After a reminder of the inevitable death of empires, here's a reminder that the same is equally inevitable for nation states, as well.
By Shane Schaetzel
An Artist’s Conception of What a Balkanized North America Might Look LikeThe above image will undoubtedly be disturbing to most Americans. Some will be inclined to laugh it off. Some will take it more seriously. If we look at maps of Latin-America (Central and South America) this is exactly what they look like. In short, Latin-America looks a lot like Europe with large land masses broken up into multiple smaller countries. Even Brazil, the largest Latin-American nation, only takes up a fraction of South America. Only in Anglo-America (North America situated north of the Rio Grande) do we see the phenomenon of a two singular nations, stretching continent-wide, from ocean to ocean. Is this phenomenon about to end? Is Anglo-America about to follow in the footsteps of Latin-America? A generation ago, even a decade ago, this would seem preposterous. Now, people are beginning to entertain the thought. Could it happen? As a student of history, I’ll answer that question with another question. When will it happen?
Some American Christians have an almost-religious attachment to the United States. I’ve heard not only Evangelicals, but also a number of Catholics, suggest that the United States had a divine origin. No doubt, it would be impossible for a republic to last this long without some kind of divine providence. Yes, God had his hand upon this nation, both at its founding and development. But was it something he ordained, or something he just allowed to happen? I assert it was the latter, and I say this as a Christian. Why? Because the Christian Scriptures (The Bible) never promised us a nation of liberty and independence. In fact, The Bible never promised us any nation at all, outside of the Church, which is a transnational Kingdom, spanning the globe. The only geographical nation ever founded by God was the Kingdom of Israel, but with the advent of King Jesus, this Kingdom of Israel was globalized, and became known as “The Church,” which would henceforth no longer be limited to geographical boundaries or ethnic heritage. The Church is the Kingdom of Israel now, specifically the Catholic Church, which is headquartered in Rome, where Saints Peter and Paul gave their lives. This is the only nation ever founded by God. All others are incidental.
On the list of incidental nations are many modern countries we all know today, including Italy, France, Spain, the UK and the US. Yes, the United States is an incidental nation, which occurred secondarily and following the divine institution of the Church. The US, like the UK, France, Spain, Italy, and many other nations of Christendom, are a byproduct of Christianity. They are what eventually came forth, after the fall of the Roman Empire. Without Christianity, they would not exist, and as they’ve turned their back on Christianity in recent decades, so they will likely cease to exist in time. In the founding of each nation, we can see traces and hints that point back to the founding of the Christianity. In the founding and development of each secular government, we see an aping of God’s divine plan. Even in the founding of the United States (US), an overwhelmingly Protestant nation, we see a mimicking of Catholic thinking, as pointed out in Timothy Gordon’s book “Catholic Republic.”
Was God involved in the founding and development of the United States? Sure he was! Just as much as he was involved in the founding and development of Canada, Mexico, the UK, Australia, France, Spain and Italy. Let’s keep it real here. The United States is a remarkable nation, having been blessed far more than many others, but it’s not a second Israel. It wasn’t founded directly by God. Outside of its stated intentions in the Declaration of Independence (to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness), it has no special mission from God.
Patriotism is good. Patriotism is a virtue. Yes, even God likes patriotism. However, the religious fervor some Americans display toward the United States is misplaced. It’s one thing to be patriotic. It’s quite another thing to hold that your nation was founded by God as the “last, great hope for humanity.” That designation is the property of Christ and his Church, not the state.
All empires come to and go eventually, and so do federations, confederacies and various unions. Most recently, the British Empire was deconstructed, and downgraded, to a Commonwealth of Nations. So the same will hold true for the Federal Republic of the United States of America. It will happen eventually. The only questions is: when?
Regardless of who is sworn into the office of the presidency on January 20, secession will follow, sooner or later. If the first attempt fails, more will follow, and this Union will be plagued by secession attempts for the remainder of its existence now. As a people, we’ve grown too far apart. Full reunification is no longer possible. One day, the federal government will not be able to stop it from happening. The circumstances of that eventual feebleness have yet to be seen, and I won’t bother speculating about it here. Suffice it to say, the day will come, eventually, and nobody can stop it. All empires, federations, confederacies and unions eventually fall apart, and the United States of America will be no exception. The lessons of history predict it, forewarn it, and ultimately demand it.
The next question is; what will become of us thereafter? In the artist’s conception above, we see nineteen nations emerging from the former United States and Canada. Will it look like this? Who knows? There is no way we can know, nor can we know when. I think it’s safe to say that some forms of government can hold the United States together longer than others. Conventional wisdom tells us that a loose Federation will last longer than a tight Federation. This follows the age-old principle that when you tighten your grip, the more sand will slip through your fingers. Thus, a Federal government that governs the United States loosely, allowing the states to manage their own affairs with near autonomy, will likely last a lot longer than a Federal government that governs with an iron fist, making the states into mere vassals of a centralized bureaucracy. Historically speaking, the Republicans at least give lip-service to this idea, even if that’s all it is sometimes. Whereas Democrats don’t even bother. It’s probably safe to say that Democrat control of the United States, for any extended period of time, will undoubtedly lead us toward a breakup of the Union much faster than Republican control. I think with Republican control, we would still get there eventually, but it would take a bit longer.
I won’t speculate as to how this might go down, as there are a thousand possibilities. Nor will I predict a date as to when, for that too would require a crystal ball, and I’m fresh out of those. Suffice it to say it will happen, eventually. So let’s consider the consequences and possibilities when it does.
