Guns, race, and the civil rights movement…what a crosshatch of mood affiliation…

This passage shook me up, bravo to the author:

…although nonviolence was crucial to the gains made by the freedom struggle of the 1950s and 1960s, those gains could not have been achieved without the complementary and still underappreciated practice of armed self-defense.  The claim that armed self-defense was a necessary aspect of the civil rights movement is still controversial.  However, wielding weapons, especially firearms, let both participants in nonviolent struggle and their sympathizers protect themselves and others under terrorist attack for their civil rights activities.  This willingness to use deadly force ensured the survival not only of countless brave men and women but also of the freedom struggle itself.

That is from the recent book This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible, by Charles E. Cobb, Jr.  Also related is the 1962 book Negroes with Guns, by Robert F. Williams, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Truman Nelson, about the use of guns for protection against the Ku Klux Klan.  Martin Luther King of course did keep a gun in the house, and he relied on neighbors who, at times, protected his house by carrying guns.


Now that crime is back down and African-Americans are thus getting gentrified out of valuable turf like Harlem, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Oakland,, D.C., the south side of Chicago, and so forth it would be a good time to consider in a scholarly fashion just how much black power was dependent upon black street crime.

How do you quantify "black power"?

Just because some black kids are mugging people the black community ought to be feeling powerful & in control?

One measure of black power would be the ability to occupy highly desirable real estate -- e.g., Harlem, Brooklyn, Washington DC, etc. -- via endemic violence driving out competitors. (In the future, blacks will be amazed at the centrally located places their grandparents used to live compared to the dumpy exurbs and small towns they will generally live in the mid-21st Century.) As blacks are being gentrified out of these neighborhoods now that the cops are back in control in most cities, especially in NYC, it's becoming clear how much their presence there was based on violence reducing legitimate economic competition for this real estate.

The massive criminal violence that drove millions of whites out of the cities in the 1960s through 1980s is one of those topics that doesn't seem to come up much these days, especially not compared to far more relevant topics like the KKK.

Were the mayors / sheriffs / police commissioners in these cities black or white?

The places that typically got hit the hardest had black mayors from the early 1970s -- e.g., Detroit, which had the hostile racist Coleman Young.

But, for simplicity, just consider New York City or Chicago, where there was huge ethnic cleansing of white neighborhoods under super-WASPy John Lindsay and Irish Catholic Richard J. Daley.

When this national disaster is touched upon in the press, the custom today is to blame the victims of the violence for their irrational "white flight."

"the hostile racist"

Heh. Anybody else find it odd that old white dudes continue to label bitter black dudes from the segregation era as "hostile racists"?

I mean, racism is racism, but still...

There were other traditionally white (poor Irish, Italians and Jews) urban concentrations such as Boston's West End that were completely obliterated - right down to the bare soil - to make way for "urban renewal". If that neighborhood had only hung on for another 10 years, those old brownstones would be going for a million dollars a piece.


Steve's at least correct about the hostile part. The racism thing depends on whether the definition of such precludes black people, as it does for much of the left, effectively.

Zev Chafets book about Detroit, "Devil's Night," is good on what happened to Detroit under Mayor Coleman Young. Zev was born in Detroit, moved to Israel and became Menachem Begin's press secretary, then came back to the U.S. He sees Begin and Young as comparable figures: tribal leaders motivated by spite.


You missed my point completely, though to be fair it was a rather subtle one.

If we are going to tell the story accurately we should point out at that the groups targeted for ethnic cleansing were not because they were white, but more likely because they were Catholic. I'm not playing the aggrieved minority angle, just making clear the motive of the ruling elite; to destroy the (in the minds of Rockefeller/Sunstein types) potential fifth column of quasi fascists with a high resistance to social engineering since they had their own schools, newspapers, social hierarchies, intellectual leaders, etc.

You are retrospectively measuring black power back then by their ability to occupy real estate that was not desirable back then but became desirable 50 years later?

Brooklyn etc., was pretty darn desirable before whites were driven out by black crime, just as they are desirable once again now that crime is more under control.

An excellent comparison is lovely Oak Park, Illinois where my father was born versus the post-apocalyptic-looking Austin neighborhood next door in Chicago. Oak Park was saved by the city government imposing a highly illegal and semi-covert racial quota on realtors: the black-a-block rule. The comparable Austin neighborhood, in contrast, was wiped out by black crime after Martin Luther King came to Chicago in 1966 to demand open housing. It hasn't recovered yet.

My wife grew up in the Austin neighborhood until three felonies against her family drove them out to the distant exurbs and cost them half their net worth.

