I have a good friend who continually asks me what I think are the prospects for sensible, conservative—that is, normal—folks in these parlous times, what I think will happen to these United States, and particularly, what will happen to the South.
In response to his questioning, I can’t give a satisfactory answer, at least one nicely tied-up and tidy like my friend wants. But one thing on which my friend and I agree: this weary and gravely ailing country we call the United States seems with accelerating velocity and intensity to be hurtling into some form of ignominious and painful expiration. The unbridgeable differences, the divisions, between segments of our population are now far too stark, far too bitter, far too advanced to be papered over by “the next election”—or, by the pipe-dreams that I hear some Republicans and Fox News pundits exude with enthusiasm: “We’ll win back Congress in 2022! And then things will get right again.”
My response to that line of thinking is to remind such optimists that Republicans had control of Congress—and the presidency—for several years, and essentially, despite some line cracks in the Deep State behemoth due to Donald Trump, things continued to get worse, the Managerial government continued to grow in power, and did its best (with many Republicans in tow), eventually successfully, to eject the Trumpster from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The Administrative elites control education, control immigration policy (with GOP collaboration), control our media and entertainment, and dominate most of the levels of our government; and their reach and control expand by the day.
I believe that assertion is self-evident, but let me offer a few very recent headlines at random to buttress what I’m saying:
Research Journal Publishes Article Calling ‘Whiteness’ a ‘Parasitic-Like Condition’ (June 10, 2021)
White House ‘Domestic Extremism’ Report Puts Target on Democrats’ Political Opponents (June 17, 2021)
The FBI’s Mafia-Style Justice: To Fight Crime, the FBI Sponsors 15 Crimes a Day (June 18, 2021)
What this Professor just Called Proper Grammar is Absolutely Absurd (June 30, 2021)
Yale Professor Wants Your Kid to See Sex at Pride Parades so they’re not ‘Homophobes’ (July 14, 2021)
Med Schools Are Now Denying Biological Sex (July 27, 2021)
‘Complicit’: Meet the 18 Republicans Who Sold Out on Radical Democrat ‘Infrastructure’ Plan Without Reading Bill (July 28, 2021)
Biden Department of Justice Threatens to Sue to Lock In 2020 Election Chaos (July 29, 2021)
And these stories and accounts can be multiplied by the hundreds, by the thousands, at every level of society. Tune in to “Tucker Carlson Tonight” almost any day (the only program I consistently watch on Fox News), and you’ll see what I mean.
They are examples of a pervasive sickness which afflicts large portions of our culture. They are emblematic of profound problems and radically irreconcilable divisions among our population. We all may live in the same geographical entity, but we don’t speak the same language, we don’t share the same beliefs, we don’t think in the same way; one half of us wish to “cancel,” even suppress the other half of us, and to achieve that by any means possible, including violence. Is that any different from the few months in Eastern European countries right after World War II as Communist apparatchiks infiltrated and seized absolute control and authority?
And all the while the official voices of opposition to this madness…the official conservative opposition and most national Republicans…seem like deer caught in the headlights. Irish poet William Butler Yeats’ words resound in my ears:
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst/
Are full of passionate intensity.” (“The Second Coming,” 1919)
In the past when a Southern writer would suggest that some form of secession or separation was desirable, he would be met with ridicule: “The South will rise again? You’ve got to be kidding!”
Now, 160 years after the War Between the States began, such talk of separation is no longer considered the domain of nostalgics or of the Unreconstructed. In recent years we have seen the Calexit movement advocating that left-leaning California leave the American union and assert its independence. A number of conservative counties in eastern Oregon and northern California have officially petitioned to leave those radicalized states and either join Idaho or perhaps form a new state. Academically, Professor Frank H. Buckley (George Mason University) has written a cautionary study on what he calls the “looming threat” of secession.
Over the past few years I have written about some possible scenarios, situations that might actually come to pass. I’ve speculated about secession, or perhaps better expressed, some form of separation of portions of the country—and not just states—into more philosophically and culturally homogeneous entities.
I’ve written about this several times, most notably in The Abbeville Institute (August 2, 2019, “Is It Time for America to Break Apart?” and also on August 19, 2019, “Is Political Separation in Our Future?”). Indeed, I also tackled the topic in The Unz Review (July 26, 2019), with the essay picked up by the widely-read LewRockwell.com site (July 29, 2019).
