Michael Anton’s dialogue on separation vs. civil war

I first encountered Michael Anton’s work via his originally pseudonymous 2016 essay, “The Flight 93 Election”. Since his authorship of that article became known, I have been seeking out his work. He has recently written a very long (50-ish page) article, in the form of a dialogue between two persons with opposing views, in a magazine called “Asylum” and made available by them here:


IMHO, this is a superb essay covering the pros and cons of our possibly impending national divorce. Some slices:

“The FBI is cooking the books to find ‘domestic extremism’ where none exists as an excuse to persecute conservatives on behalf of the Democratic Party,” Tom said.
“Do you realize how crazy you sound?” Malcolm asked.
“This is exasperating,” Tom said, “but still proves my point. We disagree, of course, about which side is truly hateful. But your counter-accusation that we’re the hateful ones is only more evidence of your hate for us. You hate what you see as hateful.”
“Really?” Malcolm said. “You think we’re hateful; that’s what you’re saying, right?”
“Yes,” Tom said.
“So by your logic, doesn’t that mean that you hate us?” Malcolm asked.
“No,” Tom said, “we just want to be left alone. And we want to leave you alone.”

We’ve already addressed that,” Tom said. “This is a proposal to secure civil peace and avoid conflict. The way we see it, the only way to stay together is for one side to rule the other. In practice, that means for you to rule us, since we don’t have the power to rule you and wouldn’t want to even if we did. We’ve already established that, for you, ‘democracy’ means you outvoting us forever and ruling us, effectively, without our consent.”
“Voting is consent,” Malcolm replied.
“In a fair system,” Tom said, “in which elections actually have consequences and change the government, yes. But not in a system in which elections are pre-rigged by ballot-harvesting, propaganda and censorship, and in which victories are routinely overturned in the courts, blocked by bureaucracies, and fought by the media and all the corporations. Nobody consents to any of that.…”

“I think you need us,” Tom said. “You need us, first, to do the scutwork that you look down on and don’t know how to do. Second, you need us as a villain, an enemy, to hold your coalition together—someone you can point to as the cause of all problems. Like ‘wreckers’ in the Soviet Union. Third, you need the contrast. There’s no beauty without ugliness. You’re convinced you’re beautiful, but you need us around as the ugly so that your beauty can shine.”


This is brilliant. We’ve had an earlier post here on 2022-10-03, “Michael Anton—Conservatives and the Right to Revolt, which discussed an article in American Greatness where Mr Anton argued that the U.S. founding was based upon the right to revolt against tyranny, and that there is no reason to believe a tyranny that justified revolt uniquely existed in 1776 and never since.

There is a great deal of emotional manipulation based upon the terms “revolution”, “secession”, and “civil war”. In the French-speaking world, the “American Civil War” is called «La Guerre de Sécession», which I believe is more accurate since what was at stake was not control of the government of the United States as they existed prior to 1860 but rather the ability of states to leave the federal union and, if they wished, form a new union among themselves. The South never intended, and never wished, to take Washington and impose their rule over the states that remained in the Union—which would have been their objective in a civil war. Instead, they simply wanted to leave, and the Union wanted to force them to remain against the will of their citizens.

Similarly, the American Revolution was a war of secession against the British crown. None of the signers of the Declaration of Independence imagined, nor advocated, the invasion of Britain, deposition of the monarchy, and rule of the British Empire from Washington. I thus call the American “Civil War” the “Second War of Secession”.

I think that the dialogue between Tom and Malcolm, which seems to me entirely authentic, is correct in illustrating that there is no prospect of a U.S. civil war in the foreseeable future. There is simply no prospect of the Reds and the Blues fighting over who will rule the entire country and impose their will on the other. If it happened, it would be like a Monty Python war, with tanks flying the rainbow flag commanded by nonbinary officers running out of fuel on the battlefield because deliveries of diesel by despised deplorable rednecks had been halted.

