after the judge issued a ruling granting the couple joint custody of James and his twin brother Jude and requiring the consent of both parents for any medical decisions affecting the children. Then the judge got careless and talked about the case on Facebook, the mother claimed breech of neutrality and filed a successful motion to get a different judge, and as of this month, she now has sole power over the boy’s “medical, psychological, and psychiatric care.” As an added insult, the father still has to pay his share of the bills for said care, which currently amount to $5,000 per month (!) just for counselling.
People who think that the red states and the blue states are moving further apart, and will eventually come to blows over the proper direction for America’s future, need to think about the fact that this is happening in Texas. And it isn’t just something that the Feds imposed on Texas. At any time during this madness, the state legislature could have made a law setting a minimum age for gender transitioning; likewise, the state supreme court could have issued a ruling to the effect that inferior court judges can’t deprive parents of custody for refusing to affirm a gender change. But they haven’t done this. The same goes for all the other red states.
To be honest, the whole concept of red states and blue states is misleading. The only reason we even have that colored map in the first place is because of the electoral college. If we didn’t have an electoral college, or if electors were allocated proportionally instead of on a winner-take-all basis, nobody would say things like “Texas is a red state;” they would just say “In Texas, Trump got six votes for every five votes that went to Hillary.”
The division that really matters isn’t red state versus blue state, it’s urban versus rural. Look at any map of election results by precinct and you can see it. Even in the reddest of the red states, the big cities – places like Houston and Salt Lake City – are reliably liberal. Perhaps you remember when Salt Lake, the headquarters of Mormondom, named a street after the San Francisco pederast Harvey Milk to honor his contributions to “civil rights?” Well, that is run-of-the-mill for cities in red states.
Universities are the same way. Those of you who follow the American Conservative will have noticed that Rod Dreher has spent most of the last week complaining about how wokeness has taken over at Baylor, America’s largest and, until recently, most conservative Baptist university. As a college student myself, I can see the same process going on at my own institution, which happens to be the top public university in yet another red state. Here, the leftist virtue signalling has by now gotten so bad that the staff are required to include their pronoun preferences in their email signature lines, and every communiqué from the student government office, regardless of topic, is prefaced with a long discourse about how black lives matter.
The only difference that living in a red state makes is that the party which blathers on and on about its dislike for the way that things are going – but doesn’t actually change much of anything when it gets into office – hoovers up about 30 percent of the votes instead of 20 percent (while the other half of the people don’t vote at all).
Republicans winning elections does not mean that your state is on a substantially different trajectory from that of California, New York, or Illinois.
Red state and blue state, conservative and liberal, urban and rural, Christian and secular – they are all on the same track, going in the same direction. Don’t let the fact that some cars are further along that track than others, and that the passengers in the train are yelling insults at one another, distract you from the big picture.
Now, one solution which some revolution-mongers have proposed, for dealing with the lack of geographic separation between left and right, is to convince millions of right-wingers to move to a specific part of the country and set up a homeland for like-minded people. There are a lot of disagreements about how to implement this in practice: where should the homeland be located? Idaho and New Hampshire are both frequently mentioned as candidates, but the movement is nowhere near reaching a consensus. Should the new homeland be multiracial, or should the project only be advertised to white people? And so forth.
In the end, the big migration never actually happens, because nearly all rightward-leaning Americans are too attached to their jobs and their communities to just up and move to Idaho (or New Hampshire or wherever).
For the same reason, there is not going to be a right-wing insurgency in the foreseeable future, either. This is true even if the Feds decide to seize everybody’s guns.
I know that it’s practically blasphemy for me to say this. I know about all those “cold dead hands” bumper stickers, and I know that “What will you do when they come to take your guns?” is the hook on which right-wingers (ordinary right or racist right, take your pick) have hung a million fantasies of patriotic Americans finally rising up against their oppressors.
But it’s pretty easy to get a feel for the actual condition of the American right when you consider a slightly different question: “What will you do when they come to castrate your child?”
This question has already been posed to hundreds of Americans. The answer – with no exceptions so far – has been either “nothing,” or “spend a lot of time and money litigating it and hope for the best.”
Already, thousands of American children below age 12 (or really, below any hypothetical boundary between childhood and adolescence) have been started on various gender-changing treatments. Chances are that in most of these cases, both parents (if two parents were even present to begin with) were thoroughly delusional leftists who were in agreement about what to do when a 6-year-old boy says “I wish I were a girl.” Nevertheless, there are a significant number of parents who – at least at the beginning of the process – did not approve of what their exes (or soon-to-be exes) were planning on doing to their offspring.
James Younger’s father has been in the news so much because he went further than most of these people, spending two years in court and having already poured enough money down that rat hole to have sent both of his sons to top law or medical schools. But neither he nor anyone else (that I am aware of) has dealt with the situation by fleeing the country.
These people will lawyer up and argue their case in court. They will splash their story across the headlines of The Federalist and National Review in order to garner the sympathy of millions of like-minded conservatives. What they will not do is leave behind their homeland and their social circle and their comfortable middle-class lifestyle, and subject themselves to the vagaries of the asylum courts in the Philippines, Russia, or whatever other country might seem like a suitable refuge.
