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The Victorious Counterrevolution: The Nationalist Effort in the Spanish Civil War (Michael Seidman)

My goal is winning the future, and to win, we must utterly and permanently defeat the Left. In this effort, we can learn many lessons from Spain in the years from 1930 to 1940 (and in the years beyond, but that is a discussion for another day). These lessons are not just about war, or just about kinetic politics. As The Victorious Counterrevolution demonstrates, winning requires those who lead a struggle for dominance to maintain a functioning economy that satisfies the average man. Nobody can go hungry, and to avoid that, ample production, orderly markets, and fiscal stability must be maintained. It is to Nationalist success, and Republican failures, in these areas that Michael Seidman ascribes Franco’s victory, and he makes a compelling and instructive case.

When we talk about economics today, we tend to think of what are abstractions to most people, even if the impacts are not abstractions, such as NAFTA or Federal Reserve policies. What Seidman analyzes is not such national-scale policies, for the most part, but tip-of-the-spear policies and actions, which directly affected each resident in wartime Spain—in short, political economy, not mere economics. He analyzes Nationalist politico-economic practices and then contrasts them with illustrative failures. Naturally, such failures include the Republicans, whose political economy was miserable, due mostly to their inborn ideological imperatives. But failures also include those of one side in two other civil wars: the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922 and the Chinese Civil War of the 1930s and 1940s, where other counterrevolutionaries, the Russian Whites and the Chinese Kuomintang, failed, while Franco succeeded.

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That’s why the title of this book admits that Franco’s fight against the Left was a “counterrevolution.” Seidman assumes, without real discussion, that the Republicans were revolutionaries, and thus implicitly illegitimate. That’s indisputably the truth, as I have documented at great length elsewhere. In fact, the Republicans at the time described themselves as revolutionary leftists, and made no secret of their goal of imposing a dictatorship of the Left, that in the inevitable course would have killed far more people than they actually did, as such regimes always do (though they still managed to kill very many). Franco prevented that, which is why he is a hero. But calling Franco a counterrevolutionary is saying the quiet part out loud; most historians feel compelled to mouth lies about the supposed legitimacy of the Republican regime.

Seidman is not, however, a fan of Franco (which is good for him, since the disgusting current Spanish government has just criminalized any expression of support for Franco, his government, or any of his policies—maybe it is time for another war there). His sympathies clearly lie with the Republicans, although he is generally fair and his sympathies only really show up in the negative adjectives applied to the Nationalists, never to the Republicans, and to his pro forma recitation of complaints about supposed excessive Nationalist “repression.” But to accomplish his project, to show through contrasting and comparing with Russia and China that a counterrevolutionary movement can win through economic competence, he has to admit the Republicans were the real revolutionaries.

It’s generally recognized that the Nationalist economy operated well, but apparently this is rarely, if ever, studied with attention. Rather it is explained with the non-explanation that the Nationalists engaged in so-called repression in the areas they controlled, which somehow magically forced the economy to operate efficiently. Certainly the Nationalists justifiably and largely successfully rooted out the leaders of the Left, but as Seidman shows, the Nationalist zone operated mostly as a normally functioning civil society, which is what drove much of its success. Repression had nothing to do with it, and in fact the Nationalists didn’t have the resources to adequately police many provinces, making any “repression” there during the war impossible (although justice for the worst Left offenders was ultimately meted out, after the war). Another common claim among Left historians is that the Republicans could not run a functioning economy because they received insufficient outside support. Seidman also rejects this claim, saying that the Republicans did receive more than adequate foreign aid, enormous amounts, and they simply dissipated it through incompetence. Given the universal performance of Left governments with plenty of resources, most recently Venezuela, this seems obvious. More aid would not have gotten the Republic a different result.

Seidman offers a lot of statistics; this book not a light read, although it’s not drudgery, either. He notes that despite voluminous primary source material, very little scholarship has focused on the Nationalist zone of control during the war; scholars prefer to focus on their ideological compatriots, the Republicans. Seidman in particular draws from newspapers, which were heavily censored with respect to politics and war, but not with respect to economic matters and the administration of justice. He covers three major areas of the economy: agriculture, markets, and state finance, each of which required a different set of skills in administration. It appears that Nationalist military leaders typically set the economic policies in the area they controlled, assisted by competent functionaries, with some central discussion and coordination, including a central agrarian bureaucracy, the SNT. The Nationalists did have one key advantage, in that they had plenty of civilian experts in political economy; the Spanish technocratic class mostly fled to the Nationalist zone to avoid Republican terror, so, for example, banking expertise was not in short supply.

Agriculture dominated Spain’s economy; industry was relatively limited and concentrated in a few areas of the country. (It was only in the 1950s, through the economic miracle presided over by Franco, that Spain really joined the modern world, in economic terms.) When the war began, in 1936, the Republicans controlled, according to Seidman, seventy percent of the tax base, eighty percent of industry, including almost all textiles, and most of the rail lines, motor vehicles, and petroleum/gasoline stocks and processing facilities. The Republic only controlled thirty percent of agricultural products, but within that they controlled most of the citrus, food oil, and rice production, products valuable in export. They also had all the gold reserves of the country. The Nationalists controlled most of the wheat, wine, and meat production, and they controlled significant ore stocks, which they could export to get cash or in trade for weapons. Still, in short, the Republicans were in a commanding position, not dissimilar to that of the Union in our own (first) Civil War. Given this, and given Franco’s inability to quickly capture Madrid and subsequent settling into a war of attrition, the Left should have won the war. Why didn’t they? Because they squandered their advantages, according to Seidman.

How did the Nationalists succeed? Mostly by approaching economics as a strictly practical matter, ensuring the confidence of both their citizens and of foreigners in their economy, combined with limited reliance on calls for shared sacrifice. The single most important element was consistency and maintenance of property rights—even official “requisitioning” was rare, and when done, as it was sometimes with motor vehicles, it was approached through negotiation; documented officially; and compensated, with property returned when it was no longer used. The exact opposite was the case in the Republican zone, where ideology and inconsistency ruled, and the inevitable result was immediate destruction of the economy. It was only in part a political matter; yes, the Republicans were fans of such destructive practices as “proletarian shopping,” meaning unfettered looting of small businesses, but it was lack of predictability and lack of the rule of law that was the even bigger problem for the Republicans. This was inherent; their ideology prevented the Left from having the rule of law—after all, no Left regime has ever had the rule of law, and we can see how our own currently ascendant Left regime is actively destroying the rule of law in America, so this is not an abstraction to an American of 2021. But that doesn’t mean Right regimes always do better. Seidman points out that the Russian Whites and the Chinese Kuomintang both behaved much as did the Republicans, and faced very similar problems—more from greed and incompetence than ideology, but with the same result. He also notes that the Chinese Communists, despite their ideology, during the war adopted similar practices to those of the Nationalists, and benefitted in a similar fashion. Temporary policy adjustments by the Left under extreme pressure sometimes occur, such as Lenin’s New Economic Policy, although they always return to their vomit soon enough. But the Spanish Left wasn’t capable of making this kind of adjustment, or at least failed to do so.

