Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » An Experiment in Ideology

An Experiment in Ideology

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

I think it would be interesting to split this country in two. Perhaps that should have happened ages ago during the Civil War. Perhaps we should have broken up at the Mason Dixon line and parted ways as two incompatible friends with fond memories. But since we didn’t, and since Abraham Lincoln’s “united we stand; divided we fall” speech is turning into an eerily accurate prophecy, I think it’s time for just such an experiment in ideology.

So here is my proposal: Let’s separate the nation. We’ll call it a trial separation if you like, but let’s go our separate ideological ways and see what happens. Logistically, we would have to opt for some kind of European Union style pact whereby both trial nations get to use the same currency and travel freely across borders. We could both take the existing structure of the U.S. government and the existing constitution. But that’s where the similarity would end.

On the liberal side, we could socialize to our bleeding hearts’ content because people who would choose to live here would know that we are stronger acting collectively than as individuals. We could have health care for all people, an equitable educational system that isn’t based on the wealth of the surrounding communities, prisons that reform rather than lock away, and myriad other policies based on sound research and scientific study. We would take a clue from other social democracies such as Switzerland, Denmark, France, and Australia where quality of life is highest. Yes, we would pay more taxes, but they would be fairer taxes, and the benefits that come with them would outweigh the costs.

On the conservative side, they could individualize and privatize and religiolize to their hearts’ content because people who would choose to live there would know that pulling oneself up by the bootstraps and believing in Jesus Christ is all it takes. They could work hard and save and get the best of what they can pay for as individuals with no interference from government. They could do away with all government spending, all financial regulations, and pay minuscule taxes for a military and little else. They could have a national religion and make moral policies law. They could all go to private schools and drive gigantic SUVs and pollute their natural environment as much as they like. They could build a giant fence around their nation and isolate themselves from the rest of the world for as long as they live.

Either scenario sound idyllic? Well why wait?

The Sarah Palins, Newt Gingriches, and Mitt Romneys of the world are never going to convince liberals that their individualistic way of thinking is correct (because by all measurable standards it isn’t). And I’m certainly not ever going to be able to convince conservatives that “public” is not a bad word or that they consistently vote against their own best interests (even though it’s true).

So why do we insist on staying married? For the kids? Because we’re sure not doing our descendants any favors with all of this fighting.

Isn’t it time for an amicable separation?

About Meggan's Moustache

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Neither 48 nor 49 is an accurate depiction of the United States. They present an ideological fantasy.

    Since the last 30 years [at least] have seen a great increase in income inequality, a financial stagnation or regression for the middle class and the poor, how can anyone claim with a straight face that we are ‘equalizing everyone into a mud hut’?

    Dave talks about a productive minority and an unproductive majority. These sound convenient, and fictional, to me. Any stats [and for that matter definitions] to back them up?

  • troll

    too bad the word ‘socialism’ is dug into the language and the debate like a tick – it sure doesn’t facilitate communication

    Dave and Cannonshop abhor the free rider and the elements in our distribution system that encourage him – and mistakenly lay the blame on ‘socialism’

    but the modern US free rider is the political child of capitalist production with its required ‘army of unemployed’ and its captured and corrupted government – there is no good reason to assume that the problem would persist among workers at least in any big way if folks weren’t forced into idleness in order to control labor’s price

    …cutting owners off from subsidies advantages and protections might prove more difficult than simply pointing board members and shareholders towards productive jobs though

  • troll

    too bad the word ‘socialism’ is dug into the language and the debate like a tick – it sure doesn’t facilitate communication

    Dave and Cannonshop abhor the free rider and the elements in our distribution system that encourage him – and mistakenly lay the blame on ‘socialism’

    but the modern US free rider is the political child of capitalist production with its required ‘army of unemployed’ and its captured and corrupted government – there is no good reason to assume that the problem would persist among workers at least in any big way if folks weren’t forced into idleness in order to control labor’s price

    …cutting owners off from subsidies advantages and protections might prove more difficult than simply pointing board members and shareholders towards productive jobs though

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Troll, the negatives you describe are not characteristic of capitalism, they are characteristic of state corporatism, which is certainly a problem. But it is iteself a sort of outgrowth of socialism, where the risk of business is socialized by the government – shared among the people instead of shouldered by the corporations themselves. It’s one of the worst kinds of socialism.

