Finding value

–Capitalism, imperialism, militarism, racism, nationalism, atavism: with that line-up, who’s got a chance? Isn’t it better to start at the other end and answer: “What really-existing political conditions and cultural practices allow for the expression of fallibility?”

Why so? Because we want the practice of finding value in things to continue.

–What is finding value ahead? It’s less like a prediction than, pace modern cosmology, a report from a distant planet, wholly like ours except its present has fast forwarded in a way that remains unignorable for ours.

No wonder, then, rapid change isn’t ignored and utopians want something more. No wonder poems matter, since poems favor words many people don’t know and new words can be new worlds. Including worlds uncolonized by our very own historically-contingent “ism’s.”

Reset of transcendental policy over China?

This is what passes as US expert policy and opinion with respect to the PRC:

China should abolish the hukou system, expand its social safety net, enable workers’ organizations to fight for higher wages, distribute dividends from state-owned enterprises to the people, invest in environmental protection, tax the rich, reign in imaginaries like tianxia, and. . .

No, say the realists. Instead we should pray that China: doesn’t support a strong yuan, imports high inflation from Russia and elsewhere, suffers an even worse demographic crisis than currently inevitable, and witnesses the world’s largest real-estate collapse and the uprising of the planet’s biggest proletariat.

And, oh yes, before it’s too late: liberate Taiwan from China just like we liberated Kuwait after Saddam reunified it with Iraq.

Perhaps this kind of transcendental thinking needs to be recalibrated?

Are we missing, slight as the chances may be, a reset with China just as the warriors on all sides ensured 9/11 was not the opportunity for rapprochement with (parts of) the Muslim world?

Infrastructure challenges seen through long-standing “at sea” analogies

I’m working through Han Blumenberg’s essay on shipwreck analogies developed largely in early Greek and Roman times (Shipwreck with Spectator: Paradigm for a metaphor of existence, https://www.rug.nl/research/icog/research/research-centres/centre-for-internatlonal-relations-research-/history-and-theory-of-international-relations/pdf/shipwreck-with-spectator-1.pdf).

The following has been triggered by one of his review points, i.e., “earthquakes are compared with the swaying of a ship at sea”.

I’ve cobbled together Blumenberg’s various examples of the metaphor in a thought experiment: Assume the ship is a large infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest, where the magnitude 9.0 or greater Cascadia earthquake is to be experienced:

1. One set of analogies is the ship at sea under familiar conditions to its crew and officers. Blumenberg makes the point that this is not a normal state of affairs. First, being on terra firma was the preferred condition by humans. Second, being at sea mean a quite different set of day-to-day activities. Being at sea was, in my terms, hugely risky and in different ways, when compared to staying and living on land. The care and maintenance of the ship at sea was nothing like the care and maintenance of plows and plow-animals on land for farming.

Translation:

  • Routine repair and maintenance in large infrastructures are different in kind and degree from, e.g., the maintenance and repair of farm equipment, at least for those who think of “farming” in distinctly non-infrastructural terms (e.g., Wendell Berry).
  • Since realistically the counterfactuals for infrastructures cannot be the presettlement template or a settlement template without infrastructures, the implication is that alternative infrastructures under calmer conditions (e.g., micro-grids at smaller scales) still involve their own adventures and risks.
  • Even though return to port for repairs remains an option in this set of analogies, Montaigne, among others, reminds that “There are thousands who are wrecked in port.”

2. Another very famous analogy is having to rebuild the ship while at sea, without recourse to going back to port for repairs. This is interesting because the rebuilding, according to authors reviewed by Blumenberg, requires you to improvise with what’s at hand, which includes debris from earlier shipwrecks at sea.

Translation:

  • The non-routine repair of infrastructures means the inevitable “improvisations” should include details of how parts from other (earlier) systems that no longer work are cannibalized for that improvisation.
  • Retrofitting a bridge has been described to us by interviewees in two ways so far. In one view, it looks more like dry-docking the ship back at port and significantly upgrading a key part (this is the component view). In the other view, retrofitting the bridge takes place while the road infrastructure as a whole is still in operation (the system view). But acting as if you can dry-dock the ship back at port is not an option in this analogy.
  • Either way, this retrofitting is NOT all about building in resilience for the shipwreck ahead. Rather retrofitting is part and parcel of non-routine repair, given a shipwreck is always possible. That is, conditions are already highly volatile for both component and system when the retrofitting takes place.
  • (And anyway, if you find yourself in the middle of the Atlantic in high storms with no option to return to port, you want the better protection of a large ship designed for mid-Atlantic conditions, even if from time to time the crew and officers don’t make the right decisions.)

