One of the statements of mine that should be converted to a truism is this:
One thing that I have learned from studying history and reading philosophy – peace is the most fragile and temporary of all human conditions.
Let’s call it “Smith’s Law of Partial Political Pressures” (if I make it up, I get to name it, don’t I?)
I have spent Friday and Saturday visiting many historical sites here in Scotland, several battlefields and castles, including both Edinburgh and Stirling castles. In October, I visited the beaches of Normandy. One of the overall themes that I noticed during these visits is that throughout history, the resolution of intractable differences came through violent conflict.
I started thinking about the issues in the Middle East, the conflicts in Afghanistan, the issues between India and Pakistan and even our significant political differences in the US and began to wonder if it is possible to solve the unsolvable.
And then I read the comments on the last post I put up. There are issues here that are not resolvable because we are too different. Just this simple, limited sample is a strong indicator that there exist very different visions of America and the roles of government, business and the responsibility of our citizens.
I think about the conversations that we have here – there is little chance that we on the right will abandon our positions and it is equally as unlikely that the left will abandon theirs – so what happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object? How is it possible to resolve the differences with enough unanimity to move forward?
While I am not advocating that there be armed conflict to resolve our differences, we would be exhibiting ignorance of history to think that it wasn’t at least a possibility. We Americans have already had one nation dividing Civil War and it is possible that we are running down the path to another such conflict.
Throughout history when two sides reach a point where there can be no resolution and when there is no capitulation by either side, one or the other imposed their will via physical combat – to the point where the loser could neither continue the combat or they decided that the cost of continuance is more than they are willing to bear and voluntarily agreed to abide by the dominant force’s ideology and political processes.
Of course, there have been cases in history where diplomacy has altered the course of history but in reality, those have been few and far between and they have also been temporary at best. It must also be noted that peaceful agreement does not always end the internecine conflicts and one can broker a deal and still get the wrong result. Diplomacy is more often than not about achieving agreement rather than achieving a correct solution, sometimes to the point that the solution is sub-optimal for both sides.
When political systems reach a boiling point, there must be a safety valve or the end result is the violent imposition of one will over another. It is simply not credible to think that any group of people with strong beliefs will allow themselves to be subjugated by another through simple political tyranny.
I think we have achieved such a boiling point in America.
I’ve long said that communism is a failure because it is not scalable beyond smaller groups, it fails simply because the span of control is too great. There is absolutely no way short of totalitarian rule that a country as geographically vast and with a population as demographically and culturally diverse as the United States can be controlled by a central entity. It is becoming apparent that my scalability thesis is being proven as the adoption of communist/collectivist central controls are testing the limits of traditional American rugged individualism and it is putting our Republic on the same path to rigid central control that produces intractable problems. The resulting tyranny will lead to eventual self-destruction, the same as other large scale communist systems have self-destructed…ergo the “boiling point”.
This “boiling point” is exactly what the idea of federalism was…and is… intended to address. Through distributed control that can be tailored to smaller governmental units and political boundaries, the rhetorical temperature can be reduced. Federalism is the answer to a small, powerful group or even a bare majority imposing control over the other half of the country that has evolved differently in culture and political aims.
Federalism is what makes the republican form of government scalable.
Since the Constitution has been corrupted to remove the safety valve of federalism, we are headed for the same fate as all large scale socialist states. It doesn’t have to be this way but the weight of socialist class envy, the welfare state and the resulting over-taxation, anti-Christian/anti-religion policies and a simple Hobbesian disdain of freedom and self government by our “elite” political class have all lead us to this tipping point – and even though its mention is scoffed at by the “smart” people on both left and the right, secession may be the only remaining non-violent opportunity for resolution, the last option.