    Dave

  • Boeke

    State corporatism IS American capitalism!

    And that, incidentally, is Facsism.
    u

  • Dan

    No one seems to notice that Megan M. and like minded progressives here are embracing a conservative traditional value.

    Federalism provides for the kind of social laboratories where people could be free to associate with others who shared their vision.

    fifty states could become fifty laboratories. We could learn a lot about ourselves from a national experiment like that. That’s not something everyone would want known.

    Progressives forget their reliance on authoritarianism some times. But they’re the ones who killed freedom of association.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Dan, you seem to me to have unwarranted confidence in a particular outcome of the experiment.

  • Dan

    Not me Dr. D., but some here have expressed confidence in “particular” outcomes of such experiments.

    I was mainly clarifying for them the conservative roots of their social fantasies, and reminding them how their totalitarian ideology forbids societal experimentation.

    I like the idea of states rights. I would guess that to some extent any type of government would run smoother with ideological homogenity of it’s population.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Speaking of states serving as incubators for social “innovations,” Rachel Maddow has been spotlighting the authoritarian side of several newly Republican state governments:

    Michigan can now forcibly take over local governments and appoint a czar [emergency financial manager] with unlimited power to fire elected officials. [Investment banks and other firms are lining up to take on this new set of jobs; 200 are currently being trained.]

    Doctors in Indiana will be required to read a state-mandated script to any woman requesting abortion — a medically inaccurate script at that.

    In Florida, anyone wanting to work for state government will face mandatory urine screening for drugs. So will everyone receiving unemployment benefits. [The governor's wife just happens to run a company that provides the testing, how convenient.]

    She has several other examples, just visit her video site and blog.

    Viva la small, unintrusive government!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    Dan (#58), you’re probably right, although no state is an island (at least not geopolitically). I suspect that the particular constitutional makeup of some of these politically homogeneous states would make outsiders uninclined to (a) do business with them (b) not make war on them.

  • Dan

    Dr. Dreadful, I guess everyone should have the right to boycott any state they don’t like, but since a shared obligation for maintenance of a scaled back Federal government is the only actual dealing with the disfavored state you need to engage in, war wouldn’t seem logical. Live and let live.

    handyguy demonstrates in #59 how unhappy he is with other states political decisions. That’s the problem. It is an unwillingness to allow others to structure their society contrary to his liking. He prefers constant political tension.

    Maybe there could be one state that featured constant political tension for people who like that.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    since a shared obligation for maintenance of a scaled back Federal government is the only actual dealing with the disfavored state you need to engage in, war wouldn’t seem logical. Live and let live.

    Such a system would be fine as long as everyone agreed to abide by it. However, I would remind you that a similar arrangement stopped working for about four years in 1861, resulting in the most catastrophic loss of life in American history.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    And the concept of states as separately governed countries is a fantasy that was decisively rejected in 1865.

    I would think examples of [as opposed to fictional claims of] anti-democratic, intrusive government might bother anyone, not just me.

  • Dan

    “And the concept of states as separately governed countries is a fantasy that was decisively rejected in 1865.”

    Yes, rejected by violence.

    “I would think examples of [as opposed to fictional claims of] anti-democratic, intrusive government might bother anyone, not just me.”

    I’m not bothered by people living the way they choose. All the examples you mention, despite your Orwellian perceptions, were the result of democratically elected officials acting in accordance with the wishes of a majority of their constituents.

    Handyguy reveals the regressive nature of “progressive” ideology. It’s the same primitive totalitarianism favored by Islamic jihadists.

    This was my original point, any sort of enlightened societal experimentation would never originate with “progressives”.