George Rebane: Calexit and the Great Divide
February 3, 2017
Well, it's now official — "multi-kulti" does not work. There are limits to cultural differences that even progressives have come to understand.
It wasn't that long ago when anyone suggesting our Great Divide is real was castigated by the Left, and accused of being everything from a racist to a traitor. Even the comment streams of Rebane's Ruminations are witness to such vitriol from locals of socialist bent.
However President Trump's victory has suddenly changed all that. As the former "Never Trump!" crowd recovers from its apoplectic shock (similar to PTSD) and reorganizes into legions of "Trump Trashers," many of their leading lights are rethinking the entire idea of the American republic. And California, of course, is the mother temple of all such advanced collectivist thought.
Former notions of the Great Divide describe a reconfigured 21st century U.S. with new states calved off existing ones to create homes for more like-minded Americans to continue the Great Experiment within a more diverse set of the Framers' laboratories of liberty and democracy. The current State of Jefferson movement to create Northern California is an example of this.
Today in California there is a growing cohort of leftwingers who have evaluated our nation’s socio-political terrain, and conclude themselves to be irredeemably different from the rest of the country.
More radical ideas describe the country divided into a confederacy of culturally cohesive states that would still be under one federal government with a revised or redrawn constitution. Nevertheless all of these approaches to more responsive governance have retained a United States of America. We all would still be Americans.
But today the globalist oriented socialists have come to conclude that there really exist irreconcilable cultural differences that reach down into the roots of a peoples' fundamental ideology of how society should and actually can work. This Trump-induced epiphany is in some sense also a unifying factor, since the Right has held this belief for decades. Both sides now share a fundamental belief that may serve as a stake in the ground from which to search for a less drastic longer term solution than secession.
However, the shock of this realization by the Left is still unresolved. In California it immediately precipitated the most violent of responses — if they really can't play by our rules, we'll take our ball and leave. Such pre-Trumpian thoughts were anathema in the glorious Age of Obama that promised a palpable socialism in our time. And that promise would have been carried to a more glorious fruition by none other than President Clinton II; even comrades Bernie and Liz promised this. Then in November their new world order collapsed.
Cultural cohesion is achieved through that wondrous social process called assimilation. Into different populations newcomers assimilate at different rates which depend on what we may view as "assimilation resources" already possessed by the welcoming population. These resources include things such as available land area, tolerant religion, civil liberties, racial/ethnic inclusivity, facile language, … and, of course, a fundamental concept of governance that embodies a specific notion of "common good" based somewhere between a person as a free individual or a compliant member of the dominant class.
Thanks to a number of collaborating factors, arriving Europeans found a continent on which they then founded a nation that had ample resources for assimilating peoples that were more or less similar to then resident Americans. Our form of government and the established common culture was compellingly inviting, enough so to rapidly make new Americans out of recently arrived immigrants who would cheerfully practice the common culture in the public forum, and still were free to privately practice their cherished traditions from lands left behind.
But humans are a species with a surprisingly wide range of social values, ethics, world views, and fundamental cosmologies (e.g. religions). It was realized long ago that not all peoples will assimilate; that all will not compatibly mix no matter how liberal the welcoming society. The result of such unfortunate unions always led to subjugation, armed conflict, and/or separation. In this vein human history also includes the enthusiastic practice of genocide by dominant cultures on weaker neighbors considered irredeemably different.
Today in California there is a growing cohort of leftwingers who have evaluated our nation's socio-political terrain, and conclude themselves to be irredeemably different from the rest of the country. They have come to this conclusion presumably because they see no possibility of victory in the arena of ideas. And so they seek the only solution available through peaceable secession to establish a new sovereign nation-state set on the path to a global order wherein socialism will reign ascendant — the Socialist Peoples Republic of California.
George Rebane lives in Nevada City