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Stossel: Let Them Leave!

Regions around the world are fighting for independence. If people want to secede, let them!

Many Californians are upset about Donald Trump. Some are so upset that they are working to get a referendum on the ballot in 2018. It would ask Californians if their state should leave the United States and become an independent country—which it was back in 1846.

But if they vote to leave will the rest of America let them? Maybe not, if Spain's reaction to a similar movement is any guide. A region called Catalonia wants to secede from the rest of Spain. But the Spanish government says that is illegal and sent thousands of police to stop Catalonians from even voting about whether they want to leave. The police brutally assaulted many people trying to vote.

Catalonia's regional Parliament responded with a declaration of independence from Spain, but the Spanish authorities then dissolved the parliament and arrested many of the leaders who favored secession. Other leaders have fled the country and are trying to convince the EU to give Catalonia independence.

Stossel hopes they succeed, because if people don't want to be governed by their government—and would prefer another—let them choose! It also means more governments, and more competition among governments, which should lead to better laws.

As libertarian Michael Strong puts it, "we need lots of experiments. It's funny—in the world of science, we believe in the freedom to experiment. Now we need to go to the world of government and believe in the freedom to experiment."

Produced by Maxim Lott. Edited by Joshua Swain.

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  • H. Farnham||

    And have to pay a border adjustment tax on my almonds!?!?!?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Do you have any idea how much water it takes to produce an almond? California won't be growing almonds anymore, once it no longer has access to aquifers in Colorado.

  • CE||

    Because bordering nations never trade?
    Or because Colorado doesn't want any of California's cash for its water?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I think southwestern states would be a lot less likely to sell huge amounts of their water to California - which is already pretty unpopular among the citizens of those states - once California is no longer part of the same country.

  • H. Farnham||

    Water rights is actually one of very few subjects about which I have a decent amount of knowledge. While most eastern states operate on Riparian Doctrine (use water as you will if it's on, under, or adjacent to your property - subject to common and tort law), water scarce states in the west usually operate under some form of Western Water Law. Whereby, water rights are apportioned by the state on a seniority based priority system (first in time, first in right). It's actually a pretty decent system (obviously not perfect) for protecting private property rights, public interest, and scarce resources. However, it gets pretty sticky when water right holders in different states get involved in impairment issues. Then it's a matter of interstate compacts, federal lawsuits, etc.

  • H. Farnham||

    I hope that answers the question you didn't ask.

  • 2whlrider||

    Doesn't Oregon have a different law? As I understand it, one may not divert water from it's natural flow in Oregon without compensating users downstream. To me, this is the fairest system because it takes into account the nature of water; i.e. that it flows. It acknowledges the fact that downstream users have less if you take more. It encourages everyone to conserve, not just some. In contrast, Western Water Law creates a perverse disincentive for early high-seniority users to conserve. When water becomes scarce, later arriving farmers must scale back or stop operations while the early farmers can continue to farm and get higher prices for their crops.

  • H. Farnham||

    I'm not sure about Oregon specifically.

    I wouldn't say that it creates a disincentive, although it surely doesn't incentivize conservation. The real disincentive occurs during the perfection period of a water appropriation right, when the quantity and rate are being "proven".

    I'm not sure there is a better way to apportion than seniority. You could force everyone to stop or reduce equally, which would be incredibly difficult from a logistics standpoint, and not very "fair" to senior users. Or the state could decide who gets to pump first based on other factors, which opens the door to cronyism or central planning.

    Keep in mind that a water right (at least in KS) is a real property right, appurtenant to and severable from the land on which it's used. So water rights are subject to market forces.

  • Eric||

    On that note, we can just now legally collect rainwater runoff from our own property in the Denver metro area. This was not popular with the farming communities downstream on the S Platte river who used to claim rights to the runoff from the entire watershed.

  • H. Farnham||

    That's crazy. In Kansas, there are almost no restrictions on domestic use of water. In fact you can collect runoff in a reservoir up to 15 acre feet (just under 5 million gallons) without a permit. Like I said, prior appropriation doctrine isn't always perfect, and there's a lot of variation state to state.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Maybe not crazy, but Colorado has been forced to eliminate impoundment reservoirs to let water flow into Kansas, in order to honor existing claim priorities.

  • p3orion||

    But the EPA is likely to come along and declare it either a wetland or navigable waters.

  • DarrenM||

    So who has rights to the clouds?

  • damikesc||

    They'd sell.

    But the price would be higher.

    Likely considerably so.

  • Sevo||

    Which might even get moonbeam off his ass to develop more water storage in CA.

  • p3orion||

    "Or because Colorado doesn't want any of California's cash for its water?"

    Have you seen California's finances? The California Peso won't be worth a helluva lot.

  • Ron||

    Cali's water for almonds comes mostly from shasta lake

  • H. Farnham||

    Well, drought is the new normal in Cali... or is it floods now?

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    call it: Water Change. that way you are never wrong.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    I wonder if having to get our own water might make us seriously consider desalination plants along the coast

  • EscherEnigma||

    Desalination plants and nuclear power go really nice together, so I'd call that a win-win.

  • CE||

    Almonds waste water. The Emperor of California will ban them.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    The Emperor has no nuts?

  • Rich||

    Many Californians ... are so upset that they are working to get a referendum on the ballot in 2018. It would ask Californians if their state should leave the United States and become an independent country

    A *sanctuary* country?

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Hey, Hollywood! Here's your hat, what's your hurry!

  • p3orion||

    How about asking the citizens of the OTHER 49 states? (Thunderous "Yes")

  • Rich||

    "I left my passport in San Francisco ..."

  • SQRLSY One||

    I left my harp in Sam Clam's Disco!

  • Rich||

    more competition among governments, which should lead to better laws.

    The King of California could outlaw guns once and for all.

  • Rich||

    Oh, yes -- "Emperor of The Inland Empire".

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Whither thou, Joshua Norton?

  • Rich||

  • Mickey Rat||

    Competition with the othet 49 state governments has resulted in a politically dysfunctional state

  • BSL1||

    It's only relatively dysfunctional.

  • CE||

    You might not like some laws that pass in South Carolina, or California, or Utah, but you don't have to live there.
    The alternative is one law for everyone, that half the people detest.

  • Nuwanda||

    Yes (if I take your meaning correctly), the Holy Grail of the "many small states" advocates, which is so obviously fallacious that one has to wonder about their disingenuity, or stupidity.

    It's based on the conflation of competition in commerce with competition in politics. The reality shows us they are not the same, and indeed may be somewhat opposite.

    The city states of Greece or the Principalities of Germany never had too much problem slaughtering each other over the centuries and imposing harsh domestic policies. The modern world has over 200 sovereign nations, many of them quite small, and many of them at war or in conflict with each other. And those that aren't lobbing missiles are lobbing tariffs and taxes at each other, and subjecting their own citizenry to the same. North Korea is perhaps the best modern example of a small state with a small population and a tiny economy that still manages to be a brutal dictatorship and possess nukes.

    The secessionists haven't quite worked out that what matters is philosophical underpinnings, not the geographical size of the state. The US has done relatively well balancing a large area and population with competitive Federalism. Only an idiot would think that a California secession would result in more freedom, less tax and fewer regulations for Californians. We know the opposite is true, just as it has usually been since human civilization became established.

  • Sevo||

    Uh, well, uh, that's.............
    interesting.

  • John||

    The problem is who is "them". Not everyone in California wants to leave the US. In fact, if the majority do, it is a small majority. So, why should the 45 or whatever percent who don't want to leave be dragged along? Because the majority of the state wants to leave? Okay, but a majority of the country would say no. What is so magical about the population of California such that the majority of the state gets to stick it to the minority but not magical about the population of the US that says its majority can't tell the ones in California that want to leave they have to stay?

    Nothing as far as I can see. If you are going to claim regions have a right to leave, then you have to also be able to say there is some compelling reason why this region where you can get a majority that says leave is the "region" that determines the question and not a larger or smaller region.

