Secession

Why All the Outrage Over Ron Paul's Secession Musings?

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Ron Paul

Ron Paul stirred the pot with comments addressing the post-election secession sideshow, and he's brought the usual suspects out of the woodwork to gasp with outrage that he's not also gasping with outrage because a few (hundred-thousand) petitioners are venting on a White House Website. To his credit, Paul didn't endorse the sour-grapes secession petitions, but confined himself to philosophically defending the idea of breaking-up a political union as an ultimate right and a check on government power. That's enough, though, to draw charges that he's entertaining "treasonous" talk on a "settled" question.

Wrote Paul:

In a free country, governments derive their power from the consent of the governed. When the people have very clearly withdrawn their consent for a law, the discussion should be over.  If the Feds refuse to accept that and continue to run roughshod over the people, at what point do we acknowledge that that is not freedom anymore?  At what point should the people dissolve the political bands which have connected them with an increasingly tyrannical and oppressive federal government?  And if people or states are not free to leave the United States as a last resort, can they really think of themselves as free? 

If a people cannot secede from an oppressive government, they cannot truly be considered free.

His critics acknowledge that Paul isn't endorsing the current round of secessionism fueled by post-electoral disappointment, but that's not enough to buy the good doctor a pass for even treating seriously the idea that the United States of America isn't forever and ever and ever.

Writing at the Christian Science Monitor, Washington Editor, Peter Grier, objects, "[F]or all practical purposes the Civil War did settle this question."

At U.S. News & World Report, Managing Editor for Opinion, Robert Schlesinger, fulminates:

Secession is a deeply un-American principle. It is a principle that posed the greatest existential threat to the United States of America and was vanquished by our greatest president. … The bloodiest war in the nation's history was fought over the question of secession and the side which tried to destroy the United States lost. That settles it.

At Esquire, Charles P. Pierce is so offended that he feels moved to re-define the word "secession" to put Paul as far off the reservation as possible.

The country was not born through "secession" as anyone understands the word. The determination of the American colonies to leave the British Empire was not "secession." Secession implies that both sides entered into an voluntary arrangement that one side now chooses to leave.

For the record Merriam-Webster defines secession as "withdrawal into privacy or solitude : retirement" and "formal withdrawal from an organization." I don't know where in hell Pierce gets his definitions, but I doubt he does, either.

Look … All nations are human creations subject to change and eventual demise. Ask the Assyrians, Romans and Ottomans how eternal their countries were. Ask the Austro-Hungarians or the Yugoslavs about the unassailability of their borders. Anybody betting on the United States of America to exist in unaltered form over the centuries to come better be putting down Confederate dollars.

This doesn't mean every eruption of secessionist sentiment is justifiable, or a good idea. It may even be a really stupid idea, especially if better alternatives (like just taking federalism seriously) present themselves. But the transformation of borders and the nations within them is inevitable.

As for secession being a "settled" issue … The Civil War definitely settled the issue of who, between the Union or the Confederacy, could more effectively make its will stick on the battlefield in the 1860s. Hands down, after four years of bloody war, the Union settled that question. But questions that are "settled" by overwhelming force can be unsettled the same way. If those Texas secessionists had a couple of H bombs to add to their petition, this would be a very different conversation.

And you don't need H bombs. You just need the means to make your argument stick, and a lack of the same on the other side. Spain's constitution apparently does not allow for secession, but Catalonia, for better or worse, appears in spitting distance of making it happen.

Yes, the current flurry of secesssion petitions are a little over-the-top, though I think keeping your partners on notice in any relationship that your continued participation is conditional has a certain value. I'm not sure I'd be happier under a separatist Team Red regime than under victorious Team Blue, anyway. But there's nothing wrong with seriously discussing ideas like secession, or with revisiting, from time to time, the pros and cons of any political arrangement.

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  1. Secession is a deeply un-American principle.

    Clueless Editor is clueless.

    1. Writing at the Christian Science Monitor, Washington Editor, Peter Grier, objects, “[F]or all practical purposes the Civil War did settle this question.”

      Christfag, nuff said.