The first thing we have to consider is the apocalypse mentality. Every time a nation or civilization falls, it is quite common for the people therein to think this is the end of the world — literally. I’m talking about an apocalyptic end of the human race and planet earth. Obviously, that hasn’t happened yet, and many nations have fallen in the past. Yet, each nation or civilization thinks theirs is unique, and that the world just cannot survive without it. So the first thing we must consider is the apocalyptic mentality that always accompanies the fall of a great nation or civilization. Many Americans will believe the breakup of the United States signals the end of the world. I want to say here that I too am a Christian, and I do believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Resurrection of the dead, and the Judgement of all humanity at the end of the Age. In short, I do believe there will be an “End of the World” someday. I just don’t think that it’s necessarily tied to the decline and collapse of my country — the United States. I’m unable to find any passage of Scripture in the Bible, or any paragraph in the Catechism, that says “the world will end when the United States is no more.” Nor can I find anything remotely close to that. Sorry, it’s just not there. So, while I am a patriot, and I love my country, I don’t think the world is going to end should the US collapse in my lifetime, even though I really don’t want to see that happen. The United States will collapse and breakup eventually. God only knows when. But when it does happen, it’s entirely possible (and likely) the world will go on, not just for years, but for centuries. Don’t get me wrong, the United States is important. However, God doesn’t need us. He managed to run this planet for eons prior to the creation of the US. I think he’ll find a way to manage things without us again.
Many of the corrupt institutions, which seem to be beyond reformation, will simply cease to exist. When the United States collapses, there will be no more Federal government. Washington DC will go the way of the Forum in ancient Rome. The DC swamp will be gone. The political corruption will vanish from that place. The city itself will likely become a tourist attraction, for pilgrims and travelers, much like it is now, except after the collapse, it will no longer be the seat of any government. It will just become a museum, where schoolchildren will learn of the great continental republic that once ruled from sea to shining sea, much in the same way they learn of the Roman Empire today. All of these buildings and monuments will likely be a spectacle for centuries to come. People will draw inspiration from them, just as they do now. Then, however, it will be a historical inspiration, which people will take back to their respective governments of Balkanized North America, with each government implementing its own vision of that, as those people understand it.
From a Catholic perspective, the USCCB will be gone too. Good riddance! With the loss of the US, we can finally rid ourselves of the corrupt body of bishops that aided and abetted American political corruption from a spiritual perspective. Of course, that doesn’t mean that corruption will entirely disappear. It will, however, disappear from that place. We’ll still have corrupt bishops here and there, and we’ll still have smaller bishops conferences here and there too. Some of them will be corrupt as well. But the massive, overwhelming, and seemingly irreformable corruption, that accompanies the Washington DC swamp, will be no more.
The new nations that spring forth from the late United States will each have their own ideas of what freedom means, and how to govern themselves. For example, if we were to use a hypothetical example, like the image at the top of this essay, the following observations could be made. The new Confederate States of America (CSA) would be overwhelmingly Protestant, mostly Evangelical, and would probably be the closest thing resembling the old United States. California and Cascadia would be very secular, very left-wing, and probably socialist. Heartland would be a nation made up primarily of Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans and Evangelicals. Heartland would be a fiscally conservative union, guaranteeing a considerable amount of freedom for everything from gun ownership, to homeschooling, to religious freedom, to marijuana use (yes, even the conservative Midwest is heading in that direction). It’s primary export would be food, and it would be a confessional state, meaning Christianity would be legally enshrined as a protected religion. Laws will also reflect the religious values of the people therein. Heartland, Texas and the CSA will probably be Pro-Life. Obtaining an abortion will likely be very difficult in these countries, except to save the life of the mother. The California, Cascadia and Atlantica will be abortion-on-demand until birth, and probably for a short time after birth too. These countries will also pursue euthanasia-on-demand as well. You get the idea. We can’t take these projections too seriously, because we don’t know what a post-US North America would actually look like. It’s just speculation at this point.
Logically, it stands to reason, that these nations would enter into some kind of continental defense treaty, like how NATO currently is for the US and Europe. They may even choose to remain withing NATO, and it is quite possible that NATO might outlive the US. That being said, however, we could expect a very different kind of NATO to emerge, truly focusing on self-defense and not involving itself in so many foreign wars and entanglements.
Travel between these nations would minimally require passports, though it’s likely that some kind of continental workers-visa will be available as well.
As far as practical life goes, there wouldn’t be much in the way of changes. People would still live in houses, and drive automobiles. Cities would remain intact. Farms and industry would keep producing. You get the idea. Life goes on. Just as it did following the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Spanish Empire and the British Empire. So life will go on following the collapse of the United States. Just as most of Latin-America is united by the common language of Spanish (with one country speaking Portuguese), so Anglo-America will remain united by the common language of English (with one country speaking French).
From a spiritual standpoint, it is entirely possible that this was God’s plan for us all along, to separate the states, like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. What he does with those states afterward is his business. In the meantime, such a separation might result in a period of relative peace, as people would likely be a lot happier. For a time, immigration between these nations would be very quick and easy. Simply establishing residency may be enough to gain citizenship in those formative years. Thus, it would be possible for people to “vote with their feet” for a while. If you’re a liberal, and you don’t like living in the Midwest, you could move to the West Coast and become a citizen in the emerging nations there. If you’re a conservative, and you don’t like living on the West Coast, you could move to the Midwest, or Texas, or the old South, and establish citizenship in the emerging countries there.
The point of this essay is to get my readers to start thinking outside the box. The US will breakup eventually. History demands it. Whether it happens in our lifetimes, or not, remains to be seen. When it does happen, life will go on. New opportunities will present themselves. Not everything will be necessarily “bad.” Just as people lived happy, healthy and prosperous lives before the creation of the United States, they can do so again after its fall. The end of one thing only signifies the beginning of something else.