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Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:58 pm UTC
by LaserGuy
I've read a handful of articles recently that have discussed the problem in the United States that the division between "Red America"* and "Blue America"* has become so severe that the two sides may be irreconcilable. The argument goes that, in essence, the United States is a country that contains two nations, each with very different cultures and values, and the differences between them are tending to grow over time, and are being magnified by the fact that, in reality, the two sides rarely communicate--the likelihood of a "Red American" having a "Blue American" within their immediate social circle or even their larger social network is extremely low, they consume little of the same media, etc.

The question is, at some point, does it make more sense to acknowledge that these groups will be happier and their values better represented by their government if a peaceful fracture of the nation could occur? Could we, for example, form a nation that extends roughly from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, a second that is roughly the region East of the Appalachians, and a third that encompasses the remainder of the landmass? That is, roughly the West Coast blue states form one nation, the East Coast blue states form another, and the red states form the rest. The exact borders would need to be negotiated, of course, but very roughly this is what you might expect based on current demography.

There'd be complications, certainly (what happens the military? the debt?), but other countries have managed peaceful or mostly peaceful dissolutions and have been able to solve these sorts of problems.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:27 pm UTC
by Sheikh al-Majaneen
I think that is a terrible idea for a bunch of reasons, but just to pick one:

Image

And there are many other maps on Wikipedia that illustrate the same principle.

The division between 'red america' and 'blue america' is not so simple as a division between states. Electoral votes are decided in most cases by the entire state, but the divide is more urban vs rural than something simply decidable geographically.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:45 am UTC
by elasto
Another major problem is that the issue is fractal: Every group itself breaks up into sub-groups that are (or otherwise would be) at war with one other.

Yes, right now red-blue is a key source of divisiveness - such that 'fighting the common enemy' has a unifying effect on each set of sub-groups - but if that were somehow magically taken away, something new would rise to the top.

Often the sub-groups with the most animosity towards one another are the ones with the most in common - from Catholics vs Protestants to Sunni vs Shia.

Sadly, human being are primed to be annoyed by difference rather than celebrate commonality - a rather 'glass half-full' view of the world...

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:13 pm UTC
by Leovan
Isn't the problem that the parties DON'T want the others to do their own thing? For example gay marriage, neither party accepts the states doing their own thing, both sides won't quit until it's legal/illegal everywhere. Not sure if that would change if the states broke into countries.
The states already have a lot of power. If a blue state wants to build houses for the homeless with their own money they can do so, it's when the blue states demand the federal government mandate houses be built that the red states complain of their taxes being used for purposes they don't support. Unless a state has a unique problem that it needs the other states for, it can enact the changes itself (for example border states need help controlling the border, and that IS in fact the federal government's job).

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:09 pm UTC
by commodorejohn
Leovan wrote:Isn't the problem that the parties DON'T want the others to do their own thing? For example gay marriage, neither party accepts the states doing their own thing, both sides won't quit until it's legal/illegal everywhere. Not sure if that would change if the states broke into countries.

Yes, that's the thing. Even if you could solve the logistical issues, the problem is that this divide is about what each group thinks the other should be. Neither will be content merely to live and let live.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:20 pm UTC
by Thesh
When it comes to issues of poverty and human rights, no we should not just accept it. Nor could breaking up the country fix anything at all, as the real problem has nothing to do with red states vs blue states - even if it was possible to break up the country nicely.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:09 pm UTC
by elasto
Leovan wrote:Isn't the problem that the parties DON'T want the others to do their own thing? For example gay marriage, neither party accepts the states doing their own thing, both sides won't quit until it's legal/illegal everywhere.

If that were the case, then splitting into two different countries might actually have some merit. After all, while one state might lobby to make it less likely gays in another state could marry, they don't lobby to make it less likely gays can marry in the UK (say).

(Of course, it's nothing like that simple.)

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:26 pm UTC
by cphite
LaserGuy wrote:I've read a handful of articles recently that have discussed the problem in the United States that the division between "Red America"* and "Blue America"* has become so severe that the two sides may be irreconcilable. The argument goes that, in essence, the United States is a country that contains two nations, each with very different cultures and values, and the differences between them are tending to grow over time, and are being magnified by the fact that, in reality, the two sides rarely communicate--the likelihood of a "Red American" having a "Blue American" within their immediate social circle or even their larger social network is extremely low, they consume little of the same media, etc.