The vast majority of Reds have no desire to impose their will upon the Blues—they just want to be left alone. But the Blues are not yet ready to accept this. So there are two options: inflict sufficient pain on them until they are willing to leave the Reds alone, or separate from them. I believe the latter is more likely, and that it will probably not shake down into two countries, but probably something more like twenty, with some kind of customs union and fairly porous borders among them, but local autonomy in each when it comes to how people choose to live. The population will sort itself out based on their own preferences, as they already seem to be doing, based on U-haul rental rates among various destinations in the present U.S.


The last half century involved extreme violations of consent regarding enforced diversity and immigration – so if things become unstable enough to to permit local autonomy, I suspect the most likely peace will obtain only after assortative migration permits “white” people to get away from “diversity” so they can calm down long enough to think more rationally about things than they are now permitted to. It’s really hard for a woman to decide whether she’s attracted to a man if she’s being raped.


Sort of like the original Articles of Confederation, or even the black letter United States Constitution?

Perhaps some day people will be tearing down statues of Abraham Lincoln, since his decision to prevent States leaving the Union led directly to the current mess?




Sort of like the original Articles of Confederation, or even the black letter United States Constitution?

Perhaps some day people will be tearing down statues of Abraham Lincoln, since his decision to prevent States leaving the Union led directly to the current mess?

                                           Part 1

There seems to me to be some difficulty threshing out the wheat from the chaff here.

Lincoln did NOT prevent the States from leaving the Union. Indeed, he very much wanted a POLITICAL solution to the issues. Let’s remember that the cotton pickers were gone from the union well before Lincoln became president.

Some other historical facts. Virginia legislature’s first vote on session was 75% against. It is the incessant lobbying of the ex-president Tyler that changed that. And Bobbie Lee had an opportunity to change that. Had he accepted the command of the Army of the Potomac there is good reason to believe Virginia may NOT have seceded. And had not Virginia gone, North Carolina would not have gone either.

Meanwhile the first overt act of war was that idiot Beauregard shelling Ft. Sumter. He did that at the behest of one of the elite who noted that the people were starting to reconsider their vote to secede. He told Beureagard he “better get some blood in the water before they change their minds”.

Meanwhile the North was perfectly happy. with the South leaving - until they found out the South was to have no tariffs on their imported goods. THEN suddenly they were NOT for session.


Then there is the question of the South merely wanting to be left alone. HA! Now THERE’S a joke! The South was not happy with what they had despite it being obvious that when the Constitution was written, it was assumed that while slavery would be allowed to continue in the South, no new “slave states” would be allowed into the Union. Lincoln had no desire to emancipate the slaves. He was more for collecting them up and shipping them back to Africa, while compensating the owners for loss of property. But more than anything, he was a politician. He could have been negotiated with. Look at his 2nd Inaugural.

And session was hardly a new idea. In the War of 1812, we came within about 2 votes of having New England secede from the Union. It’s just that in that case, cooler heads managed to prevail, and that at the 11th hour.

The South wanted to fight. There were no serious incursions into the South until Grant took the war to them. in TN. Yes, there was the siege of Vicksburg, but no one was winning until Grant. You can forget Chancellorsville as that was hardly into the South, and the Union got thoroughly spanked *AND that was after Antietam.). But Antietam! THAT was a ways into the North. And. Gettysburg had the potential to be disastrous to the North had only Bobbie Lee been a truly great general. Instead he took the bait Buford put out there and fought on unfriendly terrain terms. Jubal Early was well on his was to Scranton and would have caused real havoc had he arrived there, to be followed shortly by Bobbie Lee. But no such action occurred. Lee wanted a determining FIGHT. He got one, but not the way he hoped.


People will probably be arguing about the War Between The States until the nukes start dropping on our heads. And then our handful of descendants instead could argue about who was to blame for Biden’s Proxy War That Ended Civilization.

What undoubtedly did happen in the War of Northern Aggression was that Lincoln effectively dragged US governance away from the black letter Constitution into a centralized polity. He initiated the imperial presidency and he put us on the road to where we are today, with an overbearing Federal monstrosity and with States largely reduced to a status only slightly above mere counties.

People of course can argue about whether the course that Lincoln chose was a good or a bad thing. And we will never know what might have been the consequences of the road not taken.


A Southern boy to the end. :innocent:


Awww! You two are sooooo cute!