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Thread: Is Secession a Good Idea?

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    Default Is Secession a Good Idea?

    Daniel J. Mitchell


    I’m not talking about secession in the United States, (Why not?)where the issue is linked to the ugliness of slavery (though at least Walter Williams can write about the issue without the risk of being accused of closet racism).

    But what about Europe? I have a hard time understanding why nations on the other side of the Atlantic should not be allowed to split up if there are fundamental differences between regions. Who can be against the concept of self-determination?

    Heck, tiny Liechtenstein explicitly gives villages the right to secede if two-thirds of voters agree. Shouldn’t people in other nations have the same freedom?

    This is not just a hypothetical issue. Secession has become hot in several countries, with Catalonia threatening to leave Spain and Scotland threatening to leave the United Kingdom.

    But because of recent election results, Belgium may be the country where an internal divorce is most likely. Here are some excerpts from a report in the UK-based Financial Times.

    Flemish nationalists made sweeping gains across northern Belgium in local elections on Sunday, a success that will bolster separatists’ hopes for a break-up of the country. Bart De Wever, leader of the New Flemish Alliance (NVA), is set to become mayor of the northern city of Antwerp, Belgium’s economic heartland, after his party emerged as the largest one, ending about 90 years of socialist rule. …The strong result recorded by the Flemish nationalist is likely to have an impact across Europe, where the sovereign debt crisis, which has seen rich countries bail out poor ones, has revived separatist sentiment throughout the continent. Flanders, which is the most economically prosperous region of Belgium, has long resented financing the ailing economy of French-speaking Wallonia, and Sunday’s victory will strengthen its demand for self-rule. Lieven De Winter, a political scientist at Université Catholique de Louvain, said that Mr De Wever’s victory was a clear step forward for separatists who had long been campaigning for secession from the southern part of the country.

    Purely as a matter of political drama, this is an interesting development. We saw the peaceful split of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia about 20 years ago. But we also saw a very painful breakup of Yugoslavia shortly thereafter.



    Belgium’s divorce, if it happened, would be tranquil. But it would still be remarkable, particularly since it might encourage peaceful separatist movements in other regions of other nations.

    I think this would be a welcome development for reasons I wrote about last month. Simply stated, the cause of liberty is best advanced by having a a large number of competing jurisdictions.

    I’ve opined about this issue many times, usually from a fiscal policy perspective, explaining that governments are less likely to be oppressive when they know that people (or their money) can cross national borders.

    Belgium definitely could use a big dose of economic liberalization. The burden of government spending is enormous, consuming 53.5 percent of economic output – worse than all other European nations besides Denmark, France, and Finland. The top tax rate on personal income is a crippling 53.7 percent, second only the Sweden. And with a 34 percent rate, the corporate tax rate is very uncompetitive, behind only France.

    Sadly, there’s little chance of reform under the status quo since the people in Wallonia view high tax rates as a tool for extracting money from their neighbors in Flanders. But if Belgium split up, it’s quite likely that both new nations would adopt better policy as a signal to international investors and entrepreneurs. Or maybe the new nations would implement better policy as part of a friendly rivalry with each other.

    So three cheers for peaceful secession and divorce in Belgium. At least we know things can’t get worse.

    P.S. Brussels is the capital of Belgium, but it is also the capital of the European Union. Don’t be surprised if it becomes some sort of independent federal city if Flanders and Wallonia become independent. Sort of like Washington, but worse. Why worse? Because even though Washington is akin to a city of parasites feasting off the productive energy of the rest of America, Brussels and the European Union are an even more odious cesspool of harmonization, bureaucratization, and centralization, richly deserving of attacks from right, left, and center.

    http://finance.townhall.com/columnis...dea/page/full/
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Fuck sakes, if you shoved a lump of coal up AmeriKa's collective ass, it would shit out a diamond.



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    Yes. But the idea to me isn't divorcing oneself from one's neighbors, but divorcing oneself from the political muscle bought and paid for by banksters and other corporations.

    If we can't get Washington cleaned out electorally, then this would certainly be a way to make it irrelevant. 'Excuse us, we'll be leaving now. Oh, and you don't mind if we just steal this Constitution before we go? You @#$%s aren't using it anyway...'
    Quote Originally Posted by Declaration of Independence
    'That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it... But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government...'