Frankly, I think the entire premise is flawed. First off, there are no "two nations" here in the US... there are differences, yes, but if you look at a map the two sides are far too intermixed to be split geographically into separate nations. Even in states that go very heavily democratic or republican, there are plenty of people in the other party. Second, the notion that people don't communicate or have members of the "other" in their social network is pretty specious... plenty of people work with, are friends with, have family members, and so forth who have deeply different views. This very forum has people who cover a very wide range of the political spectrum.

Honestly, I don't think political disagreement is all that much more than it was 10, 20, or even 40 years ago... it's just louder. It's more in everyone's face because of social media and because it's so much easier for anyone and everyone to make themselves heard. Another negative aspect of the internet is that things tend to get so greatly exaggerated. People seem to focus on the most extreme or controversial aspects of any discussion.

And frankly... the deep divide you're talking about is really only "deep" for a small sliver of the population on either side. The vast majority of people, democrat or republican, liberal or conservative, or however you want to define them simply aren't nearly that invested in the struggle. Certainly not to the degree of splitting the country up into two or more separate pieces.

The question is, at some point, does it make more sense to acknowledge that these groups will be happier and their values better represented by their government if a peaceful fracture of the nation could occur? Could we, for example, form a nation that extends roughly from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, a second that is roughly the region East of the Appalachians, and a third that encompasses the remainder of the landmass? That is, roughly the West Coast blue states form one nation, the East Coast blue states form another, and the red states form the rest. The exact borders would need to be negotiated, of course, but very roughly this is what you might expect based on current demography.


No. Because, again, none of those regions is nearly as "red" or "blue" as your premise implies. There are plenty of conservatives in "blue" California or Maryland for example; and there are plenty of liberals in "red" Texas or Kansas. You have to go all the way down to the level of cities and counties before you can find any that are truly "red" or "blue" and even then you'd be surprised at how mixed they are.

And I would be very surprised if any significant number of people on either side would be interested in - much less willing to - move their families and careers to someplace else.

There'd be complications, certainly (what happens the military? the debt?), but other countries have managed peaceful or mostly peaceful dissolutions and have been able to solve these sorts of problems.


Really? Do you have some examples of countries that have simply split themselves up amicably along purely political lines?

The military and the debt would be the easy part. Can you imagine the logistics of trying to shuffle a population of over three hundred million people depending on which political side they decided to choose? What do you do about the people who don't feel like moving because they think the whole thing is silly?

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:16 pm UTC
by LaserGuy
cphite wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:I've read a handful of articles recently that have discussed the problem in the United States that the division between "Red America"* and "Blue America"* has become so severe that the two sides may be irreconcilable. The argument goes that, in essence, the United States is a country that contains two nations, each with very different cultures and values, and the differences between them are tending to grow over time, and are being magnified by the fact that, in reality, the two sides rarely communicate--the likelihood of a "Red American" having a "Blue American" within their immediate social circle or even their larger social network is extremely low, they consume little of the same media, etc.


Frankly, I think the entire premise is flawed. First off, there are no "two nations" here in the US... there are differences, yes, but if you look at a map the two sides are far too intermixed to be split geographically into separate nations. Even in states that go very heavily democratic or republican, there are plenty of people in the other party. Second, the notion that people don't communicate or have members of the "other" in their social network is pretty specious... plenty of people work with, are friends with, have family members, and so forth who have deeply different views. This very forum has people who cover a very wide range of the political spectrum.


Hence my preference for "Red America" and "Blue America". Pointing at the states is a helpful shorthand, but it's only correlated with the underlying population. Similarly in a country like Lebanon, Belgium, the UK, etc. you're likely to see large enclaves corresponding to particular distinct population groups, but there will be other areas where these groups will be highly mixed. That doesn't necessarily imply that it makes sense for all of these people to be treated as a single political unit.

