Even mendacious degenerates can say something useful on occasion. John Edwards, a guy of low morals even by the standards of politics, used to campaign on the idea of there being two Americas. His formulation had one America for the lumpenproletariat and the other for the giant lizard people he promised to slay with his bare hands if only he was elected president. The lizard people were enslaving the rest of us with capitalism and false patriotism.
The oleaginous sociopath tacked on all sorts of nonsense, but the idea actually got some traction, despite it all. People feel the country is coming unglued and anything that speaks to that, gets their attention. Charles Murray has a whole big book on the idea of the country coming apart. The rapid changes in the country’s demographics means the old culture and politics must give way to a new culture and politics. Politics is downstream from culture and culture is the byproduct of biology.
When it comes from a guy like John Edwards, this talk is intended to trick people out of something, like their vote. Even when it comes from less revolting public figures, it is wise to be a little skeptical. America is a big country and that means lots of weirdness and that means lots of natural friction. The South has been vastly different from New England since the founding. California will always be a bit strange compared to the rest of the country. Diversity always brings conflict.
That said, stories like this should give everyone pause. The gun grabbing fetish will not go away, because the people behind it hate the sorts of people who own guns. The great gap in culture is now becoming a physical separation. Guns are now associated with downscale whites who hunt and shop at WalMart. Guns are southern, like Christianity and NASCAR. Odds are, most of Connecticut is happy that Gun Valley is moving south.
It is convenient to think guns are an outlier, but there are a range of issues where the country’s regions are going in different directions. Military service is one example. According to people who study these things, Southerners are much more likely to enlist than Northerners. Marriage rates and divorce rates are following a similar trend. Church attendance is the one that jumps off the page. But what strikes me about the gun issue is that people are actually moving around the country to get away from those with whom they no longer agree. We are physically self-segregating on the national level.
Maybe it is just temporary madness and it will pass. Maybe something else will come along to jam us back together. Maybe we were always this different and mass media is making it more obvious. I’m not that smart. On the other hand, maybe John Derbyshire is right and we are balkanizing. In a generation or two we will go our separate ways. Pat Buchanan has been talking about the crack-up for years.
Again, perhaps it has always been so, but it sure feels like we are coming unglued. If Texas broke away, I’d probably move there and become a Texan, rather than American. The same is true of the Old South. If New England decided to join Canada as a province, I’d shrug and wish them the best. It’s not that I’m rooting for it. I’m just tied of being around and being ruled by people who hate me. Sometimes, divorce really is the best answer.