This is the kind of thing you are supposed to be ashamed to remember happening to your family. We need remembrance of what happened and apologies.

Blacks enjoy the crime--they flock to it in fact. Whites just leave. Dumbasses. They could be selling their homes for more than five times what they paid in the 80s if they stayed.

The crime is merely a function of how many white people the blacks want to allow in their neighborhoods. If there are too many whites, they systematically drive up the amount of crime.


Apologies from who?

Nothing mood affiliates like the personal anecdote!

Yeah, Jan. Those are pretty unusual stories, not common at all. Where did your grandmother grow up, by the way?

Driven out of a neighborhood by three felonies? Yep, uncommon.

My grandmother--Mississippi Delta country. Was not driven away by crime or black people.

What about yours? What great racial injustice befell her?

My father's family moved away from Brooklyn after my teenage aunt was assaulted.

I'll rephrase the question. Why do you (or did your parents) live in the suburbs? For the culture?

That is an interesting observation. It's doubtful, however, if members of the black community were the actual owners of the property they occupied. They had to live somewhere and low rents in the decaying areas of large cities coupled with access to public transportation enabled them to survive.

Firearms didn't help the native Americans much, though. They ended up losing the whole country and even the most desirable portions they retained in treaties have somehow become the assets of whites. Tucked away in remote spots like Pine Ridge, South Dakota and Wolf Point, Montana they don't inspire guilt in the critics of the KKK.

I doubt that firearms would've helped black Americans against the American establishment from say, 1820 transplanted into 1960. Although to be fair, there were a lot more blacks around in 1960 than there were Indians in 1760.

Right, blacks were mostly brought into these places as war workers and as a wedge minority to break up urban ethnic enclaves. They had a reputation for docility! They were always there at the pleasure of the ruling classes and once their work was done, they are being sent packing.

An interesting question is how much black crime was encouraged by the ruling classes under the auspices of things like the Ford foundation's Grey areas project and the office of economic opportunity. Was the Jeff Fort incident representative and part of a larger policy initiative?

What exactly makes these places highly desirable? Were people in Harlem tolerating violent street crime in the early 70's as part of a nefarious plot to gain ownership of real estate that would make them rich 40 years later?

"What exactly makes these places highly desirable?"

Harlem is in Manhattan, just north of Central Park. The other three sides of Central Park are among the most valuable real estate in America. Brooklyn is close to Wall Street.

So what? If you owned property in those places in the 70's you'd be in a bear market for a long time. And exactly how many people in Harlem work in Wall Street? Real estate is about location, location, location but being close to Wall Street isn't very relevant unless you work there. Granted being near Central Park is nice but your economic model makes no sense at all.

You are essentially putting forth a Scooby-Do model of Real Estate. Your are asserting blacks pushed down real estate values, brought up cheap property, and then let them rise up again securing prime real estate and profits for themselves. Did they do this by dressing up in a ghost costume to scare away other buyers? No, they engaged in a multi-generational plot requiring nearly 40 years to come full circle. On top of that, they somehow got one group of blacks (those engaged in crime in the 70's and 80's) to take on all the risk and cons while another group (those who purchased property) got all the benefits.

"being close to Wall Street isn’t very relevant unless you work there."

And yet the prices have skyrocketed.

Boonton, sorry but you are an asshole for deliberately and transparently playing dumb here. There is nothing recondite about what Steve is saying. Whites paid _more_ money to travel _farther_ to work (eg passing Harlem or central Brooklyn on your way to Wall Street), and this is one obvious reason why. I know that secretly you don't actually need this explained to you...


I don't deny centers of high crime near prime real estate create, oddly, long commutes by the well to do. There are lots of Wall Streeters who have homes in conn. or out in Long Island, ensuring a long commute which means they are spending a lot (since time is money). Why doesn't someone put a 30 or so floors of condos in the Freedom Tower so Wall Streeters can literally ride an elevator to work every morning? Beats me.

But I'm not seeing this is unusual. In fact I suspect its quite common. At major power centers (trade, finance, politics) I think there have always been high crime areas nearby. You might thing things should drop off gradually. For example, if the upper West side is the best Manhatten real estate then everything goes down a little bit as you go block by block away from the center of affluence. The high crime 'ghetto' then should be very far away...Coney Island perhaps.

Yet that just isn't how things seem to work. The affluent seem to tolerate commutes well to create a donut effect where you go from the center of affluence to ghetto back to more affluent areas.