I honestly think you'd be surprised how little these groups actually intersect despite occupying the same physical space. You say this forum spans a broad range of the political spectrum, and yet, I can think of no more than five members of this forum who are even likely Trump supporters. There's plenty of liberals of different types, a smattering of libertarians (disproportionate to the general population), but the ~50% of Americans that voted Trump are massively underrepresented here.

cphite wrote:
The question is, at some point, does it make more sense to acknowledge that these groups will be happier and their values better represented by their government if a peaceful fracture of the nation could occur? Could we, for example, form a nation that extends roughly from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, a second that is roughly the region East of the Appalachians, and a third that encompasses the remainder of the landmass? That is, roughly the West Coast blue states form one nation, the East Coast blue states form another, and the red states form the rest. The exact borders would need to be negotiated, of course, but very roughly this is what you might expect based on current demography.


No. Because, again, none of those regions is nearly as "red" or "blue" as your premise implies. There are plenty of conservatives in "blue" California or Maryland for example; and there are plenty of liberals in "red" Texas or Kansas. You have to go all the way down to the level of cities and counties before you can find any that are truly "red" or "blue" and even then you'd be surprised at how mixed they are.


I'm not saying that you need to have areas that are entirely "blue" or entirely "red". What I'm saying is that, for any given government in power, there is a significant swath of the population that is going to have their values poorly represented, if not actively opposed, by it. This isn't something that can be fixed by, say, changing the electoral system, since the problem is not simply that the parties poorly represent their constituents per say (though having an electoral system with more parties would probably be a moderating force) but rather that the people themselves have widely divergent beliefs and values that cannot be reconciled.

cphite wrote:
There'd be complications, certainly (what happens the military? the debt?), but other countries have managed peaceful or mostly peaceful dissolutions and have been able to solve these sorts of problems.


Really? Do you have some examples of countries that have simply split themselves up amicably along purely political lines?


The splitting of Czechoslovakia was largely peaceful, as were the independence movements of several of the Soviet Republics. Sweden and Norway split peacefully back in the early 1900s. The bulk of the Commonwealth countries peacefully separated from the British Empire. A number of countries, including Canada, the UK, Belgium, Spain, etc. all have regions with active independence movements that seem fairly likely to have peaceful dissolutions if it comes to that.

The military and the debt would be the easy part. Can you imagine the logistics of trying to shuffle a population of over three hundred million people depending on which political side they decided to choose? What do you do about the people who don't feel like moving because they think the whole thing is silly?


They stay where they are?

elasto wrote:Often the sub-groups with the most animosity towards one another are the ones with the most in common - from Catholics vs Protestants to Sunni vs Shia.


Yup. And that's why we ended up with lots of countries that are/were mostly Catholic or mostly Protestant, and countries that are mostly Shia or mostly Sunni. Countries where two or more groups are mixed, especially mixed in somewhat comparable proportions, tend to be more likely to have sectarian problems--see: Ireland, Iraq, Lebanon, Rwanda, Sudan, etc. It seems bizarre to me that people apparently value territorial integrity more than they value people having a government that represents their interests and values.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:40 pm UTC
by Zamfir
A reliable vote for one of the national parties hardly points towards independence...It's a sign that people define their politics in the national context, instead of a regional context.

The harbinger of breakup would be the exact opposite: you'd expect to see parties that only exist in one region, with regional party divides that do not easily map on the division in other regions. Could be explicit independence parties, like the Scottish SNP. It could also be a complete separate political ecosystem. Belgium, for example, simply has different parties in Flanders and Wallonia.

You see that even stronger with overseas territories, that often have their own local politics with only a distant relation to that of the metropole. I guess Puerto Rico is like that for the US. It's not red or blue, it's different. If the continental US was moving towards some breakup, you'd expect to see more of that. Regions that don't fit the national red-blue pattern, but have their own local system.

Countries where two or more groups are mixed, especially mixed in somewhat comparable proportions, tend to be more likely to have sectarian problems--see: Ireland, Iraq, Lebanon, Rwanda, Sudan, etc.

I think that works largely the other way round . Violence makes people more aware of the existence of different groups. Especially outside people.Without the killings, would you know about hutus and tutsis?

