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Volume 8, Issue 1: Thema

Bad Moon Rising

Douglas Wilson

The unthinkable does not always remain that way. Thirty years ago, if one were to talk about the possible crack-up of the United States, the result would have been a good deal of laughter. But the world is a very different place today, and such a suggestion now does not necessarily elicit the same response. Both we and our rulers should remember the great Ozymandias. There will come a time when our era is studied by weary schoolchildren taking ancient history, some of whom may have trouble distinguishing us from the Hittites.

At the same time, it is important to avoid the Chicken Little Approach in all discussions concerning the possible end of our nation and culture. Doomsday thinking, whether economic or eschatological, is far too attractive for too many Christians, and it is not our purpose to cater to that kind of pessimistic sin. Too many of us have been catching the last train out for the last thirty years, and too many hard-money financial newsletters have had about the same success with their dire predictions as Hal Lindsey has had with his. As we consider some of the "radical" possibilities, we must take care to maintain a great distance between the people of God on the one hand and the nutcases on the other, whether left or right-wing, who thrive on political chaos and turmoil.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the political societies of men, like men themselves, have lifespans . There are numerous factors to remember in considering whether or not we are at the end of our nation's lifespan. The limitations of space mean that what is offered below will be little more than an outline or thumbnail sketch of just some of the possibilities; but taken together, it seems that as a nation, we may have been weighed in the balances of a sovereign God and found wanting. To some of us, at least, it appears there is some handwriting on the wall.
Over There and Headed This Way
We have witnessed in Europe a great increase in the use of the word former -- consider the prime example of the former Soviet Union. In recent years, headlines have announced the crack-up of numerous modern nationstates. The once impregnable Soviet Union has fractured into many pieces. Czechoslovakia has become two ethnic states. The former East Germany reunited with West Germany. The movement to separate Northern Ireland from the U.K. continues apace. And we have all been appalled by the horrific case of the former Yugoslavia -- the Balkanization of the Balkans.
These occurrences show that such things can happen in the modern world and can happen to modern nationstates. Lines on a map are not part of the permanent geological structure of things, and Rand-McNally does not dispense immutable law. Consequently, we see America is not immune from such things "because this is the twentieth century." Even so, we pay no attention "because this is the Western Hemisphere." The temptation for many Americans has been to dismiss such ethnic turmoils as a "European thing" -- but there is good reason to believe the turmoil is headed this way.
The party of secession is in control of Quebec, and the referendum to secede lost a few months ago by a razor-thin margin. Canadian politicos are also worried about secessionist sentiments that run deep in British Columbia. If Quebec secedes from Canada (and the indications are that it is just a matter of time), there will be two immediate consequences. The first will be that English-speaking Canada will have been split in two. The poorer maritime provinces will be entirely separated from the western provinces, and there will be little reason for the Westerners to maintain political ties with the East. The old Canada will have already disappeared.
The second effect will be psychological; to the south, Americans observing all this will be brought to the realization that a modern nationstate can disintegrate on this continent. The fire that used to be on the other side of town is now burning down the house next door. At that time, an important realization will begin to sink into the American mind -- it can happen here, and it just might.
But what most Americans will see as the political disintegration to the north will be seen by some other Americans as the fine example to the south. As Alaskans view the dissolution of Canada, it will not be long before their opportunity dawns on them. They are living in a Saudi Arabia where it snows. If it were not for the central federal government locking up their land and oil, Alaska could be an immensely wealthy nation in its own right. But because of the environmental restrictions applied from the lower forty-eight, modern Alaska has been the land of closed doors. It will not be long before the Alaskans begin to insist upon opening them up again.
Computers and Decentralization
The center of gravity in the Industrial Revolution was the city. Workers migrated there for jobs, and the populations of cities were duly managed and manipulated. Those handlers with a bent toward large-scale social engineering felt as though they had fallen into a chocolate pie. People were shuffled around in groups and clusters, and the government school system was developed to instruct all the little ones in beethink -- necessary preparation for citizenship in any modern technocratic Hive.
But with the advent of the electronics revolution (which is still in its infancy), the rules have all changed. A man may now work in New York while living in the mountains of Montana. He may attend school on the East Coast while living on the West Coast. Those who live by the sword die by the sword, and all the statists who built their empires on the progress of technology have been done in by technology.
The Soviet Union collapsed in the face of the necessary and inexorable decentralizion of the computer age. Because it was the most centralized nationstate, it was the biggest dinosaur, and so it fell first. Our statist dinosaur (being a little bit smaller) is still vertical, but wobbling around, and it is just a matter of time before it falls as well.
Clashing Cultures