It wasn’t just maintaining functioning markets, though. The Nationalists knew perfectly well that many Spanish farmers were barely subsistent, and often on the knife edge of hunger even without war. They therefore prioritized direct assistance to production. They created organizations to loan money to farmers and to make seed available to them, in general favoring rural interests over urban ones. These and other similar policies resulted not only in plenty of cereals to eat, along with other important agricultural goods such as oils, but in a steady supply of animals necessary for milk, meat, pack carrying, and transport—in fact, animals of all types flourished, unlike in the Republican zone, where animal counts went to nearly zero, as they were eaten (often to prevent confiscation, another recurrent historical theme in any agricultural area dominated by the Left). The Nationalists even ran many fairs for the buying and selling of animals, just as had occurred before the war.

The result was that the average Spaniard under Franco ate well, and that even better food was reliably supplied to the soldiery—not only at the front, but also in the form of sumptuous meals when soldiers were on leave, especially when celebrating a victory. Knowledge of this, spread by word of mouth and deliberately by propaganda, encouraged desertions by the enemy. Foreign observers who had been in the Republican zone were astounded by the way Nationalist soldiers ate, and noted the consequent differences in morale. (Seidman says, “In the last months of the war Madrid residents were receiving officially only 100 grams of bread daily plus several hundred grams of rice, beans, or lentils every other day.”) When those in charge keep bread on your family’s table through ensuring gainful employment and adequate food stocks, their program looks a lot more attractive immediately—especially when your working-class cousin got shot as a “fascist” back in Madrid and your aunt in Barcelona is starving.

What the Nationalists ran were not free markets, however, some Austrian School dream—far from it. Price controls were the order of the day, which naturally brought a black market, which brought threats and punishments from the authorities. Nearly all those punishments were fines, graded according to the offense and the ability to pay—the rich and businesses got huge fines, the poor small fines. Occasionally jail sentences were imposed, but those seem to have been illustrative, not the norm. Fines make sense in this situation—Nationalist money had value, so the fines were a real punishment, and filling the jails would make no sense during a war. I’m a fan of fines as modern punishment, but I suppose they only work when they can be collected, and when the government itself is not simultaneously handing out cash to most people. Most of those punished today wouldn’t actually feel any punishment; fines aren’t really feasible in a fake economy.

Such controls bred, naturally, a fair amount of corruption and graft. Mayors, in particular, tended toward corruption, and punishments were frequently handed out by the military government, including removal from office and employment for those involved in corruption. Some of the corruption was also driven by other internal tensions and conflicts on the Nationalist side, especially between the ideological Falange and more traditional Spaniards. Moreover, as the war came to its end, and the Nationalists were seen as likely to win, corruption increased greatly, and continued into the postwar years. It is notable that Right regimes seem highly susceptible to corruption (that his friends have enriched themselves is the only legitimate criticism of Viktor Orbán), and a controlled economy, whatever its temporary benefits, always offers lush opportunities, which can be held in check by a common goal, but not forever. This will be a key management problem after the defeat of our own Left.

Appeals to morality and shared sacrifice helped the Nationalists run a functioning economy, but only worked to a limited extent. You can’t eat exhortations. The bogus phrase “we’re all in this together,” earlier chanted during our own experience of the Wuhan Plague, which mercifully seems to have died as it became obvious it was a total lie, really did apply to most in the Nationalist zone. Not to all—a good percentage of the hardcore leftists had fled to the Republican zone, but many of those with some Republican sympathies stayed, for one reason or another. As is always the case, however, most people in both zones didn’t care as much about the conflict as did the zealous, and so quite a few of those with Republican sympathies ended up supporting, even fighting for, the Nationalists, either because they were conscripted or because fighting was more to their taste and benefit than sitting out, or because they changed their political opinions to fit the fashion, as is the typical course for the average person under a dominant regime.

Sacrifice was more appealing to the average man because wages generally steadily increased; it was this, not supposed repression, that kept the workers at work in Nationalist Spain. The economy performed so well that full employment was the norm and labor shortages were common, which of course tended to further increase wages. Even when wages were theoretically controlled, the government generally turned a blind eye to employers overpaying, and in fact officially allowed much flexibility, while rigorously punishing selling goods at higher than the official price. Labor peace was obtained even among traditionally leftist workers, such as miners; in part this was because the work force was sometimes run on a military basis, but more because of high salaries, increased fringe benefits, and aggressive enforcement by the government of workers’ rights, such as fining employers for usury, child labor, and unsafe working conditions. At the same time, the Nationalists managed to significantly expand industrial production, both organically and as they liberated areas with industry from the Republicans.

Perhaps most importantly, the Nationalists, unlike the Republicans, managed to keep state finance stable. Franco was able to successfully collect all kinds of taxes; tax evasion was limited, with middle-class and wealthy Spaniards being willing, even eager, to sacrifice (unlike wealthy Russians). The exact opposite occurred in the Republican zone, where property and income tax collection dropped to nearly zero, as taxpayers argued that taxation was “exploitation.” Inflation rocketed in the Republic; not in Nationalist Spain, which tightly controlled the money supply. Contrary to leftist myth, very little of Franco’s funding was provided by expropriation of leftists—houses left behind by fleeing leftists were rented out, but actually confiscating property of those tainted by leftist actions merely created destitute wards of the state, so was avoided by the Nationalists. Just as importantly, the Nationalists were able to float bonds to foreign buyers at reasonable interest rates, unlike the Republicans, who could not borrow at all, because nobody believed they could repay, or would if they could.

And, finally, as Franco rolled up the country, the Nationalists made sure that the first thing to arrive in liberated towns was food. “Supplying hungry towns was of incalculable political importance,” as Seidman says, and the Nationalists widely used the slogan “No Spaniard without bread.” The towns were hungry because the Republicans failed at everything at which the Nationalists succeeded. Administration of feeding the liberated was given over, in cooperation with the military, to the Auxilio Social, a state-funded and state-encouraged charity for women ages seventeen to thirty-five, with great success, and leading to significant propaganda victories.