  • sarcasmic||

    Talking to yourself?

  • CE||

    Panarchy (where everyone joins the government of their choice, regardless of geography) works better, but has no history and most people don't get it.

    Governments (in the traditional sense) need to be geographically continuous (plus a few remote islands maybe) or well defined.

    States may be too large to break off whole, and people aren't ready for individual secession. Counties would be a natural break point, being already defined and partially self-governing.

  • Pro Libertate||

    One mistake the Founders made was not more explicitly limiting the power of state and local governments. Historically, it's easy to see why that happened, but it was an error.

  • BSL1||

    It was intentional and well functioning, while used. What allowed it to become nonfunctional was not more explicitly limiting the power of the central federal government. That was the error.

  • Nuwanda||

    "Panarchy (where everyone joins the government of their choice, regardless of geography) works better, but has no history and most people don't get it."

    Huh? It works better but it has no history?

    Maybe that's why "most people don't get it."

    And maybe because its just another name for anarchy, which also has no history and makes "government of their choice" a contradiction in terms.

    But I get it: the anarchists (and panarchists) get all giggly about California seceding because in their rationalistic thought experiments *any* secession is good regardless of the outcome for those forced to secede.

  • p3orion||

    You can't really have everyone choosing the government of their choice no matter where they are; jurisdiction matters. You need to have some idea of what the laws are based on WHERE you are in order to be able to follow them, or to hold someone accountable for breaking them. Otherwise, every damned interpersonal interaction will have to begin with a long conversation about what's allowed to whom.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Rename yourself (snicker) then I'll believe you are Hihn.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Really (smirk)?

  • Rhywun||

    I'd like to see that poll, because frankly I find it silly.

    If Catalonia, an erstwhile nation with a different language and culture from the Castile, can't scrape up enough a definitive majority to secede, people think California will? Because they're butt-hurt over Trump or some such nonsense? It's madness.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    The regions that don't want to leave can secede from California.

  • Rich||

    I like where this is headed!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Panarchy in the USA, homie. Time to hoist the black flag, or not, whatever!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Your mind wanders down some strange roads.

  • Longtobefree||

    Anarchist of the world, unite!!

  • Rebel Scum||

    So, why should the 45 or whatever percent who don't want to leave be dragged along? Because the majority of the state wants to leave?

    Didn't only about a third of colonists support secession from England?

  • Nuwanda||

    Which polling company are you quoting? They got the 2016 election wrong so I wouldn't trust their colonial data. And very few people had phones so it was mostly face-to-face, which is notoriously problematic with regards to honest responses.

  • Mickey Rat||

    In California, breaking away from the US will likely mean that their government will be free of the Bill of Rights limiting its authority. That is goung to have resl consequences for the minority part of the population.

  • Dick Puller, Attorney at Law||

    Well, in the case of California, if they become a separate country, we can then declare war on them, and finally give them the major ass-kicking they so richly deserve.

  • CE||

    Until Elon Musk unveils his death ray.

  • DarrenM||

    Then California can become a territory and residents will no longer have to pay federal income taxes.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The problem is who is "them". Not everyone in California wants to leave the US. In fact, if the majority do, it is a small majority. So, why should the 45 or whatever percent who don't want to leave be dragged along?

    that's how democracy works. The 49.5% get bent over by the 50.5%.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Which is why the Founders tried so hard to limit democratic power, as well as other kinds. Those guys were a lot wiser than we are today, despite them not having proper modern sensibilities.

  • Mezzanine||

    The founders would probably feel differently if they knew that their system led to Hillary and Trump being the candidates.

  • p3orion||

    And we have a winner!

  • EscherEnigma||

    I think the real problem is that we lack a formal and pre-established system by which a geographical political entity can secede.

    The obvious response is that we should pass a constitutional amendment dictating under what conditions, and what process, a state or territory can secede from the union. My personal preference would be requiring two consecutive votes, both in which 2/3rds of voters vote for secssions, with the votes happening on presidential election years. The idea being that it should be difficult, require a super majority, and the grievance must be long-standing and not limited to a single moment but a long-running pattern.

    There would also need to be provisions about the dispensation of shared assets and debts, a "grace period" for trade and travel agreements, issues of dual citizenship, and so-on.

    But all of this would ideally be hashed out before a state tries to secede, so that when someone tries to initiate the process we're not all left scratching their head of "okay, but how?"

  • Pro Libertate||

    I have a cunning plan. Replace votes with essays.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Judged by quality, not quantity.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Look at the current state of politics. Could he really do much to make it worse?

  • Longtobefree||

    Plenty of pension money for the survivors - - - -

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    My hope is that everyone gives up trying to figure it out and goes home.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    If only. What'll happen is most people will give up and go home, and then the real psychopaths will just make up a bunch of heinous shit while no one's paying attention.

  • sarcasmic||

    Power is a one-way ratchet.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    We solved this problem with the Civil War, racist.

    Dissent is the ultimate form of treason and you will be executed!

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    I like this idea minus the "longstanding grievance". If you want to leave because Trump or Obama just got elected, then do it

    But I highly doubt that when secession happens, it will be for a reason like that. I've discussed secession a bit with lefties, and they like it but then they say "Oh but what about gay people in Alabama? We can't leave them" or some crap like that. They genuinely think there would be a massive extermination of minorities without California's 50+ electoral votes, and so they'll bravely stay to impose their will upon the rest of the country. And on the other side, Texas is the only state where there's enough state pride to tolerate not being an American. Every other red state is probably too nationalistic. They'd prefer everyone else leave, because they're the "real Americans". Both sides just toy with the idea every 4 years

    The most likely scenario for secession is when we finally have to face our gigantic debt, and some fiscally conservative state decides that they shouldn't have to suffer for the federal government's stupidity

  • Nuwanda||

    "I think the real problem is that we lack a formal and pre-established system by which a geographical political entity can secede."

    Are you aware of the irony in your statements? Obviously not since the whole point of secession isn't to get permission or follow a legal procedure. Secession is a euphemism for rebellion.

    Or do you seriously suppose that one seceded, California will grant the same right to citizens within its new borders? Like hell. The point of California secession is to increase the power of the state, not reduce it.

  • p3orion||

    A number of the states ratified the Constitution and bound themselves into the United States only with the understanding that they remained sovereign, and could renounce their membership in the union at will. Lincoln's war to force the Confederate states back into the union was fundamentally unconstitutional (as even many Northerners thought at the time.) The South's secession was philosophically of a piece with the American revolution from England. The only thing wrong with it was the motivation behind it.

  • CE||

    Self-determination. The federal government shouldn't get to vote on what the people in California or Texas or New Hampshire want. Keeping a breakaway district under your armed control is straight up tyranny.

    51 percent may be too small a margin to make a radical change, so set it at 60 or 67 percent or whatever.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    John, the solution is to have all the progressives leave the country forever. No secession. I'm not willing to allow those progrards to keep one square inch of American soil.

    They just need tog rat out.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't care about Catalonia, obviously, but for the last time, I'm not replacing all my flags just because some idiots need to pitch a fit over constitutional protections getting in the way of fixing things. If you don't like it, go to Russia, and take your whole state with you.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Simple solution: Don't replace them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Why not replace them with a new state: Kurdlahoma! Or should that be Kurdafornia?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Well, you'll just have to admit Puerto Rico or Guam as a state if California leaves then. Or maybe Canada.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Canada will be renamed East Alaska, and it will be the least populous state after Wyoming.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Wyoming's 2017 population estimate: 0.59 million
    Canada's 2017 population estimate: 35.85 million

    Reducing Canada to 1% of it's current population might be a bit far.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That would be wrong. Just move the border up 100 miles, instead.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Jesus Christ, don't spill math all over my anti-Canada joke.

  • 2whlrider||

    Make California Great Again!

  • Longtobefree||

    Si.