      At U.S. News & World Report, Managing Editor for Opinion, Robert Schlesinger, fulminates:

      “Secession is a deeply un-American principle.”

      Guess he never read the Declaration of Independence.

      At Esquire, Charles P. Pierce is so offended that he feels moved to re-define the word “secession” to put Paul as far off the reservation as possible.

      “The country was not born through “secession” as anyone understands the word. The determination of the American colonies to leave the British Empire was not “secession.” Secession implies that both sides entered into an voluntary arrangement that one side now chooses to leave.”

      Apparently many people have a huge misunderstanding of the word then.

      1. Apparently many people have a huge misunderstanding of the word then.

        And not only that, all states DID enter into a voluntary agreement with the federal government.

        1. “I have altered the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.”

          1. point for Darth Vader allusion

        2. The guy is acknowledging that. He’s trying to say the Britain-colonies relationship never was voluntary, so that wasn’t “secession”.

          1. Which makes his argument all the more stupid. If someone enters a “voluntary” relationship, then if one side is then forbidden to leave, it’s no longer voluntary.

            By Pierce’s logic, a woman who is in a relationship with a man who beats the shit out of her shouldn’t be able to legally divorce.

            Lastly, Paul’s point is perfectly in keeping with the Declaration of Independence. Maybe if these aspies read it sometime, they’d understand that.

            1. Actually, the Declaration is the “problem.” Paul quoting it as he did is felony radical in the minds of statists.

          2. He first says that the United States wasn’t formed by secession from England. OK, fine, I can go along with that following his definition. His definition being that both sides have to have a voluntary agreement for it to be secession.

            Given his new definition of secession it applies perfectly to the states.

      2. This also just makes me think, “People really don’t get that a ‘revolution’ is often just a ‘civil war’ that succeeded.”

        1. History is decided by the victor.

          Had they lost, everything done by the colonists would be called terrorism, treason, civil war by British (and United Colonies of England) history books.

          1. Part of why I am very aware of this point is that my English dad had just such a perspective on it, at least in jest.

            1. Visited a British regimental museum once. The display of the Redcoat was labeled “The Troubles in the Colonies.”

          2. “To high treason. That’s what these men were committing when they signed the Declaration. Had we lost the war, they would have been hanged, beheaded, drawn and quartered, and-Oh! Oh, my personal favorite-and had their entrails cut out and *burned*!”

            1. Your entrails need to be burned for quoting a Nick Cage movie. FFS.

              1. I thought there was a different penalty for quoting Nick Cage movies…

                “Not the Bees! NOT THE BEES!!!”

                FWIW, National Treasure was not the worst Nick Cage movie ever as long your not expecting high art (it’s a Nick Cage movie, so why would you?). It was a hundred times better than Face Off for instance.

                1. John Woo gets 100% of the blame for Face/Off.

                  1. I think you have to give some blame to Travolta as well, but maybe that goes without saying.

                    1. Wait…Blame for Face/Off? I think you mean credit for Face/Off.

                    2. Best Nick Cage movie ever = Kick Ass, though it might be argues that this wasn’t really “his” movie.

                    3. +1 foul mouthed pre-teen girl assassin.

                    4. +1 foul mouthed pre-teen girl assassin nerd pedophile fantasy.

                      Fixed that.

                    5. Hey now, my pedophile fantasy is in no way nerdy.

                      Conversations like this are why libertarians can’t have nice things.

                    6. I don’t see that. They intentionally made the girl look quite a bit on the fug side to keep that from being a legitimate claim against the movie.

                    7. They intentionally made the girl look quite a bit on the fug side to keep that from being a legitimate claim against the movie.

                      Considering the “ideal woman” for many nerds seem to be either pre-teen schoolgirls or anthropomorphized cats, I’m not sure that this supports your point.

                    8. Okay, if you want to fantasize about nerds seducing cat looking eleven year old girls, knock yourself out. No judging.

      3. If I understand his language torture, the US didn’t secede from the Brits because we didn’t agree to join them, thus our leaving was something else. Since the states agree to join the union, trying to leave is secession.

        Of course if you look at the colonists as having voluntarily chosen to live in British colonies under British rule, then the issue of whether they’re leaving Britain to create the US can be considered secession certainly gets
        murky.

