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Pondering secession

Bruce Walker
web posted March 11, 2013

If much of America wants to live with a Leftism regime of rigid socialism, radical environmentalism and rabid environmentalism and if that part of America now holds a preponderance of political power, does that mean the rest of America – Flyover Country – must simply accept this mockery and menace to its deeply held values?

Secede protest signThe American Civil War gave secession a bad name and left American history with the odd notion that liberty is protected best by a vast central government run far away from where most citizens live.  If we want to see how silly this is, consider that our Revolutionary War was itself an act of secession as was clearly enunciated in the Declaration of Independence. 

Generally in human history giant nations have been more oppressive than smaller ones.  Ancient Greece flourished most brightly when it was a collection of independent city states each with its own customs and laws.  The brilliant era of the Ancient Greeks died when Athens tried to convert its city into an empire.

In modern times, secession has often been essential to tranquil government.  Czechoslovakia was nothing more than the coerced union of Czechs with a minority Slovak population. The Velvet Divorce, the consensual division of that nation into two states, helped peace and goodwill in Europe. 

The savage wars in Yugoslavia, in contrast, showed how much pain could come when a one part of a nation tried to force itself upon other unhappy members as part of the nation.  The captive nations within the Soviet Union have never sought reunion with Russia.  What have the people of Tibet sought except independence?

Even within the benevolent and sensible rule of British Empire, all the dominion democracies – Canada, Australia and New Zealand – sought true independence with only a fig leaf of the British Crown as a symbol of common heritage, but when the chips were down, as in the darkest days of the Second World War, these Dominion democracies voluntarily fought and bled to protect Britain.

What does this mean to us now?  The United States is huge and size does not help preserve liberty.  Small businesses are more responsive to customer wants than giant corporations.  In the same way small polities are more responsive to citizens' rights than distant federal rulers.

Can states secede in America?  In the early decades of our present republic the right of states to withdraw into their own new nations was assumed.  The nation, after all, was a voluntary union of independent states. Some of these once independent nations, like the Republic of Texas, have reserved by treaty explicit rights which, if abrogated by Washington, would probably be a legitimate cause of war.  In other cases, like Hawaii, independence would scarcely be noticed. 

Today we are told that "interdependence" forces us to remain in unhappy marriages of incompatible states.  So if Vermonters and Mississippians have very different values and ideals, whichever one holds power in Washington can force-feed its politics down the gullet of the weaker member.  This is really tyranny, however it is described. 

We do not need a fifty state union to be safe.  American arms are overwhelmingly powerful in conventional wars and there is no reason to doubt that an America divided into several reasonably large new nations would not also we capable of robust self-defense. 

We do not need a fifty state union to have free trade. The Common Market, as a collection of six separate European nations with a free trade zone worked much better than the European Union works today.  In fact, the tighter the European Union the angrier those members who feel cheated or tricked. 

We do not need a fifty state union to have sound currency.  Huge nations make more "funny money" – tiny nations cannot.  Switzerland, which is not in the Eurozone, and Singapore, which is an island nation, Hong Kong, which is an island polity (albeit part of China) and Finland, which hates the Eurozone – all these small polities have strong currencies.

What does this mean for Flyover Country in America?  Perhaps it means that those states in the region which stretches roughly from Idaho to North Carolina ought to talk seriously, but not angrily or sullenly, about how government might function better for all of us if instead of a vast sprawling realm of fifty states dissolved into several collections of compatible states – new nations like "Canada," hostile to no one but wishing to pursue its own ideas of liberty, culture and government.  Maybe it is time to "ponder" secession. ESR

Bruce Walker is the author of book Poor Lenin's Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life and a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right.

 

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