You can’t take it with you

Brent Spiner gets a lot of respect here in the Supersonic Rocket Ship.  It’s not just geek cred for having been Data, either… it’s also for being a clever, good-humored guy (his Twitter feed is a fun follow); for his varied acting gifts – comic, dramatic, and musical; and for generally leaving off the tired sermonizing that too many other entertainers indulge in.

The above is actually a fine example.  Wherever you stand on the recent elections, or the rumbles of secession/nullity, et als, this is the sort of quip that will probably make you chuckle.  It’s reasonably plain where Mr. Spiner stands, in both senses of the phrase – it’s plain, and it’s reasonable.  That’s how you handle a subject that risks alienating a goodly part of your fan base.  Love it.

In any case, you tend to hear these rumbles from one or the other far side, as dawgmark35* points out here.  When it was W’s turn in office, we would regularly hear of some cheesed off lefty celebrity** threatening to abscond to some European clime.  When the Left seems most ascendant, it’s the reverse, and Texas is going to rise again or some such.

* There are 34 other dawgmarks?

** Celeftrity? No, that’s a coinage too far. I feel like there should be something there, but it would be a shame to force it.

I don’t take either thing very seriously, because it’s not at all likely to happen.  But there’s a distinction that I think that dawgmark and Spiner don’t mention here.  It’s most obvious to me in both cases, that of the Baldwinites and E Unumis Plurae,† that each group isn’t trying to take a country with them, but feeling that the country has already left them behind, and it’s time to decamp.

† I know my declension is off. It’s been a long while since my only Latin class.

Neither side makes a secret of this feeling, though I notice that the Left conveniently forgets this feeling when they retake authority.  Troubles and scandals that storm around the Right are somehow far less troubling to them when it’s one of their own in the center.  As CS Lewis observed, they have an engine called the press whereby the public is deceived.  They use this tool much like a high school might use a bonfire at a prep rally: whip up the observers and immolate (at least by proxy) the opponents.

But there’s one more difference, and this one runs right down the middle of the Left/Right divide.  To wit: the Left’s solution involves enforced conformity, and the Right’s does not.

What a lot of people are talking about with this succession business is actually more like Federalism – let the individual state come up with local-level solutions to problems where the Constitution gives the Congress no authority.  This arrangement has the dual advantage of making policy easier to implement AND easier to undo.  After all, if all of Wisconsin or Kansas wants something, why should they be outvoted by a cabal of Californians?  And if it turns out to be a disaster, why should people with no say in the matter be able to block your wishes?

Second, if you don’t like what your state has done, you can head to one more to your liking… without sacrificing your American citizenship or losing your voice in the affairs of your home country.

Now, the Left’s solution is essentially to tell everyone to lump it because they’re in charge.  When they’re not, they threaten to leave the process entirely.  It’s like some tiresome party-goer who insists that everyone will just LOVE their chosen activity, and runs about enforcing the gaiety (and policing the conversation) by a variety of means.  They naturally consider those who stop attending to be tiresome and dull people, and conclude that these wallflowers need livening up – something is obviously the matter with THEM.  They never get to see the parties that these “wallflowers” throw among themselves, with a variety of games, conversations, and even people quietly sitting in ones or twos when they please.  They imagine, if they get wind of such parties, that they’ve been snubbed and take offense… perhaps they never even faintly dream that they would be invited if only they wouldn’t try to carry out a coup d’fete every time.  They can gladly have their fun, so long as they don’t inflict that fun on all present.

Texas and New Mexico can coexist doing different things with abortion, health insurance, and whatever social issues present themselves.  They can’t coexist if one insists on making the other follow all the same policies.  The Big Ticket items that make us an Unum are outlined in the Constitution; that same marvelous document insists that where such items are not specified, the means to deal with them are vested in the Pluribus and the populace.  This would lead to more variety, more opportunity, more choices… horrors, we might run the risk of becoming a more understanding society!  We might have to learn to appreciate how another approach works for a different group of people, and not just reflexively condemn someone who thinks and acts otherwise.  We might just stumble into the shocking realization that it’s possible to disagree without being odious, and realize that it doesn’t make someone an -IST or a  -PHOBE for going their own way.

Rush was right.  No, not that one – the guys who sang “Subdivisions.”


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