On War #307: Calling President Davis

William S. Lind
17 June 2009

Secession is in the air. In Texas, a Republican governor has dared breathe the word. Vermont has an active and growing secessionist movement. Oregon, Washington and British Columbia already call themselves Cascadia. Last weekend’s Wall Street Journal led off with a piece on secession. The author, Paul Starobin, wrote that:

The present-day American Goliath may turn out to be a freak of a waning age of politics and economics as conducted on a super-sized scale – too large to make any rational sense…

Is this all mere fancy, another amusing idea with which to wile away
the summer? Fourth Generation theory suggests there is more to it than that. The crisis of legitimacy of the state has not passed America by. Washington pretends to offer “democracy,” but both parties are largely one party, the Establishment party. Its game is remaining the Establishment and enjoying the pleasures thereof, not governing the country. The only politics that count are court politics; America outside the beltway exists only as an annoying distraction. As both the economy and the culture crash, the Establishment says, “What is that to us?”

A collapse of the American state is not impossible. But the lines along which most secessionists see it breaking up are overly optimistic. Paul Starobin writes in the Journal,

The most hopeful prospect for the USA, should the decentralization impulse prove irresistible, is for Americans to draw on their natural inventiveness and democratic tradition by patenting a formula for getting the job done in a gradual and cooperative way.

Fat chance.

Instead of a restored Vermont Republic, Cascadia and perhaps a new Confederacy, if America breaks up it is likely to do so along non-geographic lines. Fourth Generation theory suggests that the new primary identities for which people are likely to vote, work and fight will not be geographical. Rather, they will be cultural, religious, racial or ethnic, ideological, etc. Following the sorts of massacres, ethnic cleansings, pogroms and genocides such Fourth Generation civil wars usually involve, new geographically defined states may emerge. But their borders will derive from cultural divides more than geographic ones.

The fact that a second American civil war would be nastier than the first — itself no picnic — does not mean it won’t happen. That depends on whether the Washington Establishment can recognize it has a legitimacy problem, get its act together and provide competent governance. It is currently failing that test, and I expect it to continue to fail. Any member of the Establishment who dares subordinate court politics to the good of the nation or advocates more than very modest change quickly finds he is no longer a member of the Establishment.

I spent most of last week at the Congress on the New Urbanism, which I have attended for many years. New Urbanism seeks to build new villages, towns and urban neighborhoods as alternatives to suburban sprawl, an essentially conservative endeavor. This time, something new came to the fore: making such communities agriculturally self-sufficient. Why? Because there is growing recognition among New Urbanists and others that only a local food supply may be secure as things fall apart. A few people at the Congress were looking toward the next logical step: giving such communities an ability to defend themselves. If the future brings the end of the empire, how do we get ready for the Dark Ages?

Again, if this sounds fanciful, Fourth Generation war theory says it is not. It is by no means inevitable, but it is one possible outcome of the Establishment’s misrule.

My most recent book, The Next Conservatism, talks at some length about these matters. In the mid-1990s, I wrote a novel, Victoria, about an American Fourth Generation civil war and its aftermath. It never found a publisher, perhaps because the idea seemed so outlandish, more likely because it is a face shot at Political Correctness. Political Correctness, which is really the cultural Marxism of the Frankfurt School, has lost none of its ability to intimidate publishers. But the idea of an American break-up is no longer off the charts. It may yet prove time for President Davis to think of returning to Richmond, and for New Urbanists to design some good castles.

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Filed in Uncategorized | 18 responses so far

18 Responses to “On War #307: Calling President Davis”

  1. EmeryNelsonon 17 Jun 2009 at 7:26 pm 1

    Conservative America may not tolerate the Socialism that’s been spinning an ever greater web since Bush the Younger’s rein. I listen to their anger on a daily basis and my opinion is it’s going to get very interesting. Liberals aren’t the ones buying guns and ammo.

    Conservatives I meet have a certain power that the rest of the country can’t survive without. These self described conservatives largely work in private tax paying endeavors. In other words they fund the state. The state can’t survive without them and that is where the trouble will come from IMO.

    The rest won’t even consider leaving the cash cow that our union has become. According the 2000 census the average black family took in $7000 a year, federal. The average Hispanic family took in $21,000. What other racial groups are there who would consider leaving the mother state? Most Libs I meet work for Mother State. Why would they go? Greens? Please, that’s mostly a state funded endeavor. I can’t even think of another group that’s large enough to succeed and would like more specifics on who these others are.

  2. senor tomason 17 Jun 2009 at 8:55 pm 2

    ” As both the economy and the culture crash, the Establishment says, ‘What is that to us?’ ”

    This has happened before. For details, google “Valentinian III”.

  3. loggie20on 18 Jun 2009 at 6:08 am 3

    Looks to me as if the corporate socialists need to begin a campaign to save America from secessionism (Bolshevism) and in doing so ensure the manors remain in their constellation.

