Balkanization/Civil War II/American Decline

I had trepidation over starting such a thread for some time. I have read several times people’s dismay for division, which I cannot wrap my head around. And that is because I do not see any good reason for people who dislike each other or each other’s ways, even because of irrational reasons, to be forced to live together.

This can be explained at a very simple level. Imagine if I were a neighbor from hell. I play loud music and threw large parties until 3:00 AM, keeping you from falling asleep. I smoke pot, and you don’t, and you frequently smelled the stuff coming from my backyard as I smoke it daily. You routinely overhear yelling from my home. My kids are foul-mouthed trouble makers. Menacing, flamboyant people visit the home. You try to make nice and invite me over for an Easter; I show up in sandals and shorts and reek of pot, embarrassing you in front of your guests.

You don’t want to make me feel uncomfortable and don’t want confrontation but you can’t continue on with this neighbor from hell! So you catch me one day throwing out the garbage, chat me up a bit, and blurt out, “Hey buddy, that loud music, can you keep it lower and shut it down earlier? I have young kids here. I have work; I need sleep. And who are these sketchy looking people coming by all the time? And the arguments I’m overhearing; I’m thinking you’re gonna crack your woman one day! And the pot—I smell that stuff all day! And you have no control over your kids! Look, I want peace. Can we just just tone this all down?”

I reply, “Oh, sorry about all that. I mean, this is how I’ve always lived. This is just how we are. Everyone from my hometown is like this.”

“Well this is not your hometown. This is not normal behavior.

“What do you means, it’s not normal? Everyone I grew up with does this.

“It ain’t normal here pal!”

“OK, I get it. I’ll try to tone everything down.”

So I go back home and everyone and I start to adjust our ways for you, Mr. Square, working stiff, and your tightwad friends and family members. But it doesn’t last long. Eventually all the annoying ways come back in drops and drabs. I want to respect you and everyone else’s requests, but I’m feeling constrained. My true self is being stifled. I figure that perhaps I belong in a different town, where people are like me, instead of inevitably inviting conflict.

A few weeks later I put my house on the market. Do you feel relieved, knowing that this debacle will soon end? Or do you try to convince me to stay so you can indefinitely scold me for my way of doing things, creating indefinite strife?

Do you want to unite with me? Why? So you can continually try to control and browbeat me?

You get the picture, even though my example might not be great.


I suppose Balkanization can be done along several characteristics: lifestyle, beliefs, gender, sexual orientation race, ethnicity, political orientation, economics, and/or religion.

Obviously, as you know, in the Balkans, people Balkanized over ethnicity and religion. Cramming mutually hostile groups together in Yugoslavia proved to be disastrous, with a big human cost.

Share your thoughts? If you are for unity, maybe you can share why you want unity with people who you don’t like, or perhaps like, but who ways you don’t want imposed on you.

I think you should find a way to give country living a try.

I totally get where you’re going with this thread but the very long intro regarding the hypothetical neighbor gets a little too abstract and open to really broad interpretation. I think this is a really interesting topic to discuss.

There are varying levels of this already taking place in the USA today. California, basically the best patch of land on the planet, is somehow losing population. I don’t think very many of these people are fleeing to more progressive jurisdictions.

To me the basic set of questions most people who are dissatisfied must answer is…

Do I participate in the political process somehow?
Do I post on the internet, write to the local paper, to my elected officials, etc?
Do I protest publicly?
Do I riot?
Do I vote?
Do I become active in local, state or national politics?
Do I pack up and move?
If so, where and why?

There’s plenty more to consider, but it boils down to whether or not you want to fight to maintain or change your area’s politics, or not. Moving is always an option and, as the paradise of California demonstrates, humans will even flee paradise if enough “progress” is made.

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Thanks for the post. Yes, it is an abstract, simple example. But I think it works for the message.

I don’t even know how practical such an idea is, especially in the current day.

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I firmly believe that, if a group chooses to homogenize itself through whatever means, a subset of that group will eventually just find another reason why they can’t stand the broader group and find ways to create a homogenous group that fits them and will repeat the cycle.

