Women with pink hats and signs begin to gather early and are set to make their voices heard on the first full day of Donald Trump's presidency, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington. Organizers of the Women's March on Washington expect more than 200,000 people to attend the gathering. Other protests are expected in other U.S. cities. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

An Encouraging Rejection and a Small Confession

Let me say one thing up front — my piece this morning on secession was written more provocatively than I would have preferred, but it was for a reason that shows me again how much is wrong with our clickbait internet culture. If I had written it as I first intended, it would not have gotten nearly the traffic it got. It got more than twice the traffic a typical Monday morning 5am post gets here. It got traffic from all over. It allowed other people to write equally outlandish pieces linking back to it. It stirred the pot, which was intentional. And that is a bit of a problem.

On Twitter and elsewhere there is every incentive to be more trollish, more clickbaitish, and more provocative than necessary because in a business model where ad revenue is based on clicks, it sells as well as running stories about breatharians who claim they can subsist on nothing but air. As I said the other day, both sides need to calm their rhetoric, but there is no incentive to do so. In fact, there is every incentive to be even more provocative. There is every incentive to double down and hold fast.

We see that not just here, but in places like the New York Times and Washington Post that run salacious stories only to retract them after they’ve captured the clicks. The internet is doing more harm than good in this area.

Having said that, I do maintain that we need a discussion of separation because it is not the preferred solution, but it is the solution we seem to be violently headed towards. I am encouraged by so many people rejecting the idea and that so many did so in respectful disagreement, even understanding. I too would prefer a federal solution. It is the one our founders intended and designed. We should use it.

Right now in the country, the political left has rediscovered federalism. States are standing up their own healthcare regimes, entering into climate agreements, etc. We should all encourage that. We should have no objection to sanctuary cities if a state or local government wants them. We should encourage the experimentation in federalism even if we personally would choose otherwise.

We, as a nation, should encourage mobility of people from state to state or community to community. We should encourage people to build like minded communities of interest and only cede to Washington the bare minimum responsibilities to keep us safe.

Unfortunately, we have ceded so much to Washington that the fights over who controls Washington have become major sources of conflict. And most of that conflict comes because of the Supreme Court and its control. That Court was never meant to be so powerful that it could dictate the morales of the nation, but that is what it does. Washington itself controls too much and creates too much dependency.

I would love to keep the nation together and rebuild local communities where we depend on our neighbors in times of need. But I think we need to have the discussion of what the alternative looks likes so we can understand what is at stake. We have a group of people who see Brexit, Calexit, etc. and think it would be a panacea. It would not. But if we cannot leave each other alone as a nation and respect each other’s different values, morals, etc. then we will reach a real breaking point and a parting of ways none of us should want.

Now, one more bit worth noting — as I wrote in the follow up post to make clear, no I do not consider the American left to be akin to ISIS. But I absolutely do think there is a virulent, radical strain of American leftism that is akin to it and I do stand by that remark. I am not painting with a broad brush here, but those activists who would destroy a person’s life because that person does not want to bake a cake for gay wedding or will burn down a coffee shop to protest the President or cheer on the mass assassination of members of Congress have a fervor akin to religious fervor and everyone should denounce them. And let’s not fool ourselves on the right. There are some on the right who are behaving that way too. Members of the alt-right need to be shunned and denounced as much as these virulent radicals on the left.

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Erick Erickson

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