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Is It Finally Time to Let the South Secede?

The author of a new book challenges Northerners and Southerners to consider the possibility of a friendly divorce.

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I was in Arkansas. I spent a week in Little Rock while they were searching for a new superintendent of schools last year. The dysfunction that I saw just in attending these public meetings where they were talking about what they needed was astonishing.

JH: We see a lot of liberal animosity towards the South. Were you at all concerned in writing this book about whether you would reinforce the stereotype of the coastal, elite liberals looking down their noses at the middle and the South? Was this a concern?

CT: Sure, people are going to jump to that conclusion. As you know -- and as I found out in writing web articles and books -- most of the really heated criticism you get from people are always from people who don’t even bother to read your article or your book in the first place. That’s going to happen. There’s nothing I can do about it. I really did make an effort not to be strident – though I’m certainly judgmental – and to find good things in the South, which there are. You deal with Southerners on an individual basis and they’re great. They’re friendly, hospitable, gregarious, and they like to party. They like to drink, to give you their food, they like to play music. It’s a lot of fun.

I didn’t try to be this super-strident jerk who was just sitting there bashing. I really am trying to put some numbers and some facts to this argument. These are two very different societies that have been economic and social frenemies from the day they were founded. The dysfunction has got to stop at some point. 

Joshua Holland is Senior Digital Producer at BillMoyers.com, and host of Politics and Reality Radio. He's the author of The 15 Biggest Lies About the Economy. Drop him an email or follow him on Twitter