This post I will continue the test of this idea's accuracy. I have not idea what to expect. While the Canadian Confederacy test and US manifest-destiny test proved inconclusive, the US civil war seemed to support the theory.
This speculation emanated from my reading of Nixon's "Struggle For Power in Early Modern Europe" which analyzes the 16th and 17th century European war of religions through a relational network lens.
1960's CULTURE WAR TEST
The 1960's likely represents one iteration of people's regular 50 year moral/religious awakening cycles. Other major "awakenings" are the ~1900's progressive movement, the 1860's Civil War, the 1820's great religious awakening, etc.
It is hard to consider most western countries during this era as weak empires. Civil unity tended to be fairly high. Therefore, there is little chance of accurately testing the grievance politics mid-sized polity stabilization theory. But, it may provide a chance to generalize it by finding out whether the theory is only applicable in weak empires.
Let's assume the civil right's era can largely be characterized by the emergence of equity sacralization. This certainly comes in lots of different forms, but in general, this label seems "right-enough".
The theory proposes that grievances around equity should start to become sacralized, and that:
- the most successful memes should resonate around intractable grievances,
- the grievances should polarize the population,
- grievance dynamics should produce hegemonic concessions,
- the process should produce groupings which stabilize at mid-levels of selection.
Hindsight tells us that strains of 60's era progressivism do in fact see the world as an irredeemable racist sexist patriarchy. 60's era equality movements left little space for fence sitters. Dividing lines were clear, and grew clearer through the early 70's.
Political conciliations during this time to grievance groups were fairly large. They may not have been as big as some people would have liked, but the benefits now awarded to the main griever classes are certainly bigger now than they were in 1950.
The civil right's era reshaped political party lines. One major change involved the position of Southern Dixie-crats. But, the civil right's era produced no new polity units. At best, you have the rise of a media and news-media conglomerate. While an adaptive group, this is no real "polity". You do see certain inner-city dominated municipalities starting to work together. But, this again stretches the idea of polity.
Was the federal empire too strong to overcome? Is the lack of divide-based governance a deciding factor? Who knows. Perhaps all that can be said is that grievance based sacred value creation increases the chance for adaptive pay off concessions from hegemons, provided those hegemons are worried about new alliance formation between hitherto disconnected groups.
I don't think there is anyway to say that the civil right's era created a new stable polity level as a result of grievance sacralization. It appears that a weak empire is needed for this to occur.
The civil right's era does suggest that vertical alignment between multiple layers of government (municipal, state, federal departments) may be the modern incarnation of the 16th century's isolated city-states. In this sense, the alignment of California sanctuary city-states with California's sanctuary state status may be something to look at. Has the federal government conducted a de-facto divide and rule strategy by playing cities, states and regions off each other? Has