05 December 2009

More Matthew White

I have to admit that I would like to meet this person since he engages in the type of speculation that I like. I just found his Surreal Histories section about alternative histories. I like his Balkanized North America Section or What America would have looked like if every separatist movement in U.S. and Canadian history had succeeded:
What is the most fragmented that North America could have been? There are several plausible scenarios (some based on different patterns of settlement from Europe, others on different fracture lines) but I chose 1787 as the point of divergence from real history. In this alternate reality, the westward expansion of the Anglo-American people proceeded pretty much as it did in our reality, but the United States government just couldn't keep up. Every national identity crisis resolved itself in favor of the separatists instead.

Although this is an extremely unlikely scenario to begin with, I didn't want to just randomly subdivide the continent. I looked for regions which either ...

1. administered themselves as autonomous nations at some point in American history, or ...
2. shed blood to achieve or maintain their independence, or at least ...
3. threatened to.

Of course, the Native American tribes throughout the continent fit all these criteria, but I limited myself to only three native enclaves.

He also has a section comparing the US to Rome.

Even more fascinating is his What if the anti-government forces of the 1990s had risen in rebellion Section. This scenario is not as totally impossible as some people might believe. In the range of improbability, it's more like a ten-to-one shot, rather than a hundred-to-one shot. In the early 1990s the USA probably came closer to open rebellion than at any time since the 1960s. The hard right seems to believe that an event such as Waco or Ruby Ridge should have been a spark for rebellion, but it's not like any militiamen rushed to relieve the siege. White believes that the most likely outcome of a war between the Feds and the extreme right is that the extreme right is crushed like bugs, even before the network news anchors can move their mobile newsdesks, satellite link-ups and tactical hairdryers out to the battlefield.

I really want to meet Matthew White!