        In arguing that secession is wrong because the states agreed to join the union, he’s effectively calling for pereptually binding contracts that can be abrogated at will by only one side. The US government can continue to violate various parts of the constitution as they apply to the states, and the states have to eat it because they agreed 52-210+ years ago to join the US. This ignores that the states joined the union under a very different set of constitutional law then the one we have now, and many did not agree to the changes that have since taken place.

        This is more analagous to a binding mandate that the great-great grandchildren of English colonists had to stay part of England despite the fact that the English government had continued to alter the deal farther and farther away from the deal that was in place when the original colonists.

        1. Not to mention that no one alive today was alive when this agreement was made

        2. “I have altered the agreement…pray I do not alter it any further.”

          1. confound db for beating me to it.

          2. I was going to mention Darth Vader until I saw another post beat me to the DV reference.

        3. If I understand his language torture, the US didn’t secede from the Brits because we didn’t agree to join them, thus our leaving was something else.

          No one will read this, but I have to get it off my chest: that’s obviously bullshit. The colonies were chartered. Settlers sought recognition by the British government. While the colonies did not create the government that ruled them by whole cloth, ‘they’ knew the deal they were entering. At least as much as ‘they’ knew when agreeing to the new arrangements from 1775 to 1787.

      4. Christian Science is neither Christian nor Science. Discuss*.

        *or not, as this isnt an issue in doubt.

        1. Do they consider Jesus to be a god (“The Christ”)? Then they are Christians.

        2. It was just named that because the founding donor insisted that it was.

  2. The issue of secession was one of those things that first made me realize I was “different” from most other people. It still amazes me to read statements like this one:

    Secession is a deeply un-American principle. It is a principle that posed the greatest existential threat to the United States of America and was vanquished by our greatest president. … The bloodiest war in the nation’s history was fought over the question of secession and the side which tried to destroy the United States lost. That settles it.

    I’ll never be able to understand someone who doesn’t think that Lincoln was the worst president (or at least among the worst) for precisely this reason, that fighting a war over the question of secession wasn’t incredibly “un-American,” and that this whole argument amounts to nothing more than “we won, they lost, so there.” It’s called fucking self-determination, bitches, and since when was it un-American to believe in that?

    1. It’s been un-American ever since the violent suppression of Shay’s Rebellion.

      1. As I understand it, not all of the states agreed to support the suppression of Shay’s rebellion, adding some drama to the question of whether it would succeed. 6 months later, we have a new, more centralized Constitution.

    2. this whole argument amounts to nothing more than “we won, they lost, so there.”

      Sometimes they actually even say it in those words.

      1. Violence, it seems, really does solve things, in the minds of some.

      2. ‘We won.’ Siding with the winner is nothing of the sort. You are bending your head like everyone else who doesn’t want to lose his head.

        ‘They won. You are a distant subject. That is how it is.’

    3. It’s called fucking self-determination, bitches, and since when was it un-American to believe in that?

      Since April 9, 1865.

      It is pretty much “‘we’ won, ‘they’ lost, so there”. Also something about even bring up secession is mumble mumble RACIST mumble mumble yada yada dog whistle blah blah blah.

    4. I wouldn’t say that Lincoln was our worst President, or that he went out looking for the South to secede. He was handed a bag of shit (one that the antebellum South and a sympathetic federal government had no small part in producing), and it is probably for the best that neither ourselves nor anyone else in the Americas had to grapple with an expansionistic slave power for the next century. And while I agree in principle with secession, a secession for the purposes of oppressing a third of your population is not a legitimate or endorse-able expression of that principle IMO.

      1. Now you’re an effete Cocktail Party OLM Cosmotarian.

        Old Mexican will be along shortly to howl about Chimpy McHitlerincoln.

      2. I have no love for the Confederacy, slavery (duh), or any governments at all, but Lincoln (clearly, based on all the above) set a terrible, terrible precedent.

