The idea of a ‘national divorce’ – a parting of ‘red’ and ‘blue’ states into separate national agglomerations – has been floating around the conservative ecosystem recently, especially on the fringes of the too-online far-right. This idea has bubbled up several times over the past decades on both sides of the aisle – usually when a preferred presidential candidate loses an election. From the 2004 election spawning ‘Jesusland’ versus ‘United States of Canada’ maps, to the radical right-wingers pushing secession after the re-election of Barack Obama in 2012, to the talk of ‘Calexit’ just days after the shock 2016 victory of Donald Trump, secession memes have been rife in 21st century American politics.
A brief polemic against the most monarchical, overblown, tedious piece of political entertainment in the American system.
Tonight is President Biden’s second State of the Union address (his first address to a joint session of Congress in 2021 was technically not a SotU because he had just been inaugurated). Most likely it will be far too long, constantly interrupted by Stalin-esque continued applause, and full of total nonsense. Biden will call out people in the audience that are brought in specifically for the purpose of being used as political pawns, he will make promises that everyone will forget about 5 minutes later, and he will occasionally go off-script to make him feel down-to-earth. The speech will be phony, the reception will be obsequious, and the TV coverage will be wall-to-wall.
How do I know this? Because every State of the Union address is exactly the same song-and-dance. Can you tell that I don’t like this “tradition”?
Progressive historians have been trying to rewrite American history for decades now, from Howard Zinn to the 1619 Project. The newest addition to this effort is Myth America, a compilation of historical essays purporting to debunk the myths of American history as understood by conservatives. Instead, they merely promulgate a whole host of progressive myths to replace them. In this episode of the Rational Policy podcast, we delve into Myth America chapter-by-chapter, breaking down the failures, falsehoods, and fabrications which fill its pages. If you enjoy a thorough historical argument, listen in!
The New Right is looking a hell of a lot like the Old Left – in the worst possible ways.
If you’ve been paying attention to politics over the past decade, you will have observed that there has been a major political realignment taking place over that span. From the Romney-Obama election in 2012, to the 2016 and 2020 presidential contests, to the 2022 midterms, we have seen a sea change in the dynamics of parties and the coalitions they cobble together in search of electoral victory. The most seismic shifts – and the biggest debate as to what they mean – have occurred within the Republican party and the right side of the political spectrum more broadly. In the years since one Donald J. Trump made his way down a gaudy escalator in Manhattan to declare his candidacy for president, the right has been roiled by arguments as to whom they should appeal and what policies they should therefore adopt. The populist surge that was unleashed by the 2016 election has made the contest over ideas and voters into a referendum on conservatism per se and what that term even means.
Since the 2020 election ended in failure for Trump and many of his acolytes – but without a resounding Democratic victory – the debate has only intensified. The 2022 midterm elections, from primary season through Election Day, were largely decided on this point alone, despite strong headwinds against the Democrats in power. Before the election was decided on November 8, the apocalyptic rhetoric began to heat up on the right; now it is at a fever pitch. These factors have combined over the past two years of Joe Biden’s presidency to create a Frankenstein’s monster that is oddly obsessed with, yet envious of, socialism and communism.
The narrative of constant crisis promulgated by the Democratic party and progressive activists is merely a fig leaf for authoritarian, anti-democratic power grabs.
Emergencies have been recognized as unique and special events for most of human history, something the dictionary definition confirms. On the societal or civilizational scale, these crises can take many forms and relate to myriad causes – natural disaster, war, famine, pandemic, economic collapse, revolution, and more. These unforeseen, dramatic events are generally time-sensitive and limited in nature; floodwaters recede, harvests improve, viruses weaken and immunity spreads, and the business cycle rises once more. As the centuries have gone by, human societies have found useful ways of dealing with these emergency events, often tasking government institutions or leaders with crisis response. From the ancient past to the modern day, those temporary powers granted to government during periods of extreme tumult have been used to greatly relieve suffering and shorten the duration and scope of the disaster. But just as often, they have been used for ill; to agglomerate power in non-emergency situations, superficially extend real crises to retain deeper control, or permanently alter the political status quo. We are not yet at those destructive levels, but our politics have been slowly inching along that path for decades now. Under the current Democratic administration and Congress, however, this slow burn has rapidly accelerated. History can help us understand the perils that come along when one stokes the flames of permanent emergency.