Tag Archives: Secession

Ominous Tendings in the Nervous Here and Now, by James Howard Kunstler

The answer to the issues confronting the US government may be secession by its sub-units. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

Unfortunately for the nation, the RussiaGate fiasco is only half over. There is just too much documented official turpitude on the public record for the authorities to answer for and the institutional damage runs too deep. Act One, the Mueller investigation, was a 22-month circle-jerk of prosecutorial misconduct and media malfeasance. Act Two will be the circular firing squad of former officials assassinating each other’s character to desperately avoid prosecution.

In the meantime, there is the nation’s business which has been hopelessly burdened by an hallucinatory overlay of Wokester idiocy emanating from the campuses, so that even in the absence of the Mueller distraction every organized endeavor in this land from-sea-to-shining-sea is paralyzed by race-and-gender hustles. Next up: a national debate over reparations for slavery in the never-ending quest to monetize moral posturing. Won’t that be a mighty string of knots to untangle? Who qualifies, exactly? What about the indigenous people whose lands were overrun? And what about the Japanese interned in 1941? And what about women prevented from earning salaries all those lost decades of housewifery? And what about the brown people from many lands whose families did not come here until slavery was a long time gone? Do Silicon Valley engineers from India, and thoracic surgeons from the Philippines have to pay up for the sins of Whitey?

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Why Secession Is a Big Problem — For Politicians, by Chris Calton

Big government, and big taxes, big regulation, and big programs are a lot more difficult in smaller political subdivisions. From Chris Calton at mises.org:

When the southern states were debating secession in 1861, there was one other proposed secession that almost always gets overlooked in history: New York City. The Mayor of New York at the time, Fernando Wood, saw disunion as an inevitability at the start of 1861, and in a January 6th address to the city council, he advocated New York City’s secession.

“When Disunion has become a fixed and certain fact,” Wood asked the council, “why may not New York disrupt the bands which bind her to a venal and corrupt master — to a people and a party that have plundered her revenues, attempted to ruin her, take away the power of self-government, and destroyed the Confederacy of which she was the proud Empire City?”

Although Wood did cite slavery as among the reasons for the city’s need to secede (he believed New Yorker’s benefited from trading with the slave economy, and the city was home to a respectable number of slave traders who continued to operate their not-entirely-clandestine businesses for places such as Brazil and Cuba), he did not propose joining the Confederacy, which had yet to be formed. He wanted to establish New York City as sovereign entity — the Free City of Tri-insula, referring to the islands of Manhattan, Long, and Staten.

The Common Council agreed with Wood, and the city looked poised to secede. They only changed their position after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, not because they objected to the Confederacy’s actions as much as their desire not to be surrounded by territories that would view them as traitors during the oncoming war.

But New York’s near-secession is an example of what many people in the North — particularly Republicans — feared from secession; they were not worried about severing their nation, but rather that it might dissolve altogether — or at the very least, break into multiple smaller countries. The relatively new Republican Party had grand plans for the country, rife with economic interventions such as infrastructure projects, a transcontinental railroad, a protective tariff, and a homestead act.

The only thing that had prevented such reforms taking place in the past was sectional disagreement on various policies. Southerners, for instance, supported a transcontinental railroad, but they wanted it to be built in the South, and no compromise was ever successfully made. Southerners also supported homestead legislation that would have sold public lands, rather than granting 160 acres for only a standard clerical fee. Infrastructure and economic protectionism were more widely rejected by southerners, and Southern Democrats continually blocked the passage of such bills.

To continue reading: Why Secession Is a Big Problem — For Politicians

Secession Is Going Mainstream, by Ryan McMaken

Decentralization and devolution are the wave of the future. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

If it seems like secession is become a more frequent topic in the global media, it’s not just your imagination.

In recent years, talk of political separatist movements have become not only more commonplace, but are increasingly discussed as reasonable alternatives to the status quo.

Historically, of course, established states have long sought to portray secession movements as unsavory forms of agitation pushed only by extremists.

In the US, of course, secession has long been portrayed as strictly the realm of right-wing zealots motivated by racism, or even something worse.