        1. There wasn’t an easy way out of this, as far as bad precedent setting goes.

          Think about it: an independent CSA would immediately place in our vicinity a hostile power sharing a border with us almost as wide as continental Europe. Suppose that the US were to maintain a policy of open borders and secession of state governments: what, then, happens when Southerners emigrate en masse to the Western territories, as happened historically? What happens if one, or two, of these territories have a plebiscite and vote to leave the Union and join the CSA? Does the US really just let that happen in perpetuity? Or what if only a certain region in a territory is pro-slavery? Do we just see Bloody Kansas repeat itself in the Territories? What about if other states start their own secession movements for unrelated reasons, weakening the US’ position relative to the CSA? What about Southern expansion into Mexico and Cuba (long sought-after goals of the antebellum South)? Do we just take that lying down? Or how about West Virginia and other areas claimed by the South which don’t want any part in that Union? If the CSA decides that they don’t give a damn about secession rights and claims them, do we fight to keep W Virginia in the Union or just let it go to the South?

          1. Combine that with all of the problems that would result in conflict (runaway slaves, different ethical systems, competing expansionism,etc), and somewhere down the line, one of two things happens: either some US president sets the bad precedent that Lincoln set (after lots of bad stuff happens), or the US is a more balkanized and violent place than it is today, due to mutual loathing on the part of the USA and CSA.

            1. Oh, I agree. I would have preferred much, much more secession–as in, every individual seceding from every government entity.

              But of course, I’m an anarchist.

            2. Pipe down there, Harry Turtledove. This is all fact-free speculation.

          2. Re: The Immaculate Trouser,

            Think about it: an independent CSA would immediately place in our vicinity a hostile power sharing a border with us almost as wide as continental Europe.

            You mean like Canada today?

            Yeah, hostile.

            Does the US really just let that happen in perpetuity?

            All we have to do is ask Hungary.

            Oooops!

      3. Is there actually an illegitimate reason for secession?

        “Because we want to” should be enough.

        1. If you’re doing it to retain people in bondage…

          1. Wouldn’t that be a literal ‘War of Liberation’ as Lincoln ultimately morphed the war into – at least rhetorically. He couldn’t burn through that many lives and that much slaughter to “Preserve the Union”. Just not worth it.

            Of course a war of liberation is fine, if voluntary militias want to wander around the southeast US freeing slaves, I cheer them on.

            1. Of course a war of liberation is fine, if voluntary militias want to wander around the southeast US freeing slaves, I cheer them on.

              I can’t see a single problem resulting from the US allowing armies of liberation to attack a neighbor sharing a land border the size of Europe. Nope, not a one.

              When people who are otherwise sympathetic to libertarianism talk about how libertarian foreign policy is unworkable? This is the kind of stuff they’re talking about.

              1. A simple statement like this would suffice:

                “The U.S. federal government has not authorized the incursion of militias in the Confederacy, nor does the Constitution allow us to prevent citizens, armed or not, from leaving our territorial borders. We will not retaliate or intervene should the Confederate government find certain members of such militias in violation of Confederate laws, and act accordingly.”

          2. Re: Randian,

            If you’re doing it to retain people in bondage…

            You mean like with the original 13 colonies???

            The fact is that Lincoln wanted those States back into the Union, not because of slavery but because of economic power.

            Besides, the goal of stopping people from placing others in bondage did not require 800,000 dead, wide tracts of capital goods destroyed and a much more powerful central government, to happen. Those things happened out of sheer pursuit of power.

        2. If I’m keeping women locked up in my sex dungeon and choose the moment after being found out to secede from the US and establish the Serene Republic of Trousers (where sex dungeons and lady kidnapping are perfectly legal), should the US government recognize the sovereignty of my state and secession movement?

          If the South wanted to secede while maintaining slavery, then as far as I’m concerned the only legitimate way it could have done so was to let their black population have equal say in that decision — or in lieu of that, allowing their black population to move to another state, if they so desired.

          Suffice it to say, that didn’t happen.

          1. Umm, in your hypothetical situation, the U.S. would also have legal sex dungeons and lady kidnapping, and thus it would be problematical for the U.S. to use those actions allowed on their soil as an excuse to prevent secession.

            Because when the War of Northern Aggression started, slavery was legal in the North, too.

