One of the great historical myths is the American Civil War was fought to abolish slavery. Serious historians know it was neither a civil war, nor was it fought to emancipate slaves. A civil war is about a country divided by politics or loyalties. Prime examples in British history are the Wars of the Roses & the Parliamentary v. Monarchy wars two hundred years or so later. Spain had a civil war in the 1930s between monarchists, communists & fascists. Civil wars split families, brother against brother, father against son. The American war in the 1860s was a war between the north & the south. Slavery was a catalyst for a division of cultures & economies. Most wars have a trigger, but the trigger is hardly ever the root cause of a serious conflict.
Return if you will to the concept of independence from the British Empire back in the second half of the eighteenth century. The colonialist’s complaint was they were not benefiting from the protection of the British Bill of Rights 1688/9. No taxation without representation. Albeit the colonialists were fairly lightly taxed by the standards of the day. But it was a matter of principle, a noble one at that. That it came to a war of independence was a result of appalling incompetence on behalf of the British government & significant political support in the United Kingdom. The colony therefore decided to go its own way.
The American Constitution has its roots in Magna Carta & the Bill of Rights. A fair copy of Magna Carta is proudly displayed in Washington today. The document was drafted by some of the most able men in modern history. It is a monument to man’s understanding of man & particularly the frailty & corruption of the political class. The constitution therefore began the journey to a United States. But the United States of today has nothing to do with the ideals of 1776. The original states came together in Philadelphia to sign ironically a voluntary confederation, with Federal government with very limited powers in Washington. There was, nor has there ever been an implication a state could not cede from the Union. Indeed the drafters & signatories to that great document would have been horrified at the implication. It was voluntary membership of a club. Perhaps even a form of franchise for the common good.
It took sixty years before the Constitution was abandoned. Although it was salami sliced away year by year. Today the American constitution & its amendments has all but been abandoned, as has the unrescinded British Bill of Rights, indeed at the time of writing criminally so.
In 1861 the nagging division brought about by an industrial protectionist north & largely free trading agricultural south came to a head with slavery as the trigger point. If it were only about slavery it could have been ended as it was in British colonies by a compensation scheme without a shot being fired. Expensive yes, but not as expensive as the northern States invasion of the south with over 600,000 war dead, bankruptcy of the southern states & a bloated national debt. Before those who have been brought up to regard Lincoln as some kind of deity read Thomas di Lorenzo’s book The Real Lincoln. If you believe the North had some super high moral case read The South Was Right by J R Kennedy. But I digress a little. Winners write the history books & serious historical research is for geeks like me not for state school teachers keen to disappear home for tea at 4.00pm or lazy woke college professors.
Where does all that leave us today?
It is clear America now is a busted flush. It is addicted to war & more latterly welfare & wokery. The education system is a shambles, the racial divide is exploited by the left, bent on bringing back the segregation of the 1960s. The once almighty dollar is in decline & the national debt is too high for human contemplation. The United States today is reflective of a giant corporation, over centralised inefficient, bureaucratic & selling yesterday’s product.
Of course it doesn’t have to be this way. Big is not beautiful.
Let us consider a break up of this tired dysfunctional Union. Let the new mantra not be ‘Let’s make America great again’ but ‘let’s make America rich again’. A healthy economy is what people want, it is what is best for their family & its future. That is not achieved by 200,000 overseas military personnel or 800 overseas military bases funded by debt. The future is as America used to be, a low tax entrepreneurial regulation light environment to release the energy, confidence & imagination of the American people. This can best be done by a return to the original ideals of the Constitution, a voluntary association of states but with Washington totally side lined. Many of the Democratic cities & states are simply not fit for purpose. They must be part of a creative destruction process. Let efficient states forge ahead, the rest must be left to put their house in order. Cities such as Baltimore & Portland are a disgrace. They must go to the devil in their own way until their citizens realise the solution is in their hands & nobody else’s. No city, state or individual is owed a living at the expense of his neighbour. Only major surgery can save America, rubbing ointment of a gangrenous wound doesn’t work.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file