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    I believe nullification > secession. As the writer pointed out secession has a negative connotation. Then there is always the argument that 'We'll we know how THAT worked out last time." Stay in the Union and let the Union know that it is limited in what it may do on a federal level.
    Something, something, something...Whatever my rage for the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    I believe nullification > secession. As the writer pointed out secession has a negative connotation. Then there is always the argument that 'We'll we know how THAT worked out last time." Stay in the Union and let the Union know that it is limited in what it may do on a federal level.
    Absolutely agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    I believe nullification > secession. As the writer pointed out secession has a negative connotation. Then there is always the argument that 'We'll we know how THAT worked out last time." Stay in the Union and let the Union know that it is limited in what it may do on a federal level.
    That doesn't seem to be working out so well.......
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Fuck sakes, if you shoved a lump of coal up AmeriKa's collective ass, it would shit out a diamond.

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    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    Yes. But the idea to me isn't divorcing oneself from one's neighbors, but divorcing oneself from the political muscle bought and paid for by banksters and other corporations.

    If we can't get Washington cleaned out electorally, then this would certainly be a way to make it irrelevant. 'Excuse us, we'll be leaving now. Oh, and you don't mind if we just steal this Constitution before we go? You @#$%s aren't using it anyway...'
    + rep
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Fuck sakes, if you shoved a lump of coal up AmeriKa's collective ass, it would shit out a diamond.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    That doesn't seem to be working out so well.......
    There are too few people who actually understand how to do it at the moment. We are working on educating enough people but it takes a while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    That doesn't seem to be working out so well.......
    http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travlyr View Post
    There are too few people who actually understand how to do it at the moment. We are working on educating enough people but it takes a while.

    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    I am for all of the above, but the threat of States actually seceding could only help. And the thought of States seceding in reality bothers me not one bit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Fuck sakes, if you shoved a lump of coal up AmeriKa's collective ass, it would shit out a diamond.

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    The absolute right of secession at every level is the only way to have government by consensus. Everything else is just a form of slavery.
    The proper concern of society is the preservation of individual freedom; the proper concern of the individual is the harmony of society.

    "Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow." - Byron

    "Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe." - Milton

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acala View Post
    The absolute right of secession at every level is the only way to have government by consensus. Everything else is just a form of slavery.
    Beautifully put.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Fuck sakes, if you shoved a lump of coal up AmeriKa's collective ass, it would shit out a diamond.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    I am for all of the above, but the threat of States actually seceding could only help. And the thought of States seceding in reality bothers me not one bit.
    No doubt. Don't get me wrong. If a state were to succeed I would move myself there in a heartbeat. I just feel that it would ultimately end in failure. The rest of America would collectively sigh as the federal troops rolled in. However, as states make incremental changes asserting their rights other states tend to follow suit.
    Something, something, something...Whatever my rage for the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Origanalist View Post
    Daniel J. Mitchell


    I’m not talking about secession in the United States, (Why not?)where the issue is linked to the ugliness of slavery (though at least Walter Williams can write about the issue without the risk of being accused of closet racism).
    That's racist! If Person-X accuses a white-sucessionist of racism & not a black-secessionist then that's as racist as one can get because Person-X is presuming the motives & thought-processes of people based on the color of their skin!

    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    I believe nullification > secession. As the writer pointed out secession has a negative connotation. Then there is always the argument that 'We'll we know how THAT worked out last time." Stay in the Union and let the Union know that it is limited in what it may do on a federal level.
    You don't just give up on something because of one-time failure, may be this time the sucessionists will win!

    Seriously, how long do you think it will take to libertanize the whole nation? Or will it EVER occur? Nobody, in all honesty, can offer definitive answers to these questions.

    The most of the WHOLE WORLD believes in socialist-thievery, it has been that way for a long time, that's why we see it everywhere & not a lot is likely to change in the immediate future so the best option for liberty-minded people could be to flood a State (or more) & separate themselves from non-libertarians!

    If there are no taxes & complete freedom for everyone then capital will literally flood such newly formed country (or countries) & it will become prosperous very quickly, & buying nukes for self-defense will soon be on the cards as well!

    Quote Originally Posted by Acala View Post
    The absolute right of secession at every level is the only way to have government by consensus. Everything else is just a form of slavery.
    True!
    There is enormous inertia — a tyranny of the status quo — in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable
    - Milton Friedman

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    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    I believe nullification > secession. As the writer pointed out secession has a negative connotation. Then there is always the argument that 'We'll we know how THAT worked out last time." Stay in the Union and let the Union know that it is limited in what it may do on a federal level.
    Join the 10th Amendment Center if you think nullification is such a grand idea!
    Defend liberty, Michiganders! Join the Tenth Amendment Center & work to nullify the Feds in your community today:

    http://michigan.tenthamendmentcenter.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    Phill, I cannot give you anymore +rep. You are spot on! Tenth amendment is the way to go.
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    I figure about 20% of Humans are individualistic enough to want freedom, even fewer are activists, and fewer than that are warriors. A single State seceeding would be significant enough to draw a supportive free thinking base to its lands.