An example: this country was just as divided as Northern Ireland, until perhaps the 1960s. I do not have a single Protestant ancestor going back at least centuries, quite possibly to the days of Calvin himself. My wife is from a mixed marriage, the first and only on both sides. She's baptized and has 'Maria' as a second name though - that's her father giving the finger to his Calvinist family. The little Zamfir also had Maria as second name. It's a family tradition from strongly atheist parents, but we're definitely Catholic atheists. If there had been a civil war here in the last decades, you could easily add us to your list of typical sectarian problem zones.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:22 pm UTC
by freezeblade
2 pieces? not nearly enough. I'm guessing around 6.

I've been saying for years that areas of the country are far too ideologically different to stand together in any meaningful way (granted this will never happen, manifest destiny and all that). Names are variable, boarders can shift and are negotiable.

Cascadia: Washington, Oregon, California
New Texas: West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona
Dixie: East Texas, rest of the "deep south"
New England: Original 13 colonies minus the ones in Dixie
The Great Lakes: Midwest states, rust belt
The Great Plains: Plains states

yay/nay?

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:32 pm UTC
by cphite
LaserGuy wrote:Hence my preference for "Red America" and "Blue America". Pointing at the states is a helpful shorthand, but it's only correlated with the underlying population. Similarly in a country like Lebanon, Belgium, the UK, etc. you're likely to see large enclaves corresponding to particular distinct population groups, but there will be other areas where these groups will be highly mixed. That doesn't necessarily imply that it makes sense for all of these people to be treated as a single political unit.


The point is, the shorthand you're referring to is barely even valid at the state level. There are a handful of states that are arguably mostly "red" and there is Hawaii which is almost totally "blue" but aside from that, we're purple. You're suggesting that we split the country along lines that simply don't exist.

I honestly think you'd be surprised how little these groups actually intersect despite occupying the same physical space. You say this forum spans a broad range of the political spectrum, and yet, I can think of no more than five members of this forum who are even likely Trump supporters. There's plenty of liberals of different types, a smattering of libertarians (disproportionate to the general population), but the ~50% of Americans that voted Trump are massively underrepresented here.


Yes; there is definitely a leftward lean to this forum, but we still have a range.

I'm not saying that you need to have areas that are entirely "blue" or entirely "red". What I'm saying is that, for any given government in power, there is a significant swath of the population that is going to have their values poorly represented, if not actively opposed, by it. This isn't something that can be fixed by, say, changing the electoral system, since the problem is not simply that the parties poorly represent their constituents per say (though having an electoral system with more parties would probably be a moderating force) but rather that the people themselves have widely divergent beliefs and values that cannot be reconciled.


That is going to be true in any representative form of government, especially in a two party system. You'd be very hard pressed to find anyone who can honestly say that either major party (or any of the alternatives for that matter) completely represents their values, needs, beliefs, etc.

The splitting of Czechoslovakia was largely peaceful, as were the independence movements of several of the Soviet Republics. Sweden and Norway split peacefully back in the early 1900s. The bulk of the Commonwealth countries peacefully separated from the British Empire. A number of countries, including Canada, the UK, Belgium, Spain, etc. all have regions with active independence movements that seem fairly likely to have peaceful dissolutions if it comes to that.


Czechoslovakia consisted of two distinct peoples; Sweden and Norway were two distinct kingdoms. The Soviet Republics, as well, were distinct peoples. Those were distinct countries that were separated from the British Empire. In each instance, you had a distinct culture and history and - the key - a national identity that was distinctive. I suppose Hawaii might be able to claim that, and Texas might try to claim that; but for the greater part of the US it just isn't there.


The military and the debt would be the easy part. Can you imagine the logistics of trying to shuffle a population of over three hundred million people depending on which political side they decided to choose? What do you do about the people who don't feel like moving because they think the whole thing is silly?


They stay where they are?


But basically, you're giving them a choice between picking up and moving to a completely new country, or staying in a different completely new country - one in which their government will represent them even less than the one that you're currently saying is grounds for dissolving the USA?

Yup. And that's why we ended up with lots of countries that are/were mostly Catholic or mostly Protestant, and countries that are mostly Shia or mostly Sunni. Countries where two or more groups are mixed, especially mixed in somewhat comparable proportions, tend to be more likely to have sectarian problems--see: Ireland, Iraq, Lebanon, Rwanda, Sudan, etc. It seems bizarre to me that people apparently value territorial integrity more than they value people having a government that represents their interests and values.


