Justin’s note: “America is a marvelous idea, a unique idea, fantastic idea. I’m extremely pro-American. But America has ceased to exist.”
Longtime readers will recognize this. It’s one of Doug Casey’s more memorable quotes.
I’m sharing it with you today because Doug said something last week that touched on this radical idea. He said the United States could break apart due to racial tensions.
Most people haven’t considered this possibility. After all, the U.S. is supposedly a “melting pot” where different races can coexist peacefully.
So, a few days ago, I called Doug to learn why he thinks this. Below is the first part of our discussion. Tomorrow, I’ll share Part II…
Justin: Doug, the last time we spoke, you said the United States could break apart because of racial tensions. Why do you think that?
Doug: Well, I used to know a guy by the name of Michael Hart. He would come to our Eris Society meetings in Aspen. Eris was a private annual event I ran for 30 years, for authors, scientists, and people who were well-known for something. It enabled people who might not otherwise meet to get to know each other and exchange ideas. Michael was a university prof, best known for his book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential People in History.
One year, he gave a speech about how the U.S. was going to break up into smaller countries, and part of it would be on racial lines.
I thought that unlikely at the time; it was about 1990. Now, I think Michael may have been right.
I’ll explain why in a minute. But we should first discuss the origins of democracy.
Democracy originated in 6th-century BC Greece. It was a unique and workable method of governance for city-states of a few thousand people. And in the case of Athens, as many as 40,000 people.
But these people all shared a common language. They worshipped the same gods. They were the same ethnicity. They had the same customs and beliefs.
They were like an extended clan with many similarities. Differences were among individuals, not groups.
When the U.S. democracy was started, it was much like that. It was very much like a Greek city-state, an extended one. Everybody shared culture, ethnicity, language, habits, and so forth, with just minor regional differences. People saw themselves first as New Yorkers, Virginians, or whatever, just as the Greeks saw themselves first as Athenians, Thebans, Corinthians, or many scores of other polities.
As you know I don’t believe in democracy, I believe in personal freedom. Democracy is workable enough in something like a cohesive city-state. But absolutely not once voters get involved in economic issues—the poor will always vote themselves a free lunch, and the rich will buy votes to give themselves more. Democracy always devolves into class warfare.
In ancient Greece, if you weren’t a landowner you weren’t respected. In the U.S., voting rules were determined by the States, and originally, everywhere, you had to be a landowner. That meant you had something to lose. But that’s not the case anymore.
Justin: What’s changed?
Doug: For one thing, anybody can vote. People who are penniless. Eighteen-year-olds who have no knowledge or experience and are fresh out of the indoctrination of high school. Lots of non-citizens, probably millions, manage to vote. Voting has become, as H.L. Mencken said, just an advance auction on stolen goods.
For another thing, today, the United States is multicultural. America used to have its own distinct culture; the U.S. no longer stands for anything.
Race is just the most obvious thing that divides people. You can see that somebody’s of a different race just by looking at them. The old saying about birds of a feather flocking together is basically true. It’s very politically incorrect to make that observation, of course. Certainly if you’re white. But it’s factually accurate. Most things that are PC fly in the face of reality.
If people are of a different race, it increases the chances that they’re not going to share other things. The key, for a rational person, is to judge people as individuals. Race, sex, religion, and cultural background are quick indicators of who a person might be. As are dress, accent, attitude, and what they say among many other indicators. You need as much data as you can get to help you judge what the other person will do, and who he is. It’s actually quite stupid to not discriminate among people you encounter. But then the whole PC movement is quite stupid by its very nature.
But, back to the subject, you can’t have a multicultural democracy. And you especially can’t have one where the government is making laws that have to do with economics…where it allocates wealth from one group to another group.
So, sure. The U.S. is going to break apart, and you can certainly see it happening along racial lines. The active racism among many blacks isn’t an anomaly.
Justin: I agree that racial tensions are rising in this country. But that’s clearly not the only source of tension. What else might cause the U.S. to break apart?
Doug: Cultural differences.
The Pacific Northwest draws people who like the idea of ecotopia. Southern California draws a very different type of person than Northern California does. People that live in Las Vegas are quite different from the people that live in Omaha, and very different again from people that live in New York.
The U.S. has turned into a domestic empire. It’s no longer the country that it was when it was founded. And the constitution itself has changed at least as much. It’s a dead letter. Mainly window dressing. It’s been interpreted out of existence.
Sure, the U.S. is going to break up; throughout history the colors of the map on the wall have always been running. I don’t think the racial situation in the near term is going to get better. And the breakdown of the culture is definitely getting worse.
On the other hand, there’s more racial intermingling and marriage now than there’s ever been in the past. If we look down the road 1,000 years or so, racial distinctions will probably disappear. The average person will probably look like most Brazilians. Brazil, incidentally, is theoretically an integrated country—but there’s still a huge amount of racism. Go farther into the future, when homo sapiens has conquered the planets and hopefully the stars, and we’ll likely transform not only into new races, but new species. But I don’t think any of us are looking that far ahead.