|By Alan Hall | Excerpted from the February 2010 Socionomist
Originally published under the title “A Survey of U.S. Secessionism: Negative Social Mood Will Vent – But Where?”
[Ed: What prompts citizens to revolt against their own government? With his introduction of the first-ever “Index of U.S. secessionism,” socionomist Alan Hall relays a fascinating discovery: Major social mood declines trigger anger that is expressed in social division, disillusionment with government, civil unrest, and at large enough degrees, war.
[The question, Hall shows, is not, “Will the anger vent?”, but, “Where?”
[Here is an excerpt of Hall’s February 2010 article.]
Secessionism and Civil War vs. External War
Secessionist sentiment increases in most major bear markets. But it reaches a fever pitch only under certain conditions.
Figure 2 evaluates 234 years of U.S. secessionist activity as it relates to social mood. The heavy blue line is our U.S. Secessionism Index, a weighted gauge of 85 secession movements and events that expressed a genuine desire to secede from the U.S. or from a U.S. state. The thin blue line shows the individual yearly summation of secessionist events. The red line shows the total number of deaths per year attributable to secession-related conflict.
As the chart shows, declining social mood is necessary but alone is not sufficient for intense secessionism. …
Examples from the past and present show that common enemies often vent society’s anger and thereby forestall civil wars. … As North-South enmity festered in the U.S. in the 1850s, the children and grandchildren of Revolutionary War veterans cried, “We can secede again!” The Civil War crushed that idea even as it successfully vented society’s deep, mood-driven anger. … In the decades following the U.S. Civil War, the Spanish-American War provided a common enemy and helped heal the residual bitterness between North and South. The 1919 Anglo-Afghan War helped unite long-adversarial Pashtun tribes against the British. The intensity of the Chinese Civil War waned when Japan expanded its northern China incursion into Manchuria. After Finland lost its common enemy and oppressor, Russia, during the Russo-Japanese war, it promptly erupted into civil war. A prolonged political enmity followed, then eased again when Finns faced a common enemy in World War II. In 2009, previously hostile Pakistan and Afghan Taliban factions united to oppose the buildup of 17,000 U.S. troops. Recent reports show Taliban groups again bonding as they face the current 30,000 troop American surge.
In the remainder of this article, Alan Hall reviews U.S. secessionist movements post-Civil War, including rising secessionist sentiment today with the current negative social mood. Continue reading to learn how U.S. states are exhibiting this trend by ignoring or challenging federal laws, and what to expect in terms of future federal opposition.
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The Socionomist is designed to help readers understand and anticipate waves of social mood. We also present the latest essays in the field of socionomics, the study of social mood; we anticipate that many of the hypotheses will be subjected to scientific testing in future scholarly studies.
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Most economists, historians and sociologists presume that events determine society’s mood. But socionomics hypothesizes the opposite: that social mood determines the character of social events. The events of history—such as investment booms and busts, political events, macroeconomic trends and even peace and war—are the products of a naturally occurring pattern of social-mood fluctuation. Such events, therefore, are not randomly distributed, as is commonly believed, but are in fact probabilistically predictable. Socionomics also posits that the stock market is the best available meter of a society’s aggregate mood, that news is irrelevant to social mood, and that financial and economic decision-making are fundamentally different in that financial decisions are motivated by the herding impulse while economic choices are guided by supply and demand. For more information about socionomic theory, see (1) the text, The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior © 1999, by Robert Prechter; (2) the introductory documentary History's Hidden Engine; (3) the video Toward a New Science of Social Prediction, Prechter’s 2004 speech before the London School of Economics in which he presents evidence to support his socionomic hypothesis; and (4) the Socionomics Institute’s website, www.socionomics.net. At no time will the Socionomics Institute make specific recommendations about a course of action for any specific person, and at no time may a reader, caller or viewer be justified in inferring that any such advice is intended.