I read this book as I continue my own study of modern Left-Right civil wars. I have Finland and Spain under my belt; I am moving on to others, such as Chile and Mexico. As we drift, or hurtle, towards our own nearly-inevitable armed conflict between Left and Right (already begun by the Left; we await only the wholly justified response to the next Left assault), what does Francoist economic success mean for us? In the short term, it reinforces my strong belief that true continuous and existential bilateral conflict will only begin in America when some form of economic catastrophe overtakes us, because unless he is directly threatened, a man in relative economic comfort will not take risks or actively support those who advocate risk, even if he is in spiritual despair. When the average person begins to suffer, unable to any longer rely on government checks and Netflix to grease his path to the next day, or unable to get food or satisfy other crucial needs, then he will fully awake and be susceptible to revolt against the totalitarianism of the Left. Yes, huge swathes of invisible Americans are already suffering—but most of they time they can still paper over their misery with fake money that buys real, if ephemeral, goods, though quite a few, unable to even do that, take drugs or kill themselves, ignored by our ruling classes, who loathe and hate them, and celebrate their deaths. Papering over won’t work forever, and when it stops working, and the right leader weaponizes the masses, it’ll be a different story, just as it was in Spain.

One difficulty hampering the ability of today’s Right to maneuver into necessary position for this future is that we lack the advantages with which the Spanish counterrevolutionaries began the war They were highly organized with excellent leadership, and they had interlocking support of crucial constituencies, from peasants to the Church to most of the Army. The nascent counterrevolutionaries of the Right in America today have none of this, and a huge proportion of the efforts of the Left today go to preventing them from organizing, most prominently the federal government’s terror campaign against the heroes of the January 6 Electoral Justice Protest, the purpose of which is to discourage any future opposition. But, again, that sort of thing only works as long as the economy appears to function. When it fails, all those efforts will be swept away overnight. Or so I predict; your mileage may vary, but I bet it won’t.

When the conflict comes, if you are Left, you might object, as the odious David Frum did the other day, that seventy percent of America’s economy is located in “blue” states, and so it seems that in a Left-Right conflict, the Left would easily dominate the Right economically. That’s a stupid objection (though Frum is a stupid man, so no surprise). I could adduce many reasons, but let’s stick to just two. First, as I have analyzed elsewhere, GDP is a fiction; most of what goes into it is not value produced in any meaningful way. Far more than fifty percent of real value is produced in red states, and output could be increased, unlike in blue states, where little of real value is produced. More gender studies degrees and video game apps will not win a war; corn and guns will, as Franco proved. And second, as this book shows, management during conflict is what matters most, not where you start. In a real conflict, within a short time in America the Left zone would look like Venezuela, and the Right zone be flourishing, at least if it had competent management (something, admittedly, in very short supply on today’s Right, but new times will bring forth new men).

So, maybe oddly, this book made me happy. As I have noted before, what Franco justly wrought was destroyed after his death, and now the Spanish are back where they started in 1934, only with a lot fewer children and a lot bleaker future. We therefore tend to assume Right successes are impermanent. I deny this, and I am confident that future Right successes can be permanent—as long as the Left is destroyed and discredited across the entire West. Simple competence based in reality, common on the Right and inevitably lacking on the Left, both tendencies on sharp display in this book, will help us accomplish our goal.


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51 Comments

  1. Erik Nervik says

    I have two comments,

    The first is that I didn’t know about the very recent law in Spain. It seems though as the two right wing parties, the Partido Popular and the Partido Vox are promising full repeal if they get power. They’re not thinking enough, they need to be promising punishment if any officials enforce the new law. They should openly say that any judges or prosecutors bring charges then they will be prosecuted when the parliament changes (I am assuming Spain has some rough equivalent of 18 USC 242, maybe they don’t but still)

    The right it seems in the modern era is consistently behind and if they do anything at all it’s mere promise of rollback that either is never delivered or contains no right political gains. The left has already renounced the pact of forgetting and the Spanish right needs to wise up.
    2nd)

    I remember when I read Mine were of Trouble that Peter Kemp wrote about nationalists bringing meat and candy to starving villagers in Aragon and these peasants were getting sick because they starving until the nationalists took that region.

    • Charles Haywood says

      Truer words were never spoken. But of course, all modern civil wars between Right and Left have begun when the Left feels its grip slipping, as the result of some success (even mild) of the Right, so any such pushback would likely result in violence begun on a large scale by the Left. Which would be fine.

  2. Erik Nervik says

    I am also a little more pessimistic then you.

    Venezuela’s government has not yet collapsed despite the many drains on it.

    And all our smartest non grifter right people are not in positions of immediate power. Although if “Red Caesar” can win I’m sure the Claremont institute could be like Opus Dei in the Franco regime. Maybe the right people do exist inside the American government and they are wisely keeping quiet.

    • Charles Haywood says

      Venezuela is not America. First, Latin American countries tolerate, on many axes, things I don’t think many Americans would. Second, Venezuela’s stability is guaranteed by America. If America were to mind its own problems, you’d get a reshuffling in all of Latin America (although the Chinese would certainly try to reshuffle in their direction).

      I agree (and noted) your latter point. No, I don’t think any of the right people exist in any quantity inside today’s American government, which would have to be nearly 100% removed, judged, and either rusticated and lustrated, or exiled (other than those executed, if things went the historical way, as undesirable as that would be). They do exist in the military, I’m quite sure, however.

  3. HobbesianFobbit says

    I’m broadly sympathetic to your aims and impressed by the sheer volume and quality of work you’ve generated. But having read through several reviews – c’mon man. Are you serious about these “hasten the day” comments about a governmental / economic collapse? Those seem either deliberately provocative or indicate you’ve never experienced real physical suffering or hardship (LARPing is the appropriate term, I believe). And they distract from the otherwise serious nature of your review.

    I served in Iraq and Afghanistan, admittedly as a Fobbit, and even my relatively cushioned exposure to the horrors of those conflicts, especially amongst the civilians and especially in the Sunni-Shia conflicts in Baghdad, makes me hope we never see something similar in our country.

    Sure, its possible a nucleus of red states will form a new government and enact something like your Foundationalist agenda. But the possible post-collapse future depends heavily on the nature of the collapse and other contingent and unforeseeable events. State collapse could just as easily lead to patchwork of local religious, racial, and criminal gangs feuding over territory and terrorizing civilians, which is essentially what happened in Iraq before the surge. Certainly, that’s what we’ve seen in Iraq, Libya, and Syria until government forces, heavily supported by outsiders, partially restored order. No virtuous Muslim-equivalent red state appeared.

    After all, you (and most other commentators) ignore there’s there’s already a better-funded, better-armed, and better-trained militia operating in this country than antifa or any right wing group – the cartels. Who’s to say they won’t dominate parts of the southern US? Or ally with a left-wing political or religious group to do so, much like the Taliban has allied with opium traffickers to fund their insurgency. Out of the chaos of state collapse – who knows? And who knows how long the chaos and attendant human suffering will last. And how many brilliant minds–who could’ve contributed to the Foundationalist “Space” goal–will die in the process?