The whole point of the US is that we have all of those different things. We are, in theory anyway, a nation that is based on ideals rather than identity.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:10 pm UTC
by LaserGuy
cphite wrote:Czechoslovakia consisted of two distinct peoples; Sweden and Norway were two distinct kingdoms. The Soviet Republics, as well, were distinct peoples. Those were distinct countries that were separated from the British Empire. In each instance, you had a distinct culture and history and - the key - a national identity that was distinctive. I suppose Hawaii might be able to claim that, and Texas might try to claim that; but for the greater part of the US it just isn't there.


That's the point. Red and Blue America (or even more Americas as freezeblade is suggesting) are, for all practical purposes, distinct peoples. They may have once been the same group, but they've grown apart over time, just like British and Americans have grown apart. Or, alternatively, you could argue that there have always been two different groups, most clearly defined at the time of the Civil War, who have essentially been maintaining an uneasy truce for the last 200 years.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:18 pm UTC
by freezeblade
cphite wrote:Czechoslovakia consisted of two distinct peoples; Sweden and Norway were two distinct kingdoms. The Soviet Republics, as well, were distinct peoples. Those were distinct countries that were separated from the British Empire. In each instance, you had a distinct culture and history and - the key - a national identity that was distinctive. I suppose Hawaii might be able to claim that, and Texas might try to claim that; but for the greater part of the US it just isn't there.


That's the thing though. I argue that each of the areas that I identified in my earlier post have exactly that, distinct cultures and histories, identities, which shape their worldviews, creating cultural divides. People in these groups can identify and relate to those in the same group in the same way that, in example, the French distinguish themselves from the Germans that share a border, or The Irish distinguish themselves from the English.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:00 pm UTC
by Chen
Excluding DC, the biggest differences in states during the 2016 election were around 30% (~60% winner to ~30% loser) in maybe a half dozen states on each side. The rest were in pretty close to the single digits differences. That would make it ridiculously hard to split the country in any geographic way. Even the 60-30 splits still end up having a TON of the "other" side in the states.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:30 pm UTC
by cphite
LaserGuy wrote:
cphite wrote:Czechoslovakia consisted of two distinct peoples; Sweden and Norway were two distinct kingdoms. The Soviet Republics, as well, were distinct peoples. Those were distinct countries that were separated from the British Empire. In each instance, you had a distinct culture and history and - the key - a national identity that was distinctive. I suppose Hawaii might be able to claim that, and Texas might try to claim that; but for the greater part of the US it just isn't there.


That's the point. Red and Blue America (or even more Americas as freezeblade is suggesting) are, for all practical purposes, distinct peoples. They may have once been the same group, but they've grown apart over time, just like British and Americans have grown apart. Or, alternatively, you could argue that there have always been two different groups, most clearly defined at the time of the Civil War, who have essentially been maintaining an uneasy truce for the last 200 years.


I think you greatly overestimate just how much the two sides have grown apart.

The media tends to exaggerate the differences, but the reality is that when you look at actual polling, the vast majority of people are either uninterested, or ambivalent, about most of the "deeply dividing" issues of the day.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:06 pm UTC
by Lazar
It's also a gross oversimplification to think that there have only been two consistent sides. Each "side" is a shifting coalition with a variety of regional cultures and subcultures within it. For one concrete example, the ancestors of Trump's much-mooted white, working-class Rust Belt voters were absolutely on the Northern, anti-slavery side during the Civil War.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:30 pm UTC
by nichi
What's the payoff here? Taking (collections of) states' rights to the extreme? Sure, you take away the ability for anyone to impose anything on the whole country, but in exchange you're (as others have mentioned) making a lot of people either move or adapt to a country where they are even less well represented. You also make travel and commerce a lot harder. Maybe we can get an arrangement like the European Union, but at that point we may as well just weaken the federal government to an acceptable level.

On the international side, we lose a unified military and a fair bit of economic power. Either the USD fragments and with that will probably go its status as the world currency (which is, an as American, something I'd be very happy to keep) or else we end up with one of the new countries having uneven control over the monetary policy. Given the inherent animosity (or at best apathy) between the two, that won't end well for one or more sides.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:59 pm UTC
by Liri
Lazar wrote:It's also a gross oversimplification to think that there have only been two consistent sides. Each "side" is a shifting coalition with a variety of regional cultures and subcultures within it. For one concrete example, the ancestors of Trump's much-mooted white, working-class Rust Belt voters were absolutely on the Northern, anti-slavery side during the Civil War.