3. A different set of at-sea analogies revolves around the shipwreck happening right now. This is where Blumenberg really gets interesting. Early observers clearly distinguished between the spectator on the shore watching the shipwreck unfolding and those on the ship experiencing the shipwreck as it happens.

Translation:

  • The obvious implication is the uncomfortable one of Roe on the shore in California looking on the shipwreck-in-making that is M9 versus interviewees who in real time don’t have that distance.
  • More subtly the shipwreck I think I see in the distance may not be the shipwreck that is underway for those experiencing it.
  • So what? The point is that the differences are not reconcilable into one consolidated view about infrastructure failure and immediate response.
  • More subtly, it suggests that Roe may be wrongly thinking he is on terra firma rather than with others on (another) ship under the same conditions.

4. A last set of analogies revolve around the survivor, having abandoned ship, clinging to a plank and/or tossed up on the shore. In Blumenberg’s review and coming full circle, if survivors are tossed up onto shore after the shipwreck, that terra need not be as firma as thought by these stranded spectators (think: Lord of the Flies).

Translation:

  • Two-week readiness programs (i.e., you have two weeks of supplies on hand to survive the earthquake) is hopefully one such plank. On the other hand, a raft or its analogue keeping a group afloat (after abandoning ship or the ship abandoning them) would be better (i.e., a neighborhood generator to be used by households on the block).
  • Conceptually, the shift in the unit of analysis from ship-as-infrastructure to survivors-as-individuals is major. Efforts to initially restore critical services, even if temporarily during immediate response (e.g., through placement of mobile telecommunication towers), becomes a very major link between the individual as unit of analysis and the infrastructure as a returned unit of analysis.

There is no workaround for improvisation

–Consider the quip of a fund manager in the lead-up to the 2008 financial crisis: “The fact that the risk was diversified was a good thing. Now everyone is panicking because they don’t know where it is”.

But what kind of “it” was this risk? What kind of “diversified” is it if the risk includes unknown-unknowns?

–As the answers are not clear, what reformulation could produce more useful insights? One answer: a reformulation of the situation entailing different messes, differently good and bad than those posed by the fund manager. As in: one that did not revolve around “knowing where the diversified risks are.”

What could such a reformulation look like? To that end, undertake a thought experiment. Assume we are actively in the lead-up to another huge financial meltdown and fund managers are making the same or similar points as in the last one. Ask now: What would be success or effectiveness for these managers under the now-current conditions?

–There are many possible answers. The one I highlight is that of a senior emergency manager who recently told us: “Success in every disaster is that you didn’t have to get improvisational immediately. You can rely on prior relationships and set up a framework for improvisation and creativity.”

More formally and back to our thought experiment, management success in this lead-up to the next financial meltdown is no longer just one of preventing that meltdown from happening. It’s better to think that this lead-up is its own disaster and now ask: Where is effective emergency response gong on presently or should be going on?

Part of that answer is identifying where sets of working relationships (and allied resources) are in place for better matching now-and-here resource capabilities to the now-and-here task demands of financial management, today as you read these words. In other words, you’d expect to see a great deal of collective improvisation under these circumstances requiring real-time requisite variety.

Of course, there are their own messes that have to be managed in seeking to real-time requisite variety on the task demand and resource capability sides. (In fact, that’s the point!) But in this reformulation you’d be drawing from a cumulatively diverse and established body of literature on responding to socio-technical emergencies rather than relying on, say, “macro-prudential regulation of systemic financial risk.” (Is that even a field by way of comparison, let alone a craft?)

While the devil is in the details, what could this “immediate emergency response” look like on the ground? No detailed failure scenarios are possible here, but the thought experiment can be extended in illustrative ways. For example, assume all or several of 12 US Federal Reserve Districts and their respective Banks officially activate as Emergency Operations Center under the Incident Command System. Each Bank retains its mandates for price stability, maximum employment and interest rate regulation within its specific, widely varying regions. What then could/would/should each Bank-EOC do differently in the next two months?

–So what’s the bigger point?

In this reformulation, “knowing where the diversified risks are” is in no way dispositive for requisite variety or improvisational behavior. All that more knowledge on the risk management side brings you is greater recognition of just how transparently complex are the risks and uncertainties in the lead-up. But that is not the point from the perspective of this reformulation.