Multiculturalism has been far more than just a goofy idea in leftist universities. Allegiance to a particular homeland is either inculcated by the older generation, or it is not. For more than a generation, our government schools have steadfastly refused to teach or instill any loyalty to the United States. On the other hand, we have insisted upon the inculcation of various other loyalties. We have no right to feign surprise at the results. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, we have laughed at honor and then are dismayed to find traitors in our midst.
It is too late to repent of this sowing of the wind, and we look to reap the whirlwind. Various ethnic groups, adept at playing the entrenched "anti-discrimination system" will begin demanding homelands, reparations for war crimes, hate crimes, etc. This is already happening in Hawaii -- a small but growing movement seeks to regain national sovereignty for native Hawaiians. We will hear much more about this sort of thing. An obvious place to look will be the numerous Indian reservations.
Related to this, and even more serious, is the question of immigration. In the last century, our nation had the ability to assimilate vast numbers of immigrants to the "American way of life." In this, we had the cooperation of the immigrants themselves, who came here in order to be assimilated. But a disintegrating culture does not have the strength of character to assimilate anything. Consequently, as the Hispanic influx to the Southwest continues, large portions of it will become an Hispanic culture -- our Quebec. On a smaller scale, we will see demands for limited autonomy for other ethnic colonies within our larger cities -- New York and Miami come to mind.
Modern social engineers have wanted to pretend that men can be politically organized along "rational" lines, having nothing to do with race, ethnicity, or culture. In the same way that four competing gas stations at the same intersection drive the tidy-minded socialist up the wall, ethnic settlements do not create borders like Colorado's, but rather like Kurdistan's. "Rational" political organization can only be accomplished by the imposition of political force. When the center gives way, as our center is doing , men have always divided along ethnic lines.
We have refused to reproduce our cultural values in our educational system. And because of the shrill propaganda from the overpopulation lobby, we have not reproduced ourselves physically either. This means we must also consider the demographics of birth control and abortion. The recent racial unrest in Germany, between Germans and Turks, is a good example of what happens when a native population refuses to replace itself, and must import an alien culture in order to maintain the work force and standard of living.
It is also important to consider the evangelical subculture. Evangelical Christians have been, for many years, a significant part of the sturdy middle-class American backbone. It is significant that now, on a long line of fundamental cultural issues, these Christians think of themselves as being in an adversarial relationship with their government. Such issues include the pro-life cause, rights of private academies, rights of homeschoolers, opposition to pro-sodomy laws, and so on down the line.
Taxation and Tyranny
Our federal government is bankrupt. We are nearing that part of the movie Federal Reserve in which the chase scene occurs, and lots of cars are wrecked. The only question concerns how destructive the scene will prove to be for the creditors -- how many cars, and whose?
As a bankrupt government, it really has only two options as it seeks to maintain a facade of stability. The first is to steal money through printing money, and the other is to steal money through stealing money. In the first, the national debt would be paid off with worthless, recently-printed dollars; and in the second, the national debt would be openly repudiated. Both options are inconsistent with political stability. But it must be remembered that an economic crash does not destroy wealth; it simply rearranges wealth on a massive scale. The result is a great reallignment of political influence and power. As the political center gives way, and the central government works feverishly to steal enough money to stay in power, suppose that some detached but enterprising Canadian province (Alberta, say) decides to enhance its economic prospects through the adoption of a low and flat taxation rate. The result would resemble the Oklahoma land rush with northbound cars.
The Result
In numerous places, the idea of various kinds of secession from the United States is being "floated." This may make some Confederate diehards happy, but our situation is not really analogous to the time of the War Between the States. At that time, there were two different cultures in collision. In our day, scores of competing cultures will be falling down the stairs together, while others are seizing the moment. There will be new alliances, new countries, new opportunities. There will disasters and tragedies. In short, the future of our culture looks to be distinctively nonlinear. On the earthly level, it is very easy to be discomforted by such possibilities. Some Christians may be more easily distressed than others, but all should be wondering what can be done for preparation.
Of first importance is personal and familial holiness. We must be people who understand what God requires of us, and people who obey His laws from the heart. Related to this is the necessity of sincere repentance for the many sins which have brought our nation to this impasse. Because the church has not been what Christ requires, because the salt has lost its savor, we deserve the trampling we may receive.
Second, we must gird up our minds, as Peter says, and we must prepare for short-term persecution. "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter" (1 Pet. 4:16).
Third, we must never lose our complete confidence in the unchangeable sovereignty of God. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who wields the iron rod, and we belong to Him.

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