      4. Re: The Immaculate Trouser,

        And while I agree in principle with secession, a secession for the purposes of oppressing a third of your population is not a legitimate or endorse-able expression of that principle IMO.

        They seceded in big part because of the tariff, not just because of anti-slavery sentiments from the government. Plus, Lincoln had promised to the states that returned to the Union that they would be able to keep slavery. A promise he actually KEPT for those pro-slavery states that stayed in the Union.

    5. I’ve always felt that the Civil War was justified only because it WAS about slavery.

      The battle lines always seemed to be one side saying it was just because it ended slavery, which is a moral imperative, and the other side saying it wasn’t really about slavery, it was about secession, which is why it was wrong and a terrible abuse of power.

      Now apparently, it wasn’t really about slavery, and that’s okay. The civil war was right because (blank stare) and because it was right it proves that secession is wrong!

      1. I tend to agree that it was justified due to the slave issue. The problem is, people today legitimately believe that there is NO situation in which secession could be considered legitimate. The reason progressives love bringing up the Civil War is so that they can tar legitimate arguments in favor of the right to secede as racist or extremist. That has nothing to do with the Civil War itself.

      2. I’m not sure. After 1877, the North turned its back on the southern Blacks, and the south essentially fell into de facto slavery for another half century via “sharecropping.”

        I’m sure there are some people in the North who were passionately against slavery, but others just wanted to feel superior to the south and shows them who’s boss. After having defeated the south, they didn’t really care what happened.

        Kind of like people who are against civil liberties abuses only when a Republican is in power. It’s not a real concern, just a reason to rail against someone.

  3. My how times change. When I opposed President Bush’s policies, I was assured that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Now, according to a letter this week in the local paper, if I oppose Our
    Glorious Leader I should be arrested for sedition.

    1. Now, according to a letter this week in the local paper, if I oppose Our
      Glorious Leader I should be arrested for sedition.

      Holy shit, where do you live so I can make sure to avoid it at all costs? I also hope you’ve masked your IP address. If they find out you post on “extremist” websites such as H&R they’ll probably have you executed on the spot.

    2. I want a link to that letter, please.

      1. Oh wait, Romulus’s neighbor is Joe Klein.

  4. One of my favorite postings over at The Liberty PapersNo Secession, No Legitimacy!

    In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson claimed that a government derived its power from the consent of the people. But what form of consent is being given? If I refuse to consent to the U.S. government, I go to jail, or even risk getting killed! How can people give consent if they are not permitted to withhold it? If they were to be permitted to withhold it, what form would such a withholding take?

    A refusal to consent to government would necessarily require people to stop obeying the government’s edicts, to ignore its laws and live by laws of their own devising ? in other words by seceding

    Thus, to freely consent to government, people must also be free to declare their independence and secede from the state which claims their allegiance A government that claims legitimacy by declaring it has the consent of the governed must permit secession, or its whole claim of consent is nothing more than an empty marketing slogan, like ‘compassionate conservatism’ or ‘ownership society’.

    1. Nor does the state get to dictate on what terms consent can be legitimately withheld. A right can be exercised for the most weighty or spurious reasons. I, for example, have the right to speak my mind. I can speak profoundly on important topics, or exercise this right to sing the most frivolous of songs. How I exercise this right, why I exercise it is irrelevant. If the U.S. government claims it governs only because the people consent to it, it must permit secession for any reason, even if it is as frivolous as Texas declaring its independence because it rained on Thursday

      1. I’ve only read a little bit of that article, but it’s great. Thanks for that. Looking forward to finishing it when I get home from work.

  5. Secession is an existential threat to a nation that was founded through secession. Derp. The easiest way to shut these retards up is to ask them if Americans should still be subjects of Hey Majesty.

  6. Just ask them if they approve of the secession of West Virginia from Virginia.

    1. Or Vermont from New Hampshire, or Texas from Mexico, or California from Mexico…

      1. Vermont seceded from New York, not New Hampshire.

        1. We kind of just said “screw you guys arguing over who controls us, we’ll do our own stuff”.

  7. “It is a principle that posed the greatest existential threat to the United States of America and was vanquished by our greatest president.”