Which is: When it comes to immediate response to this disaster called the lead-up to the next financial meltdown, there is and can be no workaround for improvisation.

Modernity’s counternarratives: How many missed meals away are we from civil unrest?

–In a recent article titled, “Growth Regimes,” the economist, Peter A. Hall, posits three successive growth regimes in post-WWII capitalism (I quote at length, the only edits being deletion of footnote numbers):

The growth regime of the era of modernization promoted rapid economic growth, but it also ensured that more than 60 percent of national income in the developed political economies went to labor and reduced income inequality to the lowest levels it was to see in a century. Employment became increasingly secure and prosperity spread geographically, as industries moved to smaller towns and cities. The expansion of white-collar employment shifted the occupational structure in ways that increased social mobility. This was not a perfect society. Pockets of poverty remained, and opportunities were more limited for women than for men, but an expanding social safety net supported people without employment and the fruits of economic prosperity were widely shared.

By contrast, the growth regime of the era of liberalization shrank the labor share and increased levels of income inequality, especially at the top of the income distribution in Anglo-American economies, as managerial salaries increased more rapidly than those of production workers and rising returns to financial assets privileged people with access to them. Employment security declined for large swaths of the population, and outsourcing trapped many people in low-wage secondary labor markets. In some countries, the prospects for social mobility declined with each successive cohort entering the labor force after 1980. Slower rates of economic growth, which cannot be ascribed entirely to the growth regime, contributed to some of these outcomes. However, many of these distributive consequences were linked to changes in firm strategies and government policies.

The era of knowledge-based growth has brought further dislocation, as technological revolutions do. The rapid offshoring of manufacturing jobs has polarized the occupational structure, eliminating many middle- skill jobs that were once stepping-stones to social mobility. Forty percent of workers in Europe are now employed in nonstandard work. The movement of skilled jobs in high technology to urban clusters has exacerbated regional disparities in income and employment. The turn toward social investment has improved the lives of working women and expanded educational opportunities for some young people, but it has done so on a far from equal basis and at the cost of tying social benefits for many to work in low-wage labor markets. Although competition policies are gradually responding, the economies of scale and network effects associated with new technology have generated monopoly rents, especially for firms at the apex of global value chains, increasing interfirm inequalities in profits and wages.

Assume the periodization and characterization hold.

I want to pick up that thread of thought, “This was not a perfect society,” in the first paragraph and ask: What was lost in modernization’s imperfect but evolving society when superseded by the two later growth regimes? What was cut short, for good or for ill? What failed to be realized that could/would have been better or worse than the developments later on?

–The questions are important because their answers are usually overlooked, namely: Modernization, liberalization and ever more knowledge-based growth occurred and still occur in different ways over different times and different locations. We have cases where modernization was not and is not superseded as rapidly as in other cases. The impacts of liberalization and knowledge-based growth remain highly differentiated and attenuated, in far too many areas, worldwide, to be ignored.

–Why are the differences noteworthy? To insist as many do today that urbanization is under permanent, interlocking and intersecting crises is to stop too short of “with respect to what differences”. Modernization and liberalization and ever more knowledge-based growth or whatever the hybrid–all have permanent, interlocking and intersecting crises. But they are not the same (think: varieties of capitalism) and these differences matter for policy and management.

For example, many see the need to reconsider the policy narrative that integration of China and Russia into the liberal economic order would moderate their behavior. Wouldn’t it have been better all along to say that the two nation states have modernized in very different ways in response to liberalization and the ICT revolution? Are we able to demonstrate the different responses benefited respective elites in similar ways and to similar ends?

–If Hall’s three processes of modernization, liberalization and knowledge-based growth are in effect reduced-form policy narratives for what has been and are highly complex and hybrid modernities, then we must ask: What has been written out of each so as to render them, at best, broad empirical generalizations? One answer: What’s been effaced and excised out are the overlooked jagged edges and discontinuities that pose counternarratives for current policy and management.

–One such counternarrative is ready to be found for those wanting to look. It is best introduced as a question: How many missed meals away from civil unrest are we, and do the number of missed meals vary when imperfect modernizations are overtaken by liberalizations and disruptive technologies? History was for a long time the inescapability of humans having to miss meals, and still is for many. Modernization was, at least from where I sit, the first to break the back of “inescapable” being “inevitable.”