  • Rebel Scum||

    It would ask Californians if their state should leave the United States and become an independent country

    I have been repeatedly informed that the secession issue was settled because the US gov't will invade your state and murder you and your fellow citizens to prevent said secession even though some states (like VA) explicitly reserved the right to leave the Union in their ratification of the US Constitution, therefor preserving freedom or something.

    Snark aside, I do wish the Peoples Republic of Commiefornistan their best. Fair well.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    I like this idea on so many levels I hardly know where to begin. The idea of federal troops invading CA and kicking the shit out of every lib in sight may be wrong but is viscerally thrilling, as does the notion of their pursuing their ideal sans corporate greed and fossil fuels and feeding their children carrots [soon after they would be applying for aid to stem a humanitarian crisis]. I just can't see a bad side to this. Let it roll.

  • CE||

    California would be the richest nation in the world in about ten years. It would rank about eighth on day one.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Well... it really depends on the animosity between Republic of California and the United States at the time it leaves. If it's all bitterly contested and such, with the US actively opposing California's attempts to get admittance to the UN, blocking trade deals, refusing California passports and such? Then I think California would have a lot of problems.

    If the two played nice instead, and the United States tried to ease California's transition into being a nation from being a state, helped it get included in various agreements and so-on, then quite possibly.

    It's a lot like the whole "Brexit" thing, really. If everyone plays nice it can work out. If it's overly contentious, it'll pain everyone involved.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    California's claims to have a balanced budget, but only because they are ignoring their huge debt burden; the pension fund debt alone is estimated to be around a trillion dollars. This in spite of having one of the highest per capita tax burdens in the country. I'm gong with the Venezuela option.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Silly person, they'll be able to print their own money and have infinite wealth. Just like the U.S.

  • Cy||

    If they take their burden of USG debt with them relative to their population, they'd be leaving with a 1.2 Trillion dollar bill.

    Let's not forget all of the large military bases we have all over the state. California brags about how it pays so much in taxes and doesn't receive as much Federal welfare as other states, they always neglect to mention that the US Military doesn't count as welfare.

  • DarrenM||

    $100/hour minimum wage for all; in California dollars of course.

  • BYODB||

    How would they pay their pensions, though?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Like I said, it's all part of the Venezuela option.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Like I said, it's all part of the Venezuela option.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    and the squirrels agree

  • BYODB||

    Ha, yes. I posted before reading down and I was pleased I wasn't the first person to mention that detail given that Reason talks about it endlessly.

  • Longtobefree||

    Not after you subtract the economic impact of all the military, and defense contractors leaving, and taking their large salaries with them. Subtract all the federal tax money in block grants, all the federal money flowing through the student loans, and so forth. They will need to provide their own bank deposit insurance, and all the federal chartered banks will have to close. Just a few minor complications, but I am sure the first five year plan will get it all right.
    Not so big an economy on their own.

  • Ron||

    If the U.S. military showed up to stop Cali from succeeding what California snowflakes are prepared to fight?

  • BYODB||

    Set the wayback machine for 1992!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Have I mentioned I like Stossel?

  • Nicholas Conrad||

    In most States the largest 3rd party is either green or libertarian, in Alaska it's the Alaska Independence Party. We've been trying to do this for decades, but recently the Alaska supreme court struck down our ballot measure as unconstitutional literally because 'the civil war settled the question of secession'.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I didn't realize "might makes right" was a legal principle.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You must be new here.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    I meant as a matter of explicit precedent.

  • sarcasmic||

    The FYTW precedent.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    "Every Communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun."
    Mao Zedong

  • sarcasmic||

    It's the only principle as far as government is concerned.

  • EscherEnigma||

    It's the founding principle, whatever anyone else may try to claim.

  • mpercy||

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — 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, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

  • Longtobefree||

    Of course, California has no decent respect for anything, let alone the opinion of mankind. Personkind. Herkind. Zekind. Whatever.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Yeah, that's all pretty rhetoric. But it was backed up by guns and cannons.

  • CE||

    It's called the principle of conquest.

  • Longtobefree||

    Yep. If you want to know how it works, visit the nearest tribal reservation.

  • operagost||

    It's funny. On an individual basis, most of us would agree that whatever our rights are deemed to be, if we don't have the right to move about freely we really aren't free. But states aren't allowed to leave the union without permission from the other state, and yet we still claim that this is a federation rather than a unitary republic. If things go horribly wrong, and a state isn't getting a fair shake from the federal government, there's nothing it can do for its citizens.

  • EscherEnigma||

    On an individual basis, most of us would agree that whatever our rights are deemed to be, if we don't have the right to move about freely we really aren't free.
    Depends on whether you think "open borders" is a libertarian concept or a hitch-hiker, I suppose.

  • BYODB||

    Which is one reason why Senators were not elected by popular vote until somewhat recently.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Isn't secession racist?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, but secession indulgences may be purchased.

  • CE||

    It was when slave-holding Virginia seceded in 1861.
    But not when slave-holding Virginia seceded in 1776.

  • damikesc||

    Also funny how the Right is always tarred as willing to secede but it seems Democrats are the only ones who have done so.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Yeah, it's almost like the only real link between Republicans from 1864 and Republicans of today is the name. They haven't been the party of Lincoln in a long time.

  • damikesc||

    Feel free to explain this alleged "switch". Most people know it's bullshit from Democrats trying to cover up abhorrent history, but I'm open minded and all.

  • Fancylad||

    There's plenty of links between the Democrats of 1864 and today however. They still race-bait and pursue a policy of divide-and-conquer. Whether it's Tammany Hall, the Solid South or Intersectionality, it's all from the same playbook.

  • NoVaNick||

    Yes, any state, or group of states should be free to leave if a majority of their citizens agree. Those who don't can always move to another state, as many Californians have already done. The only problem would be the military bases but we already have bases in foreign countries, including Cuba, so this shouldn't be a problem either.

    Godspeed to you Cali-we look forward to continuing to provide you with water and electricity.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Let them eat carrots.

  • Longtobefree||

    Organic carrots, sustainably farmed, and harvested by workers making $15.00/hr or more.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    You forgot the generous but unfunded pensions.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know, perhaps a solution to this is to offer an Island of Misfit States to people in states, provinces, etc. that are eager to secede. That solves the whole problem.

  • creech||

    Abe Lincoln certainly agreed (at least in 1848.) Lincoln created the Union in 1865 because he (and others obviously) thought the United States would fail if the slave states seceded. I don't think the U.S. is in any danger if California (or the urban parts of it) were to secede today.

  • NoVaNick||

    But, but, what would we do without Hollywood (irrelevant unless you are a reader of People magazine), or Silicon Valley (the tech companies would be the first to leave Cali once they get their tax bills) ?

  • CE||

    Don't worry, Trump would resupply the California military bases, prompting a rebel attack, so he could blame them on starting the war.

    Alicia Keys could write an anthem about it.

  • Rebel Scum||

    Don't worry, Trump would resupply the California military bases, prompting a rebel attack, so he could blame them on starting the war.

    I think I have seen this scenario somewhere before. Then the ships arrive while the bases are under bombardment but they do not engage as the desired result has already been achieved.

  • p3orion||

    "Alicia Keys could write an anthem about it."

    For God's sake, somebody check the third verse before it's adopted!

  • BSL1||

    Military bases aren't the property of the states.

  • DarrenM||

    California is on the coast. This would just provide more incentive to come up with decent desalination technology.

  • GroundTruth||

    "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty...."

    Every since I started thinking independently, I have never understood why this (or any) nation should be "indivisible". Yes, we fought a war about it, for reasons that we apparently can not agree on.

    Nothing lasts forever, and the United States will not be exempted from that truth. It is only human perception that a hundred years, or even a millenium is a significant amount of time.

    If Catalonia, or California, or Alaska want to seceed, let them. By the time North America collides back again with Africa, any intelligent life that is present will wonder what all the sorrow was about.

  • CE||

    It's called "brainwashing".