Yeah, political hucksters love to cite past presidential elections as precedent, but they're so infrequent that's it's very hard to draw any sort of conclusion if you look only at recent elections (past 20, 24 years) and if you look past that, any sort of continuous voting pattern goes out the window.

One of the benefits of being part of such a large and heterogeneous country is that different regions, industries, cultures, what have you, essentially act as insurance for when things go poorly for one thing or another. There are always going to be LGBTQ kids born to parents wherever they are, or people who become pregnant and want to get an abortion, for example - if we truly care about maintaining rights for them, we wouldn't abandon them before the fact. This isn't akin to a westerner going, "oh, those poor Muslim women in the middle east are being forced to cover themselves, we have to do something!" - this is our own damn country, and we can act as a check to preserve things we see as important.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:15 pm UTC
by nicklikesfire
Liri wrote:One of the benefits of being part of such a large and heterogeneous country is that different regions, industries, cultures, what have you, essentially act as insurance for when things go poorly for one thing or another. There are always going to be LGBTQ kids born to parents wherever they are, or people who become pregnant and want to get an abortion, for example - if we truly care about maintaining rights for them, we wouldn't abandon them before the fact. This isn't akin to a westerner going, "oh, those poor Muslim women in the middle east are being forced to cover themselves, we have to do something!" - this is our own damn country, and we can act as a check to preserve things we see as important.


I think part of the reason that splitting the country is appealing to some people is that they see the current situation doesn't protect people. We don't have universal healthcare, and what we do have may be getting worse. We don't have great protections for LGBTQ people, we don't have great abortion rights, we do have a huge problem with racism, etc. It's easy to imagine that by splitting the country we could have some part that would end up being a "liberal utopia" where all the things they want would happen, and all the people they want to protect would be safe.

Of course this likely isn't how things would shake out, but it's nice to dream I suppose.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:50 pm UTC
by slinches
nicklikesfire wrote:I think part of the reason that splitting the country is appealing to some people is that they see the current situation doesn't protect people. We don't have universal healthcare, and what we do have may be getting worse. We don't have great protections for LGBTQ people, we don't have great abortion rights, we do have a huge problem with racism, etc. It's easy to imagine that by splitting the country we could have some part that would end up being a "liberal utopia" where all the things they want would happen, and all the people they want to protect would be safe.

Except you don't need to split the country to do any of those things. Propose them within your home state and get them implemented there. If they work and end up providing superior outcomes that's great. The rest of the states will be able to see that and follow your example or not as they choose.

Why is there an assumption that all laws are supposed to be uniform across the entire nation (i.e. federal)? Yes all federal laws should be applied uniformly, but we need to be careful about how much we power we centralize at the top. The more that we pass wide reaching laws which lock more and more aspects of our lives into the purview of the federal government, the less freedom your local and state governments have to operate as you choose.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:56 am UTC
by Aiwendil
LaserGuy wrote:I honestly think you'd be surprised how little these groups actually intersect despite occupying the same physical space. You say this forum spans a broad range of the political spectrum, and yet, I can think of no more than five members of this forum who are even likely Trump supporters. There's plenty of liberals of different types, a smattering of libertarians (disproportionate to the general population), but the ~50% of Americans that voted Trump are massively underrepresented here.


First of all, you're conflating internet-based communities with society. Internet fora, online social networks, and so on are bound to be far more efficiently sorted by political views (as well as by other intellectual characteristics) than social networks as a whole, because the barriers to joining/leaving a group (or connecting/disconnecting with individuals) are much, much lower.

Secondly, the claim that "red" and "blue" Americans form social/cultural groups as distinct as, for instance, the Czechs and the Slovaks seems patently absurd, and you'll need to present some strong scientific evidence before anyone can take such a claim seriously. Anecdotally, while I am an extremely left-leaning Democrat, I have plenty of family members, neighbors, and so on - with whom I frequently interact, and to whom I am linked by social bonds - who are Republicans and even Trump supporters. I rather strongly suspect that most people even on this predominantly left-wing forum could make similar statements.