Principal source

Hall, Peter A. (2022). Growth regimes. Business History Review doi:10.1017/S0007680522000034

A whole-cycle approach to infrastructure risk and uncertainty

I

The terms, risk and uncertainty, are used all the time by real-time infrastructure operators without meaning or referring to “expert probability estimates,” be the latter Bayesian, based in frequencies or otherwise. But their operational usages of risk and uncertainty differ depending on where the operators are in the cycle of infrastructure operations and the standards of effective management at those stages.

In critical infrastructures that are managed with high reliability (i.e., safe and continuous provision of the critical service, even during–especially during–turbulent times), the types of risks to be managed follow from the standard of reliability being managed to: Certain events have to be prevented from ever happening.

This means that the risks arising out of becoming complacent, or having to decide with too many balls in the air at once, or backing the control room into a corner rise to the fore and must be managed in real time. The temptation is to quibble about whether the precluded events standard of reliability is deterministic or “really” probabilistic, but the crux here is control room operators knowing as much about cause-and-effect, tacitly and otherwise during these operations.

II

Infrastructures however can and do fail systemwide, even though not as often as outsiders seem to expect.

A complex socio-technical system in failure differs vastly from that system in normal operations under standards of high reliability management. This means infrastructure risks and uncertainty also vastly differ when the infrastructure is in systemwide failure. For example, in earlier research control room operators we interviewed (during their normal operations) spoke of the probability of failure being even higher in recovery than during usual times. Had we interviewed them in an actual system failure, their having to energize or re-pressurize line by line may have been described in far more demanding terms of operating in the blind, working on the fly and riding uncertainty.

Note the phrase, “more demanding;” it is not “the estimated risk of failure in recovery is now numerically higher.” It is more demanding because the cause-and-effect of normal operations is moot when “operating blind” in failure. If there are urgency, clarity and logic in immediate emergency response, it in no way obviates the need for impromptu improvisations and unpredicted, let alone hitherto unimagined, shifts in human and technical interconnectivities as system failure unfolds.

This means that what had been cause-and-effect is now replaced by nonmeasurable uncertainties accompanied by disproportionate impacts, with no presumption that causation (let alone correlation) is any clearer in that conjuncture. What had been the high reliability standard of precluded events has been replaced by a requisite variety standard of effective emergency response, that is, then-and-there task demands are matched by then-and-there resource capabilities, even if only temporarily. Trade-offs are everywhere in infrastructure failure and differ considerably from those in normal operations, where systemwide reliability and safety cannot be traded-off without jeopardizing the entire system and users.

III

In short, risk and uncertainty are to be distinguished comparatively in terms of an infrastructure’s different stages of its operations. Once we also understand that the conventional notion that infrastructures have only two states–normal and failed–is grotesquely underspecified for empirical work, the whole-cycle comparisons of different understandings of infrastructure risk and uncertainty become far more central and rewarding.

For example–this may be too simple for some cases–assume a major infrastructure has witnessed operations that were normal, disrupted, restored back to normal or tripped into outright failure, immediately responded to when failed (e.g., saving lives), followed by restoration of backbone services (electricity, water, telecoms), then into longer term recovery of destroyed assets (involving more and different stakeholders and trade-offs), and afterwards the establishment of a new normal, if there is to be one.

It is my belief that what truly separates the risks and uncertainties of longer-term recovery from risks and uncertainties found in a new normal isn’t that, e.g., the politics and conflicts have altered, but rather when or if infrastructures adopt new standards for their reliability management.

This may (or not) be in the form of different standards seeking to prevent specific types of failures from ever happening. We already know that major distributed internet systems, now considered critical, are reliable because they expect components to fail and are better prepared for that and other contingencies. Here each component should be able to fail in order for the system to be reliable, unlike systems where management is geared to ensuring some components never fail.

Missing in the sense that outer space is ever-present

–When the initial conditions of an issue are behaviorally complex, it’s as if cognition tries to see, really see, the issue along all its major dimensions: to see it as if in the clear light of day and around which we could walk and examine it from all directions, close-up and from a distance. Instead of that clarity, we end up missing much. We want to see the figure in full—follow the shadow and you find the body—but are left with herms, partial torsos held on frail shafts, more an etiolated Giacometti than the bodied Rodins.

Each issue’s presence is complex because it marks what is not (no longer) there as being also present. How is this important? Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and J-J Rousseau’s The Social Contract have a good deal of implications for inequality, but their resonance for that topic is also as “fragments” of larger unfinished works that the authors never got to writing—this being markedly the unfinished business of any complex policy issue as more can and must be said but hasn’t (again for these two projects, about inequality).