I have suggested that some form of separation, including possibly large amounts of autonomy for counties within certain states might be the least painful, the least violent means of resolving our unsolvable divisions. Yet, does anyone believe that our centralized and centralizing federal government in Washington, with its tentacles now extending dictatorially into every aspect of our lives, would let this occur peacefully? Would not federal troops be dispatched by Washington that would make Abraham Lincoln’s suppression of the constitutional right to habeas corpus or Eisenhower’s intervention in Little Rock, Arkansas, look like child’s play?
In the past one-hundred years, when civil society and its institutions around the world have broken down or Marxist revolutionaries have threatened to take control, it has been the armed forces that have traditionally stepped in to restore order and some semblance of (anti-Marxist) normalcy. Thus, General Augusto Pinochet led the Chilean army in a 1973 coup to topple the impending Communist take-over by President Salvador Allende and restore order in that country. And in July 1936 General Francisco Franco led a coalition of traditionalist Carlists, conservatives, and the Church to overthrow the violently anticlerical and Marxist Spanish republic (unfortunately, he did not follow through to establish a traditional monarchy after his coup).
But in America today our armed forces, since at least the Obama years, have been coopted by the political left. Army top brass now echo the “woke-speak” of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, accuses former President Trump of fomenting a “Reichstag moment” and compares him to Adolf Hitler, while assisting to implement mandatory Critical Race Theory programs in the armed forces. And Milley is far from being alone, as author Lt. Colonel Matthew Lohmeir has recently documented in his study, Irresistible Revolution: Marxism’s Goal of Conquest & the Unmaking of the American Military. In any major civil conflict, very probably the armed forces would be an instrument of the Deep State.
Where does that leave us? Are we indeed destined to live under a post- or neo-Marxist authoritarian dictatorship that would make the older Soviet Communists envious?
My friend and internationally-recognized political theorist and historian, Paul Gottfried (editor of Chronicles magazine) has speculated on one possible scenario, one possibility that could occur. Revolutionary regimes that come to power often “devour their children,” that is, the various elements that seem to triumph have a falling out and begin to fight among themselves over direction and the spoils. Thus, it was in Republican Spain during the Civil War when the Communists suppressed the large Anarchist component (the FAI) in their revolutionary coalition, imprisoning and executing thousands of them. And who can forget the purges unleashed by Lenin and then by Stalin in the Soviet Union on those dissidents who had earlier supported the Revolution?
Within the dominant Democratic Party and its supporters definable factions exist. Joe Biden attempts to placate them. But the question should be asked: How far will the Establishment Managerial Elite be prepared to go before it must deal with its more recalcitrant elements…or will those elements become dominant and force “woke” corporate America to fully give way and accept in reality as well as in theory their nostrums? Will there be violence on a large scale?
And, following Dr. Gottfried’s model, would there be enough of us to pick up the pieces in such a conflict…and would we be prepared?
When I studied in Spain my doctoral subject was the Spanish traditionalist Carlist philosopher and political leader, Juan Vazquez de Mella. During his lifetime in the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth, the traditionalist movement he represented and defended both in his writings and verbally in the Spanish parliament (the Cortes) had been essentially sidelined, defeated earlier in three brutal civil wars, wracked by internal division, and reduced to its strongholds in Navarra, parts of Aragon and Catalonia. Surveying the political landscape circa 1920 hardly anyone expressed optimism, practically-speaking, for its rebirth or revitalization.
But Mella viewed events and history in a different manner. Over his long career he developed a theory of “catastrophism,” which, briefly, suggested that the liberal revolution of the late eighteenth century in thinking and the capitalist revolution of the nineteenth century in economics, would inevitably destroy the older, natural social order. These revolutions would lead inexorably to socialist and Marxist revolutions: to cataclysm, war, and human destruction on a vast and previously unknown scale. After which, those–the remnant—who had continued faithful, who had continued to maintain the Virtue of Hope and a belief in Providence, throughout, would finally triumph. Had it not been so with the early Christians, secreted away in catacombs and at times subject to fierce persecution? Yet, with perseverance and faith they had triumphed.
I am put in mind of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem, “Ulysses,” when Odysseus summons his followers and exhorts them:
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
This was President Jefferson Davis’ confidence and hope, as it must assuredly be ours in this modern vale of despair: “Truth crushed to earth is truth still and like a seed will rise again.”
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Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.