I also feel the need to point out that it's not true that ~50% of Americans voted for Trump. About 19% of Americans voted for Trump. That's 46% (his share of the vote) * 58% (turnout of eligible voters) * 73% (percentage of Americans who are eligible voters). (About 20% of Americans voted for Clinton). Yes, usually the number we talk about is the vote share, but since the proposal you're entertaining would split all Americans into two separate countries, it's worth quoting the correct percentages for all Americans.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:50 pm UTC
by Millumi
Image

Anywho, I think it best to let states hold more power in general in comparison to the federal government when it comes to issues of morality in general. If you don't like how one state does things, you can a) try to convince that state why they are wrong, or b) just move to another one.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:53 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Millumi wrote:If you don't like how one state does things, you can a) try to convince that state why they are wrong, or b) just move to another one.


And if a state is acting as a tax haven or a loophole in your firearms controls, then what?

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:17 pm UTC
by mcd001
CorruptUser wrote:And if a state is acting as a tax haven or a loophole in your firearms controls, then what?

Then I'll move there!

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:55 am UTC
by Millumi
CorruptUser wrote:
Millumi wrote:If you don't like how one state does things, you can a) try to convince that state why they are wrong, or b) just move to another one.


And if a state is acting as a tax haven or a loophole in your firearms controls, then what?

Start boycotts for all that state's products.
Or convince your legislatures to somehow pressure corporations running their business through multiple states.
Though, tax havens are less of a moral issue and more of an economic one, so I'm not really against having decisions made at the federal level in cases like that.

As for firearms, not much you could do about it aside from stepping up enforcement of whatever restrictions you could implement.
Drugs fall under a similar veil, if one state outlaws all drugs, and another legalizes all drugs, then smuggling would be an issue.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:14 am UTC
by LaserGuy
Millumi wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:
Millumi wrote:If you don't like how one state does things, you can a) try to convince that state why they are wrong, or b) just move to another one.


And if a state is acting as a tax haven or a loophole in your firearms controls, then what?


Start boycotts for all that state's products.
Or convince your legislatures to somehow pressure corporations running their business through multiple states.
Though, tax havens are less of a moral issue and more of an economic one, so I'm not really against having decisions made at the federal level in cases like that.

As for firearms, not much you could do about it aside from stepping up enforcement of whatever restrictions you could implement.


As long as you could convince all of the other states to repeal the 2nd Amendment and the interstate commerce clause.

Drugs fall under a similar veil, if one state outlaws all drugs, and another legalizes all drugs, then smuggling would be an issue.


Even in states where marijuana is legal, for example, there's still all kinds of problems resulting from federal laws entangling with state laws.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:25 am UTC
by Millumi
LaserGuy wrote:As long as you could convince all of the other states to repeal the 2nd Amendment and the interstate commerce clause.

As I said, it's more of an economic issue: I'm fine with having federal regulations for large corporate entities, I'd imagine it's more practical to have one set of guidelines over having 50 different ones with long lists of obscure things.

I originally said moral issues, but I should probably stipulate that if there's an issue that necessarily involves multiple states, that should be handled by the federal government.
So, basically, things like abortion, gay marriage, etc. should be handled state to state. Not that I'm against those personally.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:55 am UTC
by Aiwendil
Anywho, I think it best to let states hold more power in general in comparison to the federal government when it comes to issues of morality in general. If you don't like how one state does things, you can a) try to convince that state why they are wrong, or b) just move to another one.


Would you apply this reasoning to moral issues such as segregation?

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:33 am UTC
by Millumi
Aiwendil wrote:
Anywho, I think it best to let states hold more power in general in comparison to the federal government when it comes to issues of morality in general. If you don't like how one state does things, you can a) try to convince that state why they are wrong, or b) just move to another one.


Would you apply this reasoning to moral issues such as segregation?

If segregation were actually separate but equal, you could make an argument for it. Otherwise, it's a serious enough human rights issue to intervene on a higher level: like, we can't legalize murder no matter how much people want it.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:28 pm UTC
by Zohar
Millumi wrote:If segregation were actually separate but equal, you could make an argument for it.