–We hanker after immediate evocation without all the beforehand description and explanation. It’s as if one can take a short-cut to conclusions, like that immediacy that sometime comes in opera: Judith’s high C in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, the Baroness’s “Lulu” at the end of Berg’s eponymous opera, the vibraphone’s signaling of Tadzio’s entrance in Britten’s Death in Venice, the sounds and after-image of the guillotine slice at the end of Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites.

It matters to me in ways I can’t explain (one reason leading to another as in an infinite regress) that, while both pieces are astounding, the music of Orff’s Antigonae captures more in the moment than Honegger’s Antigone (compared to, say, how un-Antigone the eponymous 18th century operas of Tommaso Traetta and Josef Mysliveček sound).

The evocative moment voids the distance that is entailed with having to think about (reflect on) what went before or comes after. It’s like what happens when I look at the photos in Emmet LeRoy Emmet’s Fruit Tramps (1989); I’m “there,” with them, all push and shove now. (I’d call this sentimentality, if it weren’t for the pictures.)

–Reading for what’s missing would be like reading Hardy’s 1912 poem, “Convergence of the Twain” as if it were still part of the news about the sinking of the Titanic the month before. It would be as if my portal to 19th and 20th century thought were my own lived, real-time thinking about and experience of reading novels of ideas, like Nicholas Mosley’s Hopeful Monsters, Bruce Duffy’s The World As I Found It, or Harry Thompson’s This Thing of Darkness. I’d be reading for the contingency that hindsight erases.

Or from the other direction. To read for what’s missing is to see as the variety and ironies of today’s “certainly” in this earlier exchange on human contingency:

Stranger: …For the dissimilarities of both human beings and actions, and the never being at rest, so to speak, of any single thing among human things—these do not allow any art whatsoever to proclaim anything simply in any area concerning all things and for all time. We do grant these things, I suppose?

Socrates: Certainly

(From Plato’s Statesman as edited by Brann, Kalkavage and Salem, 2012)

NB. The title is a quotation from a letter of literary critic, Hugh Kenner.

So once again the project is recovery, not discovery

Those of us who work from the Left are familiar with a double-bind when making recommendations about poverty and inequality. For example, the World Bank estimates over 1.5 billion people globally do not have bank accounts, many of whom are the rural poor. Yet having bank accounts ties us into a global infrastructure of financialized capitalism and its detriments. Well, then, what is it? Should the rural poor have bank accounts or not? Should they be integrated into global capitalism or not?

Now, the typical response is to veer off, up or down. There are those, of course, who insist this is not a binary choice. While many get bank accounts, others–without or without–work to change the higher-level determinants of financial capital. Then there are those at a lower-reach: Surely, this requires going down to the case level? Bank accounts would clearly be helpful just as in other cases they would be clearly harmful. . .

The latter case-by case looks to be weak beer, until you see the self-harm inflicted when political possibilities are foreclosed by a policy narrative that insists the world is colonized by capitalism(s). Where else are we going to find the counternarratives if not in this really-existing world?

More on methods

–In the mid-1970s a group of physicists and political scientists met at MIT and “arrived at the conclusion that if a World Government was not implemented soon, the probability of a nuclear war before the year 2000 would be close to 100 percent” But what were their nuclear war scenarios? Without details against which to evaluate, the experts are like the early astrologer who cast Christ’s horoscope and found the end of Christianity within sight.

–In the early years of World War I, Rainer Marie Rilke, the poet, wrote that “the misery in which mankind has lived daily since the beginning of time cannot really be increased by any contingency. . . Always the whole of misery has been in use among men, as much as there is, a constant, just as there is a constant of happiness; only its distribution alters.” Here too is the literary all-rounderJean-Paul Sartre, “essentially, there is not much difference between a catastrophe where 300 or 3000 die and one where ten or fifteen die. There is a difference in numbers of course, but in a sense, with each person who dies, so also does a world. The scandal is the same.”

Rilke and Sartre avoid a major point. The numbers do matter in determining whether or not misery is a constant. “From a statistical point of view, which is that of social and political life and of history, there is an enormous difference,” Maurice Merleau-Ponty said of Sartre’s remark. We know from survey research that conclusions are drawn much more confidently from structured surveys and samples consisting of 3000 people than, say, 30 persons.