    A better approach is to fight to preserve and reform the system now. To organize on the local level and build our own institutions. You are talented and wealthy. Perhaps you are already funding local groups or actively involved in local politics. If not, consider emphasizing that and encouraging your readership to do the same. That seems more consistent with your “action first” personal philosophy than dreams about a post-collapse society.

    • Charles Haywood says

      I address this philosophical question in my Cercas review. I am entirely cognizant of the costs of collapses and wars–far more than nearly anyone in our current government, for certain. That one is aware of the cost does not mean that one should accept any price to avoid the cost; this is the issue. Terming this LARPing attempts to avoid facing this fact.

      I’ve addressed most of what you say at length elsewhere. Many futures are possible; few are at all desirable, and very few highly desirable. But some radically different future will come, and the path we are one leads to the same mass killing always indulged in by the Left. People such as Rod Dreher are wrong about “soft totalitarianism”; there has never been a soft totalitarianism of the Left, except as a stepping stone to their desired hard totalitarianism and mass murder. The grossest error lies in imagining we can continue as we are without coming, soon, to that end, and using that fantasy, combined with justifiable fear of the alternatives, to excessively fear other futures, leading to paralysis when the time comes.

      The other states and cultures you adduce are not parallels. The idea that a post-collapse America would resemble Iraq is silly, because the culture is different. No Western society has EVER been a failed state or had anarchy for more than a short length of time in a very small area. Whether we’d like the successor states/units of government is another question, but it wouldn’t be unstable or Max Max-ish, dystopian movies not to the contrary. (As a side note, I’m not intending to hasten the day, because nobody can hasten the day. That’s not how any of this works, as history teaches.)

      The cartels could be easily crushed by any competent military. The reason they aren’t is the corruption of the Mexican government and the complicity of the American government (not to mention that in a post-reset America, hard money for drugs, and the rationales for taking drugs, will be in much shorter supply). If the cartels went into any area of America beyond the borderlands, they would be slaughtered by the inhabitants. I can’t say for sure, but my guess is that most of non-urban America after a major reset would be a pretty good place to live.

      The idea that the current system can be “preserved and reformed” is pure Pollyana. Compare 1985 to today. How has that worked out for us? QED (and read my thoughts on Dreher’s Benedict Option). If any local group showed any chance of “preserving and reforming” our current regime, it would be smashed and its members destroyed. True, I am heavily involved in local groups, and in making local groups possible elsewhere, but the reason for that is not because they can have any impact in the teeth of the Cthulu State. No, it is so that when the reset comes, the nucleus of the new thing already exists.

      • Phil Ossiferz Stone says

        The cartels have already divided California and Colorado into territories, and are operating industries pot grows there. Local water tables are drained dry, lethal pesticides are used to protect the pot farms that kill every living bird and beast that wanders too near, creating black holes where thriving ecosystems used to be. Local ranchers wear body armor, and local people no longer dare go picnicking for fear of feral Mexicans with Chines made AK’s. A cartel hit man murdered a US cop a couple weeks ago; the video is all over the Internet. They control the borders; they are fighting each other over the lucrative human trafficking that is set to hit the 2 million a year mark. Nothing happens. There is not only no victorious slaughter, there is no resistance from local cops or DA’s.

        I have news for you, you smug dumb sh*t. They’re already here.

        • Charles Haywood says

          Normally I don’t allow people to insult the Maximum Leader! But my point wasn’t that they’re already here; of course they are. My point was that if it were not for the complicity of the federal government, these people would be immediately slaughtered by Americans. Which they should be, of course.

          • vxxc says

            Ser Charles- the cartels are policy, and serve a purpose- or they’d be crushed.
            So what is the purpose?

            I say that as it was with the Indians, as it was with the Irish, so it is with the Americans. We are to be at least partially exterminated, perhaps the remainder subdued. Now this is the story of man, the same history of mankind repeating in America, nothing new, new only to us.

            I wouldn’t wait for “The man of Destiny “ to appear to organize for survival.

            I am utterly unaware of any man in history who roused a people to survival or greatness who had no ability to fight, and if we remain passive a line of great men can do nothing- we have NOTHING to offer.

            We cannot be a vessel for greatnesses or indeed anything even survival if we are not a vessel at all.

      • HobbesianFobbit says

        I appreciate the detailed response. That said, we disagree on a few important points (or I dont understand your full position) that I think are worthy of further discussion. I’m pushing on these points because I think you could be a real asset to a viable conservative reform movement (assuming your self-description is accurate). The Left has no shortage of intelligent, diligent, wealthy people that fund or advocate for disastrous groups. I know a lot of such people because we share a common tribal background. We need non-grifter non-bullshit folks on the Right to counter that. Look at what Steven Bannon, with all his flaws, accomplished.

        First, do you see a contradiction in your description of the “Cthulu State”? You seem to think its simultaneously: (a) so weak and decadent that its collapse is imminent and (b) so strong that its impossible to reform without collapse and will “smash[]” any local group that could successfully try. Both of those things cannot be true.

        Second, as an empirical matter, how can you be so confident that a collapse is certain, or even likely, in the near future? Conservatives having been predicting collapses of decadent societies for generations. Its a mental bias that we are vulnerable to. In most cases, society muddles along. Collapse is rate.

        We are on the Right because we believe true things: men and women are biologically different, human flourishing requires more than atomistic consumption human abilities differ so socialist economics generally end in disaster, etc.

        In that spirit of believing in true things – how are you measuring the accuracy of your prediction? What objective metrics are you looking at? Is your prediction falsifiable – in other words, could certain events occur that would cause you to change your mind? And do you have skin in the game – are you short on equities and long on crypto and gold? These are rhetorical questions. I dont expect you to share on a public blog although I’m sure the answers would be interesting.

        If you are wrong and collapse is not imminent then a better use of our time and resources is preservation and reform of the existing society. Otherwise, you are going to get old watching things limp along, getting progressively worse, but never quite bad enough.

        Third, reform is not “pure Pollyana.” History shows societies go through periods of decline/decadence and revitalization. The four good emperors (Trajan, Hadrian, etc) followed Nero. The Victorians followed the more dissolute Regency. The US 1940s and 1950s followed the more decadent 1920s and communist-sympathetic 1930s. Even Solzhenitsyn argued that Piotr Stolypin could’ve prevented the Russian revolution, had he not been assassinated (in his Red Wheel sequence, which is worth a review), and Russia was far more gone in the early 1900s than we are now.

        You are right that things have worsened since the 1980s in terms of culture. But there signs of hope. Look at the push back on CRT in the last year. Republicans still control the majority of state legislatures and will likely retake one or more chambers in the next national election. The right has broken from the country club and WSJ stasis of the 1980s and 1990s.

        In any event, a debate on the likelihood and possibility of reform can’t be had in this space. The more fundamental question is – how do you know? What objective metrics are you looking at to deem our country is un-reformable? Or is this more of a gut feeling?