Anyway Sailer didn't just assert that Whites avoided Harlem because of high crime...thereby depriving themselves of a good location to commute to work downtown. He asserted that this was 'Black Power' indicating some type of purpose of design. Hence the 'Scooby Doo' model where somehow Blacks coordinated a rise in crime to score cheap real estate in a prime location...and then I suppose a drop in crime to reap the price increases.

This is an economics blog and a focus of economics is understanding how human behavior is coordinated through various mechanisms. Price signals coupled with self-interest are a very good explanatory vehcile for that but there are others no doubt. So I present my question again. How was such a remarkable coordination accomplished, especially given that the blacks who engaged in most of the crime in the 70's and 80's were not the ones who enjoyed Harlem's return later on?

Well, did all white cities see a similar pattern?

I do agree with Steve Sailer on this but I do find a couple of things interesting.

1. Blacks complaining about white flight. What you do not want to live around too many blacks? Weird.
2. Blacks complaining about real-estate prices falling after a few black families move in. Sure the first to move in pay a price but latter families often get good housing cheap.

IMHO Blacks make great Americans and blacks do well in the USA. Their only problem is crime and that is falling sharply.They dominate the jobs that they want.

I meant to say: "I do NOT agree with Steve Sailer on this but I do find a couple of things interesting."

I guess that comment will keep me from high political office, nit that I would want to run.

Another related book is "Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms" by Nicholas Johnson.

It's bizarre how much we constantly hear about the KKK today when who knows what fraction of the tiny number of members are FBI and/or SPLC agent provocateurs.

And that was 52 years ago, but we're supposed to act like it was yesterday. Liberals have a very hard time remembering that they've been in charge of race, sex, etc. for the last half century. To much of the conventional wisdom, the 50 years since Selma is a blur.

What's your point? Modern America is unfairly hounding KKK? We should just let those poor harmless old men go about their marches in peace? FBI unfairly gives KKK a bad rep?

I think his point is that the Southern Poverty Law Center makes a buck fundraising for their 'activities' contra the KKK when the various and sundry Klan winglets have in toto about 2,000 members (of whom about a tenth are reputedly on the FBI payroll). The original Klan had dissipated by the end of reconstruction. The 2d incarnation was socially and politically significant from about 1915 to 1930, then went into freefall and formally dissolved in 1944 because it hardly had any members left. The 3d incarnation has always been fragmented into several incorporated entities and was of significance only in Mississippi. Alabama, and North Carolina for a few years either side of 1965.

Isn't Sailer's criticism analogous to asking why we obsess about Nazis today although Hitler has been dead for half a century.

The impact of some evil is long lasting?

Are the threat of Nazis used as ways to raise fund or pursue policy goals?

You can learn an awful lot about who is in power today by noticing whose defeated, irrelevant old enemies you are still supposed to obsess over.

It's not very difficult to make the intellectual distinction between comparing someone to a group and asserting that the group still poses a threat.

"You can learn an awful lot about who is in power today by noticing whose defeated, irrelevant old enemies you are still supposed to obsess over."

You say a lot of dumb stuff, Steve, but this has to be one of the dumbest. What does any of that mean? You're basically spouting the reactionary version of PoMo nonsense.

Whose enemies are whom? Defeated by whom? Who is supposed to be obsessing over the KKK? And who is enforcing the "supposed to?" So far, the only concrete, verifiable claim that you've made is that the SPLC exists and that they are somewhat successful at raising money by scaring progressives about hate groups.

The idea that any of this tells us "who is in power" is just plain idiotic. You don't have to resort to paranoid musings about who is in power, because power is self-evident. That's why it's power. The guys with the guns and the money are in power and almost none of them are black.

I don't recall any commercials for Obama whose premise was we have to vote for him to keep the KKK from lynching people in the streets. The KKK has always in my view been a more isolated issue. An individual killing here, perhaps some provakative stunt there, plus occassional appearences on TV shows like Phile Donahue. I suppose the Southern Poverty Law Center uses them in their fund raising materials but then that groups purpose is to track fringe groups and monitor them. Fringe groups are, by definition, fringe.

