At the core
of Mises', Hayek's, Rothbard's and, more recently, Hoppe's work
lies the recognition that governance of markets and societies
is a spontaneous and civilizing force far too complex to be "managed"
by any form of monopolistic government. For this reason I will attempt
to address the pitfall and opportunity which secession from the
Federal leviathan might present from the Austrian perspective, especially
as so brilliantly outlined by Hans-Hermann Hoppe is his most recent
The God That Failed. Since there has been a flurry of essays
about Texas secession recently, I will use that State as an example
even though the principles discussed apply to all attempts at secession.
There is only
one problem with formal secession by one of the States, but it is
a big one. If it is organized by a group of individuals under the
color of "The State of Texas" and presented as a formal
declaration by them as coming from "Texas," then no substantive
change will have been achieved. Separating Texas from the USA does
little more than ease the burden of (Federal) taxation and regulation,
while leaving the principle of institutional monopoly government
and its modern version of "Democracy" completely unchallenged.
It is only the scale of government which is being addressed, not
its criminal and cancerous nature. Smaller than the Federal monster,
the newly seceded State's government will nevertheless continue
to metastasize as its parasitic nature demands.
from an Austrian perspective, offers an opportunity to completely
repudiate the very concept of institutional monopoly government
no matter what label (democracy, republic, constitutional etc.)
is put on it. To achieve this, requires first of all that a group
of incorruptible individuals wrest control of the existing State
government apparatus from the current group of "business as
usual" politicians. That this may be so impossible to achieve
as to render useless anything I write from here on may be true.
I will nevertheless take the optimistic view in an attempt to come
up with a set of practical steps which such a group might undertake
to achieve a truly Austrian and lasting secession which results
in complete abolition of Government.
of Secession: (The need for this first step is primarily
to deny those who run the Federal Government and opportunity to
"come to the rescue" with its military forces if the State
were abolished a priori.)A formal Declaration of Independence
and Secession would have to be written and ratified, likely by the
legislature and signed by the Governor. A date for publication in
all Media has to be chosen. Formal presentation to (and therefore
recognition of) the Government of the US or the United Nations should
not be attempted as a matter of principle. One cannot
claim that Mr. Obama has no right to (forcefully) impose his dictates
on others while then behaving towards him as if he does. If military
intervention ensues anyway, then all bets are off in the short term
even as the true tyrannical nature of government becomes exposed
for all to see.
of State Government: Once State secession has been achieved,
a proclamation must be issued, disbanding all forms of monopolist
government, including the formal disbanding of the existing State
legislature and resignations of its members and the Governor. All
existing "elected" politicians will be encouraged to seek
suitable employment in the market. "Lower" levels of government
(county, city etc.) should be encouraged (but must never be forced)
to follow suit.
"Services": A planned conversion of all existing State
Government Agencies to non-monopoly services must be initiated.
This must be executed in a humane manner so as not to unreasonably
punish workers and others ("clients") who currently depend
on these agencies.
Monetary policy is the preferred tool of monopoly governments for
political market manipulation. The creation of currencies is a competitive
function of the market just like any other economic activity. It
must never be allowed to be subject to political fiat.
Resolution: Government courts must be abandoned, to be replaced
by competing arbitration services, many of which already operate
With the dissolution of the State Government all forms of State
taxation or tariffs become a non-issue.
Land: Land "owned" by the Texas government must be
returned to private ownership. Hoppe
elaborates on methodology for this at length, so I will refrain
from doing so here. Ownership of Federal lands would initially have
to remain unchallenged or at least approached very carefully so
as not to give those who run the Federal Government an excuse to
initiate military action "to protect its legitimate interests,"
in mind. In the mean time, any individual or groups who after secession
wish to acquire such lands may negotiate with the bureaucrats and
politicians in Washington to their heart's content.
In a system where ALL land and infrastructure (except initially,
Federal) is privately owned, all individuals, regardless of their
origin, are trespassing if they access a property without permission
of its owner(s). Except for Federal lands, would-be immigrants would
therefore have to seek those owners' permission and, if allowed
access, become that owners' responsibility. Migration therefore
becomes just another self-regulating activity.
Services: Millions of individuals presently receive Federal
or State benefits of some sort. Those who wish to continue receiving
Federal hand-outs, would be free to do so and, if necessary, migrate
to any region still associated with and subject to the dictates
of the Federal government. Those who wish to throw off this yoke
of slavery, will no doubt find many neighbors (now freed of tax
burdens) and local church and other volunteer organizations willing
to help any who are in genuine need of assistance.
Enforcement: Laws are just political opinions "enforced"
by (the threat of) violence. Those currently engaged in the practice
of "Law Enforcement" may be encouraged to find employment
and retraining with non-monopoly security services or to move to
regions where their skills at terrorizing innocent people may still
be in demand.
Prevention: Protection from criminals and other (statist) invaders
will most likely be offered by insurance companies who contract
for these services with companies skilled in such matters such as
possibly some existing mercenary outfits which seek to enjoy the
moral high ground of serving a willing client instead of a terrorist
monopoly government. The market will govern spontaneously which
insurers will thrive and which will fail.
Care: Healthcare will be provided by practitioners and organizations
on a competitive basis. Private, competitive insurance plans will
no doubt proliferate. Similarly, quality assurance/monitoring will
be offered by these insurance providers and "accreditation
services" through regular quality audit procedures. Private
charity, both intra- and extra-family, will take the place of Medicare
and similar "services." The need for such charity will
be magnitudes reduced, because both medical services companies and
their clients will operate in a market environment free of government
taxation and regulation.
Services: Caveat emptor! Private rating services together with
liability insurers will audit those engaged in issuance and trading
of all financial instruments. Any financial service which fails
such audits has little to no chance of surviving for more than a
few days or weeks.
First and foremost, pollution will be a matter of (encroachment
on) private property rights and must be addressed as such by the
parties in question. Preservationists will be free to use their
own funds to buy any property they wish to protect. They can also
use their wealth to try and encourage voluntary conservation
activities by third-party property owners.
Education: Schooling will be offered by competing entities,
funded commercially as well as by various volunteer religious and
other special interest groups. Teachers will be welcomed and employed
based on their qualifications. Note also that home schooling is
very much alive, especially in Texas.
That it would
take years to bring a plan such as outlined above to a successful
conclusion is obvious. With the newly emerging strength of the secessionist
movement, Austrian economists and thinkers may have a real chance
at seizing the reigns of civilization from the statist tyrants.
Let's hope we do.
[send him mail]
is a dual citizen of Canada and The Netherlands. A life-long entrepreneur,
he considers himself an arch u201Cautarchist,u201D meaning that he views
society/nature as a self (auto) regulated arrangement, rather than
a non (ana-) regulated one. Since discovering LRC and Mises.org
about ten years ago, he has been a voracious if informal student
of Austrian economics. He currently lives and works in Chicago.