  • GroundTruth||

    Frankly, sometimes I wish it had worked, my life would be far simpler.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's all because of that Civil War thingee. Which, as a legal precedent, is quite absurd. Some obscure founding document was nothing more than a legal brief justifying secession from the Empire. If that no longer applies, we should fly the Union Jack.

  • GroundTruth||

    That we departed the Empire suggests that divorce is indeed sometimes appropriate. So why not the South, or CA? Fair is fair. That obscure founding document applies just as well to them as it did to us. Or am I missing your point?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I was agreeing.

  • GroundTruth||

    Sorry, a bit dense(r than usual) today.

  • ChipToBeSquare||

    "Indivisible" is the only part I really object to. It's a really vile sentiment. "You can't leave"

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Hotel California?

  • Ron||

    "we need lots of experiment" the problem is California's experiment is already failing and if it were to succeed it would only get worse and look like Venezuela within a few years. Experiments are done to much government screws up everything and everyone wants more government.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    California's experiment is already failing

    It is?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    How about letting the other states vote on whether to keep them or not?

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Like "Survivor." Get off my damned island!

  • Pro Libertate||

    What? States? Popular vote!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    We could say that 4/5ths of the states would be required to boot them. I think it'd be touch and go.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    Sounds good to me. Here in California all the Lefties are so weak-kneed and talk about how we need to work within the system and show the rest of the country how people in the 21st century are supposed to act. You mean we have to keep propping you all up? Fuck that!

    A better alternative for people like me that want desperately to say buh bye is to team up with shitkickers in Alabama who think California is run by Mexicans and fags and get their Godly representatives to run us out. Why should we pay your taxes for you?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Because civilization and society, and it's not your property.

  • BYODB||

    California is underwater, so who is propping up whom?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    You're talking to a guy who couldn't figure out how paying a mortgage works. Basic economic facts are not things he's got an even glancing familiarity with.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Hrm... now that's interesting.

    Let's say that every mid-term election, the senate votes to strip one state of it's statehood, sending it back to being a territory. But since we don't want to change the flag, a territory is then promoted to statehood.

    Now, to add an element of strategy to this "State Survivor" game, let's say there's some contest among states in the four years between votes, and the winner of this contest cannot be voted off the flag.

    Meanwhile, the territories will also compete in a similar contest, and the winner gets to replace the demoted state.

    To add an element of strategy, territories will be given more freedom to combine, forming larger territories, or break apart, forming smaller territories, so that they can better position themselves to win whatever the contest is.

    ... yes... this could work...

  • Zippy the Pinhead||

    I like Stossel usually, but this is an epic oversimplification. First of all comparing Catalan, which is a unique ethnic region, to California which is not, is dumb. Most commenters here are flippantly saying, "Let California go! They are all libtards, etc." which is also dumb. California has a diverse population, and they probably have as many conservatives outside of LA, San Diego and San Fran as they do liberals. California is not a single ethnic, religious or group. They are Americans above all else.

    Setting aside that, if we ever let California secede, it would be the beginning of the end of the US as we know it. They have tremendous natural resources, a massive population, pacific sea ports and a ton of Federal lands and military bases. It would be economically devastating to both the rest of the country and the state of California to leave. It's an incredibly stupid idea. Other states, particularly in the south, would quickly hold referendums to secede too. Texas would be next, most likely. Former confederate states would go next to create a new quasi-theocracy and re-encode bigotry into the law. It would be a complete collapse of the republic.

    We have way more in common with the people of California that we have differences. We are all Americans. United we stand, divided we fall. Come on people.

  • damikesc||

    I'd support a county-by-county decision. Not state....counties.

    They have tremendous natural resources, a massive population, pacific sea ports and a ton of Federal lands and military bases.

    They'd have to reimburse us for the highways and bases if they decide to take them. Which they would.

    It would be economically devastating to both the rest of the country and the state of California to leave. It's an incredibly stupid idea. Other states, particularly in the south, would quickly hold referendums to secede too.

    No, we wouldn't.

    We'd demand HARSH penalties on CA. After all, we had harsh penalties...

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    It's pretty funny that libertarians are the first ones to support violence once people get out of line.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Yup, but most such assholes here are Republicans posing to be libertarians

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Like when people are actively trying to murder you and your family.

    I would support violence in defense of yourself and family.

  • Robespierre Josef Stalin Pot||

    Why would it be devastating to California? I want to leave the U.S.-- not go to war with it.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Would California pay down its fair share of the gigantic USA fed-guv debt? If not... Then other states would start lining up, to split off, too, as a way to repudiate the fed-guv's ginormous debts...

    Perhaps a good idea! Split into 50 or more! We'd finally stop being a giant empire, messing around all over the world... We'd be forced to put our dicks back in our pants, and GO HOME, YANKEE!!!

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Done. Heck, divvy it up on a population basis, if you like. California gets to keep 40/320 of the debt

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't want them to leave, but don't they have a right to?

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    No, it is the one thing the Civil War settled

  • EscherEnigma||

    Eh... the world was a lot different in 1864 then it is now.

    I think that today, if Georgia wanted to secede, that the United States would let it go. The big problem would be the Gerogia citizens who didn't want to secede. If Georgia was able to keep a lid on things, and keep violence between pro- and anti- secessionist forces to a minimum, they could probably get away with it.

    But if the violence gets too severe, and the rest of the US views it as Georgia persecuting it's own citizens, then the US might feel the need to intervene.

    Which goes back to what I've been saying: regardless of whether or not we think any given state should or shouldn't secede, we should have a defined, deliberate, and slow process -defined ahead of time- to allow them that, and it isn't a knee-jerk reaction of a state to a single election they don't like.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Not really. I doubt it would lead to war now. Besides, hard to say the Declaration is a founding document, then later suggest we were just kidding.

  • SQRLSY One||

    If California leaves the USA, they had better look to the case of Ukraine splitting off of the USSR... Ukraine should have KEPT its fair share of nuclear weapons!!! If they had kept their nukes, Russia would NOT now be stealing chunks of Ukraine!

    California, keep your nukes, or a future USA will constantly be stirring up troubles and grabbing your lands!!! Power Pigs gotta Power Pig, ya know...

  • EscherEnigma||

    It would be a complete collapse of the republic.
    Sure. But shouldn't that be an option?

  • Zippy the Pinhead||

    No.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Interesting. Libertarians (or at least one) are now against the freedom to make bad decisions. And who gets to decide that it's a bad decision, I wonder? In 1776, was it right for Britain to decide that America seceding was a bad decision that should not be allowed?

  • Fancylad||

    Sure. But shouldn't that be an option?
    I don't see a problem. Canada and the US don't work well as nations anyway, aside from a 30 year post war spurt of success.

  • BSL1||

    States do not have military bases.

    Also, who's this "we" you keep talking about? Many failing nations have tremendous natural resources, large population and sea ports. If secession occurred, many would leave California, and many would move to California. The population there would become more alike than different, at least in political philosophy. That is what would cause its failure. Meanwhile, a similar situation in Texas, or anywhere the American political philosophy is embraced, there would be success.

    What makes you believe former confederate states would become theocratic, or officially bigoted? Seems to be based more on emotion than reason.

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    You're right, his thoughts about the confederate states sounds exactly like someone who's never been to the South. Having lived here most of my life and in the northeast the rest of it, I can say that I've seen more racism in the northern cities than in the southern ones. And even if one wants to assume that every person from the north is a high minded soul and everyone from the south is a bucktoothed racist, go to any major city in the south and I guarantee you most of the people you'll meet are actually from the north or midwest.

  • Longtobefree||

    So where is the down side?

  • Procyon Rotor||

    Setting aside that, if we ever let California secede, it would be the beginning of the end of the US as we know it.

    Please, Brer Fox, don't throw me in that briar patch!

  • vek||

    Bullshit, the lot of it. Splitting wouldn't necessarily HURT either of us. Overall size doesn't mean anything, it's really GDP per capita that matters for prosperity, and losing Cali wouldn't do too much there.