However, since Steve mentioned race baiting 'hoaxes', I do recall several reverse cases esp. just before Obama was elected. For example, there was the girl who worked for McCain's campaign who caused a brief ruckus by claiming she was assaulted at an ATM by several blacks who then used a knife to carve a 'B' on her cheek. It caused a bit of a stir until people noticed the 'B' was backwards (which it would be if you did it yourself using a mirror...and why wouldn't pro-Obama muggers carve an 'O'?) and then her story collapsed and she admitted to staging the whole thing. While there's no accounting for individual insanities, it is interesting the moment this story came out quite a few McCain supporters latched onto it with statements like "if this is true it means a lot..." Why? Say it was true, why would it mean anything? If a deranged Cowboys fan carves a 'C' on someone leaving a Seattle game, would we all say we have to vote against Chris Christee, NJ governor running for President with boy-crush on the Cowboys? I think the 'hoaxes' are all real in a sense that the reason some take hold of the national mood is because they represent things a non-trivial portion of people worry about on some level.

Haha. I am a liberal in a big city today and I can't even remember the last time a had a conversation that included the KKK, even peripherally. Maybe you're just hypersensitive. Wouldn't be a stretch, would it?

......when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.

Google Ngram Viewer suggests that the KKK is about as popular a topic in published books now as it has ever been. That is pretty bizarre.

The last I heard, junk mail legend Morris Dees' Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC -- designed to be easily confused with MLK's SCLC) has a quarter of a billion dollars socked away. Scaring rich old people that the KKKossacks are about to ride through Shaker Heights is big business.

Terrifying tales of the Klan are part of the KKKrazy Glue that holds together the diverse and thus divisive Obama Coalition. It's a major thread running through hoaxes and panics like the Oberlin Assault Blanket.


You sound jealous of the comfy funding that SPLC enjoys?

Old rich people are mostly white. Why would they fear your KKKossacks?

Oh come on, Rahul, you're not that dense.

If you look for it, you will find it. Does not mean KKK hysteria is prevalent or mainstream. Is recognition of casual racism growing? Absolutely, but let's not confuse the two.

I understand that if one group blows their whistle, you have to point and blow yours louder, but come on.

Steve, Tyler posted an excerpt from a book about 52+-year-old American history. If American history from more than 50 years ago doesn't interest you, perhaps you are reading the wrong thread. For those who are interested in history, Indiana's chapter of the KKK alone had over 200,000 members in the early 1920s and effectively controlled the state government for a while. That was just one state, too.

The KKK, together with the entire neo-Nazi/Stormfront type movements, are made up of some truly horrible people. Collectively, they're about as violent as this group called the Minnesotans. That's not much comfort to the families of the three murdered in Kansas City recently, but I'd keep my eye out on Minnesotans. (I know, I also thought Minnesotans were all about ice hockey, big malls, and losing Super Bowls, but no, just Google "Minnesotans" and see for yourself).

I'm with Steve Sailer on this one, Ward Cleaver just called and wants his decade back.

What an odd complaint! Is it really so difficult to avoid KKK discussions? If so, then perhaps commenting on a post about the KKK, and then regularly revisiting the post to reply to replies, might impair your efforts to avoid the KKK discussions.

Leftist amnesia at work. You have to go back to 1963 for that example of violence. You do not have to go that far back for the Weathermen. And yet not Bill Ayers is not only a tenured academic - like most of the rest of them - but he is friends with the President.

I am happy to say the KKK was just as disgusting as Obama's ghostwriter.

Eh, sure the SPLC has got their hustle, but I don't know many who take them seriously. And I am much more likely to hear about some missing attractive white girl when I turn on CNN than I am to hear about the KKK.

In fact, in my normal media/blogging diet, the most likely source of racial grievance mongering that I am likely to come across is from Steve Sailer. Nice work if you can get it, I guess.

+1 Which organization today hasn't got their own flavor of hustle?

If the SPLC panhandles by scaring old men about KKKossacks, Steve Sailer raises money by scaring other rich white old men that their world will be destroyed by an invasion of intellectually inferior Hispanics & Blacks.

To each their own hustle I guess.

Absolutely. But the next thing to do is determine who has more power and influence, SPLC or Steve Sailer. One is a well-established non-profit, the other a dude who solicits for $ via PayPal. I'll get to work on this...

Our current President takes the SPLC seriously, as he has quoted their statistics and named them on national television.

Ah, the good old days of the Mulford Act, when Republicans such as Ronald Reagan were fully on board with limiting the rights of Americans to carry loaded firearms in public.

