Wednesday, January 23, 2013

UnUnited States

One of the things I learned from Jung (and from his heretical post-modern child, James Hillman) is that when a value is affirmed strongly, to look around for its opposite hidden in the basement.

Uniting the states was, from the beginning, a great challenge. Contemporary Americans have long ceased either to think or to feel allegiance to their states, seeing them really as accidents of history and a secondary layer of the national government. But at the founding, the identity of Americans was perhaps as strongly state-based as national. The eventual dissolution of the Union proves Jung/Hillman's point: one only needs to affirm Union where the real and driving issue is DisUnion.

Watching once more the 2008 HBO series John Adams, the division within the new American nation are everywhere apparent. The Jay Treaty, which kept the fledgling country out of the long history of Franco-British hostilities, revealed a passionate and violent split. Adams and Jefferson (and Hamilton) all represent those foundational and continuing dis-unities.


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