I may be misremembering, but I think it was Kenneth Boulding, the heterodox economist, who felt that the greatest contribution of the social sciences to humankind was the notion of the sample survey, as imperfect as it is.

— Consider a passage from novelist, Virginia Woolf: 

Let us begin by clearing up the old confusion between the man who loves learning and the man who loves reading, and point out that there is no connection whatever between the two. A learned man is a sedentary, concentrated solitary enthusiast, who searches through books to discover some particular grain of truth upon which he has set his heart.  If the passion for reading conquers him, his gains dwindle and vanish between his fingers.  A reader, on the other hand, must check the desire for learning at the outset; if knowledge sticks to him well and good, but to go in pursuit of it, to read on a system, to become a specialist or an authority, is very apt to kill what it suits us to consider the more humane passion for pure and disinterested reading.

While asserting no connection whatever between learning and reading, her prose enables us to see one such connection, and an emphatically inverse one. 

–Our problems are rooted in race? No, they are rooted in class? As each has its own social science, it’s long looked like a methodological debate as in: Which can be refined? To address race/class methodologically or politically? Guess who the losers are in doing so. “Statistics,” as poet Robert Frost puts it in his Notebooks, “are the way I have to look at everybody but myself.”

You’re worried about massive social experiments? When modern life is an even more massive laboratory?

If the US Civil War over southern separatism is our guide to this nation’s coming break-up, most state constitutions will remain in place as governing documents, while any interstate confederation would most probably be modeled on parts of the current US Constitution—though with the significant changes.

Constitution-making in the Confederacy witnessed not just further entrenchment of unconscionable chattel slavery, but also the first Department of Justice, a national citizenship requirement for voting, no functioning supreme court, a six-year term limit for president, civil service reform, strictures against protective tariffs, a district court structure, disavowal of the Monroe Doctrine, and provisions for a presidential item veto, executive budget, and no recess appointments.

Am I recommending all that? No. What I am doing is asking this question: How else are we to get a parallel version of this range of substantive change without breaking up the country? (And those appalled by any reference to the Confederacy might want to remember that four states—Vermont, Texas, California and Hawaii—opted to give up their sovereignty to join the Union–so why is the reverse out of the question?)

The immediate decline in security and economic growth that comes with the break-up means priority would have to be to keeping the control rooms of our critical infrastructures in hospitals, energy, water, telecommunications, transportation, and public safety operating as reliably as possible. These systems frequently cross current state borders, and the challenge will be to continue inter-regional collaboration for their operation until alternatives—if needed and on the fly—are devised.

___

Whoa! Stop right there, buddy. This is Pandora’s box, you’re opening. We’ve tried those Big Experiments! What more do we need to convince us that the more radical the social experiment, the deadlier the bolt-hole utopia?

Yet it’s easier to dismiss a massive social experiment than it is to ignore the more massive laboratory of modern life. (If utopias fail and if utopia and failure go together, when then does recovery from failed utopianism end and a new normal begin? Answer: There is no normal, when this very big laboratory can’t tell the difference between the experiment and recovery.)

But break up the country? you press. No, no, and again no: absolutely not. After all, our current Constitution is a living document. . .

I do not see how anyone can pretend that the Constitution we now have is a living organism, able to evolve into the mandates we demand of it. “You would have to be an idiot to believe that,” to apply the very words of Justice Scalia. When it comes to the legal document that I can vote for with my feet, I want privacy rights guaranteed constitutionally and, puh-leese, none of that bald canard about corporations being fictive, immortal individuals.

Yes, of course, we all must avoid a replay of the mass migration and slaughter like that which followed the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan.

As a sign of willingness to compromise, I for one am quite willing to let the boys keep beltway Reaganland and its airport; if those guys want Bozo the Prez as their own, let them; I really don’t care whether the schismatics call it, Prophetland or Profitland. As for Mexifornia, it’s way-ok by me.

Principal sources

My Confederacy material draws from: (1) W.B. Yearns (1960), The Confederate Congress, University of Georgia Press: Athens, GA; R. Bensel (1990), Yankee Leviathan: The Origins of Central State Authority in America, 1859-1877. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK: Chapter 3; P. Van Riper and H. Scheiber (1959), “The Confederate Civil Service,” The Journal of Southern History, 25(4): 448-470; C.R. Lee (1963), The Confederate Constitutions, Greenwood Press Publishers: Westport, CN; and E. Thomas (1979), The Confederate Nation: 1861-1865, Harper & Row: New York, NY.