In 2014, however, it became increasingly clear that this strategy’s days were numbered. 2014, of course, was the year that 45 percent of Scottish voters voted to secede from the United Kingdom. Less than two years later, a majority of British voters voted for secession from the European Union — in spite of a hysterical scare campaign waged by pro-EU activists.

These British secession movements were immune from the usual “arguments” against secession made in the United States. After all, were we to believe that British secessionists were pushing secession so they could impose slavery within their borders?

Had it been used, such a charge would have been laughed at, so this new type of secession was generally ignored, or described as something other than secession.

Moreover, the Scottish secession was problematic for the global left in general. Secession movements had often been portrayed by global elites as reactionary or at least the sort of thing that conservative malcontents would indulge in. But in Scotland, the secession movement was largely a product of the mainstream leftist parties. In the wake of the Scottish referendum, we were to believe that 45 percent of Scottish voters were extremist malcontents? Again, such a charge would have rightly been viewed as ludicrous.

Since Brexit, two of the most notable secession movements — California and Catalonia — have also been products of the left. Given the mainstream media’s fondness for the left, the effect of this has been to push secession out of the “extremist” shadows and into the realm of allowable — if eccentric — political discourse.

To continue reading: Secession Is Going Mainstream

What Will Push Them Over the Edge? by Jeff Thomas

Catalonia is not the only region that resents being milked by a central government. From Jeff Thomas at internationalman.com:

What Will Push Them Over the Edge?

Recently, the people of two of Italy’s most prosperous regions voted in a referendum, on whether they wished to have greater autonomy from Rome. The referendum is non-binding, but that’s not what’s most significant in the results.

What is significant is that over 95% of those who voted in Lombardy did so in favour of greater autonomy. In Veneto, the number in favour of greater autonomy was even higher, at 98%.

Roberto Maroni, president of Lombardy, said, “I now have a commitment… to go to Rome and give concrete actualization to the mandate that millions of Lombards have given me.”

It may appear on the surface that Mister Maroni intends to make an appeal for independence, but this is not what will occur. He’s a politician and won’t invite Rome to jail him for sedition. His goal will instead be to demand that a greater amount of the national income that’s generated by Lombardy and Veneto (about 20% of the total) remains within those regions.

This will not mean that he wants his people to be taxed less; his goal will be to retain a larger portion to be absorbed by the regional governments—to be in his own hands.

So much for the politicians’ agenda. But what does the referendum say about the people of the regions? Well, the extraordinarily high numbers in favour of greater self-determination demonstrate that virtually all the people in the regions have figured out that Rome is bilking them of their earnings and they’re getting pretty cheesed off.

In prosperous times, a population tends not to complain too much about being robbed through taxation. They grumble a bit, but tolerate it. However, in more stringent times, when people are finding it more difficult to make ends meet, they become more resentful of governments that are chronically both overreaching and wasteful.

Since 2008, we’ve been living in such a time, and the longer people go on without a true recovery, the more resentful they’re going to be.

Independence movements have been afoot in many countries in Europe, every state in the USA, and elsewhere on the globe, but, until recently, they’ve been minor issues, attracting primarily fringe support.

To continue reading: What Will Push Them Over the Edge?

Europe’s Secession Problems Aren’t Going Away, by Ryan McMaken

Catalonia isn’t the only district in Europe that would like to up and leave the home country. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Earlier this week, The New York Times noted that movements for greater local autonomy appear to be spreading throughout Europe. In some ways, the conflict in Catalonia is just the tip of the iceberg. The Times reports:

Coming on the heels of the Catalan vote, the Lombardy and Veneto referendums are yet another signal of the homegrown conflicts that persist in many of the European Union’s member states. Separatist movements are also simmering in Britain — where voters in Scotland rejected independence in a 2014 referendum but continue to debate the issue — as well as France, Germany, Belgium and Romania.

Like Catalonia — and unlike Scotland — the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy are among the wealthiest regions, and send enormous amounts of tax revenue to Rome. Italy’s southern regions, which are significantly poorer than northern Italy, have benefited from Northern wealth ever since Italians were all forced into a single nation-state in the late nineteenth century.