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I’d definitely argue that the Bay Area, particularly SF, ate itself and is reeling from unintended effects of having a large subset of its citizens earning monstrous salaries compared to their peers. (Though in hindsight it’s pretty freaking obvious what would happen)

But I genuinely do not understand why these people seem to be moving to Texas or other countries/states. The articles I read don’t help me get an understanding.

I recently read an article about how CA people are moving to Portugal to live an expat life. Ok, cool for them I suppose.

Not at all cool for the locals, who now have to deal with people who tend to have a significantly higher earning average than they do and the ramifications that will have in the future.

The eating alive will just repeat there eventually.

Wouldn’t that depend on the Portuguese people?

If they want to, they can just not welcome Californians (if they have politicians who care about their desires).

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Because they find it in their interests to do so.

Housing prices in Maine have basically doubled in the last two years in all of the good areas near me.

300k now gets you an 800 sq ft 1br 1 bath duplex in the small vacationland town I work in. This is OUT OF NOWHERE. It was pretty affordable pre-COVID. That’s what started the run, cheap property near woodland lakes, rivers, ocean and mountains.

I don’t know what 300k gets you in Bent Armpit, Texas out in that flat part of the state, but I bet it’s more than a tiny apartment.

But it’s the age-old conflict (I think it’s age-old, at least) where stagnant economies welcome new blood because of the money and opportunity they bring. But inevitably they bring unintended consequences along with them.

Btw, I bring these up because I think they’re related to the topic that I think you’re talking about in this thread.

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I think that goes without saying!

But I honestly think they’re not thinking it through. We’ll see what happens in the future.

I’d imagine COVID and the rise of WFH definitely affected housing prices. It’s the only reason why I decided to move out into the Central Valley. Housing prices in the place I live at now really only started to skyrocket around 2021.

I agree, until it’s no longer beneficial to them.

Unity is usually preferable because it brings strength

If people are so different that they can’t be closely united, then being a little less united will still bring more strength than no union at all, in comparison

By unifying with people who condone and support what I consider destructive means I have to live with what that.
I also have to absorb their browbeating and emotional abuse.

There’s also the wonder of why they want to unite with people they don’t like either, or even hate.

Do you think it’s reasonable to ask such a neighbor why he or she would want to hold onto a neighbor who doesn’t want to be around him, for whatever reason, rational or irrational?

I’m a little dense. What exactly are you proposing?

Hey Brick, I’ll need to respond to this later today when I’m near a computer. My phone isn’t in the greatest shape these days.

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Because California is FUCKING expensive and loves to whittle away your freedoms under the guise of “equity” and good intentions. I speak from experience; california, and everyone in the state who votes the way they have, are lacking the common sense portion of their brain.

Could be worse, but yes - those prices are ridiculous for Maine (New Hampshire native here)


Balkanization of the USA, which is likely not going to happen any time soon, if ever.

The United States are already united, there is already a Union. You don’t have to go out of your way to affect that.

I will say that considering secession as impossible could actually make it inevitable.

There’s checks and balances and inefficiencies built in to protect the rights of the few against the many, but those inefficiencies just make it take longer. If it’s just assumed that the systems will work no matter what is stuffed into them, it will end

So I’m with you in a sense, but I would argue for a more cautious, spaced, less assuming union rather than actually arguing for balcanization.

That’s on the national/international level, but your example is of a person moving. No, a person moving isn’t a problem.

If California did actually secede, how high of tariffs would they charge on middle America for everything that comes through it’s ports?

Then again, they’d probably work it out with each state they border and it might be an improvement on diplomacy vs being stuck together to closely

Customs and border patrols would have a much tougher time. Wars would be…

I think a lot of people underestimate how important ports are

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Reminds me of a conversation I had with a buddy

He was guaranteeing me that there would never ever ever be a “New World Order, One World Government” and during back and forth he eventually blurted out to just look at the EU and how it was separating

And I was like… I can remember when there was no EU. When the concept was wild conspiracy theory. That there even is an EU in the first place fundamentally disapproves your point

Humans have mental mechanisms that would favor coming together and also mental mechanisms that would favor separating. It depends on circumstances. For whatever reason, he was in the moment completely oblivious to the fact that humans have mental mechanisms that can favor coming together.

People want enough but not too much space

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