Originally posted November 23, 2021.
In what he explains is the growing red state/blue state divide, Victor Davis Hanson discusses in American Greatness how our economic, cultural, social, and political totality represents (1) the more hysterically neo-Confederate model and (2) the calmer, more Union-like one.
The former appears more unsustainable and intolerant, the latter is increasingly more livable and welcoming.
The people themselves are voting with their U-Hauls. After the Civil War and during the early 20th century, Americans left the South in droves to the wide-open new West and industrialized North. Now again they are packing up—but this time to get away from the bastions of old Union liberality. People are fleeing the bright lights and supposed cultural dynamism of old New York and Chicago and “enlightened” newer cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
What once crippled the antebellum and postbellum Old South were obsessions with race that infected every aspect of life. Like the Soviet commissariat, such one-drop fixations ultimately stagnated social life and eroded economic efficacy.
In the decades following the conclusion of the Civil War in April 1865, Mr. Hanson asks readers to consider, “how might the reunited American public have answered the following hypothetical questions?”
- One-hundred-fifty-six years from now, in the year 2021, where in the United States will Americans most likely discriminate on the basis of race?
- Where will citizens squabble over the racial percentages of ancestral bloodlines, and schools admit or reject students in part on the DNA of an applicant?
- Where will free speech and expression become most endangered?
- Where will states’ rights boosters deny federal officers the right to enforce federal law?
- Where will the major cities be the most unsafe and the middle classes the most embattled? And from which regions of the country will people flee, and to which will they migrate?
The best example of the great reversal is the stark contrast between the Bay Area of California and Austin or Dallas, continues Mr. Hanson.
A near-majority of Bay Area residents expresses a desire to leave the state. Silicon Valley emulates the power of old King Cotton—a monopoly that owns state government, one that destroys competition, censors, and smears its critics, and pours its money into elections not just to choose obsequious candidates, but to alter the very systems of balloting to ensure proper results. Like the “good ol’ boy” Old South, California is a one-party, boss-man state. Democrats, in Southern fashion, control all statewide offices, supermajorities in both houses of the legislature, and 75 percent of the congressional delegation.
Our current servile classes often live in cars and trailers parked on the streets outside the campuses of Stanford University, Google, and Facebook. A time traveler from the South of 1955 might dub their trailers “shanties”—given the absence of indoor plumbing, running water, or usable toilet facilities. There is little new housing construction, given that the entrenched one percent resist affordable home construction, as well as more investments in freeways, power plants, and oil and gas production.
Few under 40 can afford even a modest home. Houses are mostly either inherited or the exclusive domain of the tidewater tech class. Just as the South once fought “internal improvements” and the genteel cotton baron resisted new development, so too the coastal affluent freeze their lifestyles and class privileges in amber, as they fight new industry and development that would elevate hoi polloi.
If you’re willing to fight for Main Street America, click here to sign up for the Richardcyoung.com free weekly email.