    As far as us being more the same than different... Yeah, kind of like the British colonists and the Brits back in the old country? America doesn't exist anymore, anyone who thinks it does is a fool. We now have (broadly speaking) 2 different peoples living in this country. Those that believe in the original ideas America was founded on (with many small areas of disagreement as one would expect), and those that believe in big government socialist tyranny "for the good" of the people.

    I am a native Californian whose family left nearly 2 decades ago to get away from the tyranny. It saddens me that such a naturally great place has been ruined, but I say let them go free to do their own thing. I'm quite sure it will go Venezuela style before long, but it would be their own choosing. Perhaps then they might learn their lesson. Probably not, but at least it would help the rest of the country out by not dragging us down the road to communism that much faster...

  • BYODB||


    But if they vote to leave will the rest of America let them? Maybe not, if Spain's reaction to a similar movement is any guide.


    Or, you know, that war we fought over the issue. It was determined that no, States can't leave even if they want to. If they try, the FedGov burns them to the ground. It has been decided. Although, yes, notably the Spanish response is a reasonable guideline on what such a movement would look like today in America. Namely, leaders jailed and voting would be rigged and/or disrupted.


    It's way easier to wage war with psy-ops than to do so with guns. Just rig an election and tell people this is what they really wanted all along. Why not?

  • Josh in SC||

    Let Californians vote and live with the results of their election.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Does beat living with the results of many of the moocher states.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    I can agree with this. Finally!

    Note how Stossel did not bring this up when there were secession movements for several years in the last eight years in Tejas and red states.

    Then again, Stossel is another reason.com Republican posing as a libertarian

  • GeneralWeygand||

    I am already raising an army to defend SocialJusticia from attacks by the pig-dog revanchists that the erstwhile lower 49 will no doubt send to drag us back down with them. The Sierra Nevada range shall be as our Maginot line.

  • Tony||

    "Now we need to go to the world of government and believe in the freedom to experiment."

    Tax cuts will pay for themselves any day now!

  • Cy||

    No one has addressed the issue of a bunch of illegal immigrants moving into a sovereign state and then declaring themselves a sovereign state.

    Wasn't this partially why the Serbs and Albanians went to war? Let's be real here, a massive portion of the California population is less than 2 generations from hopping the border.

  • EscherEnigma||

    No one has addressed the issue of a bunch of illegal immigrants moving into a sovereign state and then declaring themselves a sovereign state.


    Well that's 'cause we're talking about California and not Texas.

    Now, if Texas was talking about seceding (give it till a Democrat is elected president), then their history of doing exactly that would be relevant.

  • Zippy the Pinhead||

    Technically Texas was founded by a bunch of illegal immigrants moving into a sovereign territory and declaring themselves a sovereign state. Just ask Mexico.

  • Nuwanda||

    But it wasn't a technicality that Texas seceded to enhance freedom and then a few short years later joined the US to further secure its future.

    You think CA's going to move the ball towards more individual freedom or away from it? They want independence to form The Socialist People's Republic of California. When has a CA secessionist spoken of leaving the US because of the regulatory and tax burden imposed upon that state, and their desire to roll it back?

    Like hell.

  • vek||

    Who cares if they want to form what WE think (well, know really) is a better form of government? Swedes seem happy with their commie land. If California wants to try to recreate Sweden in America, I say let them. If we only thought it morally acceptable to grant people freedom when WE thought the outcome would be good by OUR standards, well then we'd all be progressives wouldn't we???

  • EscherEnigma||

    If we only thought it morally acceptable to grant people freedom when WE thought the outcome would be good by OUR standards, well then we'd all be progressives wouldn't we???


    Nah, you'd just be "people". Or are you seriously under the impression that conservatives are any better in this regard? They have different things they want, but they aren't any more shy about using government to get it..

    Just like every single poll or survey about how people's Free Speech views, what you consistently see is support for Free Speech a person likes, and lack of support for Free Speech that they don't like.

  • vek||

    EscherEnigma, yes trad cons do it too! But it's funner to pick on progressives, and they are worse IMO. Libertarians, even ones who aren't totally pure like myself, still at least TRY to be somewhat principled now and again. There are certain areas of policy where I think violating strict libertarian principles are acceptable, but not a ton, and in 99.9% of cases what I would want in a perfect world is still waaaaaay more libertarian than what we have now. I'm for everybodies free speech, including the commies I hate.

  • Nuwanda||

    What an idiot you are.

    California has no "right" to recreate Sweden anywhere. Only the individual citizens of California have rights, and what if they don't want to live in Sweden?

    To bad you say, they will forced to, and if they don't like it, they can leave.

    You're nothing more than a supporter of mob rule and the fascistic outcomes it engenders.

  • vek||

    You're the fucking idiot. By your logic we had no right to declare independence from Britain! The truth is that in the real world, not Anarchist fantasy world, people have to be parts of political entities. You're born into one, but can generally change it if you choose to go through the effort to do so.

    So if we accept that nations/peoples sometimes have the right to secede, and that it is ALWAYS against the wish of some, then what's your BS argument? It would be better for progs and everybody else to do this shit in this situation we have now. Having Cali in the USA has made the rest of the country LESS FREE. So give them the socialism they want, and let us become freer again. Win win.

    My point is simply that the differences between the 2 sets of people living in America today are too great. Neither side can stand it anymore, and IMO if we don't peacefully split we're going to have a shooting war. I know numerous people who are ready RIGHT NOW to start shooting lefties in this country. None of them are mass killers or crazies, but if open civil war busted out tomorrow they'd be STOKED to shoot commies. I'm only about 1 notch down from that myself, as are millions of others.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Santa Ana was captured by those illegals and agreed to let Texas secede from Mexico.

  • vek||

    Actually, it was more like the Mexican government BEGGED people to settle Texas, specifically drawing in Anglos because they wanted more whites to move into the Empire to tame the land, and Spanish immigrants alone weren't cutting it. Then the Mexicans were being too big of dicks, so the legally moved in Anglos got pissed and along with the Hispanics already living there decided to revolt against a tyrannical government.

    Don't repeat the demonstrably false Re Conquista version of events, they did themselves in and a good grip of the people in the rebellion were white Hispanics and Mestizos who didn't like the shit Santa Anna was going any more than the newer Anglos.

  • EscherEnigma||

    ... I guess I was too subtle in what I was referring to.

  • Nuwanda||

    "No one has addressed the issue of a bunch of illegal immigrants moving into a sovereign state and then declaring themselves a sovereign state."

    Or more to the point, of such communities in CA declaring their own region independent. What's to stop them now the principle has been established? But who's stupid enough to believe that once CA is independent it will extend the same ideal to those within its borders?

    This is the stupidity of the anarchists, et al. who giggle over this possibility, useful idiots who fail to notice that CA's goal of secession has nothing to do with enhancing freedom but imposing more socialist ideology.

  • vek||

    See my post above. It doesn't matter if they want to be socialist. They should be free to do it. Freedom to a fault is usually my motto. Besides people would still be free to move, and it would ENHANCE the freedom of the rest of the country by allowing us to push the middle more conservative/libertarian. So everybody is getting what they want, even if the choice of the socialists in Cali is a bad thing to want IMO.

  • Nuwanda||

    Bullshit everybody is getting what they want.

    You're obviously, like Stossel, a staunch defender of mob rule. If 55% want to secede and 45% don't, too bad for the 45%, right? They lose any remaining pro-freedom protections and are subject to a raft of new regulations, taxes and impositions.

    You avoid the central point above which is that once achieved, California will not allow the same right of secession within its own borders. You are consigning millions to a worse life at the point of a gun. You are worsening the human and material condition of all Californians and particularly the minority who will disagree with your sacred majority.

    "Besides people would still be free to move"

    And so are any Californians who so dislike being part of the United States. They can do so right now. Problem solved according to your own solution.

    Your "freedom to a fault" is analogous to scrapping the First and Second amendments and saying, so what, folks can move if they don't like the new regime. Who the fuck gave the majority the right to so materially alter the material and political environment in which you live to such a degree that you are required to move or have a reduced level of freedom and income? Well, people like you gave them that right, and believe it should be exercised even more than it is already.

