Secession

Stossel: Let Them Leave!

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

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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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