This fairly recent piece from the Freeman deserves an MR comments thread plug:

Good stuff. Interesting question. I think arming is a necessary component of an overall strategy. Sort of like an immune system response; throw multiple antibodies at the viral invader, get feedback on what works, constantly update, recalibrate. Or like a venture capitalist strategy: fund a 100 start ups knowing 85 to 90 will fail, but the payoff on the ones that work are worth the effort/risk.
It's safe to go back and debate the past, but regarding the present: Do some of us arm to demand the right of a functional climate? Scientists report that we've already crossed the danger threshold on 4 of 9 planetary boundaries. Are we too comfortable wimps, and as individuals, we don't want to take on the personal costs of such action? Is that a stupid question as it's not a parallel situation, not a clear enemy? But there are people who impede responses to ecocide. Is too already too late? Is it Triage Time? I think it is triage time, or may be too late. I don't know.
I'm not looking for the FBI to knock at my door (I'm way tougher "on paper" than in person; dude, I was prom-committee chairman in HS, don't tell anyone), but killing is part of the earth-residency contract. We kill, or hire killers, to get through the day: war, extinction, dinner, health, hygiene, etc.
DNA has been through collapse many times in its billions-of-years history. Here are some selected apps-on-file for human DNA-vehicles immersed in collapse-navigation: genocide, rape, war, killing & eating one's children, etc.
From Yale historian Timothy Snyder's book "Bloodlands", here's how some of those apps played out in Stalin's 1930's starvation of Ukraine: “The good people died first. Those who refused to steal or to prostitute themselves died. Those who gave food to others died. Those who refused to eat corpses died.”
Edward Abbey wrote: "Action is the antidote to despair." Somehow I don't think writing my congress person will be an antidote to despair, or effective in this situation . . . nor do I know what might be, if anything. And collapse? Part of the physics of non-equilbrium systems, i.e., like a meteor hit, not if, but when.

I don't need to read a book to know how the Mutt and Jeff act works.

Given the level of firearms ownership in the US and the fact that most hot wars going on right now are civil (and the fact that half of Americans of varying hues hate the other half and wish they were dead), we should probably take a timeout on mass immigration, as we did from 1924 to 1965.

Strangely, though, by banning the importation of property (no reason to call it immigration) the bloodiest war in American history occurred. And as explicitly noted in at one declaration of secession ( ), that banning was part of the reasons that justified secession.

Yes. Importing darker-skinned people to do menial work for cheaper than what you'd have to pay your countrymen or to develop a mechanical harvester has historically not worked out very well. But for some reason immigration is one of those areas where economists believe that history, sociology, and the supply-demand curve must be disregarded in favor of the Kantian categorical imperative of immigration.

Interestingly, the Confederate Constitution banned the importation of slaves, which has always made me wonder if the Southern planters were beginning to realize the awful hole they were digging for themselves and their descendants.

@The Anti-Gnostic:

Any evidence to support your assertion that cheap labor was the primary motivating factors for Southern whites to keep the slave system going? Based on what I have read, slaves were far from cheap. I think the slaveowners just liked being little feudal lords on their estates and did not want to give up that lifestyle. Plus blacks made better manual laborers in semi-tropical climates. Plus whites just didn't like to (or couldn't) do manual labor in the steamy South.

Re: Confederate Constitution banned the importation of slaves: I am guessing that was at the behest of the Slave Breeders Lobby.

Plus whites just didn’t like to (or couldn’t) do manual labor in the steamy South.

You are agreeing with me: the planters had to pay poor, free whites a lot more to pick cotton under the hot sun rather than just lighting out for the frontier. (Also, Southern whites--you may be surprised to know--are fully capable of manual labor in the steamy South. I can take you to lots of places in Georgia where you can observe whites doing manual labor.)

Also, your post is hilariously patronizing. Are you actually drinking a mint julep and bragging to your neighbors about your stout team of darkies?

Labourers of African descent did have one advantage over indentured slaves (the favoured practice) of European descent and the original inhabitants. This was a limited resistence to an imported disease called Malaria (I will use capital M in this case). Malaria was brought over on ships via humans from the very region in western Africa many of these slaves orginated from. Europeans were very capable of working in such climes (as were the Natives, though they had no wish to engage in such employment in meaningful numbers) but they simply died in too great numbers. It has nothing to do with perceived, and ill-founded ideas of racial predilection.

The owners of slaves did not want to import more slaves because it would devalue their existing property. It was an economic decision, not a moral one.

Modern equivalent: many zoning laws.

Is that similar to the Federal Reserve enpixelating more money that lowers the value of the money buried behind my chicken coop?

Are you suggesting that if we ban the importation of cheap dark-skinned labor, we can expect the Democrats who support it to launch another civil war?

I'm saying importing cheaper, darker-skinned labor to do menial work has historically led to all sorts of problems: the American Civil War, the Haitian Slave Revolt, Jim Crow, transfer payments, low-trust, etc.

Colonialism--same process in the other direction--hasn't been very successful either.