    Secession is one of the better alternatives for freedom in our lifetime.
    “One may come to the aid of another being unlawfully arrested, just as he may where one is being assaulted, molested, raped or kidnapped. Thus it is not an offense to liberate one from the unlawful custody of an officer, even though he may have submitted to such custody, without resistance.” (Adams v. State, 121 Ga. 16, 48 S.E. 910).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Czolgosz View Post
    I figure about 20% of Humans are individualistic enough to want freedom, even fewer are activists, and fewer than that are warriors. A single State seceeding would be significant enough to draw a supportive free thinking base to its lands.


    Secession is one of the better alternatives for freedom in our lifetime.
    I don't know how the figure of 20% was arrived at but yes, I agree with the essence of the post that secession may be the best chance of acquiring true freedom in our lifetime, & then keep the non-libertarians out of this new country otherwise it will soon turn into a democratic-socialist hellhole too!
    There is enormous inertia — a tyranny of the status quo — in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable
    - Milton Friedman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Or Nothing II View Post
    I don't know how the figure of 20% was arrived at but yes, I agree with the essence of the post that secession may be the best chance of acquiring true freedom in our lifetime, & then keep the non-libertarians out of this new country otherwise it will soon turn into a democratic-socialist hellhole too!
    There's the rub, how?
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Fuck sakes, if you shoved a lump of coal up AmeriKa's collective ass, it would shit out a diamond.

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    I have heard several supposedly libertarian minded folks argue for more intrusive government so long as it's their agenda being pushed.

    Of course I personally don't subscribe to any popular political labels so folks like me would be kept out?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Or Nothing II View Post
    I don't know how the figure of 20% was arrived at but yes, I agree with the essence of the post that secession may be the best chance of acquiring true freedom in our lifetime, & then keep the non-libertarians out of this new country otherwise it will soon turn into a democratic-socialist hellhole too!

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    They forgot to add Venice, Italy to the secession movement.

    Secession is much more difficult in America due to indoctrination and consumerism. But, that could all change in ten or twenty years as more people wake up. Or the economy collapses. My money (no pun) is on the latter.

    I do however think a small group could get away with it in a remote region. Say Alaska for example. If 10,000 people decided to occupy a remote area and declare independence, the federal government would probably ignore it for quite some time. Entire states, of course, are a whole 'nother deal. Oklahoma recently declared state sovereignty and look how they voted in the primary. People are a lot of talk but are fundamentally uneducated. They ironically mistake flag waving, having crying eagle decals, eating apple pie, and baseball tossing as a sign of patriotic independence. Their allegiance to the Union still runs deep.

    I wish their was a non-violent solution to secession. But we know how that worked out for the Confederate nation.
    "Government created nothing. The only thing Government can do is steal and rob people with a gun and forcibly transfer wealth from one person to another...Governments are always destructive in the production of wealth." - Dr. Ron Paul

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    What is stopping secessionist movement?

    Is anyone really trying?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    I have heard several supposedly libertarian minded folks argue for more intrusive government so long as it's their agenda being pushed.

    Of course I personally don't subscribe to any popular political labels so folks like me would be kept out?
    I noticed that too. Many of the supposedly anarchist folks arguing for intrusive laws against spanking. It's a crazy mixed up world. They would keep me out for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Travlyr View Post
    I noticed that too. Many of the supposedly anarchist folks arguing for intrusive laws against spanking. It's a crazy mixed up world. They would keep me out for sure.
    Probably myself also, Ironies abound.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anti Federalist View Post
    Fuck sakes, if you shoved a lump of coal up AmeriKa's collective ass, it would shit out a diamond.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Travlyr View Post
    What is stopping secessionist movement?

    Is anyone really trying?
    In America? Not yet...but people's minds may be slowly changing. Just this week I over heard our UPS driver talking to three of my co-workers. He said, "You know, I'm not sure if I want to vote for either candidate. And it seems like nothing is changing. It may be time...you know, don't get me wrong...but it may be time to call it quits and start all over again. Didn't Thomas Jefferson say we should redo everything at least every twenty years?"