    Cannot permit the serfs (urban self sufficiency) to take over.

    Or will some externality do what the Black Death did to feudalism?

    The recondite Versailles inside the beltway exists for corporate socialism.

  4. rmhitchenson 18 Jun 2009 at 9:47 am 4

    To say “secession is in the air” is far, far beyond an overstatement. It is akin to the famous joke about the flea, floating on his back down the Illinois River, sporting an erection and shouting “Raise the drawbridge!” We’re a far, far cry from the sentiment in the winter of 1860-61. Surely this must be apparent, even to those who want to fit current events into the procrustean bed of 4GW theory.

  5. GeorgiaBoy61on 19 Jun 2009 at 2:26 am 5


    I had pre-ordered “The Next Conservatism” from my local bookseller, and read it in one weekend. Thank you for a superb book; it is a fine tribute to Paul Weyrich, but also to your insight and wisdom. I’ve been recommending it to everyone I know (well, those who read – as you have pointed out, we are increasingly a post-literate society).

    I have been very concerned about our society before, but never as I am now. I agree with you that most commentators in the mainstream media or for that matter, the conservative media, are in denial about just how advanced our problems are, the “perfect storm” that is gathering on the not-so-distant horizon.

    One of the central tenets of chaos theory, the scientific discipline that attempts to understand complex system phenomena, is that very rapid change can occur due to essentially unforeseeable or even “minor” events, and not only foreseeable ones. History proves this is the case; the assassination of Francis Ferdinand triggered the greatest war (up until that time) in human history.

    What will be the tipping point for the U.S.A.? Perhaps when the Chinese and our other creditors migrate to a different international reserve currency, and the spigot of foreign money is turned off. We will be forced to acknowledge our massive indebtedness, with subseqyuent hyper-inflation, etc. Nay-sayers reply that it cannot happen here, but they are wrong. Rome lasted thousands of years, but fell in the end.

    (End of part I)

  6. GeorgiaBoy61on 19 Jun 2009 at 2:45 am 6

    (part II of II)

    More and more everyday people are angry, but are hamstrung, and don’t know what to do to influence events in far-off Saddom on the Potomac. They see that the political process has been so corrupted that their voices are not heard, and therefore quit trying to be heard.
    What options does that leave?

    My hunch is that widespread unrest, protest, and other visible sequelae will not begin until enough people are uncomfortable, and feel threatened at the personal level of their lives and those of their families and friends. That will be the inflection point; what happens then will determine much that follows.

    Right now, conservative Americans (of the kind you wrote in your book) have the following options that I can see:

    1. Withdrawl from larger society, try to live independently of Leviathan to the degree possible. Retroculture. Return to the ways of our forebearers in some manner.

    2. Ride out whatever comes, to the best of our abilities, where we are.

    3. Civil disobedience – of the kind Martin Luther King used in the Civil Rights era, massive sit-ins, strikes, sit-downs, effective speaking and advocacy, and the like. Will such an approach work in this age? I do not know.

    4. The civil equivalent of 4GW – some sort of uncoventional tactics, such as parallel power structures outside the “two-party” system, hidden networks that bypass the government on the order of underground economies, barter, and the like.

    5. Leave the nation for someplace else. Where does one run to? Australia?

    6. Succession or fragmentation of the Union into two or more separate entities, as you say, based roughly upon criteria such as “blue state” versus “red state” or some other formula.

    7. Outright breakdown of social order, revolt, revolution. No one wants a civil war or 4GW on American soil, but it is possible. I have heard rumors that contingency plans are in effect in the Pentagon for fighting on U.S. soil. In any 4GW conflict, I would expect the US military to fragment into factions based on the stakes and players involved, given that a large percentage of the military is hostile to the current president.

    Almost everyone with a pulse knows things aren’t right in our nation, and that things need changing for the better, but no one wants to make the first move. It is the old “prisoner’s dilemma.” Be the first one over the wall at Alcatraz and you get nailed by the guys in the guard towers, but if you go later, then maybe things turn out OK. So, we sit and wait for the flag to go down, for the shoe to drop. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll make it through a genuine national crisis without bloodshed, because our forebearers built a strong foundation, a nation tough to break.

    Have I missed any options, any contingencies? I’m sure I have, but for the life of me I cannot think of them.

    [CR: A bald-faced attempt to circumvent our comment policy, with its 250-word length limit. If I weren’t traveling, I’d deal with it, but Bill will appreciate the compliments (he gets brickbats enough). My first impulse was to delete part I but post part II].

  7. Maxon 19 Jun 2009 at 12:17 pm 7

    “To say “secession is in the air” is far, far beyond an overstatement.”

    In taking a good look around, with a keen interest, and having actually lived through such in my own background, this topic is my specaility.

