The new Confederate States of America
Expanded from the 9-9-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

As Iraq proves for the umpteenth time, losers can win a war just by waiting out their conquerors. Pop-psych practitioners might call it political passive-aggression.

Japan and Germany were all but wiped off the face of the earth in WW2. Without a huge military to support and plenty of money from their conquistadores, they soon came back to beat our economic brains out.

Iraq is already bashing our economic, military and physical brains, quickly surpassing the speed records of our WW2 adversaries.

Dubya and his dunces have set the template for decades to come and the milquetoast opposition seems ill-prepared to do much about it.

As I've often said, meaningful change in this country only happens after great economic devastation.

That time is just around the corner.

Raising up a new Franklin Roosevelt will prove particularly painful, but he or she will rise.

That neo-Lincoln may preside over a far different and smaller country.

The anarchist-libertarian-small government freaks, who have always lost the battle of ideas because only a big government could do something like handle the industrial age or win a world war, are poised to win by losing. They will join Japan, Germany, Iraq and Vietnam in an economic horse laugh of triumph.

The leader who comes forth to pick up the pieces may well be an artist. People somehow always look to the visionaries to lead them out of the wilderness – Moses, Vaclev Havel – then turn things over to accountants who eventually count it down, then out.

Regular readers know that I have oft-quoted two artists as illustrators of our very uncertain future: the late, great Jane Jacobs and Joel Garreau.

Jacobs came to fame in the 1950's when she led the fight against urban renewal freak Robert Moses who basically wanted to bulldoze much of New York City and put in freeways to the 'burbs. Jacobs and her friends saved Soho and Greenwich Village from the wrecking ball.

In her 1984 chiller Cities and the Wealth of Nations, Jacobs wrote that "societies and civilizations whose cities stagnate don't develop and flourish. They deteriorate."

She presented the United States as hooked on the horns of a classic dilemma of empire. Whether we spend money on guns or butter – military or civic uses – we're screwed because both lead to the erosion of our economies.

She viewed cities as the engines of vitality. Today they sputter, plagued by the import of drugs and the export of jobs. Ronald Reagan's New Federalism turned state and local governments from models of economic efficiency to financial disasters.

Now you know why Reno and Sparks want to annex everything in sight – they're basically broke between the costs of growth which won't pay for itself and unfunded mandates from higher powers.

Jacobs offered only one solution: devolution.

On Oct. 23, 2005, I wrote of the coming of the new Confederate States of America:

"The country has always been divided, but the wallpaper over longstanding fault lines will completely fall away. President Richard the Rotten originated the racist 'southern strategy' in his razor-thin win of 1968. His predecessor's landmark civil rights and voting rights acts permanently delivered the south into the hands of those who saw to it that the Civil War kept going well into the 21st Century.

"The economic devastation brought on by perpetual war and the government's parallel neglect of social and environmental needs will slowly erode the union. The nation will break into regions of interest which will slowly evolve into city-states. In the mystical year of 1984, futurist Jane Jacobs wrote that devolution into smaller economic units seems to be the only solution to the eventual decay of every complex society."

She pointed to Singapore and Norway as perhaps early emerging examples of economic vitality spurred by breaking away from a larger entity.

So what will the new country look like?

We will ride the horse in the direction that it's already going.

Garreau's 1981 masterpiece The Nine Nations of North America portrays us the way we really live. As in Iraq, the imaginary boundaries in the sand mean little.

Nevada is part of The Empty Quarter, named after the Saudi Arabian Rub' Al Khali – mineral rich, sparsely populated, infected with seditious tribalists.

We live next door to Ecotopia, which spans northwestern California and runs along the coast to Alaska. To our south (perhaps you've noticed) is Mexamerica — from central California to Texas to central America.

The others are recognizable by Garreau's names: The Breadbasket, Dixie, The Foundry, Quebec, New England and The Islands, which start at the southern tip of Florida and snort through the Caribbean.

These are emerging de facto nations right now, but when the crunch comes, they will become increasingly restless and autonomous.

How many Hurricane Katrinas would you put up with before you decided to stop paying taxes to DC?

On the 200th anniversary of The Civil War, Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee may have the last laugh. The union will finally break up of economic necessity.

But that doesn't mean it will be pretty. Imagine a Mississippi able to impose its own prejudices with respect to blacks, women and workers.

That's what will happen as the economics of perpetual war finally come back to bite this empire in its fat ass.

Looks like that guy Osama's already got us beat because we're fighting a two-front war both against his ragtags and our own tunnel-vision ineptitude.

Keep the faith, say a prayer and do something positive for your community this Tuesday, 9/11.

Don't meditate or marinate – agitate, agitate, agitate!

Be well. Raise hell.

Smoking Guns...

Jacobs, Jane; Cities and the Wealth of Nations; The Atlantic magazine, March, 1984; and The Dynamic of Decline; The Atlantic, April, 1984. Cities and the Wealth of Nations was also published in book form by Random House of Canada in 1984 and as a Vintage trade paperback in 1985.

Garreau, Joel; The Nine Nations of North America; Avon Books, 1981.

...and more ammo

BARBWIRE: The Big Picture in Slow Motion, 1-2-2005


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   The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.

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Copyright © 1982-2007 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 38-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413/AFL-CIO. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


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