This has never been forgotten by Italians from Veneto, many of whom participated in a referendum in 2014 to declare Independence. Naturally, the Italian government in Rome declared the vote invalid. At the time, however, I interviewed one of the organizers Paolo Bernardini about the referendum. (See “Inside Venice’s Secession Movement.”) At the time, secessionists liek Bernardini appeared to be pursuing immediate and total independence from Rome, while remaining inside the EU:

A tiny majority of Veneto people are in favor both of the EU and of the Euro as a currency. So I envisage a little, rich state, playing a major economic and political role in the EU, a stabilizing role. It will interact naturally with other rich and similar states, Bavaria (still part of Germany), Austria, and the Netherlands. It will be a Finland in the Adriatic.

According to the Times piece, though, supporters of Northern independence have gone back to taking small steps, and realize — probably correctly — that there are numerous steps that must be taken between the status quo and total independence.

The new effort appears to be focused on conducting local plebescites demanding more local autonomy. This doesn’t conflict with the goal of eventual independence, of course, although it probably is an essential first step.

To continue reading: Europe’s Secession Problems Aren’t Going Away

Were Confederate Generals Traitors? By Walter E. Williams

The American Revolution and the Constitutional Convention settled the question of whether states could secede. They could, until President Lincoln upended the settled answer. From Walter E. Williams at lewrockwell.com:

My “Rewriting American History” column of a fortnight ago, about the dismantling of Confederate monuments, generated considerable mail. Some argued there should not be statues honoring traitors such as Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis, who fought against the Union. Victors of wars get to write the history, and the history they write often does not reflect the facts. Let’s look at some of the facts and ask: Did the South have a right to secede from the Union? If it did, we can’t label Confederate generals as traitors.

Article 1 of the Treaty of Paris (1783), which ended the war between the Colonies and Great Britain, held “New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States.” Representatives of these states came together in Philadelphia in 1787 to write a constitution and form a union.

During the ratification debates, Virginia’s delegates said, “The powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the people of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.” The ratification documents of New York and Rhode Island expressed similar sentiments.

At the Constitutional Convention, a proposal was made to allow the federal government to suppress a seceding state. James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” rejected it. The minutes from the debate paraphrased his opinion: “A union of the states containing such an ingredient (would) provide for its own destruction. The use of force against a state would look more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound.”

To continue reading: Were Confederate Generals Traitors?

Is Secession a Solution to Cultural War? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Don’t let the title fool you. Patrick Buchanan comments favorably on devolution, moving some things the federal government handles now down to the states, but aside from mentioning the California secession movement, he doesn’t really advocate for it. Brexit and Trump are on the front end of a tidal wave of what will be not just devolution, but secession, if the decentralizing impulse can be so contained, or revolution, if it can’t. From Buchanan a buchanan.org:

As the culture war is about irreconcilable beliefs about God and man, right and wrong, good and evil, and is at root a religious war, it will be with us so long as men are free to act on their beliefs.

Yet, given the divisions among us, deeper and wider than ever, it is an open question as to how, and how long, we will endure as one people.

After World War II, our judicial dictatorship began a purge of public manifestations of the “Christian nation” that Harry Truman said we were.

In 2009, Barack Obama retorted, “We do not consider ourselves to be a Christian nation.” Secularism had been enthroned as our established religion, with only the most feeble of protests.

One can only imagine how Iranians or Afghans would deal with unelected judges moving to de-Islamicize their nations. Heads would roll, literally.

Which bring us to the first culture war skirmish of the Trump era.

Taking sides with Attorney General Jeff Sessions against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the president rescinded the Obama directive that gave transgender students the right to use the bathroom of their choice in public schools. President Donald Trump sent the issue back to the states and locales to decide.

While treated by the media and left as the civil rights cause of our era, the “bathroom debate” calls to mind Marx’s observation, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”

Can anyone seriously contend that whether a 14-year-old boy, who thinks he is a girl, gets to use the girls’ bathroom is a civil rights issue comparable to whether African-Americans get the right to vote?

To continue reading: Is Secession a Solution to Cultural War?