    Perhaps people are afraid to discuss openly the possibility lest they be branded as tin-foilers or terrorists?
    "Government created nothing. The only thing Government can do is steal and rob people with a gun and forcibly transfer wealth from one person to another...Governments are always destructive in the production of wealth." - Dr. Ron Paul

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    I don't see secession as the right solution. The U.S. Constitution is one of enumerated powers. The Supreme Court does not have the power of judicial review. If the States and the people would force the Federal government to obey the Constitution, then they would have very little power.
    "Everyone who believes in freedom must work diligently for sound money, fully redeemable. Nothing else is compatible with the humanitarian goals of peace and prosperity." -- Ron Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Or Nothing II View Post
    I don't know how the figure of 20% was arrived at but yes, I agree with the essence of the post that secession may be the best chance of acquiring true freedom in our lifetime, & then keep the non-libertarians out of this new country otherwise it will soon turn into a democratic-socialist hellhole too!
    I think the answer is that you don't stop with state secession. Allow counties to seceed from states and cities to seceed from counties and even individual land owners to seceed from ALL governments. In this way when any government begins to provide more burdens than benefits on any district or individual, that district or individual leaves. You can't have socliaism if the people you want to pay for it can just reject the jurisdiction. Pretty soon, competition among the political subdivisions results in a stabilized balance of benefits and burdens in most jurisdictions. Some might lean a little one way or the other, but if they go too far, they start to shrink as people seceed.
    The proper concern of society is the preservation of individual freedom; the proper concern of the individual is the harmony of society.

    "Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow." - Byron

    "Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe." - Milton

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acala View Post
    The absolute right of secession at every level is the only way to have government by consensus. Everything else is just a form of slavery.
    Quote Originally Posted by Acala View Post
    I think the answer is that you don't stop with state secession. Allow counties to seceed from states and cities to seceed from counties and even individual land owners to seceed from ALL governments. In this way when any government begins to provide more burdens than benefits on any district or individual, that district or individual leaves. You can't have socliaism if the people you want to pay for it can just reject the jurisdiction. Pretty soon, competition among the political subdivisions results in a stabilized balance of benefits and burdens in most jurisdictions. Some might lean a little one way or the other, but if they go too far, they start to shrink as people seceed.

    Tie for thread winner. Mises would be proud.
    Last edited by heavenlyboy34; 10-19-2012 at 10:05 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travlyr View Post
    What is stopping secessionist movement?

    Is anyone really trying?
    The mighty USSR, which looked pretty solid for a long time, disintegrated into separate states almost overnight. It is a matter of timing. When the perfect moment arises - the kairos - things can change quickly that seemed unmovable moments before.

    I don't want to draw too close a comparison with the USSR because there are some big differences. The USSR had numerous ethnic and cultural groups that were geographically separate and did not consider themselves "Russian". It was relatively easy for them to separate. The USA, by contrast, is far more homogenous. Even people as different as New York bankers and Nebraska farmers regard themselves as belonging to the USA. A spilt will require things to be uglier here than in the USSR. But it still might happen without a bloody civil war if the Federal power is weak enough. And I think that is really the key - a fiscal collapse that weakens the Federal power so much that it is unable and unwilling to try and reign in distant regions that want to leave.
    Last edited by Acala; 10-19-2012 at 10:33 AM.
    The proper concern of society is the preservation of individual freedom; the proper concern of the individual is the harmony of society.

    "Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow." - Byron

    "Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe." - Milton

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    Quote Originally Posted by Travlyr View Post
    I don't see secession as the right solution. The U.S. Constitution is one of enumerated powers. The Supreme Court does not have the power of judicial review. If the States and the people would force the Federal government to obey the Constitution, then they would have very little power.
    I agree that the 10th solution is a good possible solution. However, I also wonder if we're too large for a proper representative form of government to function properly or to accomplish proper restrain.
    "Government created nothing. The only thing Government can do is steal and rob people with a gun and forcibly transfer wealth from one person to another...Governments are always destructive in the production of wealth." - Dr. Ron Paul

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Acala View Post
    I think the answer is that you don't stop with state secession. Allow counties to seceed from states and cities to seceed from counties and even individual land owners to seceed from ALL governments. In this way when any government begins to provide more burdens than benefits on any district or individual, that district or individual leaves. You can't have socliaism if the people you want to pay for it can just reject the jurisdiction. Pretty soon, competition among the political subdivisions results in a stabilized balance of benefits and burdens in most jurisdictions. Some might lean a little one way or the other, but if they go too far, they start to shrink as people seceed.
    How would that work? States don't have to obey Federal law? Counties don't have to obey State law? Cities don't have to obey County law? Land owners do not have to obey any law? Who enforces trespassing, theft, and assault laws?

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