    I would say that the the disallusion of the USA may actually be entering the early stages, and is well underway.

    Headlines like these appear now, almost daily,


    I can provide you with a dozen similar, and websites that are popping up.

    All that’s currently missing is the clan, tribal, aspect to deliver
    further need inspiration and coherence.

    All it takes in an ideal, a goal based on a common language, a religion, even in the USAs case the sacred coveted ” right to bare arms,” some kind of a cause, and ideal, to bring pepole together.

    It could be ethnic, religious, political, lingustic/scocial, geographic economic, or all those factors combined and thinly veilded.

    No one of those factors alone is enough, but if combined with the clan,
    or tribal mentality, then as we have seen, time after time, it can become virtually unstoppable and once it reaches a certian critical mass.

    If it were to really take hold in the USA, based on the 4GW record abroad, I would hold no hope at all that it could be contained.

    We’ve seen it in places like Waco Texas, and the reprocussions
    of the Oklahoma City bombing, which in my opinion also served
    as the inspiration for 9-11, or at least showed just how much damage
    these entities can do.

    These things take time, and if nothing changes.
    But to marginalise and deny it,
    along with the underlieing greivances, be they real, contrived, or imagined, is IMO a big mistake.

    We will continue to discuss this and watch this topic with great interest.


  8. John Seileron 19 Jun 2009 at 2:47 pm 8

    I also want to commend “The Next Conservatism.” I hope more people read it as a sensible way to bring back real conservatism — assuming that’s even possible.

    Also, could you please convey to Mr. Lind — who doesn’t use the Internet — that his unpublished novel could be published as a book-on-demand, such as through Amazon.com’s BookSurge.com

    I’d be the first in line to buy one.

    [CR: John — thanks. By the way, although Bill doesn’t use the Internet, we have reason to believe that his minions monitor DNI. I’m sure he’ll appreciate your suggestion, which is a very good one!]

  9. fbon 20 Jun 2009 at 5:26 am 9

    “akin to the famous joke about the flea”
    That joke is not famous. But it should be.

    “unpublished novel could be published as a book-on-demand”
    If exposure of ideas is the top priority, there are many glorious ways to distribute content for free, such as BitTorrent. If royalty payments are desired, BitTorrent should be delayed by releasing the book only in dead-tree format, not in PDF or any other electronic format.

    “Leave the nation for someplace else. Where does one run to? Australia?”
    Destinations vary according to the capacities, resources, and priorities of the expatriate.

    “The civil equivalent of 4GW – some sort of uncoventional tactics, such as parallel power structures outside the “two-party” system,”
    If you are interested in such things, John Robb is the man to read.
    He calls it “resilient communities.”

    “I listen to their anger on a daily basis and my opinion is it’s going to get very interesting. Liberals aren’t the ones buying guns and ammo.”
    Yes, but note that a lot of the old guard have gotten picked off without triggering mass resistance.

    The USA government may yet resort to mass imprisonment of resisters, but such heavy-handed measures might be economic suicide. Thus economic collapse might be a precondition of obvious police-state measures; the current economic status quo might enable a propaganda-heavy approach.

    [CR: thanks for pointing out the parallel between Lind and Robb.]

  10. Duncan C Kinderon 20 Jun 2009 at 1:47 pm 10

    Wow. Speaking as someone who lives across the river from Wheeling, WV, where once upon a time folks actually seceded from the secession, this tread is interesting.

    But more interesting is Lind’s quote:

    “I wrote a novel, Victoria, about an American Fourth Generation civil war and its aftermath. It never found a publisher, perhaps because the idea seemed so outlandish, more likely because it is a face shot at Political Correctness.”

    Of course, nowadays, Lind could self-publish this book on Lulu.com. I believe that Amazon.com now offers something similar.

    And for Lind or someone like him so to self-publish really is a form of secessionism – from the PC publishing block.

    And if secessionism were to have any merit, any substance, any real chance of success, then it would have to be built upon lots of little things like telling the publishers to shove it and going off and self-publishing on Lulu.

    After a lot of little things like that, people will wake up one day and say “Gosh, our lives do not depend upon and do not relate to the dreaded PC, federal, Westphalian, PC type thing but rather related to and depend upon this new Lulu type thing that has sprung up.”

    Then we could read about the Frankfurt School with the same detachment that we now read about – say – medieval scholastics.

    [CR: Could not agree more. Print-on-demand technology and the Internet have changed information dissemination — publishing — in ways we’re just beginning to comprehend. You have the power; you can choose not to use it.]

  11. Jeffrey Ron 21 Jun 2009 at 10:34 pm 11

    This is all very interesting from a theoretical standpoint. Remember, as theory, anything is possible.

    The real question we need to ponder is a personal one. Are you willing to pick up the gun and participate in a revolution? Do you want to? I certainly do not. I do not think things are even closely so terrible that resort to civil insurection or even disobedience is appropriate.