Whites figure out ways to make things pretty crappy on their own. Northern Ireland, the French and Russian revolutions etc

Pretty sure the Holocaust was a white folks thing, too...

The slave trade was banned by Congress in 1808; states did not start seceding until 42 years later. The election of Lincoln to the Presidency with his well-known opposition to the expansion of slavery in federal territory (e.g. future states that would get votes in Congress) was the proximate cause of secession, not legislation that had been passed 42 years before.

What do we do about the Americans who already hate each other?

We really need to shrink the size and scope of the national government and its over-riding mandates so people have more room to coalesce locally around common preferences instead of being forced to live around and do business with people who hate them and despise their values.

The solution to our nation's excessive partisanship is to implement my the solution favored by my party.

No, to the A-G the 'solution' is to devolve the nation into little Balkanized racial enclaves. Fortunately his toxic, projecting, hate-filled world view is rare and mostly just pixels on screens, signifying nothing. I don't think any party is as miserable as that.

"the fact that half of Americans of varying hues hate the other half and wish they were dead": wow that's a heck of a fact. Link?

I see that the moronic liberal msgkings is still alive and kicking. Don't worry, moron, racial enclaves are happening whether you like it or not. The fact that a lot of subhuman liberals like you will be gutted in the process is just an added bonus.

Petar, your words are very scary to me. These internet comment sections are full of really tough dudes!

Fortunately his toxic, projecting, hate-filled world view is rare...

Actually, I'd say the separatist impulse is pretty common as is being demonstrated in the Middle East, and before that there was Yugoslavia and the USSR. Most of the world remains subdivided down to a geographic level that Americans in their huge country find incomprehensible. Why do contrived, archaic polities like Belgium, Monaco, Lichtenstein or Luxembourg even exist? Why doesn't Austria join their Germanic brethren to the West? Why do we even allow continuous trainwrecks like Haiti to remain sovereign?

But back on point, as a fairly average Anglo-American, it would be temperamentally difficult for me to whip up the level of hatred that, say, Jews have for Arabs and vice versa, or Sunni have for Shia and vice versa, or Chechens have for just about everybody. Don't Central America's rival groups have a lot of toxic hatred for each other as well? Like, kidnap-family-members-and-behead-and-dissolve-bodies-in-lye levels of hatred? African Muslims sure do seem to hate African Christians--can't even stand them on the same boat. And aren't the Han pretty hateful of the Tibetans and the Uyghurs? Do you really think it's a good idea to invite all these disparate groups into the US and give them the right to keep and bear arms?

Hell, just try owning some podunk pizzeria in Podunkville, IN and saying that you wouldn't cater Elton John's Big Gay Wedding, and see what people threaten to do to you.

The Anti-Gnostic: "We really need to shrink the size and scope of the national government and its over-riding mandates so people have more room to coalesce locally around common preferences instead of being forced to live around and do business with people who hate them and despise their values."

Amend the Constitution such that participation in most federal programs is optional on a state-by-state basis. Overhaul the budget and tax collection processes so that taxpayers only pay into those programs in which their state participates. If, for example, the majority of Texans want out of Medicare, they can, as a state, opt out--they don't pay for it, they don't receive any benefits; in contrast, if California and Massachusetts want to continue to utilize the system as is, paying into a common pool, they can. Extend this policy across the government--education, entitlements, transportation, health care, etc. Carve out exemptions for defense, foreign policy, and maybe the Treasury. This is doable with current technology, and it can't be much more convoluted than the existing morass.

Blue states can have all the secularism and socialism they want; red states can have all the reactionary traditionalism and libertarianism they want. Those who find themselves in a state opposite to their political preferences can either learn to live with it or vote with their feet and move.

It's high time Blue America and Red America cut each other loose. No more trying to save the marriage. Let's cut the crap, negotiate the divorce, and get it over with.

And you think once started this will stop at the State Level?

Rahul: "And you think once started this will stop at the State Level?"

In some parts of the country, yes; in others, no. Under the construct I have in mind, any further federation below the state level would be up to each state.

Play this idea out to the extreme, and I suppose we'd end up with a Blue west coast and northeast with a vast archipelago of Blue city-states in the middle amidst the sea of Red. I don't necessarily have a problem with that.

And you'd have an American Union on top? With a common currency & freedom of movement? Or fences? Thousands of miles of fences & border patrols?

1) Yeah, basically. 2a) Probably, but not necessarily. 2b) Generally speaking, yes. 3) No. 4) No.

We should try it. We have the resounding, unmitigated success of the European Union project to back us up.