        Finally, a few points of clarification. I agree that preparation is worthwhile. And despite my somewhat tongue-in-cheek screen name, I agree that some things are worth fighting for. I wouldn’t have enlisted otherwise. You are wrong that “No Western society has EVER been a failed state . . . .” Its been a while but look at France during the 100 years war; Germany during the 30 years war. And no Western society has ever had such a concentration of food production or been so dependent on distant supply chains and power generation as ours, so history may not be such a good predictor of how we’d fare in a collapse.

        Ok – one final less serious point. If you want to be a Knight Templar in space, check out Warhammer 40k (source of the God-Emperor Trump meme). Its ridiculous but the aesthetic might appeal to you and some of the fiction is good space opera escapism. Dune also has that mix of high feudalism and advanced technology and is far better literature.

        • Charles Haywood says

          This is an excellent colloquy! To respond in order:

          1) The Cthulhu State can have those two characteristics exist in superposition. It can be both fragile, and currently able to bring power to bear. Both are exemplified in its response to the Electoral Justice Protest. When the cracks get big enough, or actually fragment the state, power will disappear—not wholly, since fragments will still exist. That will happen quickly, though. Until then, the state has the ability, if sclerotically and with significant friction, to destroy any particular object of its hate.

          2) I predict collapse, likely imminent, for two reasons. First, it is not merely being a decadent society. Decadence by itself is fatal, but far more lethal is total denial of reality, from denying the effects of immigration to denying the effects of feminization, and vastly more. A ruling class that wants to spend all its time seeking pleasure can last a long time; not an ideological one whose goal is utopian. Second, technology accelerates trends that took much longer in the past, through multiple methods, including speed of communication and the ability to do things that create external shocks (e.g., create virus strains).

          True, the collapse doesn’t have to be society-wide. You could imagine the elimination of the ruling class and its replacement by a new one, which would engineer a revitalization of the lower levels of society. But our current ruling class isn’t likely to permit that unless it is forced to, and the only mechanism for that is a broader collapse that both discredits them and breaks their power.

          3) I doubt if the prediction is falsifiable in my lifetime (say an absolute maximum of fifty more years, given current health and family history). I suppose if the society completely changed through some organic method, I would be proven wrong. Doesn’t seem likely. On the other hand, if in thirty years we’re just in a dumber version of now, one could argue I was wrong about timing. I’d probably just respond “wait ten years!”, though. And, true, I could “get old watching things limp along.” That’s just inherent in every person’s life, however, unpredictability. But, let’s be honest, I have a bizarrely comfortable life, where I don’t suffer any of the pains that I complain about being imposed on other people by the Cthulhu State. And I am unlikely to be directly attacked by the state—no obvious vectors of attack, and inadequate prominence, not to mention having the resources to push back in a way most on the Right don’t. So it’ll be pleasant enough either way!

          That said, I am very invested in hard assets, and assets spread across multiple continents. (No crypto; I don’t really understand it, and don’t regard it is crucial to such a strategy.) I mean, I don’t keep gold under my pillow, or in my house (no point in having to shoot home invaders), but I do keep physical gold in the bank. If there is a collapse with no warning, I’d lose that, which would be too bad. But I also live on significant land, have chickens, bees, and the ability to cultivate several acres, and so forth. I would never put any relevant money into the stock market, so I’ve missed the “runup,” but I am not subject to FOMO.

          4) So no, I’m not interested in “preservation and reform.” There is very little, if anything, to preserve, and reform is impossible. Certainly, local organizing is valuable, and that has a type of preservation function (e.g., classical Christian learning preserves knowledge and transmits it to a new generation), but that is not preserving society as a whole, merely providing seeds for future use.

          5) I don’t think that our society is comparable in any way to those earlier periods you mention that were followed by revitalization. Certainly there is some up-and-down, but we are in a new thing, unprecedented in human history. The 1920s were an awesome period in America (the last great period). Bad Roman emperors had little actual effect on the society (as I analyzed somewhere; can’t remember where, though! Maybe the most recent Barry Strauss review.) Russia might be the closest example, but their problems, while significant, were far different in character, and did not involve the mass denial of reality. The ruling class might have been as far gone as ours, on different axes. But the weren’t revitalized, were they? And saying Stolypin could have done it doesn’t seem plausible. I just don’t see any possible path for revitalization without overthrowing the ruling class entirely. (I have the Red Wheel books, as Notre Dame is re-issuing them.)

          6) When Republicans have power, they do nothing almost all of the time. When they do something, the courts overrule them. Yes, one can imagine a new Republican party full of Republicans who are willing to use power, and willing to take the Andrew Jackson approach to court rulings. Even that wouldn’t solve the stranglehold the Left has on the media, academia, and so forth, and you’d have to totally destroy the Lords of Tech as well. Maybe a split of the country, a la the Kurt Schlichter novels, would work and avert collapse. But even that would be tremendously violent, as Schlichter does a good job portraying.

          Take CRT. Let’s say the current local push gets more traction and succeeds to a greater degree. Biden’s handlers will bring criminal “civil rights” prosecutions against some local people, put them in jail, and then mandate that all local school boards teach CRT under penalty of imprisonment and the relevant states losing all federal tax dollars. Movement over.

          7) Historical currents don’t and can’t have “objective metrics” except in hindsight. Oh, sure, you can point to things like fertility rate, or opiate addiction; or point to anecdotes like rapid-onset gender dysphoria and the hyper-feminization of the response to the Wuhan Plague; or the fakeness of the economy. (Although, to be fair, Peter Turchin does a fairly good job trying to put out objective metrics.) It’s not just a “gut feeling,” though—someone well-informed about history can make an informed judgment, and that’s what I’m doing. As I said in a recent review—your mileage may vary, but I bet it won’t.

          8) There were no failed states in the Hundred Years War or the Thirty Years War. There was a lot of violence, but no failed state or state of anarchy, except in the sense that a particular village or area might be repeatedly devastated. That’s not anarchy, though; that’s just a terrible situation. But you are right that because of the fragility of supply chains, you might have a lot of violence as people starved. Thus, as you say, preparation is worthwhile!

          9) I’d dimly aware of Warhammer. And Dune is indeed a great book–I refer to it occasionally here!

          • goodlander says

            The Maximum Leader needs an understanding of crypto.

            Happy to bring you up to speed or answer stupid questions.

        • Mr. HobbesianFobbit,

          I think you make some good points. On point the third: some people are more inclined to think of history as a series of disjunctions (Charles) and some or more likely to see the deep continuity. I believe that you and I are both in the second camp. Maybe that is because of inherent disposition, or maybe it is due to a different information diet.