    Please recall that the last time folks tried to break up the Union over 600,00 people died. To think the state will go without a fight is not good theory. Are things that bad? I don’t think so -yet. I don’t think they will get that bad but that is theory.

    What conditions will be needed for you, personally, to participate in 4GW activities? Many things could cause a crisis for the state but where do you want to be if a crisis occurs? What would you do? Would you work to prevent such crisis? Theory is interesting but, 4GW is bloody, violent and not nice.

  12. Maxon 27 Jun 2009 at 6:10 am 12

    “The real question we need to ponder is a personal one. Are you willing to pick up the gun and participate in a revolution? Do you want to?”

    You seem to “believe” you’ll be given a choice.
    In a systemic collaphs, you will have no choice, as the collaphs
    of the Soviet Union proved most recently.

    Anarchy and chaos will take hold.



  13. OldSkepticon 29 Jun 2009 at 4:40 am 13

    I keep reminding people of this all the time:

    A Govt/large business ‘partnership’ is not socialism, it is fascism. That is the definition.

    When they collude together, smash ordinary people, ensure that the ‘big boys’ are immune from the law and help (give?) them huge amounts of money and power all while ignoring ordinary people starving … then that is fascism.

    Under socialism they are are fired (and usually imprisoned .. or shot). Yep there will be a new bunch taking over, but at least they are, sometimes, a bit less greedy. You will have less money in your pocket (or a rubbish car) as the economy tanks, but you will probably have decent healthcare.

    Sadly the economy will tank under fascism as well.

    Under fascism there are no good points, you get:
    (1) No healthcare
    (2) A rubbish car
    (3) Low wages
    (4) Usually wars, lots of them.

    Of course, under both you have no freedom and are oppressed as well. Those who speak out … go to very bad places.

    So I much prefer something else (obviously), but forced to choose between fascism and socialism I know what I’d take. At least my health would be ok and my children might even be educated (not a big priority under fascism).

    Under socialism there is some hope (and some but not many compensations) that you can change the whole sorry mess. Under fascism there is no hope.

    [CR: Thanks for reminding us of this.

    It is useful to keep a distinction between terms like “communism,” “socialism,” fascism,” and “nazism.” It’s also important because these terms are not historical oddities. You can find distinguished political scientists who believe that we are in an interfascial period (a term I made-up in parallel with “interglacial”), that democracy is an aberration or at the very least a form of government with limited constituency. Put simply, they believe, and my own experience around the world seems to confirm, that most inhabitants of the planet don’t feel that it’s their job to select the government.

    On a slightly different theme, or perhaps not so different, Tom Peters once wrote that most corporations are about as democratic as North Korea.]

  14. Maxon 29 Jun 2009 at 6:03 pm 14

    On a slightly different theme, or perhaps not so different, Tom Peters once wrote that most corporations are about as democratic as North Korea.]

    If so, and I agree, since it dovetails somewhat with my own personel experience and observation, then these are not the pepole we really want in charge, if your sympathies and interests side with truth,
    fairness, and a just scociety.

    Duh !!

    As if things were altogether just not bad enough !




    [CR: And it’s even easier for corporations to purge dissenters than it is for Iran or North Korea.]

  15. Maxon 30 Jun 2009 at 12:57 pm 15

    OS said,

    “Under fascism there are no good points, you get:”

    Excellent commentary, clear and consise.
    Sometimes we get even more from the commentary
    here, than even the original article.


  16. Maxon 30 Jun 2009 at 4:44 pm 16

    “Of course, under both you have no freedom and are oppressed as well. Those who speak out … go to very bad places.”

    In thinking about OS’s and Chet’s remarks along with Jeff’s and reviewing the entire thred, I come to realise that we are in fact
    witnessing the cross roads.

    The United States as we knew it is dead, and we are in the midst
    of a quiet revolution between Facism and Scocilaism as it’s replacement.

    Under Bush it looked like Facisim would win, under Obama,
    it might, just might, be scocialism.


  17. senor tomason 01 Jul 2009 at 12:07 am 17

    “If the future brings the end of the empire, how do we get ready for the Dark Ages?”

    Stockpile shotgun shells. I remember in the Mad Max movies shotgun shells were very valuable and very highly-prized commodities. Worth more than their weight in gold.

  18. Maxon 02 Jul 2009 at 3:18 pm 18

    “I remember in the Mad Max movies”

    I’ve got the fast motorcyle, it’s just that the roads are now so crappy,,.

    “shotgun shells were very valuable and very highly-prized commodities.

    Well, even IF it dosn’t come to all that, and let’s pray it dosn’t,
    get ready to pay a lot more tax, and accept a markedly lower standard
    of living.

    I don’t see anyway that can be averted.

    As Chalmers Johnson also says, about the prospect
    for US national bankruptcy.