Do you prefer perpetual gridlock? Or, are you one of those who believes your side is on the cusp of at long last vanquishing the other side and grinding them into righteous, permanent submission?

FUBAR, maybe some prefer to think that while the nation obviously has differences within it, it's still stronger staying united vs breaking into dozens (50+?) of countrylets. Call it the Lincolnian perspective.

msgkings: "FUBAR, maybe some prefer to think that while the nation obviously has differences within it, it’s still stronger staying united vs breaking into dozens (50+?) of countrylets."

That's the problem. We're not a nation, and we're not united.

As Anti-Gnostic points out, we hate each other. Day after day, right-wingers come to sites like this one and rant ad nauseum about how evil and stupid liberals are. Visit a liberal site, and you'll find the same thing in reverse.

My question to people with your "Lincolnian perspective": at this stage, what's the fucking point? What does either side gain by beating its head against the other side's over and over and over and over...? What does endless gridlock accomplish? In what way does it make the country a better place? How does such utter dysfunction make the lives of Americans better? All we do is talk past each other. Neither side ever truly engages; neither side ever concedes a point; never side learns from the other. There's no conversation left to be had.

We've largely sorted ourselves geographically already. Re-federating the country acknowledges that and provides a means of separating peacefully without dissolving the country entirely.

FUBAR, all of this hate you speak of is mostly online in comment fora like these. Those of us that like to come online and read this stuff and post might think the whole country is seething with hatred for each other when in fact most people just go about their lives and generally like other people. And for all the 'gridlock' and such the US has never been healthier or wealthier, it's still the richest country on earth and IMO the 'best' one.

I'm just saying, have some perspective. It's fun for us to come on these sites and rage against the 'other side' and troll each other and 'attack' each other but it's just pixels and it's mostly for fun otherwise why are we here?

...and yet, for how wonderful you've painted things to be,.we're more politically polarized than any time since the Civil War.


Oh, I totally favor gridlock over splitting the nation into fifty little pieces. Is that an atypical position? You sounded surprised.

Rahul: "Oh, I totally favor gridlock over splitting the nation into fifty little pieces. Is that an atypical position? You sounded surprised."

I have no idea what the typical position is as I don't know that the choice has been presented to a mass audience in the modern era. Also, you're mischaracterizing my suggestion. I'm not advocating dissolving the country; I'm advocating optional devolution of most federal government functions, and their tax-funded revenue streams, to the state level i.e. actual, no-shit federalism.

That you prefer perpetual gridlock suggests to me that you either a) think the current state of the country is ideal or at least good enough such that a functioning political system and capacity for rational compromise are no longer necessary or b) believe gridlock somehow provides the maximum benefit possible to the people.

An excerpt is here,

Cops already mistakenly (or intentionally) shoot people all the time because they're afraid someone might have a gun. Let's just give all the oppressed guns--more excuses for killa cops who are SO AFRAID.

Why not just disarm the cops instead?

You can't disarm the cops. There are already millions of guns in circulation. The right of the police to bear arms shall not be infringed. Cops will just think about how to get around the requirement. Killa cops don't follow the law anyway. Getting rid of the guns won't address the root cause of the problem--cops are SO AFRAID (mental health).

Their fear is not unjustified considering the number of cops who are killed by criminals. I doubt you'd have the cojones to do that job.

Which was under 50 last year, by the way -

The number of police that died due to automobile involvement was about half that, at 26.

Being a cop in America is not exactly a high risk occupation, at least in terms of being shot (about the same number of children under 13 killed by firearms accidentally in 2011, by the way - )

And one should add, when looking at the numbers, it seems that the excessively fearful police of America also don't have 'the cojones to do that job.' At least without shooting 12 year olds or unarmed people in the back, that is.

Yeah, what we need are more people getting into law enforcement to prove something about their cojones.

Anyway, there are many much more dangerous job than being a cop, which p_a makes kind of obvious with the numbers below.

I respect the work cops do, but there are a lot of people I respect for their work. And there are plenty of bad apples and incompetents in policing, just like every other job.

So, yeah, let the arms race continue until Youtube is nothing but videos of shootings!

A well ordered militia is cop like.

Allowing people with good reasons for needing a gun (MLK seems to fit that bill) and who are likely to be able to use it effectively for self defense and store it safely makes sense and is protected by the 2nd amendment. Sensible regulation that makes guns available but scarce can make everyone safer. Localities are the best venue for fine tuning regulations although some Federal level back up for local registration requirements would be helpful.

The 2nd amendment is not about self defense, it is about defending oneself and others from a tyrannical government.

