America’s Cycles of Change

The Coming Crisis of the Southwest Sun Belt States

Wed, 18 November 2015

Extracted from Cycles of Change: The Three Great Cycles of American History & the Coming Crisis That Will Lead to the Fourth by Martin Sieff. Available through Amazon.com.

In the coming cyclical crisis about to sweep the United States, the Southwest can expect to face one of the worst upheavals of any part of the nation. Regions that have dominated the United States in previous 72-80 year cycles of back-to back eras always experience dizzying falls at the end of them. This happened to the South after 1865. It happened to Northeastern finance and big business after 1933.

The Southwest will lose its political leadership and its philosophical ideas will be discredited. This started in 2008. Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona was a quintessential representative of Southwest Sunbelt Reagan Era orthodoxy. He was pro-environment. He opposed government regulation of Wall Street and the economy. He came from Arizona. He took cheap energy for granted. He supported the war in Iraq. He lost big. It was the worst defeat for any Republican presidential candidate in 44 years.

On economic issues, McCain’s favorite guru was another optimistic Southwest Sunbelt Reaganite, former Republican Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas. Gramm made only one notable contribution to the fall 2008 financial crisis economic crisis. He suggested the American people were to blame for not thinking positively enough. Unsurprisingly, this did not help McCain. Like Grover Cleveland in 1896 and Herbert Hoover in 1932, both men were true believers in orthodoxies whose time had passed.

In security terms, the Southwest will be in the Seventh Era front-line of three emerging crises. The first is the continuing flood of illegal Mexican immigration over the Rio Grande. The second is the collapse of security in border regions from the escalating power of the Mexican drug cartels. By 2009, Phoenix was already the kidnapping capital of the United States. Drug violence was creeping north.

The third crisis will be the escalating costs of energy. The Southwest states are particularly vulnerable to this because of their dependence on air conditioning, which requires excessive amounts of electric power. Rising summer temperatures across the region, apparently caused by Global Climate Change, are already exacerbating that trend.

The conservatism and economic optimism of the Southwest throughout the Reagan era also led to a neglect of transportation systems that were not dependent on petroleum. Inter-city rail infrastructure remains very weak, even for the movement of cargo. But distances across the Southwest are vast. The windfall of fracking mining will partially offset these pressures: But not enough.

The Southwest is also the region most immediately in need of a vast expansion of militia and security forces to defend its long land borders with Mexico and maintain internal security. Yet its individualist, libertarian and Ayn Rand-influenced dominant ideologies make it least likely to learn these lessons and apply them for its own defense and survival.

The coming crisis will teach Americans that government is essential for their survival: This will not necessarily mean the far-off federal government, which may collapse, or be toppled or just go bankrupt. It will mean the re-organization of local government to maintain essential services, law and order and physical defense.

Libertarians and states’ rights enthusiasts generally assume that rolling back the power of the federal government will automatically mean more freedom and rolling back the power of all government. They are naive and short sighted. They have never realized that in times of crisis, people crave the protection of government more than anything else.

New local government structures will arise to fill the vacuum left by the fall, disappearance or retreat of the federal government. But they will not hesitate to impose their own will on whoever else stands in their way, whether it is the American Civil Liberties Union on the left or the Libertarians and the Cato Institute on the right. The civil rights activists of the left and the libertarians of the right alike will find themselves thrown on the scrapheap of history by the need to restore security in the coming crisis.