    But what if you don’t agree that Lincoln was the greatest president?

    1. Then you are a heretic, heretic.

    2. But what if you don’t agree that Lincoln was the greatest president?

      Then you are a bigoted states rights advocate that wants a return to slavery.

      1. I’ve seen the error of my thinking. Long live Abraham the Great! Ever may he reign.

    3. Then you’re just a racist who still wants slavery.

      -Tony.

  8. the editors are doing what intellectually lazy people do – they attempt to marginalize certain words and, by extension, anyone who uses them. The left has made a cottage industry of this with its never-ending search for code words, references to dog whistles, and predictably, misrepresentation of secession.

  9. I get the feeling that “secession” is being viewed as code for racism. Much like golf and Chicago…

  10. Secession is a deeply un-American principle. It is a principle that posed the greatest existential threat to the United States of America and was vanquished by our greatest president.

    Paging Barfman…

    Oh hell, I’ll do it myself *barf*

  11. Charles Pierce is a moron.

    “The country was not born through “secession” as anyone understands the word. The determination of the American colonies to leave the British Empire was not “secession.” Secession implies that both sides entered into an voluntary arrangement that one side now chooses to leave.”

    Here’s the problem: The past doesn’t get to enter into an agreement for people who are now living. Just because Illinoisans agreed to join the Union in 1818 doesn’t mean Illinois should be required to remain a part of the country indefinitely if the people of the state choose otherwise. I can’t enter into a contract forcing my unborn son to do something he didn’t agree to and people two hundred years ago can’t enter into a contract forcing me to do anything.

    This is so basic, but dipshits like Pierce don’t seem to get it.

    1. You don’t understand!

      You signed the social contract the moment you never made the decision to leave the United States!

      See?

      Inaction is action!

    2. Charles Pierce is a moron.

      You could’ve just stopped there.

    3. Oh it’s Charles Pierce?

      Why are we even bothering? You don’t hear me going around fisking people with Down’s, do you?

  12. Ok, so NOW the Civil War was about secession, not slavery?

    1. It’s whichever can lets them score points.

      Give them enough time and it will be about abortion or gay marriage.

      1. I also love the part where they say ‘the Civil War solved all this and made it clear that you can’t secede!’

        No, the Civil War made it clear that the United States federal government will try and stop them. That doesn’t prove that they have no right to secession, just that the government will, in all likelihood, behave like a jilted girlfriend if you decide to leave her.

        ‘Didn’t I give you everything you wanted? I gave you food stamps even if you were making 1.5 times the poverty line! I know I could be controlling sometimes, and maybe I shouldn’t have threatened to take away highway funding if you didn’t agree with the Federal drinking age, but that doesn’t mean you had to leave me for that SLUT States’ Rights. I hear she’s a racist.’

        1. I think it’s still an open question whether the civil war would have happened if the North had been slave owning or the South free states. If secession had been about some other issue, would the North really have fought a war to stop them?

          If the South seceded from the union because they just want to have a different trade policy, would the North have gone to war?

          No. They wouldn’t have. There had to be some profound moral disagreement that neither side could agree to disagree about.

          Further, I think it’s an open question whether the US would actually bomb (say) Texas if the state voted to secede.

          I think the blithely assuming that the US military is going to suppress a legitimate referdendum to secede in one or more States displays a certain lack of moral consideration.
          It’s easy to say it now, when the chances of it happening are remote. But if it ACTUALLY HAPPENED, when faced with the real, extant choice of killing Americans or allowing a state to go it’s own way, I sincerely doubt most of these people would be willing to go through with the slaughter of their former countrymen.

          1. Yup.

          2. You make a valid point, but only something like 20% of people believe there is a right to secede. I think an awful lot of people would claim secession is treason and hence punishable with violence.

            Also, the war was about slavery on the Southern side (since they wanted to keep their slaves) but it wasn’t really about slavery on the northern side. In New York there was a draft riot that resulted in the murder of hundreds of black people, including several black babies being shot to death. Most Northerners flat didn’t give a damn about slavery or black people, so I’d argue that the war was almost entirely about secession from the northern point of view, rather than about slavery.