Enshrined to make your views on social utility irrelevant.

not about self defense....about defending oneself

Ones a legal concept the other isn't. I know subtly isn't your thing so I thought I'd clear it up. And he is absolutely right to stress the differnce at least if the Founders intentions matter. They hardly ever do for middle class, want to be trendy leftist so it's probally a waste of breath.

"Allowing people with good reasons for needing a gun (MLK seems to fit that bill) and who are likely to be able to use it effectively for self defense and store it safely makes sense and is protected by the 2nd amendment."

What are you talking about? The second amendment is a RIGHT, government at any level can't ALLOW or not allow keeping and bearing arms, they can't, constitutionally, infringe on that right. That such a statement can even be made is indicative that the hallowed constitution is just so much secular hagiology.

I doubt this will change anybody's minds. They anti-White coalition has got the power now, and they aren't going to do any of that respect for their enemy's "rights." Rights belong to them now.

Those non-whites ruling America with an iron fist...

It's tough being white in America, haven't you heard? We'd all be better off if we were black or Hispanic. Sure we'd be stupid and criminal but look at all the goodies we'd get and how we'd dominate whitey!

Where is Superman when we really need him?

Why 'would'? You, for example already are pretty stupid.

Maybe I'm black, I hear those guys are pretty dumb.

Then why the "we's." Quite while you are comically behind.

This nonsense is best summed up by one of my favorite Chris Rock jokes (paraphrasing):

"White people are always complaining about all the special treatment black people get, all the affirmative action handouts and getting to say the n-word and all that...but the fact is not a single one of you white people complaining about that would trade places with me, not a single one...and I'm rich!"

I'm not sure what your point is, msg. I wouldn't trade places with the hobos I see on the street either.

The whites of Congress are just fools being led by that autocratic coalition of the 17% non-whites in office. Led by none other than that 50% non-white (50% white) dictator who needs no coalition to keep taking rights away.

That 50% White dictator identifies solely with the Black race, even you know that.

Would y'all let him identify with the white race?

Raised as a white person. Probably more similar to you, Red, than most black people.

Are you referring to the anti-white Islamic extremists who are certainly represent the ideals of the NRA.

Osama bin Laden and ISIS soldiers all mimic Charlton Heston as president of the NRA, making it white people will only take their guns from the cold dead hands, which will be well separated from the rest of the body.

Not one mention of the NRA rising to power after it was realized that the 14th Amendment prohibited taking guns away from blacks without taking the guns away from whites. When Gov Reagan signed gun control to stop blacks from carrying hunting rifles openly to defend their communities from invading whites, he stopped whites from carrying their hunting rifles, and that led to rechartering the NRA to protect whites from laws intended for blacks.

I note that the NRA does not recruit and establish chapters in black communities with problems of violence where presumably their theory of more guns leading to less crime and less violence are needed to succeed more than anyplace else.

This is not controversial at all. Many Civil Right Activists at the time were WWII veterans who were armed and determined to protect their properties. Medgar Evers, for instance, was a sergeant who fought for his country in Europe against oppression, so he was ready to fight for his freedom at home. WWII was pivotal for Civil Rights Movements in the United States and across the globe. African veterans who fought for France, Germany, and other European countries came back home with the confidence to continue the fight at home.

This book pretty badly reverses the case. African Americans have practiced various types of armed resistance since before the Civil War. But, to correct the author's error (mine in brackets and capped), "…although [ARMED SELF-DEFENSE] was crucial to the gains made by the freedom struggle of the 1950s and 1960s, those gains could not have been achieved without [THE TACTIC OF NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION]. The claim that armed self-defense was a necessary aspect of the civil rights movement is still controversial [BECAUSE IT TREATS VIOLENT RESISTANCE AS A NEW AND SUCCESSFUL PHENOMENON, RATHER THAN A LONGSTANDING TACTIC OF DEMONSTRABLY LOW EFFICACY]. [OCCASIONALLY], wielding weapons, especially firearms, let both participants in nonviolent struggle and their sympathizers protect themselves and others under terrorist attack for their civil rights activities[, ALTHOUGH, TO BE FAIR, THERE WERE ALSO NUMEROUS DOCUMENTED INSTANCES WHERE ARMED RESISTANCE FAILED AND ARMED DEFENDERS WERE ARRESTED, KILLED, OR DRIVEN FROM A COMMUNITY]. This willingness to use [NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION INSTEAD OF] deadly force ensured the survival not only of countless brave men and women but also of the freedom struggle itself.

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