This isn’t for lack of opportunities. During these past two years, James Younger’s father has held partial custody of his twin sons, meaning that he (probably) had freedom of travel within the United States. There are plenty of places in the US from which an unexpected flight in a small aircraft could have gotten him to any island in the Caribbean, or to Russia by way of Alaska.
The quickest and cheapest way to pull it off would be with a hijacking – i.e. charter a flight from Anchorage to Nome and then, before the plane can land, draw a weapon and demand to be dropped off on the other side of the Bering Straits. The downside consists of having to convince the Russian authorities that what the Texas courts were doing was not only a violation of basic human rights, but also a justification for air piracy. It’s certainly better than just submitting, but it’s far from ideal.
The safest way out would be for the man to simply get a pilot’s license himself and then buy or rent an aircraft, though that could arouse suspicion, and take time and money that he may no longer have.
Here is another option: In the middle of the Bering Straits there is a pair of islands, Little Diomede and Big Diomede, which belong to Alaska and Russia, respectively. The gap between them is about 1.2 nautical miles. If the man could charter a helicopter from Nome (it has to be a helicopter because Little Diomede has no runways) he could kayak across to Big Diomede before the authorities realized what was happening, and then wait for the Russian coast guard to pick him up.
It would be tricky because there is nothing on the American island except for an Iñupiat village of about 115 people, so the helicopter pilot might become overcurious about the purpose of the excursion. As I have little personal experience with the world of Alaskan bush pilots, I can’t say how likely it is that he would realize what was about to happen.
If the man actually got his boys to Russia, he would be looking at a variety of possible futures. The best case scenario (and, in my opinion, the most likely) is that Russia would welcome the refugees the way it welcomed Edward Snowden, savoring the opportunity to berate the United States for its hypocrisy on human rights.
The worst case scenario is that the trio would get deported back to the US after a few months, but even that might be enough time away from his insane home for the boy to come back knowing how to stand up for himself. And his father would be remembered as a hero and not a coward.
But I am not going to hold my breath waiting for this to happen. The best time to act was in the past. The longer this goes on, the more the boy will become used to passing as a girl, his former identity as “James” will be just a dim childhood memory, and his father’s arguments – to the courts, the National Review, the Russians, and even himself – that his son’s rights are being violated will carry less and less weight.
Now, I promised you at the beginning of the post that I would tie this in to Star Wars and Braveheart, two movies which happen to have more in common than a casual observer might think. For one thing, both of them are totally lacking in realism; Braveheart gets a few points because the people bleed when they die, but even so, Mel Gibson’s portrayal of medieval Scottish history is about as accurate as George Lucas’ portrayal of astrophysics.
But beyond that, the movies also have a big similarity in regards to what drives their plots. Braveheart begins with Mel Gibson’s character staying comfortably aloof from the war between England and Scotland, but then an English lord kills his bride after becoming enraged over Gibson's presumption in deflowering her himself instead of respecting the right of prima noctis. After her death, Gibson becomes the hardened soldier that the Scots need to lead them to victory.
When we first see Luke Skywalker, he is just a whiny teenager, and though he hates the Galactic Empire, he isn’t planning on joining the Rebellion. Basically, he feels like the war is too far away and he’s too small to make a difference. Even when Ben Kenobi tells him the about the Jedi knights and shows him his father's old blue lightsabre, it isn’t enough to change Luke’s mind. It’s only after his aunt and uncle are killed by the stormtroopers that Luke is all in.
We all know that you can’t really get even a half-decent revolution started if everyone has to wait around for someone close to them to be harmed before they commit themselves to the cause. (Star Wars even addresses this by having a scene where Luke meets up with Biggs Darklighter, a childhood friend who joined the rebellion on his own initiative a while before their village was destroyed).
But both Gibson and Lucas still chose to have the protagonist begin the story by refusing the call to adventure, and then take up arms only after being bitterly forced to acknowledge that, while he may not care about the Man, the Man cares about him. And those two directors did this because it makes their characters more relatable: we, the audience, feel like we would have done the same thing.
But all those transgender child cases are showing that, for the majority of Americans, this isn’t actually true. Most of us would allow our own children to be sterilized and mutilated rather than leave our homes and give up our safety and comfort in order to resist tyranny.
Which is why the United States will not have a revolution in the foreseeable future, nor will it break up before resource scarcity and maladministration, perhaps coupled with defeat in a foreign war, put an end to the central government’s ability to deliver the safety and comfort to which its citizens have grown accustomed.
When the breakup comes, it will not be driven by an ideology-based attempt to restore the kind of republic that Washington and Jefferson believed in. It will simply be a matter of ambitious gang leaders and charismatic demagogues carving out fiefdoms for themselves in the wreckage of a crumbling empire.
Though it may seem strange, I do not see this prediction as a cause for despair. All empires decline and fall. Eventually, new nations will arise on this continent. They will derive much of their cultural heritage from the United States, just as we have derived much of our heritage from Greece and Rome. If the men of these new American nations are wise, they will hold Washington and Jefferson in high regard.
There are things that you and I can do to increase the chances that our families and our communities will be a part of this future rebuilding, and the project of this blog is to get people to think realistically about the kinds of events that are likely to happen in America over the next century or so. If we do that – instead of fixating on silly fantasies like an upcoming red-on-blue civil war – then we just might end up being able to have a say in what kind of civilization will emerge from the rubble.