Author Topic: Yo, Dragoness of Death here. :P  (Read 4353 times)

Lord J Esq

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Yo, Dragoness of Death here. :P
« Reply #60 on: October 01, 2005, 02:06:47 pm »
Quote from: Sentenal
And what did the US gain from annexing the south.  Forgive me if I get upset about the implication.  For one, you liberals wouldn't have Bill Clinton as a President.  Two, good luck winning World War 2 without Lockheed Martin, making your Bombers that the allies used so much, which is located in the South (very near me, in fact).  Three, the US wouldn't have half the greatness it does now if it allowed half its country to go into rebellion unanswered.  You yankees make me sick with that comment.  Bah, damn yankees...

You may be right that our reunified United States almost certainly turned out better than a diminished United States would have, but undoubtedly and especially this is true for the South itself. Losing the Civil War was the best possible outcome for the South, purely in economic terms, let alone in social ones.

We can see that in the South today. The South is the poorest, least-educated, most unhealthy region of the nation. These problems are all interrelated, and much of it has been self-inflicted. The culprit, of course, is the sheer conservatism that pervades the South. It’s the same anti-government, anti-progress, socially-backward personality that has been with the South since its inception. It even transcends the political parties; you will remember that the South used to be solidly Democratic, back when the Democrats were all about small federal government and states rights.

For many reasons, the South has never had its fair share of the entrepreneurial spirit that made the United States great. The ambition for enterprise never found its place in the regional psyche. The old South never pursued industry as the old North did, and as a result much of the nation’s industrial infrastructure still lives in New England and the northern Midwest, from Chicago to the Ohio River Valley to Pittsburgh…rusting away in modern times, but vital to the growth and power of the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Without a strong industrial base, or the desire to achieve one, there was never the money for the South to lift itself up on par with the rest of the nation. The rest of the country grew wealthier and wealthier, but the South made little progress and became a veritable welfare state. To this day, tax monies flow out of the rich liberal states and into the poor conservative ones—a bitter irony given how resentful of taxes the South has always been.

What’s even more ironic is that the large corporations you mention are a big part of the problem. Many of them were not founded in the South; they relocated there at some point because taxes are lower and state governments offer them many incentives. They are notorious for not wanting to be responsible participants in the United States economy, and so they relocate their operations without hesitation to these poorer areas. Once there, they operate at a higher profit margin, because they don’t have to pay the state and local authorities as much, and because they don’t have to pay their employees as much. Many Southern towns are built around one large company, and that’s where people work. What choice do they have? And because the South has fewer laws and regulations that support the workers, the problem never goes away. So you can see that one of the (many) reasons that the South remains so poor is that the conservative economics so deeply admired by Southerners come back to bite them in the ass. Wages are low, benefits are hard to get, and there are few dependable alternatives because the economy is undiversified. And to complete this vicious little circle, all that wealth flowing from the rest of the country tends to get concentrated in the hands of the companies that continue to disenfranchise their workers. So more companies move to the South and the cycle continues, as it will until people decide they want something better for themselves.

Meanwhile, the South has always resented taxation and government, resulting in less public money and fewer social services. Education and health suffers especially. It is all one big case of bad priorities.

But with a socially backward culture, what will is there for things to change? Even today the South is an incredible drag on the nation’s progress. Southerners love their “simple” lifestyles, casual and laid-back. You wouldn’t be able to tell that some of these people are twenty-first century citizens of the most powerful country on the face of the Earth. The South has always had its own, disparate identity. It’s a sick culture, one that lacks ambition and despises social progress.

Sometimes I wonder if having lost the Civil War is the only thing that keeps the South in first-world status. Would the South have rehabilitated itself as its own nation? That’s a fascinating question, and of course we’ll probably never know the answer for sure, but it seems to me as though the deck would have been stacked against the Confederate States of America from ever having accomplished what they were able to accomplish as a part of the United States.

So the South owes the rest of the country a great debt of gratitude, rather than its scorn. But what about the other side of the coin? What would have come of the United States if the South had won secession? Would things have turned out better or worse? Well, a successful secession would have made for an unsettling precedent in the annals of modern democracy…but who’s to say that would have led to future civil conflict? The makings for the Civil War were there from before the country’s independence; I see no other conflict of that magnitude in the nation’s fabric.

If the South had made good on its succession, the course of history would have changed. Having retained most of the nation’s industry and wealth, as well as the majority of its population and both oceanic coasts, the United States would have prospered anyway. Nor would it have had to contend with the backward, agricultural Confederate States, which as we discussed would have become a much poorer country, and would have been far behind the North in entering the world stage as a major power.

My first instinct is to say that we’re better off with the South, because there are so many people there that the national domestic product is much larger than it would otherwise be. And although the South does drag on the United States economically and socially, I don’t think that drag is greater than the GDP boost. Our production capacity is much higher because of the South’s natural resources, useable land, and available labor pool. It’s like a house with a family of three, two parents and a teenage kid. All three of them work, and the teenager brings in more money than it costs to take care of him. So there is a net advantage, even though the teen badmouths a lot, and won’t contribute his fair share to the household chores.

But my first instinct may not be reliable. Could the United States have become a superpower without the South? Probably. There’d have been a lot more investment in the West, which has instead gone into the South. Perhaps that would have paid an even higher dividend than one might expect, so that, eventually, the loss of the South would have been more than offset by the greater attention to the nation’s other resources, especially the West. But that’s pure speculation; we’ll likely never know.

All in all, I am not proud that the South is a part of this country. It’s a backward culture fraught with sexism and racism and dead-end political ideology. It’s a spoiled child that has a very large say in our national affairs simply because so many people live there. It lacks the ambition to surpass itself and become a more responsible participant in the United States of the twenty-first century. And if I were to decide that the South may as well have won secession, I’d be willing to part with more than just Bill Clinton. But I haven’t made such a decision, yet. It remains to be seen, and I shall look forward to how the South behaves itself in the years to come.

Radical_Dreamer

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Yo, Dragoness of Death here. :P
« Reply #61 on: October 01, 2005, 07:10:29 pm »
Ok, see, I was just making a smart-ass throw-away comment back there. I didn't honestly expect essays.

Lord J Esq

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Yo, Dragoness of Death here. :P
« Reply #62 on: October 01, 2005, 08:03:47 pm »
Quote from: Radical_Dreamer
Ok, see, I was just making a smart-ass throw-away comment back there. I didn't honestly expect essays.

I'm just working it out of my system, all those essays I never got to write as a kid. I imagine most people are the same way.