          I was thinking about decadence and revitalization while reading your comment and I was reminded of HP Lovecraft’s exceptionally gloomy outlook for western civilization. His short story “The Street” could be written today, with some different superfluous details, by someone with Charles’ outlook. The question is, did that street come to the ending described, or were the elms replanted and the bricks repointed during the 40s-60s, with a new down cycle beginning thereafter?

          https://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/s.aspx

          I would be interested in thoughts from Charles and yourself.

          • Charles Haywood says

            Interesting story. The answer to your question is that the rot truly entered America with the Progressive movement, which began to accrete real power after 1910. So that street did indeed come to the ending described, to the extent it contained the types of people described (who are painted as malicious immigrants, rather than those who became more integrated, back when it was demanded that immigrants integrate, rather than embrace the noxious metaphor of the “salad bowl.”)

    • Vxxc says

      I was there too, and Iraq got the chaos that the USG wanted- see Jerry Bremer of the CPA. Now when I saw that Green Zone in DC I saw what they want for us in the 🇺🇸 USA. Which- they do. They always get what they want if not the way they want it.
      See also Syria, Ukraine, Libya, we can go on. Chaos is good for them, they have grown rich and powerful from it, why they even overthrew the Republic! That’s power.

      You want to work within the system to reform psychopaths? ^ Who did all that? ^

      Well they’ll hire you, but only for psychopath work.

      As for collapse we’ll get that on their schedule, probably by collapsing the dollar.
      They decide, we react, and usually submit.

    • Andy says

      I agree strongly with HobbesianFobbit that state and economic collapse are unlikely to result in a better society or better circumstances for most of us, so looking forward to them is counterproductive.

      I think that revolution and violent upheaval is a tool of the left and should not be used by the right, that incremental reform and improvement is still possible in America, and that what America needs right now is to return to the principles of the Founders as applied to our times and challenges. In my view, Lincoln reinterpreted the Founders in a way that is still valuable for us today (https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/09/abraham-lincoln-american-founding-self-interest-not-enough/).

      • Professor Emory Bortz says

        It’s interesting that you dismiss “revolution and violent upheaval” as a tool of the left in the same breath that you invoke the principles of the Founding Fathers and Lincoln, since both of the latter quite clearly embraced the former.

        In any case, the issue here is not revolution but counter-revolution, an important difference that Charles addressed at some length.

        As for whether reform is still possible in America: Certainly, one must do everything within one’s power to avert the need for force, and anything is possible. On the other hand, is incremental reform plausible? History suggests that incrementalism can be effective for overthrowing liberal regimes (see: The History of the United States of America). But when it comes to thwarting the ravenous totalitarian appetites of the left, incrementalism often only “works” after the leftist murder machine has gobbled up a few million lives (a conservative estimate).

        I’d bet the vast majority who lived in the Franco regime were glad he didn’t make the likelihood of incremental reform his operating assumption. Even Russia’s Pyotr Wrangel, whose resistance effort ultimately failed, is remembered as a hero. And rightly so. The murderous tyrannies of Lenin and Stalin (and Mao and Pol Pot, et al) illustrate the profound costs of underestimating the left’s will to power and the sheer demonic savagery of leftism’s end-game.

        But, despite the fact that pacifism in the face of tyranny is incongruent with the principles and practices of both the Founding Fathers and Lincoln, perhaps it is nonetheless best to choose pacifism as a predetermined course. Who knows – when the American security state openly declares that it is embarking on a Domestic War on Terror and that conservatives are the Designated Terrorists, maybe they are only joking! LOL!! Or perhaps it doesn’t even matter whether they’re serious – maybe pacifism is, regardless, simply the principled stance.

        Here’s an interesting thought experiment: if you take a pacifist stance and things do fall apart, will you still feel the same pride in the pure, pristine condition of your “clean hands”? When the regime thugs line up your wife and children against the wall, will you feel that your uncompromising adherence to such (admittedly high-minded) principles was worth the price? Will your wife and children?

        The answer might be “yes”. The point is that, given the times in which we live, it’s a question we would all do well to ponder with the utmost sobriety.

        • Vxxc says

          “ Certainly, one must do everything within one’s power to avert the need for force”

          Yes, that part has succeeded brilliantly.

          There is no force against them.

          They will have their way with us until they tire of it, or like Trotsky they mess with the wrong person – Stalin.

          As for the peasants grabbing their AR pitchforks this did not happen over the last year and never will.

          Its suicide to discuss force when you have no will to use it.

          As for the reformers I answer you don’t reform psychopaths, what he means is …he’s scared, and rightly so.

          Pray for Stalin, his order was better than the chaos that preceded him – and by the way not only once he’d won did it taper off, but eased considerably. He even opened the Churches. Absent Hitlers mad overreach the USSR would have settled into Yugoslavia under Tito.

          Pray for a Stalin, he’s far better than a Bolshevik.

          • Erik Nervik says

            Stalin only reopened the Churches in Russia because he faced an existential crisis of foreign invasion by another genocidal power and he believed (correctly) that it would legitimize his regime to the people he needed in order to keep himself in power.

          • vxxc says

            Not so sure that was quite “it”. The anti religious campaign was ending or was over, the occupation of Poland in the Soviet sector was less repression than the Nazi one- of course their policy of extinction began with Polish Priests, intellectuals and aristocracy.

            >>However let’s return to what WE see;
            Essentially all religion co-opted in the USA by money and COVID, the partners of human trafficking at the border, etc. etc.
            thats USA 2021, frankly longer.

            We can return to Stalin’s actual actions and politics another time, but had Stalin these Churches and the GOP the USSR could have had religious Liberty and multiparty democracy- indeed they are far to his “Left” on most matters.

      • Vxxc says

        This is a dream. You are saying we should reform psychopaths. No. Not that its up to you in any case, except to dream.
        Its up to the psychopaths.

        Now all that you fear is coming- but it comes at the hands if those in power now. What they did in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Libya they are doing and will keep doing here in America. Its what they do, do well, and get paid well and are powerful for doing.

        They decided for you, for all of us, so you can relax your conscience on what’s good or bad, you can also not worry about having to fight- the power of decision lies with those in power, their program outlined above.

        Good grief your nightmare you fear is already under way in so many American cities, along with levels of repression that approach Eastern Europe in the 1980s ala cancel culture, just enough jailing of political opponents to cow the rest, and so on.

        We’ll take what they give us, and as far as whats good for “our society “ its ERASE WHITENESS, and so it shall be…that is the Reform. This is no society to reform, its being erased.

      • Tool says

        Take a moment to re-acquaint yourself with the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence and explain to me how such a doctrine, in any universe, could be interpreted as calling for merely “incremental reform and improvement.”

        This is a dangerous doctrine, especially if it is true, and I have reason to suspect it is.

        Jefferson had no business popularizing it. It is perhaps because Jefferson imprudently popularized it that “incremental reform and improvement” will never be possible in America.