            Considering that there were northern states where it was illegal for blacks to immigrate to them, I don’t think those kinds of people thought the Civil War was about slavery so much as about secession.

          3. I suspect Obama might consider the legislators who voted for secession to have committed an act of treason and terrorism and thus liable to be given drone due process.

      2. I can see it now: “Lincoln the Great didn’t free the slaves just so that we could enslave women with their own uteruses (or uteri?) and keep gay people enslaved in a closet.”

        God I sometimes hate being able to channel prog-tards. It’s more of a curse than a gift.

  13. “Listen, bub; Abraham Lincoln didn’t kill all them Nazis so you could just do as you please, you know!”

  14. 1) The liberals are afraid of secession because it would leave those remaining with all of the debt. No, that doesn’t make sense because the debt isn’t a blip on their radar…

    2) What is it going to take to turn this secession talk to serious federalism talk to repealing the 17th Amendment? 18(?) states with legalized medical marijuana, 2 with legalized recreational marijuana, more than a handful opting out of state run insurance exchanges. The point being that both parties could benefit from more federalism, and the best way to achieve it would be by having the senate there to protect and advocate for state’s rights. National legislation for issues that can only be addressed on the national scale, state legislation for state issues, no UN/international legislation for electronic “security” or drug issues. Preserve as much autonomy for smaller and more local bodies as possible while in no way negating these bodies are a part of a larger whole.

  15. Secession is a deeply un-American principle.

    Charles Pierce notwithstanding, this is an odd thing to say about a nation formed by a violent separation from a larger political entity.

    1. You don’t understand, the revolution wasn’t really secession because we never agreed to be part of England. Since everyone in America chooses of their own freewill to ratify the constitution once they reach adulthood, secession from America would be totally different.

      Every time Charles Pierce writes something, I feel like there should be a South Park style disclaimer that just says ‘THIS IS WHAT CHARLES PIERCE ACTUALLY BELIEVES!’

  16. If you try to leave dinner and people stop you, you can be pretty sure you’re the one paying.

    “No taxpayers may leave America – I need their money for the destitute masses, who willl love me LOVE ME!!”

  17. As a thought experiment, secession would put the question to progressives: “Are you willing to kill people so that you can force them to pay for other people’s health care?”

    1. “Are you willing to kill people so that you can force them to pay for other people’s health care ‘free’ shit?”

      FTFY. And I think we all know the answer to that question.

  18. “Are you willing to kill people so that you can force them to pay for other people’s health care?”

    In a heartbeat.

  19. Are you willing to kill people so that you can force them to pay for other people’s health care

    The answer will be “yes.” Think of their defenses of Castro.

    1. Progressives love to delude themselves that the “middle class” isn’t going to have to pay any more taxes to pay for all the free shit. They like to think that the people being forced to pay for stuff are all rich bastards of the 1%.
      And yes, they would be happy to line the 1% up again the wall and off them if they had the chance.

      But in REAL LIFE, we both know that the people killing and being killed aren’t going to be the 1%.

      So I guess the question is “Are you willing to kill a lot of ordinary normal not-rich people so you can force them to pay for healthcare for the poor? Are you willing to kill people just like you? “

  20. In the SF Bay Area, they can not get enough of sneering at the south and especially Texas. They seem to be ashamed of even being in the same country as these states.

    However, they react so strongly at the idea of these states (in mere rhetoric) threatening secession. Wouldn’t they want to be rid of them? Or, is it because the states that talk of leaving are also the ones with the stronger economies? Progressives won’t be able to pay for their policies without relatively stronger economies like Texas pulling them along.

    It’s like they know their policies are failing, and if Texas left, it would be all the more obvious.

    1. While Texas is an exception, a lot of Southern states get more money in federal spending than they receive in taxes, while Californians pay a lot more in taxes than they get in spending

      1. That would explain why they especially sneer at Texas more than the others.

      2. Mississippi plays 3D chess while California plays checkers. Hate the game, not the player.

      3. Re: Calidissident,

        While Texas is an exception, a lot of Southern states get more money in federal spending than they receive in taxes,

        If California were a toss-up state, you would see federal mana fall from the sky in an instant.