  • vek||

    Don't be daft. EVERY government in history ultimately has been beholden to the will of the majority, whether it was via constitution or formal laws, or simply trying to avoid being overthrown by the mob. You're living in la la land. In the real world, RIGHT NOW, having California as part of the Union is making the rest of the country drastically LESS FREE. So they're effectively oppressing the majority via the tyranny of a minority.

    The bottom line is we can never make everybody happy across the board. But just because of random historical happenings that chunk of land ended up being part of the USA and not part of Mexico. Since the majority of the people there hate EVERYTHING about the USA and our history, why in fucks name should we want to be tied to them politically? I'm FROM there. I hate that it's gone full on commie, but it is what it is. I think many right leaning Californians would be glad to let Cali become a country so they could move to the USA, which would now end up more conservative/libertarian. It'd be a small price to pay to save the USA.

    Again, everybody will never be happy. This seems to be a pragmatic solution that would make more people happier than they are now though by a long shot. The alternative is the USA turning into a socialist hell hole... 2 countries, or communism... Take your pick.

  • vek||

    Well, if you're going to talk about only multiple generations native born Americans having the right to say so in stuff then you'd have to invalidate every election going back a long time... Excluding all these recent immigrants native born, been here for a few generations Americans are very conservative/libertarian leaning, especially of course the white middle class ones. If only those types of people could vote the election would have been between a Ron Paul type as Republican and a Ted Cruz type as Democrat instead of Trump and Clinton, or so says statistics more or less.

  • john_bunyan||

    Who gets the nukes?

  • Pro Libertate||

    The federal government. For once, I prefer it to a state.

  • Nuwanda||

    You don't perhaps understand the proposition.

    If CA secedes, it becomes an independent country. It would have the same standing in all things as does the US. Even if it gave all military assets back to the US, that would not prevent it developing its own nuclear arsenal.

    And it raises another objection. How could CA ever compensate the Feds for public lands (just like public weapons) not to mention the millions disenfranchised by the secession. It can't.

  • vek||

    Because you're being dumb? That shit is all easy to figure out.

    Let them keep the public lands within their border. There's no reason we have to demand some arbitrary ransom. They could give us rights to use some military bases, they can have others. We'll even sell them weapons! There's no compensation needed for individuals. People can choose to stay, or choose to leave. Split national debt based on population or whatever. It's all super easy to figure out if one is attempting to be remotely reasonable and not blow the deal up.

  • EscherEnigma||

    We'll just bring in the Bundys to argue that the Feds shouldn't own that land to start with, so they don't need to be paid for it.

  • damikesc||

    And they lost that case. So, yeah, they have to pay for it.

    What would be our interest in eschewing that?

  • EscherEnigma||

    In case it wasn't clear, I'm not taking the question seriously, I'm just pointing out how "libertarians" flip-flop on issues (supposedly of principle) based on whether they looked the guy in question, just like everyone else.

  • SQRLSY One||

    If California leaves the USA, they had better look to the case of Ukraine splitting off of the USSR... Ukraine should have KEPT its fair share of nuclear weapons!!! If they had kept their nukes, Russia would NOT now be stealing chunks of Ukraine!

    California, keep your nukes, or a future USA will constantly be stirring up troubles and grabbing your lands!!! Power Pigs gotta Power Pig, ya know...

  • Longtobefree||

    Minor detail; California has no nukes.

  • SQRLSY One||

    No nuke bases of any kind? No submarine bases where nuke-armed subs come calling? No nuke-missile launch sites, no runways where nuke-armed aircraft fly? I find all that hard to believe, but if it IS true, then,with 1/8th of the USA's population, they paid for 1/8th of the nukes,and deserve 1/8th of them, if-when the split happens!

  • Longtobefree||

    Nope. Not a single one. The federal government of the United States of America owns each and every one.
    And they ain't gonna let go, because she lost.

  • BSL1||

    The federal government owns any weapons under control of federal military organizations. States don't own military bases or military weapons. They can take possession of the land, but they do not own the military equipment on those bases.

  • Longtobefree||

    I suspect they will not take possession of the land, since the US military has more guns and better training.
    Remember Gitmo!

  • Lester224||

    A better idea is to let the east and west coast join Canada and the rest of the U.S. can be "Jesusland".

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesusland_map

  • zombietimeshare||

    Better yet, let California divide into two states and let the leftist half secede. The flag stays the same and the border wall gets a little longer.

  • John B. Egan||

    Thanks bud! I always thought you were a real tool, but at least on this one issue you and I agree! Buh bye! ;-)

  • Nuwanda||

    So now John's a staunch advocate of democracy, is he? If 52% want to secede and break the ties that bind them to another, the other 48% have to lump it?

    Does John apply that to other, far less important issues? No he doesn't.

  • Longtobefree||

    The 48% just have to wait until the celebrations start, then bring out the torches and pitchforks and grab power.

  • Zippy the Pinhead||

    The problem with succession is that this cultural-political divide we have in the country is not defined by the state borders. It is a rural v. urban divide. California's red v. blue map is just like every other state. The blue is in the cities, and red is everywhere else.

    Aside from allowing the creation of a new form of city-state peppered throughout the country, seceding isn't going to solve the problems we have in the red v. blue argument. It would probably exacerbate it.

    The Internet/social media has allowed us to isolate ourselves so perfectly into self-selecting groups of like-minded folks, that we can't possible see that we agree on more than we disagree on. It's a terrible thing.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Amen, Pinhead!

    I am a city-slicker with rural roots, and I profoundly sympathize with the rural folks. They sweat and slave away to extract food, minerals, wood, concrete, steel, etc., to build and sustain the cities, and then those spoiled-rotten city-slicking bastards want to tell them that they can't hunt bunny-waaabbbbits to eat, 'cause bunnies are fluffy and guns are bad! And you can NOT use your land as you see fit, 'cause the Yellow-Bellied Eastern South-Northern Slime-Turd-Toad is endangered! City-slickers, FUCK OFF and go and mind your own business! Askin' y'all to be GRATEFUL for the hard work of the rural folks is probably too much to ask, but at least FUCK OFF!

  • Earth Skeptic||

    So just turn off the food, raw materials, manufactured goods, and energy. Of course the rural folks would have to give up movies and all that cracker-jack finance.

  • vek||

    Nobody is saying that it would change the whole thing everywhere, but what it would do is give everybody a pressure valve. If you don't like low taxes and paying for your own shit, move to California! It would rebalance the country in a far more conservative/libertarian direction.

    What I've never got is why all the commies don't just move to Canada or Europe already. I would move in a HEARTBEAT if Texas seceded because I know I would prefer their policies and outlook to what we have now in the USA. The thing is the commies already have that available to them in most of the rest of the world, but they refuse to leave us alone in peace by just moving. I imagine it is a combo of weather for Canada, and language/other shared customs for Europe.

    So I suspect in practical terms more of them WOULD move there from say NYC and other liberal areas. So it would in fact do a ton of good because of the self sorting that would happen after the fact, just as a free Texas would do the same for conservatives.

  • EscherEnigma||

    It would rebalance the country in a far more conservative/libertarian direction.


    Conservative? Sure.

    Libertarian? [citation needed]

  • vek||

    I dunno, I think most "line towing" conservatives lean libertarian on many issues. It's not for the same principled reasons, but they do none the less. You don't think the size of government would shrink one bit if the current political divide shifted 15-20% after self sorting? We'd end up with 2 parties still, but the Dems would have to go back to being old school centrist Democrats AT LEAST to get elected, if not even more moderate than that.

    Taxes, gun laws, regulations etc etc etc would all become better IMO. I also don't think social stuff would shift that hard to the trad con side either, since weed, gay marriage etc have become pretty common even with Republicans.

    So maybe more more conservative than libertarian, but there's be plenty in there for libertarians to appreciate.