        Added to this problem today is the leftist perversion and falsification of language that makes it all but impossible for the average American to even think, or think that they can think, clearly about the truth of those principles or how they should be implemented.

        Just for you to get a sense of how corrupted thought has become by leftism, read the first sentence of the second paragraph to a random American adult. Then follow up with a very simple question: “is it true?” What you will find is that most Americans can’t even fathom why you would ask such a stupid question. Even the illiterate have been pre-programmed to “know” that “truth is just relative, man.” For those who have been fully catechized into wokism you will get a sermon that includes some word salad about “white males,” “slavery” and how it’s a strange truth that was not true before, but is somehow true now, but not quite true now…pro tip: don’t try to point out the absurdity and logical inconsistency of these claims, your logic and insistence on evidence just proves how racist you are.

        • Charles Haywood says

          If Americans lack adequate thymos, the guns are irrelevant. If Americans do have adequate thymos, the guns are everything.

  4. vxxc says

    “ when some form of economic catastrophe overtakes us, ”
    Well with organization we might at last fight.
    Without it we will starve, and turn in the guns for food. Then finish starving.

    Organize, and food/work co-ops are fine.
    No organization = perish.

    You overestimate Homo Economicus.
    He’s too selfish to see beyond his wallet,
    And will starve before he fights.

    Spain had the Army and the Church.
    Now they don’t have the Army – which is at Constitutional odds with the Republic fallen- but we have nothing to defect to.

    You cannot eat exhortations, but you cannot defect to a blog either. There must be another side and there is not…

  5. vxxc says

    As for collapse we’ll get that on their schedule, probably by collapsing the dollar.
    They decide, we react, and then submit.

    Charles- the American military person is very normie in his politics. Now they know something happened, but will admit it no more than Normies do.

  6. Tool says

    Left political leadership knows that the mass killing can’t start until guns have been confiscated. They suspect that the military will not prevail in a drawn out gurilla war against tens of millions of rednecks armed to the teeth. Ergo, I predict the Bidan admin will make the move for confiscation before his first term is up, especially if the midterm elections do not favor the left.

    • Charles Haywood says

      I used to think this, and still do to some extent. On the other hand, I think they shrink from doing it, and hope they can find some way around it, which prevents them from doing it. In essence, incompetence combined with fear and a desire to take the easy way out, to defer hard choices, means it won’t happen.

      • Tool says

        True. But you are only taking into consideration two of the more powerful human motivations. You are forgetting two others: hatred and resentment.

        The future is going to get interesting in America in part because the past is no help in understanding the current dynamic and how it is going to play out. Why do I say this?

        Well, we have never had a situation in America where the ruling class has succeeded in demonizing a particular group of people on the basis of immutable biological characteristics. This statement goes against every wokism, and therefore requires some explanation.

        Blacks were never demonized by the elites. The dominant sentiment among the ruling class for them was one of pity and indifference. And who wouldn’t pity a race of people who not only came to believe they deserved to live in slavery but actively engaged in passing that way of life on to their children?

        The closest American elites ever came to demonizing a group is Native Americans. They (Indians) had the unfortunate habit of getting together and attacking non-military targets, women, children, the whole caboodle. But such dislike of the Indians was always mixed with a sense of admiration for their independence and courage in the face of threats to their way of life. Thus, demonization was never complete and perpetual (see Marshal’s Trilogy). That there are 524 registered tribes living on tribal lands today with relative political autonomy is testament to this fact. If they had been demonized systematically by elites, these would not exist today.

        The hatred of immigrant groups from Ireland and Germany etc. does not count on this score because, even though they were demonized by a sizable portion of elites, nationalities and languages are not immutable biological characteristics — these guys could always assimilate, and did. Benjamin Franklin worried that so many people in Pennsylvania spoke German it was in danger of becoming Germany. Where is the German invasion today? Where are these enclaves of German-speaking yodelers now?

        Today is very different. For at least a decade, all elite institutions in America have had the megaphone turned up to 11 demonizing the white male (for all practical purposes, an immutable biological trait). The masses can be made to do and think anything, they follow power and power has made itself fully committed to the idea that the white male is the only thing standing between America, even mankind, and the continued progress of history toward … well toward something.. it’s never really clear. The only thing they can tell you is that it’s a glorious future without the white male and drag queen story hour in every library. Five years ago the demonization was done in an underhanded and “soft” manner; today eliminationist rhetoric is quite common and done in the open, without causing much, if any, alarm. In the past it may have taken the elite decades to effect this transformation in the public mind, but in the age of social media and digital tech, everything takes place on an accelerated timeline.

        The mistake people are making today is assuming that America has faced problems such as this and come out the other side without going full Hitler or Stalin. If my observations are correct, America avoided those humanitarian catastrophes, not because of some sort of moderating impact of its form of government, but because of the virtue of its elite class in resisting the urge to demonize groups of people based on biology. In other words, we NEVER had the current problem we have today, with a ruling class irretrievably corrupted by what people are euphemistically calling “identity politics.” This is not “politics,” in the sense that was discovered by Aristotle and Plato thousands of years ago. It is a psyop to eliminate a particular group of people from existence. To call this “politics” is, like all leftist tactics, a perversion and falsification of language.

        The fully indoctrinated leftist will argue that they are not demonizing the white male in a biological sense, they are demonizing a social construct called “whiteness” and “manliness.” And they will say this with a sense of unthinking moral superiority that has only been observed in religious zealots of the past (religious zealots simply don’t exist today, unfortunately). Of course, anyone with a ninth grade understanding of history should know that it is exactly on this basis that all murderous regimes in history framed their demonization efforts. For some weird reason, it always turned out that, despite all good-faith efforts, they were simply unable to take the jewishness out of the Jew or the ukrainianishness (not a word) out of the Ukraine. Ergo…. well you know.

        Again, America has never faced this problem. I’m not even saying that more people need to wake up to this reality. The imprudent man will take this knowledge and apply it imprudently, much like how the colonial elites (Jefferson in particular) took the dangerous truths in the Declaration and popularized them, leading to the imprudent casting off of a monarchy without providing for its monarchical replacement. Americans REALLY had no business ruling themselves with democratic mechanisms, they were always too commercial to give a [email protected]# about the long-term common good. The inability to end slavery without a bloody civil war is one of many examples I offer in support of this proposition.

        These considerations, if they are true, are not truths that should be popularized. They have the potential to set into motion forces that are incredibly destructive. I share your hope that the current corrupt regime will collapse out of incompetence before it gets within reach of its ultimate goals. But, I wonder, how prominent this sentiment was among dissenting conservatives under the murderous regimes of the past?

        • bouncing ball says

          I like this comment, particularly the bit about the founders.. I 100% agree in that, despite getting some stuff right, the founders screwed up the basics i.e. the responsibility of government to uphold the common good of its citizens.

