Isaac, I love your analysis. You have done a great job and brought forth excellent points that need to be considered. You article has left me with quite a bit of thinking to do.
However, you lost me at the “they will just drop out” stage. Having been born and raised a Nebraskan, I can tell you that it is not feasible. If they just “drop out” and “keep their crops to themselves,” or stop driving their trucks, they will lose their homes, their farms, everything they own, and not be able to buy groceries after a couple months.
Nor is it in the nature of country folk to just lie down and quit. These are people who work all day, then work on their days off, only to work on their homes and vehicles when not working. People who frequently hunt, and eat good off what they kill. Basically, people that believe in working and doing if you want something. They don’t give up until the job is done.
So, following your analysis up to that point then carrying on, seems to me even worse than you foresee. What I envisioned as I read was a growing vision of civil war. Armed country folk standing for their beliefs, especially if they believe a great injustice has been done. They will not allow that to stand unchallenged. As disheartened as you describe them, and having spoken with many I agree with you, I believe that they will believe they can no longer trust the system so will band together in armed militias and take matters into their own hands.
Let’s hope that neither of us is correct.