Secession Outrage

Since the reelection of Barack Obama, the talk of secession has received a lot of attention. I would venture to say this is due to the White House’s insistence on allowing on-line petitions for everyone to see — thereby creating fervor where none might have existed before.

Some are sympathetic. Most are condemning such talk. I believe Romans 13 is a good guide, while others will no doubt point to 1 Kings 12 (as flawed as that argument may be).

But because the talks come after the reelection of a blue president, the vehemence of the movement comes from the right, and the vehemence of the attacks comes from the left. Naturally.

However, while the victorious left are throwing the “raaaaaacist” word around, and the unionist right are saying, “CALM DOWN!” we’ve forgotten something:

Leftists have had secessionist movements, as well.

Vermont has been trying since the Bush Administration to create the “Second Vermont Republic,” which believes “Globalization is antithetical to our humanity.”

Californians had its own online petition going immediately after the reelection of George W. Bush (not facilitated by the White House), and has organizations still today that bandy about the idea of independence from a leftist approach.

Hawaii has had secession movements for years — though theirs is rooted more in geography and history rather than simple frustration with government. The Free Hawaii movement even advocates returning to the 1840 constitution of Hawaii, which gives more power to king-appointed tax officers than it does to the representative legislature.

In 2006, the Cascadian Independence Project was reborn, encompassing parts of Oregon and Washington, which advocates a non-hierarchical government that would ironically ensure, among other things, social justice and a right to privacy.

On November 7, 2004, the Middlebury Declaration was issued, and in 2005 the Middlebury Institute was founded, which is an active think tank dedicated to the ideas of secession. Technically, it’s fine with any form of secession, but it prefers states to secede into genuine democracy, and was formed in response to George W. Bush’s policies.

So before people start telling the government to deport all these modern rainbow chasers, just remember that secession is not an idea limited to red states.

If people insist on condemning these new petitioners, then at least be consistent and apply that condemnation to all who would leave the union.

I’m going to stay as far away from this argument as I can. But I can tell you, as a serious student of the secession of 1776, Independence then was a last resort.

  • Dry Viking

    Secession (self-determination) is bad in the US but great in the former USSR, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia et al?
    I thought liberty was liberty and coercion against your will is tyranny.

    • I’m not sure I made a point to that matter either way.

    • MD Russ


      You make the very point that those critical of secession are trying to convey: what is the social, economic, and political value today of the republics of the former Soviet Union (think Moldavia), Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia compared to their pre-secession days? BTW, have you ever heard of Srebrenica?

    • The aforementioned former states were artificial contructs of the Age of Empires and the misguided efforts of Wilsonian nationalist self-determination, and they were bound to fall apart from the moments of their inceptions due as much to their artificiality as anything else. Citizens have to make the choice between forming larger a larger polity, and security, on the one hand and remaining a smaller polity and keeping more liberties. The question of independence falls somewhere on that continuum, because other powers cannot be trusted to embrace the NAP.

  • You lost me once you picked & chose a bible verse to advocate a position.

    The bible is not a political instruction manual.

    • I believe what you mean to say is that the Bible is not currently a political instruction manual for our government.

      However, it does still inform many modern politicians on ideas of justice, sovereignty, and mercy.

      Ever heard of the Lawes Divine Morall and Martial?
      The Regulation for Colonists in New Amsterdam?
      The Massachusetts Body of Liberties?
      Locke’s Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina?
      The New England Articles of Confederation?

      The Bible was the quintessential political instruction manual for many countries over many centuries, and all laws were to be in accordance with it. NOT using the Bible as a political instruction manual is a relatively new idea.

      You say it is not a political instruction manual in the same way that anarchists say the Constitution of the United States is not a political instruction manual. It certainly is, but whether or not we adopt it or heed its instruction is dependent on the participants — not the document itself.

      I didn’t lose you. You chose to disregard the argument categorically — for whatever reason — without considering how important that argument was to our own independence.

      • “…You say it is not a political instruction manual in the same way that
        anarchists say the Constitution of the United States is not a political
        instruction manual.”

        You do not speak for me nor do you define what my words mean.

        That being said, all of the documents you mention come from an era when devout Christianity was the only acceptable religion. Time have changed and there are many other religions that should be considered on an equal basis (if we have to mix religion & politics). Just as it’s time for Republicans to realize that the era of Reagan is gone,and that it’s time to reevaluate the party’s stances, it’s now time to respect and honor all religions. Your religion should be just as private as your sex life and not forced on others.

        • “Your religion should be just as private as your sex life and not forced on others.”

          “Time [sic] have changed and there are many other religions that should be considered on an equal basis.”

          “Now it’s time to respect and honor all religions.”

          Don’t you see the absurdity in this relativistic stance? What if my
          religion prohibits me from keeping it private? Will you “respect and
          honor” that? Don’t you also see that by saying my religion “should” be
          private you are very much dictating to me what religion is acceptable
          and what is not? But you can’t do that because your own demands dictate
          that other religions “should” be considered on an equal basis as others.
          This line of thinking sounds awfully echoic to the 1936 Soviet
          constitution, which allowed freedom of religious worship, but not the
          freedom to practice their religion.

          • Well, at least you didn’t go for the Godwin’s Law instant win, but you came close.

            You can do whatever you want as long as you don’t infringe upon others. You can proselytize up and down the street (using another of your constitutional rights), but I’m drawing the line when you use your religion to try and change me in any form… and that includes using religious beliefs to shape legislation.

          • So wait, I can proselytize up and down the street, but I can’t exhort others to change? What kind of proselytizing would that be??

          • I thought I made it clear that I meant using your religion to influence legislation. Your right to swing your fist ends at the point where my nose begins.

          • You made it clear that your statement INCLUDES using religious beliefs to shape legislation…. You were NOT clear as to what else it includes.

            Of course, by “includes” you could have meant anything, since I can’t define what your words mean.

          • I shall reboot for clarification.

            Leave religion out of politics.

  • Louexis

    I thought the secession issue was settled twice in our past. Once when the Confederation of States was replaced by the United States Constitution and by the results of the War between the States. You and I know it will not happen

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