    • Vxxc says

      No, the guns are silent.
      They are of little concern.
      A trap really, more magic Totem than tool.

    • agent00F says

      Conservatives have been predicting gun confiscation for decades if not centuries. Does it ever matter when these predictions don’t turn out? Not a rhetorical question.

      • Charles Haywood says

        This is not true. Gun control was nonexistent until after the Civil War (when it was invented to disarm blacks). Until the 1960s, it was minimal. In many urban areas, confiscation is effectively the law today. We know for certain it is a key goal of the Left, and in every other country the Left comes to full power, it is one of their very first acts. So if the prediction has not turned out, it is merely because they lack full power—here, because of the guns.

  7. bouncing ball says

    Great review, though I find the comments puzzling.. do people honestly believe we will somehow return to a just, virtuous society by “building institutions” and “adhering to the founder’s principles”?

    No way. Not a chance. Look around, the Left controls EVERY major key to power, every institution, every bureaucracy, from your local school board all the way up to the alphabet agencies. The Left will never allow themselves to be destroyed by being beaten within the societal rules they set, that’s not a weakness they have (unlike the Right).

    The Left’s power ends in one of two ways: 1. The Left’s influence is forcefully and directly removed from society by the Right, like pulling weeds from a garden – yes it would be violent, but relatively short and there would be real promise for a better future. 2. The Left never faces a serious challenge from the Right, and continues to grow its reach and power until it inevitably (but not quickly!) grows too large, too corrupt and collapses in on itself resulting in anarchic state of death, famine, and terror.

    Any other outcome is fantasy, at least in my humble opinion.

    • Vxxc says

      Yes, its all fantasy. The Left has it all, there is no Right to speak of, not that it has the sense to be silent.

  8. Vxxc says

    Ser Charles, the Spanish Guerrilla war against Napoleon may be a better guide, complete with an utterly corrupt Spanish government start to finish. A succinct and accurate summary by Marx below, yes he’s correct.

    https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1854/revolutionary-spain/ch05.htm

    It was the Spanish who inspired Clausewitz to Book 6 – Peoples War – and from Clausewitz then Mao. Mind you if you want to understand Mao read “On Protracted Warfare” in 1937, against the Japanese.
    Mind you we’ll have neither a foreign Army nor a Wellington but not to worry we have each other.

  9. Tuckle Carlton says

    Greetings Charles! I should begin with greetings and introduction. I’ve known of Anton since his blogspot but began semi-regularly googling his name after he engaged with BAP, as he doesn’t maintain any social media to publicize his appearances (smart for someone already in the center), and thereby found your talks with him. Nice site!

    I don’t see a search function and tried a site: command search. Have you read Princes of Yen? If so, thoughts? If not, there’s a documentary film to occupy an evening and peak one’s interest. And I believe an expanded second edition of the book.

    Are you using the word “post-liberal” in a chronological, ideological or ontological sense? As vehicle for your thoughts, is there one review that explores this?

    I don’t agree with these statements, but perhaps the answer above will explain why-

    “The grossest error lies in imagining we can continue as we are”
    “true continuous and existential bilateral conflict will only begin in America when some form of economic catastrophe overtakes us”
    “then he will fully awake”

  10. Tim Tan says

    “First, as I have analyzed elsewhere, GDP is a fiction; most of what goes into it is not value produced in any meaningful way. Far more than fifty percent of real value is produced in red states, and output could be increased, unlike in blue states, where little of real value is produced. ”

    There’s really no need for any war or such, much as Red personalities evidently enjoy daydreaming of that violence; the Blue coastlines can simply secede from the union. Divorce should certainly be an option in unhappy marriages. But do keep in mind that the balance of payments in federal taxes is maybe couple hundred billion dollars in the direction everyone is already aware of, which is rather why none of the red areas are willing to actually sign the papers despite all the chatter.

    In my experience, typically bringing up the civil solution to this sort of domestic problem, and the obvious financial consequences, results in sudden redirection to talk of family values.

    • Vxxc says

      By all means then Mr Blue do secede and take your money with you.

      We’ll take the boring old farmland, energy, industry etc with us, and you can have California and the East coast Financial powerhouses. With MMT what could go wrong?

      BTW this anecdote about Red Staters not wanting to secede sounds marvelous strange, unique in fact. Who are these people? We’ll be happy to correct them.

  11. agent00F says

    “First, as I have analyzed elsewhere, GDP is a fiction; most of what goes into it is not value produced in any meaningful way. Far more than fifty percent of real value is produced in red states, and output could be increased, unlike in blue states, where little of real value is produced.”

    Instead of appeals to violence, the easier solution to unhappy marriages is divorce, specifically of the blue coastlines from the red interior. But worth noting that the federal tax balance of payments between the two is around couple billion dollars annually in the obvious direction, so there are financial consequences to separation.

    Typically what I’ve found is that instead of preparing to signing the papers, red fans suddenly find solace in family values.

    • Charles Haywood says

      The blue states would never permit that; both because one cannot feel oneself a lord unless you can command peasants, and because deep down they know, tax revenues or not, that the peasants are the ones who actually create value. I haven’t noticed any papers being proffered for signature.

      • agent00F says

        It’s sort of true that the barrier to a better life without the baggage for the blue areas is often liberals, because they have some unfortunate commitment to unfulfilling relationships. But that doesn’t explain why conservatives can’t admit their economic dependency; they’re the Ivana/Marla/Melania and not Trump as they like to see in the mirror. Without modern industry, all they have left are the bibles and guns.

  12. Vxxc says

    Agent OOF,

    Please tell all Blue we shall be happy to part at a moment’s notice, and don’t fret at all about our finances.

    BTW this comes across like the Plantation owner explaining we’d be lost without them,
    as Democrats of the past (and present) never tire of explaining in terms most condescending.

    I imagine if Stage 4 cancer could talk it would sound the same, but thank you for your heartfelt concern for our well being.

  13. Really what we need is a book about why Franco’s Spain descended into today’s degenerate Spain. From Spain’s experience, it seems it didn’t matter much that Franco defeated the Communists. How has it made Spain any different from other European countries by 2021? I am curious.

    • Charles Haywood says

      Yes, this is absolutely a crucial, perhaps the crucial, question. My basic theory is that 1975 was the wrong time; liberal democracy’s fatal flaws were not yet visible, the Cold War was on, and it seemed attractive to follow the degenerating path of Western Europe. As you say, no relevant difference exists now. My entire premise is that a future Franco could get a different result—but only if liberal democracy and the Enlightenment are discredited. They’re bidding fair to accomplish that, but that’s also a very tall order, given the seductive nature of the liberal snake. Regardless, if that can’t be done, the entire project is pointless.

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