Secession Is In the Air

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I don't know
if you've noticed it, but secession is in the air.



First of all,
a fellow named Bill Miller has started a new website,,
and it is a Drudge-Report-like compilation of anything connected
with secession across the land and around the world. It is an extraordinary
endeavor, and it reflects a great deal of talk about, interest in,
separatism and independence these days. Miller, a retired computer
engineer, has undertaken this, he says, because he has a passionate
interest in getting Americans to understand that secession is a
legitimate and honorable political strategy. Increasingly, it seems,
they're listening.

A regular contributor
to the Miller site is Russell Longcore, who has also started up
a new site of his own, the bluntly named
Longcore, who seems to have insurance and publishing businesses
in Georgia, writes long and vigorously about secession in his fairly
regular posts. "Secession," he says, "is on the lips
of many Americans today. When they look at a Federal Government
that is spinning wildly out of control, state secession begins to
have an allure as a remedy. America has gone from a nation of sovereign
states with a carefully defined Federal Government to a nation where
states are but subservient territories of a rapacious, tyrannical
ruling entity that entirely ignores any restrictions on its power."
His site figures to do something about that.

Last December
another new voice was added to the cause, from something called that considers itself to represent the "radical
Left." It argued that secession should be supported because
it was the best way to bring down the American empire and all that
it stands for, including its support for corporate capitalism, longtime
goals of the traditional Left. Vermont liberals of the Sanders persuasion
should take a look at it ("Why the Radical Left Should Consider

In January
one notable event, carried by the AP to the lengths of the land,
was the launch of the campaign by Dennis Steele and Peter Garritano
(and others) for an independent Vermont, but you know all that.
You might not have known that another secession campaign, or something
very close to it, was launched just before that in Texas, where
the Texas Nationalist Movement ("Independence. In our lifetime")
announced its support for the Ron Paul Republican candidate for
governor, Debra Medina. She is “in line with the core beliefs of
our organization,” it said, and she believes that the people of
Texas should vote on the issue of independence, a core TNM demand.

(Just as an
aside: Libertarians, particularly the smarter Paulists, are important
allies for secessionists, since they get to the nullification/secession
place with only a few prompts if they're not already there. Ron
himself has said it's a workable option.)

Also in January
the invaluable website
began tracking the number of legislatures coming back into session
this year and considering bills to reassert their sovereignty and
Tenth Amendment rights. By the end of January resolutions were introduced
in 11 states (Washington, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri,
Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, and Rhode Island). Last
year (also tracked on this site) Tenth Amendment resolutions were
introduced in 33 states, passed both houses in five, and were OK'd
by the governors in two. The movement looks to be gaining momentum

In February
that movement held a Tenth Amendment Summit, in Atlanta, assembling
state representatives and candidates from across the country for
a one-day closed meeting on strategies, and next day hearing presentations
from Judge Napolitano, the Fox commentator, and Ray McBerry, a secessionist
candidate for Georgia Governor.

Also in February
there took place a remarkable conference boldly announced as on
"Nullification, Secession, and the Human Scale of Political
Order" in Charleston, South Carolina, maybe the first ever
large-scale scholarly conference on secession open to the public.
It featured many leading secessionist scholars, including Donald
Livingston, Thomas DiLorenzo, SVR's Thomas Naylor, Marshall DeRosa,
Kent Brown, and yours truly, and was attended by upwards of 100
people, an impressive turnout, especially considering the admission
cost of $2–400.

A national
Tea Party Convention was also in February, not exactly a secessionist
event but a measure of the underlying discontent that is leading
people at least to protest the system (and the debt) they've been
given and start thinking (some of them) about alternatives.

So what's going

of course, it is the growing dissatisfaction, in blue states as
well as red, and the purple and mauves, too, with a government grown
too big, complicated, and corrupt to function. It can't do health
care, swine flue, stimulus payments, carbon limits, education, jobs,
corporate bonus control, or airport security. It can send
30,000 soldiers to the sinkhole of Afghanistan, because Congress
long ago gave up any role in military policy and the peace movement
long ago folded up, but that's what Presidents always do when they
want to seem to be strong. Reagan invades Granada, Bush I Panama
and Iraq, Clinton Kosovo, Bush II Iraq and Afghanistan. All for
no reason than showing that they can do something in Washington.

But there's
more to it than that. There is a deep and fundamental perception
that corporate America — briefly, Wall Street — really is in the
saddle and runs the country, and for its own benefit, of course.
Very successfully, too, and with complete impunity. It cares nothing
for public opinion and has no shame. Now this may always have been
true, but there used to be the accepted illusion that the corporations
had some interest in making the people happy, or prosperous — "What's
good for General Motors is good for the country." But now that
the country owns General Motors they make no pretense that they
are interested in spreading the wealth at all. And it is because
the public perceives it — unconsciously if not knowingly — that
there is the general sense of unease, of anger.

Many of those
feeling this unease and anger, of course, don't know what to do
about it other than going to tea parties and shouting at town halls.
But it is clear that a great many others are following the inexorable
logical train that leads to secessionist thinking: this system is
broken and can't be fixed, party (including third party) politics
is part of the problem not the solution, armed rebellion doesn't
have a chance against an apparently ruthless state, and the only
way to change things and have a chance of a better world is through
peaceful secession — getting out, not getting back. It has, too,
the virtue of seeming to be doable — not like revolution
or regime change or socialism or any other variant of extreme politics.

It's not that
I have any great faith in the mass of people of this nation using
logic, but it just feels as if more people are following this line
of thinking these days than… than any time since, say, 1865.

9, 2010

Sale [send him mail], scholar
and prolific writer, heads the Middlebury

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