Wow, you actually wrote down those words.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:35 pm UTC
by commodorejohn
Well there's something I never thought I'd read on this forum.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:49 pm UTC
by Chen
Zohar wrote:
Millumi wrote:If segregation were actually separate but equal, you could make an argument for it.

Wow, you actually wrote down those words.


Well the statement is a correct one. The "if" part probably won't ever be true though. Separate but equal was deemed unconstitutional mainly because the equal part was never true. Separation basically resulted in unequal situations making the statement untrue. If somehow "separate but equal" actually was true, then certainly at the very least a constitutional argument could be made for it. Would still be a bad idea for a whole slew of other reasons of course.

In the current context, I'm not sure if it's something that is better determined at a state or federal level. Right now it's clearly better at the Federal level since it prevents discrimination in "racist" states. That said, if it were the opposite and at a federal level there was NO non-discrimination statutes, it seems it would be better off if each state could legislate it so that at least SOME states would pass non-discriminations statutes. This applies to almost any controversial legislative topic I'd think. At the federal level you're basically going all-in on your side "winning" the decision. You diffuse the risk at a state level but you almost certainly end up losing in some states. Now clearly for the cases that have already been won, one way or another, the losing side is always trying to push things away from the status quo, so that they can get their viewpoints supported in some places at least. I'm not sure those arguments indicate where the decision should have been made in the first place though.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:56 pm UTC
by Zohar
Chen wrote:If somehow "separate but equal" actually was true, then certainly at the very least a constitutional argument could be made for it. Would still be a bad idea for a whole slew of other reasons of course.

The quote isn't "If separate but equal was true then the original reason it was deemed unconstitutional would not be an issue, but there are other problems with it", and I'm not sure what your point is beyond saying "well, actually"

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:02 pm UTC
by Whizbang
The problem isn't with the word "equal". "Separate" is the problem, and is unethical and immoral, even if "equal" is achieved. "Equal" was just thrown in to make "separate" palatable to fence-sitters.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:19 pm UTC
by Thesh
Separate but equal is a contradiction in terms. If you are arguing people should be kept separate, you are arguing that they are different in some way and thus not equal. If you believe everyone is equal, then there is no good argument for separating people based on arbitrary characteristics like race.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:15 pm UTC
by arbiteroftruth
Zohar wrote:
Chen wrote:If somehow "separate but equal" actually was true, then certainly at the very least a constitutional argument could be made for it. Would still be a bad idea for a whole slew of other reasons of course.

The quote isn't "If separate but equal was true then the original reason it was deemed unconstitutional would not be an issue, but there are other problems with it"


No, the original quote is "If segregation were actually separate but equal, you could make an argument for it", where the 'it' is likely referring to "apply(ing) this reasoning to moral issues such as segregation", where the "this reasoning" is "I think it best to let states hold more power in general".

In other words, he's not saying you can make an argument for segregation, he's saying you can make an argument for leaving segregation up to the states (if "separate but equal" was actually equal).

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:16 pm UTC
by Millumi
Thesh wrote:Separate but equal is a contradiction in terms. If you are arguing people should be kept separate, you are arguing that they are different in some way and thus not equal. If you believe everyone is equal, then there is no good argument for separating people based on arbitrary characteristics like race.

Playing devil's advocate:
All girls and all boys schools exist. They seem to be fine.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:17 pm UTC
by Zohar
Millumi wrote:Playing devil's advocate:

No need, we're fine.

Re: Breaking Up the United States

Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:23 pm UTC
by Chen
Thesh wrote:Separate but equal is a contradiction in terms. If you are arguing people should be kept separate, you are arguing that they are different in some way and thus not equal. If you believe everyone is equal, then there is no good argument for separating people based on arbitrary characteristics like race.


I'm pretty sure separate but equal was referring to services being offered and not the people themselves. As in it was acceptable to segregate by race (separate) as long as what was being provided was the same for both sets of people (equal). Pretty sure it was to get around the equal protection clause in the 14th amendment. In reality the equal part clearly didn't work, as had to be expected.

Millumi wrote:Playing devil's advocate:
All girls and all boys schools exist. They seem to be fine.


Forgetting the "equality" of boys vs girls schools or how effective or not they are, how do said schools get around the fact that they are discriminating based on sex?