  • DRees||

    Is Stossel familiar with Hutt River Principality? It all began in 1970, when the government of Western Australia cut farmer Leonard Casley's wheat allotment so drastically that Casley could no longer support his family on his land. Most normal people would probably have sold their land and moved to the city, but Casley was made of sterner stuff. He seceded from Australia, declaring his farm an independent country and elevating himself and his wife, Shirley, to the status of royalty. Hutt River has been going strong ever since, issuing its own stamps, coins, passports, and orders of knighthood, and attracting a steady stream of tourists. Recently Prince Leonard, now in his 90s, abdicated and turned things over to his son, Graeme, a former schoolteacher who is now Prince Graeme. So why hasn't the Australian government simply sent in the troops and ended Hutt River's nationhood? The answer seems to be that Hutt River is simply too popular with the Aussie people, who rather admire Casley's cheek; and no sane Aussie politician wants to risk the ire of angry voters. I hope you will do a piece about Hutt River, and its improbable sovereignty.

  • Nuwanda||

    Hutt River has no sovereignty. It's passports and other legal documents have no international standing, and it has lost cases in Australian courts, and it pays taxes.

    Merely asserting your independence does not make it so. If Hutt River attempted to actually operate as an independent nation--declaring war, signing international treaties, conducting its own foreign policy and trade, etc.--it would soon find itself subject to "invasion" by Australian officials.

    What it is is a curiosity and a tourist attraction. Aboriginal settlements have more independence and even they are not sovereign territory.

  • DRees||

    It's not quite that simple. According to the Montevideo Convention, a state must possess three attributes: 1) a defined territory; 2) a permanent population; and 3) a government capable of carrying on relations with other states. Hutt River possesses all three, but its permanent population is a bit shaky. International recognition is not required for statehood. It's true that Hutt River passports are not accepted by the US. or EU, but whether they would be accepted by other breakaway states like Transnistria is a different question. Hong Kong listed Hutt River among the countries capable of chartering corporations, but this decision is being reviewed. Lastly, Queen Elizabeth (who is still Australia's official Head of State) sent greetings to Hutt River on its 46th anniversary. The question of whether Hutt River has actually asserted its sovereignty is also somewhat murky. In 1977 the Principality declared "war" on Australia. The Aussie government ignored the declaration, and five days later Prince Leonard declared "victory". Australian courts have ruled against Prince Leonard on several occasions, but no attempt has been made to seize his assets or otherwise enforce the judgements. Hutt River has accredited representatives in foreign countries, has its own police force, and claims to levy taxes. Does this amount to an "assertion of sovereignty"? Well, sort of. My best guess is that Hutt River's sovereignty is kind of in the Twilight Zone.

  • Nuwanda||

    Got any real estate for sale on the moon?

    You make it sound like somehow Hutt River is on the cusp of full statehood or that it has a murky legal status that no authority is willing to challenge. Bullshit. Its documents are tourist mementos and its "money" has the same status that coins from Franklin Mint, et al. have. They are collectibles and nothing more.

    Hutt River has as much sovereignty as any private property owner does. No more, no less. It is fully subject to the federal laws of Australia and the state laws of Western Australia.

    If Hutt River is an independent nation then I say I'm King of Mars. And I'd have just as much claim.

  • antiestablismentarianism||

    Let California secede. I'm perfectly okay with this. Then when the liberal snowflakes in California turn their new country into a Communist dictatorship, we can say, "See! This is what you get!" and the rest of America will be wiser.

    Plus, it would be easier for Trump to build his silly wall.

  • Nuwanda||

    "This is what you get!" and the rest of America will be wiser."

    Haha. That's a good one. Are the people of the US any wiser after witnessing the blood-drenched results and human suffering of socialist dystopias all over the world in the past hundred years? Are they any the wiser since Detroit, et al. and their bankruptcies, both financial and moral?

  • Longtobefree||

    Yes. Yes, we are wiser. Wise enough to let them go, and then support the secessionists within the new country.

  • Longtobefree||

    On the day after the session, the nation of Pacifica (would they have the balls to name themselves Oceania?) will have to deal with millions of unemployed who the day before worked at the many defense industry companies in what was California. As residents of a foreign country, their security clearances would be immediately revoked, and the companies would close. Same for all the service business owners who no longer have working customers who used to work defense and military. Same for all the employees of federally chartered banks and credit unions. For that matter, US currency would not be backed by the full faith and (massive debt) credit of the US, and may not be accepted.
    Etc. Etc.

  • vek||

    All this stuff can be easily worked out, as can every stupid issue people try to bring up. Transition periods are NUMBER ONE way of dealing with most of the weird stuff. Just create agreements in good faith to transition things in reasonable ways. We could for instance allow an exemption for military contracting rules for California. They could continue to use the USD as their official currency unless/until they decided to issue their own. Etc etc etc.

    There are no real arguments for why it could not be a totally smooth process if both parties wanted it to be.

  • Longtobefree||

    There is one good argument for chaos if one party does not want it to be smooth. The democrats will not let all those votes go away without a fight.

  • vek||

    Possibly. I would have said that one party or the other would 100% throw a monkey wrench in the works a few years ago... But lately I'm feeling like both sides are so sick and tired of the other that they might just go for it. The right would gladly give away 10%+ of the country/population to be rid of the commies, and the commies may well be willing to give up on converting all the evil Christian Nazis so they can have their Progtopia. That's really all it takes. I still say throw in Oregon and maybe the southern half of Washington into the deal to make it fair for the progs, and remove even more left voters. The best way would be to split Washington and Oregon between east/west and only give them the western parts of the state which lean left already.

    But I'd accept anything just to get rid of them right now. HELL I'd let them leave without taking their share of the national debt, because we could actually accomplish cutting spending so much easier without them it'll still work out better for the rest of the country. That's where shit it at right now. It's an unbridgeable divide. I don't want things to get violent, but I seriously don't see how it will be avoided at some point in the next couple decades without splitting the country up. I just don't think American conservatives/libertarians are going to go quietly into the night and let the country go full on socialist like most other countries have, our history and culture is too different and we have 300 million+ guns...

  • jimusa||

    It really comes down to whether citizens own their government, or governments own their citizens. Simple as that.

  • vek||

    This MUST HAPPEN. If Cali doesn't leave, and I would propose throwing them a bone and letting Oregon and Washington go with them for the sake of fairness, then this country is fucked. First off the America everybody knows and loves (well leftists hate it but...) is going to turn into a socialist hell hole. Look at the demographics and voting patterns. With the Left Coast in the USA we're simply fucked, PERIOD.

    If by some chance conservatives manage to hold on due to the electoral college etc, then the coasts will be up in arms.

    Either way things are set to just escalate until somebody is going to be shooting the other team in the streets. The ideological divide is too great to be overcome. Fortunately there's an easy and peaceful solution, secession. There's nothing wrong with parting ways when you disagree on too many issues to work things out.

    I'd love to see the USA lose Cali and be able to roll back 50 years of socialist nonsense at the federal level after a few election cycles, which is probably what would happen dropping 10s of millions of leftists from the vote. This is the only peaceful solution. Otherwise I'm betting mass riots or outright civil war in the next decade or two.

  • Longtobefree||

    *whispered voice from behind Patton's left shoulder*

    Hawaii, sir. Don't forget Hawaii.

  • EscherEnigma||

    According to our president, isn't Hawaii just "some island in the Pacific" or something similarly demeaning?

  • EscherEnigma||

    ... y'know what, I'll bite. What specific "socialist nonsense at the federal level" do you see being rolled back?

    I mean, we aren't talking a major re-alignment here. The senate would lose two seats, shifting it from 52% Republican to 53% Republican, and changing the tie-breaker count from 50 to 49. Not counting census-based, the House would lose 53 seats (currently 39 Democrats and 14 Republicans), shifting it from 55% Republican to 59% Republican.

    So sure, the Republicans would be able to tolerate a few more defectors in the house, and one more defector in the Senate, but not by much.