        FDR tactics, my friend. FDR tactics.

      4. The reason that Southern states get more money in federal payments might have something to do with the fact that the South has a large impoverished black population, and said black population collects a lot of welfare and medicaid benefits.

        1. It doesn’t really matter why, that wasn’t my point. And it’s not just the lazy blacks getting welfare that explains it. There are plenty of Southern (and other conservative) states with low black populations that get more in spending than they pay in taxes, and California has a lot of Hispanics, and if you’ve been listening to American lately, you’d know that they’re only interested in coming here to get welfare

          (obvious sarc on the last part)

    2. What I love about Prog-hatred of the southern states is that virtually all the backwards aspects of the deep south occurred under the auspices of democrat rule. From the time FDR became president up until the ’80s, the south was run entirely by New Deal-type socially conservative democrats.

      There was mass economic stagnation in the South that entire time and cultural stagnation tends to exist when economic stagnation exists. That’s largely the reason for the socially conservative aspects of the deep south. Since Republicans took over the South, there’s essentially been a major Southern renaissance, complete with far higher levels of economic expansion. Since then, many of the ‘backwards’ aspects of southern culture have changed or begun to change because of economic growth.

      In other words, most of the problems progs smugly attribute to the south are the result of southern stagnation due to New Deal economic policies. It’s almost like progressives are morons who know nothing about history.

      1. Re: Iggy,

        It’s almost like progressives are morons who know nothing about history.

        What an insult! Injury! Calumny!

        What do you mean “almost”??? As if progressives did anything half-assed? I will have none of it, sir! None of it! They’re complete morons, through and through! Never “almost”!

    3. They only sneer at rednecks in the South and I honestly think they believe these states should not be allowed to secede because if they did that would be really bad for minorities in the southern states and they need to protect those minorities with the federal government. They sure as shit wouldn’t welcome them all with open arms if those states did secede and now all the minorities wanted to move to blue states. People are stupid.

      My only concern with secession is that I was born in NY and currently live in NY. Will a seceding state accept me and do I need to be in that states before it seceded to avoid paying U.S. taxes anymore? I may have to hope for Alaska where my wife was born but she hasn’t lived there since she was 2. To the group, how screwed am I?

      1. If it looks like a state is about to secede, take a vacation there. If it succeeds, then declare that you were a resident before the secession, since to be a resident you have to

        1) physically be in that state

        2) intend to be a permanent resident (which is entirely a internal event that can’t be disproven)

  21. Elliot Spitzer smokes crack, then he writes a column.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/spi…..ction.html

    At a more theoretical level, think of this tension as Keynes vs. Hayek and Rawls vs. Nozick. What do I mean by that? The worldviews of Obama and Romney are really proxies for the theoretical debate about Keynesian economics vs. the more libertarian views of Frederick Hayek. Obama’s support for a government stimulus and expenditures to invest are traditional Keynesian; Romney’s shrink-government-at-all-costs view is akin to the hands-off approach of Hayek and the Chicago school. Keynes won, as well he should have. Likewise, John Rawls’ view of a government that is concerned about the well-being of the least well-off member of society is akin to Obama’s interest in a progressive income tax where the wealthier pay more, and ensuring access to health care and food stamps for those who are needy.

  22. Why All the Outrage Over Ron Paul’s Secession Musings?

    Because the outraged are stupid. That’s why.

    Writing at the Christian Science Monitor, Washington Editor, Peter Grier, objects, “[F]or all practical purposes the Civil War did settle this question.”

    Thanks for telling everybody that violence is what settles things.

    At Esquire, Charles P. Pierce is so offended that he feels moved to re-define the word “secession” to put Paul as far off the reservation as possible.

    The country was not born through “secession” as anyone [sic] understands the word. The determination of the American colonies to leave the British Empire was not [sic] “secession.”

    Why is anybody surprised when Statists incur in doublespeak and equivocation to present their arguments?

  23. I support secession.

    Secession for Republica del Norte “Aztl?n”, for the Republic of New Afrika, full self-determination for all Native American tribes.

    I do not support for secession for the ruminates of a romanticized white supremacist slave-states.

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