Many people in the Alt-Right believe that there will be a point in time when a single or succession of catastrophic events will trigger the demise or at the very least the diminishing of the centralized power held by the US federal government; otherwise known as “The Happening.” The U.S. national debt, 18 trillion dollars and rising, along with a stagnant economy, a bellicose Russia, unsustainable military engagements in the Middle East and civil and ethnic unrest within our own borders are all creating the conditions for a perfect storm, which in its wake will hypothetically leave the federal government decentralized and unable to adequately prevent balkanization and the partitioning of the US along ethnic lines.
It’s not my intention to discourage young white nationalists from working towards a better, unpozzed world for their children, but instead to caution and bring attention to the idea that The Happening — if it even does occur — may not play out in our favor. In fact, it may even be the case that the state itself is also rooting for the collapse.
In 1786, just three years after America won its independence from Great Britain, many Massachusetts farmers found themselves in a position where they were unable to pay back their debts due to the inability of the Continental Army to compensate veterans for their services during the war. To compound the aggrieved farmers’ worries, the Massachusetts government began the practice of confiscating debtors property and imprisoning them, which would become the impetus for Shays’ Rebellion, led by veteran Daniel Shays. A militia of consisting of four thousand farmers and laborers was raised to jailbreak imprisoned debtors and in 1787, attempted to seize the Springfield Armory under the leadership of Shays. The U.S. government under the Articles of Confederation at the time, was unable to levy taxes against the states and was therefore unable to raise an army to quell the rebellion in Massachusetts which was eventually defeated by a private militia raised by then Massachusetts state governor James Bowdoin.
In the aftermath of Shays’ Rebellion, the weakness of the federal government under the Articles became apparent to many concerned politicians who called for a more powerful, centralized federal government. That year, the Constitutional Convention drafted the United States Constitution which was to be the framework for a new federal government based on the concepts of separation of powers and federalism, and served to correct for the impotence of the Articles of Confederation. It’s not my intention to bemoan the ratification of the U.S. Constitution but rather to demonstrate how national crisis has historically led not to the decentralization or dismantlement of the state but has instead formalized and expanded the powers of the state.
This observation is in fact part of the thesis of Robert Higgs‘ masterpiece Crisis and Leviathan which details how under periods of economic, social or military crisis, the ideological safeguards preventing the growth of the state evaporate, and when the crisis is abated the institutions and powers granted to the state endure. The prime example of this theory is how the New Deal attempted to end the Great Depression yet, when the economy recovered, New Deal policies and institutions persisted. Or, how WWII birthed the military-industrial complex which continued to grow and justify its existence after the war. Higgs writes, “When crisis provoked an extension of government powers, the new powers in a fundamental sense never could be merely transitory. Because postcrisis society inevitably differed in significant ways, crises are properly considered historically critical events; they markedly changed the course of historical development.” Higgs continues:
The irreversibility (of state growth) obtained not only because of the “hard residues” of crisis spawned institutions (for example, administrative agencies and legal precedents), few of which necessarily show up in conventional measures of the size of government. More importantly, the underlying behavioral structure could not revert to its prior condition because the events of the crisis created new understandings of and new attitudes toward governmental action; that is, each crisis altered the ideological climate.
It is clear to conclude that Higgs does not believe that crisis alone is responsible for the growth of the state, but that crisis is punctuated by a change in ideology of the public’s conception of the role of the state. Furthermore, the growth of the state is an almost irreversible process and that it seems that it is in the very nature or essence of the state to centralize and expand its powers and scope.
So if The Happening transpires due to the collapse of the dollar and/or race riots, what reason do reactionaries have to believe that it will play out in our favor, or result in the collapse of the federal government when history has shown that the growth of statism is expedited in times of crisis? Furthermore, if The Happening does transpire what reason do we have to believe that other nations entangled with the US will sit back and let events run their course? We have already seen how postwar Germany was partitioned and devoured by depraved, Allied vultures. The counterpoint to this is the possibility that the U.S. federal government may collapse under its own weight similar to how the Soviet Union collapsed in the late 1980s. Yet the balkanization of the Soviet Union was the result of a slow death, not a sudden crisis that threatened its sustained existence.
There really is no telling just how events will play out considering that the U.S. is in a unique position in the West, however I would caution those who hold onto the hope that the West can only be born again through its collapse. There is of course hope absent of a complete collapse. Trump’s populist rise is shifting the Overton window right once again, and even if he fails to win the presidency, the burgeoning white identity politics bubbling under his rise will surely boil over and become more radical and explicit under another democratic presidency. Furthermore, the South is destined to rise again with open talk of secession from Texas governor Greg Abbott, who is also currently endorsing the Convention of States which aims to amend the constitution to reiterate the necessity for state rights and liberty from an ever-expanding, intervening federal government.
Western civilization is circling the drain along with the traditional institutions like family and church which have sustained it. Its present course is unsustainable and recognition of this fact is not synonymous with rooting for the collapse. The Happening represents the hope for a new, healthy civilization born from the corpse of the West. The Happening is represented by Nataraja, the dance of Shiva, in which the world is cleansed and destroyed in order to create it anew. I share this hope but I feel that I must resist using the inevitability of The Happening as an excuse to do nothing and sink into nihilism. As Hunter S. Thompson says “Call on God, but row away from the rocks.”
I am not going to hold my breath for a Happening, we must still fight to secure the existence of our people in case The Happening never happens.