The Intercept has reviews of a few new books in which the United States breaks up.
“Tropic of Kansas” takes place in a United States, in which “whole counties depopulated by disappearing futures” have tried, with limited success, to institute “autonomy and local control of land and law.” A federal recolonization, equally unsuccessful, has left pockets of quasi-autonomous territories contested by various for-profit revolutionaries; feral, unofficially deputized militias; and the occasional U.S. government incursion. The result is the titular space — it’s not “a specific place you could draw on a map, and Kansas wasn’t really even a part of it” — where violence is endemic. Militias confiscate guns. An insurgent is hung from a bridge, “naked and carved with a warning that looked like a corporate logo.” It is into this zone that Sig, a young man orphaned by the militarized police state, is deported by self-amused Mounties…
“AMERICAN WAR,” SIMILARLY composed before Trump’s America was imminent, sees the Second American Civil War kick off in 2074 over the South’s refusal to adhere to the Sustainable Future Act, which outlaws the use of fossil fuels. Following the molding of Southern resistance fighter Sarat Chestnut, “American War” reads less Cassandra than “Tropic.” Instead, El Akkad recreates in the U.S. the societal fracturing it has inaugurated in the Middle East. Children are radicalized by the loss of home, refugee internment, and massacre…
The Neo-Reactionary movement — think the theory bro version of the “alt-right” — sees an endgame in “Patchwork,” which was dreamed up by Mencius Moldbug, the pen name Curtis Yarvin, who reportedly watched election results at the home of sometime Donald Trump adviser Peter Thiel. “Patchwork” consists of a neo-feudal “global spiderweb of tens, even hundreds, of thousands of sovereign and independent mini-countries, each governed by its own joint-stock corporation without regard to the residents’ opinions.”
It also mentions two older books – Ecotopia, which I have read, and The Turner Diaries, which I do not plan to read. Finally, it mentions Adam Rothstein’s “Cascadian Drone Ballads”, about which I am confused whether they are stories, songs, both, or neither, and where and how one would get them. Adam Rothstein appears to be an interesting character, some kind of cross between an author and artist who just does his own thing. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, there does not appear to be a Wikipedia page about him.
It’s hard for me to imagine an actual war between the states. I can imagine a scenario where a federal government starved of tax revenue and regulatory power gradually lets states drift off in their own directions until it is unclear whether they have a coherent foreign policy, and perhaps start checking papers at the border. Ironically, rather than the EU gradually turning into something like the United States as Churchill envisioned, this would mean the U.S. gradually turning into something like the EU (while the EU might be drifting back into something more like its 19th century predecessor.)
By the way, what’s a “theory bro”? Are those the dudes who sit around in bars talking about theories instead of sports and women?