    Especially when you remember that the biggest "socialist nonsense", Social Security and Medicare, are stupidly popular. If Republicans got serious about rolling those back, they'd lose their seats regardless of Democrats.

    So sure, things would tilt "conservative", but don't fool yourself into thinking that without California things are going to become some sort of Conservative paradise.

  • vek||

    I don't think it would get crazy overnight. Also, I would propose dropping Oregon and Washington too personally. It's more fair for the lefties. Also, millions would likely move if this happened, reinforcing the ideological bent even further in the 2 countries.

    But any which way it's not about the exact number of reps in the government, it's about the sentiment of the majority of the population, and what that could enable. Think about how far leftward the entire narrative has shifted in the last couple decades in terms of acceptable public debate. We'd probably roll back decades of that in terms of acceptable range of discussion, and that would be a good thing.

    IMO we would end up with more hard core conservatives running and winning. More Ron Paul, Barry Goldwater, etc types, and probably more Roy Moore types too, but that's the price to pay. The knock on effect of this after a few cycles may well be Republicans who feel secure enough in their seats to ACTUALLY vote to cut spending. Democrats in said new situations would likely become far more moderate/centrist as well to remain electable.

    It wouldn't be an overnight thing, but the sentiment would change the direction of the USA considerably over a period of time IMO. I think welfare would be reformed, gun laws would probably be repealed and not added onto, school choice, etc etc etc. It wouldn't be perfect, but it'd be better than this shit show.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    As others have mentioned, the red-blue polarity is just as pronounced at the county level in California. So the seccessionist split really includes only the cost between Sanfrancisco and San Diego (averaging the past few presidential elections). And those counties, as an independent nation, would be like an oversized Singapore. (Actually, there are a surprising number of similarities between Singapore and Coastal Cali, especially economic.)

    But like Singapore, Coastal Cali could not come close to feeding itself. And that means having to trade increasingly dumb movie sequels and digital toys for food, presumably organic free-range artisan food.

  • XM||

    And I doubt Hollywood and tech industry would agree to do their business on the completely unproven "California dollar". The investors and share holders would be unnerved too. The United States may freeze CA assets in their own territory to collect on what's theirs.

    CA will see assets and money move out of the counties that actually pays most of its revenues if the state left the union.

  • vek||

    Actually California exports tons of food to the rest of the country... They don't grow a lot of wheat or lame commodity crops, but they grow a shit ton of everything else. Either way, they don't need to feed themselves. That's what trade is for.

    And XM, they don't have to even have their own currency. Or they could institute a currency while still dealing in US dollars too, like Europe had during the Euro transition where everybody had their national currency still and also the Euro.

    All of the "OMG BUT DIS COULD HAPPEN!" things are all assuming that the USA is trying to sabotage things or whatever, and it doesn't have to be like that. Czechoslovakia split peacefully and reasonably, there's no reason we couldn't too. If both sides made best efforts to be cool it could be a pretty painless process.

  • Cluebat||

    I don't imagine that this idea is very poplar outside of SF and LA.
    We are constitutionally obligated to avoid the partitioning of existing states, but regions of Pacifica would be eligible for entry into the Union. Particularly if they can demonstrate that they are being denied participation in a republican form of government.

  • vek||

    Well, rural northern California has wanted to split from the rest of the state for a long time. My moms side of the family is from up in the mountains, and over zealous environmental regulations basically killed all real industry in my moms home town by killing logging and milling industry.

    But I think a lot of people are able to see beyond their small piece of the world with something like this. Even if I was an R in my moms home town I'd vote to split off... And then promptly move the fuck out and head for Idaho or Nevada or something! Sentiment seems to have crossed the Rubicon with the election of Trump, and I think both sides realize there is NO WAY for peace to ever be made. We're just past that point. I think it's secede or civil war personally.

  • Fred G. Sanford||

    Do you hear that, states in the Confederacy? It's time to try again.

  • vek||

    I would sooo move there in a heartbeat. It would be even better than just Texas doing it.

  • XM||

    Stossel himself said "I support limited government, not anarchy". Massive secession would be just that.

    California (unlike Catalonia) consist of a population whose cultural allegiance largely lies elsewhere. Most Mexicans would be vehemently against any Mexican territories forming its own nation. But the ones in CA might support an independent CA because for them, the 49 other states aren't part of their country. And what they seek is liberal rule and disparate representation of certain groups, not a formation of a new nation. Most people in this state couldn't tell you a DAMN thing about the history of the state, the official bird and motto, etc. They have ZERO loyalty to the actual state of California.

    Chances are, the nation of California would be quickly divided along racial and other lines. Different regions will compete for power and influence. That's sort of what happened to the early United States, and they had to fight a war to settle some questions. Given that the state already makes most of its money from the mostly white 1%, class warfare will be something fierce. The result is more government but less governance.

    Secessions will lead to more human misery, not functioning independent states.

  • vek||

    I think that's overselling it. It's already functioning in its own janky liberal way. That wouldn't change. It's the perfect multicultural progtopia you know! Personally I DO think the racial/class stuff is a big issue, which is why I am not in favor of mass immigration to the USA. We've created this mess by having bad immigration policy, but it hasn't sunk us completely yet. California is simply a lost cause, and if they want to go do their own thing I say let them. Give them enough rope to hang themselves. Anybody who is smart enough to see the writing on the wall can leave.

    One can't expect to maintain static arbitrary borders forever you know? California is literally already NOT part of America anymore. I'm from there, and I just visited the other week. It is NOT the place I grew up... But short of rounding up and throwing out millions of illegals, and in fact legal citizen too who aren't real Americans in terms of their opinions and loyalties, it's never going to be America again... So do we let it drag the rest of the country down with it? Because that's what we're doing now. I saw cut it loose and let whatever happens happen.

  • Charles_R||

    I find it rather entertaining that when California starts talking about leaving it becomes a big deal. Texas has been trying to secede for about 20 years (and continues to work on it), and people don't really talk about it. Does that go to show how much people hate California, or how crazy everyone thinks Texas is. lol.

  • Charles_R||

    Secondly, it should be worrying that the two largest economies in our country are actively working to secede from the union. Just saying...

  • vek||

    They may be big economies, but that stuff doesn't really matter. Total GDP isn't what counts, per capita is, and neither of them sways the national average by much. The real effect would be what would happen politically if either were allowed to leave. If Texas left we'd go full tilt left wing in short order, and if Cali went the opposite. Maybe the best way is to let them both leave at the same time LOL. Then we would end up with Progtopia, Conservatopia, and the rest of country being center-right.

  • vek||

    Well, people do talk about Texas now and again. The California thing is just more recent, hence novel, hence more coverage.

    But yeah, I think it does show how much most of the country hates California. It is the physical embodiment of all the un-American nonsense that half + of the country is disgusted with. I grew up there, and wish we never had to leave, but as an adult I can appreciate all the reasons my father decided enough was enough. I now find myself thinking about leaving Washington state because it is about to shift hard to the left after always being a middle of the road state at the state level.

    It's infuriating that I can't live in my hometown in California without dealing with the tyranny of the government down there, but such is life. Northern California REALLY is about the best conceivable place in the world to live weather wise, and of course there is plenty of awesome stuff made by humans too, but other aspects make it unbearable. Romans probably didn't like being ruled by my Germanic barbarian ancestors either, but sometimes shit just goes sideways.

    The only question that remains now is are we going to split up like the Roman empire and save the Eastern Roman empire for another 1000 years like they did... Or are we going to fight to hold onto unholdable land and sink the whole ship? Because with California voters in the Union we're NEVER going to see a conservative or libertarian government ever again in the USA. NEVER. Hence I say let 'em go.

  • ||

    whether secession should be applauded, tolerated, or condemned depends upon the reason for secession. The South wanted to secede because it wanted to preserve and expand slavery. It is hard to argue that this sort of secession got the response it deserved.

  • DirkT||

    Stossel is like a Vaudeville performer in need of a new act ...

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